First Presbyterian Church  |  701 Florida Avenue  |  Bristol, TN 37620  |  423-764-7176  |

In This Issue
Deadline & Subscriptions
Word from the Pastor: Edge of Hope
Our Advent Devotional Needs You ASAP!
Help Encourage Our Confirmands
Sharing Christ Needs Volunteers for Saturday Service
Facing the Need
Boys & Girls Club, Welcome!
Weathering the Financial Seas
Fellowship Day at Doe River Gorge
We're Ready to Help
Back to the Office Safely
Give Remotely to Keep Us Together
Join Us on YouTube and Facebook
Study the Bible Online
Pray for the World
Getting the Jump on August
Organist's Footnotes
Pray for One Another
Church Calendar
Our Church Officers
August 2
9th Sunday after Pentecost
Genesis 32:22-31
Psalm 17:1-7, 15
Wrestling with God
Dave Welch
Last Sunday's Attendance
One Worship: 147
Click here to livestream our contemporary service. You can also access past sermons and ministry videos on our YouTube account, "FPC Bristol."
Deadline & Subscriptions
Deadline for contributions is the Monday of the week of publication. To subscribe to our free e-newsletter, send an email with your name and preferred email address to


on First Presbyterian Church

July 30, 2020
Word from the Pastor: Edge of Hope
There is hope for your future, says the Lord:
your children shall come back to their own country.
Jeremiah 31:17
I'm a parent, and these days, that means worry. I'm worried about the start of the new school year. Will the kids be able to go back? Won't they? Will there be sports? Can we parents take another semester or so of in-home, online instruction?
As I think about this, my worry extends to their teachers and the staff of our various school systems. I know the past few months have probably driven each of them to the edge of sanity as they try to comply with all the mandates coming down, as well as try their best to care for their students. And then those same teachers also have to carry the burden of worry for their own kids.
I'm also a pastor, and I share this worry over our church family. I could go on....
It's here that we need the witness of Scripture and the inspiration of the Spirit to pierce our veil of worry and anxiety. We need to hear God's Word of life, and Jeremiah gives it to us. These words were initially given to the children of Israel as they faced the dual terrors of the destruction of Jerusalem and their deportation from Babylon. Jeremiah's words gave respite to God's people amidst the cutting words of judgment that often mark his message. In short, chapter 31 is filled with words of assurance.
Although it seems unlikely, and even more difficult to discern amidst the voices coming out of Ramah (Jeremiah 31:15), there is a direction, there is a purpose, and there is a redemption awaiting God's people beyond hope's edge. It is more than a desire, and so much more than wishful thinking and hopeful prognostication. God tells his people in verse 17 that no matter what comes, we will have a future, and that future is fulfilled in ways that exceed our paltry hopes and desires.
We are people of promise, and that promise extends to our children, and our children's children. Just as Israel would be remade and re-established, so too will we emerge on the other side of this present string of disasters and the collapse of our provisional plans, and we will stand. We will remain a blessing as we seek new ways to bless our neighbors.
I see the seeds of this future in the plans being laid now for the return of the Boys & Girls Club. I saw them Sunday as our Senior Class gave a powerful witness to Christ's lordship over their lives, and to the role this church has played in their spiritual development. I see them on your faces when we are able to come together, faces that still find ways to laugh and smile, though we really have every excuse to cry.
The place beyond the edge of hope might look dark and terrible, and full of unknown terrors. However, I believe that beyond that edge lies the future God has prepared for us. Yes, it is dark because it is presently unknown to us, but in God's time, it will be revealed in living color as we come to know as we have already been known by God (1 Cor. 13:12).
God is faithful, and 2020 is no hurdle to a grace that is destined to overcome. There is hope for our future. Thanks be to God!
In Christ,
Pastor Sam
Some of our YouTube users had difficulty streaming our One Worship service last Sunday. We have identified the issue and fixed it. We are so sorry that you could not join us live at the time! We invite you to view that worship service online this week to receive the witness our Senior Class shared Sunday.
Our Advent Devotional Needs You ASAP!
We are asking FPC members to contribute a short devotional (300 words) to our 2020 Advent Devotional. We would love to have your reflections to help us all prepare in that season for the coming of our Lord. Please email Han Ong at or Candy Phelps at as soon as possible to tell us you will help, or to ask for more information.
Help Encourage Our Confirmands
In the hope of holding Confirmation Sunday on August 23, we are collecting letters from the congregation encouraging our confirmands in their spiritual journey. On Confirmation Sunday, these students will proclaim their faith to our church family and become members of First Presbyterian Church. If you know some of our confirmands, please consider writing them a letter of support.
Cards and letters of spiritual encouragement might include a story or memory, something about your own faith, how knowing this student has affected your life, or words of love and truth that will spur them on in their faith. The kind words you share will encourage them now as they prepare to be confirmed and stay with them for years as a reminder of the great cloud of witnesses that surrounds them and continues to love, guide, and encourage them as they run the race (Hebrews 12:1-2).
If you would like to participate, please email your messages to or mail or deliver your cards or letters by August 21 to:
First Presbyterian Church
Attn.: Katie Arnold
701 Florida Avenue
Bristol, TN 37620
Thank you for joining us as we celebrate this important and exciting time in the lives of our students! Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. / Katie Arnold
2020 FPC Confirmation Class
Alex Akard
Micah Bechtold
Isabel Gross
Campbell Kent
Noah Ong
James Phipps
Joan Weddington
Sharing Christ Needs Volunteers for Saturday Service
We still need a few more volunteers to help at Sharing Christ Ministries downtown this Saturday, August 1, from 4:30 to around 7:00 p.m. We need folks to make sandwiches on-site. If you'd like to help or simply want to know more, contact Dottie Havlik at or 423-956-6747. We'd love to welcome a new volunteer or someone who hasn't joined in in a while! Sharing Christ is located at the corner of State and Sixth streets.
Facing the Need
Grateful Thanks to Ann Holler
For the past four months, a team of ladies in our church has been contributing materials and sewing face masks to help fill a need during the COVID-19 health crisis. In this edition of Windows, we'd like to recognize and honor the outstanding contribution of Ann Holler.
By God's providence in this short time, Ann has sewn more than 1,000 masks! In addition to the many masks donated to FPC members and staff, she has donated masks to the YWCA, Bristol Emergency Food Pantry, BRMC Pediatrics, Bristol (Tennessee and Virginia) Police Departments and other first responders, care homes, Bristol Music Club, Fort Chiswell Chapter DAR, and many individuals.
We praise and thank God for Ann's selfless donation of time, talent, and yards and yards of fabric. We also gratefully acknowledge sizeable contributions of fabric by Selma Jennings and Katie McInnis on behalf of the women of the church (we will share this story with you next week!), and other donations of materials and time by Sara Reuning, Nancy Cook, and Peggy Hill.
Come join this team! We still need folks to:
  • Donate 100% cotton sheets (any color or pattern)
  • Wash and iron donated sheets and other fabric
  • Cut cotton sheets and other cotton fabric into rectangles 9" x 7" (adult masks); 7" x 5" (children's masks); or 2" x 4" or 3" x 5" (casings)
  • Sew the masks together (instructions and materials supplied)
If you can help with any of these steps, please contact the church office (423-764-7176) or Peggy Hill (423-956-0209 or If you need a mask, please call the church office.
Boys & Girls Club, Welcome!
Asia Malone, CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of the Mountain Empire, sits with Pastor Sam and Dave to sign the lease agreement.
Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, we have repeated one refrain over and over: "Remember, be a blessing!" I am sure that each of us has done our best to be that blessing, doing so in the name of our Lord Jesus. As we bless others, we only pass on the blessing we have received through him. As a church, this has manifested itself in many ways. Our responder teams have reached out to connect with those who are at risk. We opened the Food Pantry back up when it was shut down. We have gathered together, as safely as we could, to support and pray for each other. We've done food collection drive-bys. The list could go on.
Today this call to be a blessing has taken on a new and extremely rich flavor. I am happy to announce that on Tuesday, July 28, First Presbyterian Church became one of the new homes of the Boys & Girls Club in Bristol. This relationship deepens our commitment to kids, especially in the Fairmount region of our city.
This partnership will require us to share space in our educational wing, and while that might present some challenges, we are confident that we can overcome them. Most important, we feel that the presence of the Boys & Girls Club provides a real opportunity to bless our community, and to be blessed by their presence. We ask that you pray that God would open up new doors through this new relationship as we seek to be a blessing in our area.
In Christ,
Pastor Sam
Weathering the Financial Seas
Thank you for your continued prayers, service, and financial commitment to the mission and ministries of First Presbyterian Church. The church has never in our lifetime had such a unique combination of challenges to meet the spiritual, emotional, and physical needs of our church family and our local and global partners. Thanks to God's blessings and your faithful giving, our church's outreach and programming have been able to remain at the center of the life of our church family, and despite sheltering in place and social distancing, quarantine, and schedule changes (and changes and changes!), we have been and are connected as a body in Christ.
God's faithfulness and yours have allowed First Presbyterian to responsibly weather the financial seas of the first six months of the year. While total pledges and worship offerings were under budget by about $40,000 through June, expenses were under budget by even more for the same period, thanks to our staff's diligent expense control efforts, which puts us in a "better than budgeted" position as we prepare to face the challenges of the second half of the year. Thanks be to God!
Thank you again for your faithful giving, especially during these unprecedented times. Please contact any member of the Finance Committee or Betsy Galliher in the church office if you have questions. / John Vann
Fellowship Day at Doe River Gorge
We hope to have our whole church family together for a glorious day of celebration at Doe River Gorge in Hampton, TN, on Sunday, August 16, from 1:00 to 6:00 p.m. We will enjoy the lake and outdoor lounging until we gather at 4:00 for a lakeside baptismal service. (Please bring your own chairs, blankets, and games.) After the baptism, we will move to the pavilion for dinner together. You may pack a picnic dinner, or pre-purchase a dinner voucher from Doe River Gorge here. The cost of the meal is $9 for persons 8 years of age and over, and $5 for those 7 and under. Please register for the event here.
We're Ready to Help
You are not alone! If you have a need, please call the church and let us know! We want to be a blessing to you and make sure that you have what you need. Our response teams are prepared to deliver essential supplies and make general wellness calls. We also have medical personnel on call. If you see a need, please let us know. If you want to help us in the work, just email Dave Welch or Pastor Sam.
Back to the Office Safely
FPC Picture
As part of our plan to get church functions back to normal, staff are returning to work in the church building on a limited basis. When you need to contact a member of staff, please do so by phone, email, or mail, if you can. We want to limit contact with others for everyone's safety. A later phase of our plan allows for more regular contact within the building, so please stay tuned for future announcements.
Give Remotely to Keep Us Together
During the COVID-19 crisis, we encourage you to give by way of our website or by text or mail. We must hold together, and your continued, faithful giving ensures that we will have the resources to continue our ministries. You can give online by going to our   website  and clicking on "Give" in the upper right corner. You can send your pledge, offering, or special gift by texting (all one word) fpcbristol to 73256. You can also mail your checks directly to the church. Our address is 701 Florida Avenue, Bristol, TN 37620. Thank you, as always, for your generosity.
Join Us on YouTube and Facebook
Remember to subscribe to our YouTube channel to watch the livestream of our early worship service and other activities. Go to and type in "FPC Bristol." Click on the link and hit "subscribe." You will receive notifications of new videos. We also suggest that you connect to our various Facebook sites. Go to Facebook and type in "FPC Bristol," and several accounts will show up. Some are open to the public, while others are restricted. In either case, "like" the page, or ask to join a group if it is closed.
Study the Bible Online
We are continuing to offer two adult studies on our YouTube channel. The Sunday Bible study, Praying With the Psalms, looks at the Book of Psalms through the lens of prayer. All you need is a Bible and an open heart. We also post a short study every Wednesday. If you subscribe, you will be notified when new studies become available.
Pray for the World
As we weather the COVID-19 pandemic, we are asking you to spend more time in prayer for our church, our community, our nation, and the world. Pray for our leaders, first responders, frontline workers, and the vulnerable. We also ask that you pray for a swift end to this disease.
Getting the Jump on August
Two more ticks of the calendar and it's August. Our mowing team will not be caught by surprise. David Moore (July 29-August 1) mows the church lawn for the first Sunday in August. Ron Fox (August 5-8) takes over for the second. It's all in such good hands that we can relax and admire their work from a safe distance. Thank you, gentlemen!
Organist's Footnotes
Barrel organs
Of the organ works by the great master Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) 17 sonatas have string accompaniment and the other, smaller pieces are not especially idiomatic for the organ. Mozart composed several pieces for a small mechanical organ called an Orgelwalze, or barrel organ. Our prelude, Andante für eine Orgelwalze, is one of these.
During communion, I will play Adagio, K. 356, which was composed for the glass harmonica, an instrument known since at least the mid-17th century. Benjamin Franklin, during one of stays in Paris, is thought to have applied his famous inventive mind to improving the instrument, making it possible to play simple keyboard music on it. Because the organ is a "continuous sound" instrument, the Adagio lends itself more to it than to any other modern keyboard instrument.
Glass harmonica
Intrada und Fuge in C - phrygisch, KV 399, (our postlude) was composed for the pipe organ. The Intrada is slow (tempo is marked grave) and dramatic. Then it speeds up ( allegro) with a three-part fugue. The closing bars return to the previous grave for a satisfying conclusion.
Pray for One Another

In Our Prayers
Please also include in your prayers members of our community who wish to remain anonymous.
Regina Ambagis
Sue Barr
Bassett family
João Batista family
Joe Bell
Booher family
Sujean Bradley
Brandi & family
Bud Branscomb
Bristol Tennessee School System
Jane Brooks
Becky Busler
Calleigh Cairns
Christians in Nigeria/ECWA
Community, nation & world
Thomas Covington
Ethiopian brothers & sisters
First responders & medical & infrastructure personnel
DeeDee Galliher
Goddards (missionaries in Paraguay)
Rose Marie & Jim Goodrum
Daniel Gordon
Martha & John Graham
Gene Grindstaff
Ron Grubbs
Conor Haaser & squadron
Marjorie Harr
Lou Hebb
Nate & Angela & newborn Higgins
John Holler
Lisa Holmes
Marty Keys & family
Josh & Morgan King & family
Richard Lee
Nancy Lilly
Dot Mattison
Katie McDonald
Kathleen McGlothlin
Bob Millard
Mott Mitchell
Alice Moore
Brianna Necessary
Doug Nelson's family
Martha North
Caleb Revill
Mary Ellis & Paul Rice family
Harold Rutherford & family
Brittany Salter
Josh & Ta'meka Stigers
Joe Strickland's family
Bill Wade
Maria Wagner
Karen White
Birthday Prayer Fellowship
Aug. 2       Dan Kreiss, Peggy Nicar
Aug. 3       Jon Pruner
Aug. 4       Changsub Shim, Young Shim
Aug. 5       Alex Regan
Aug. 6       Suzee Bolick
Aug. 7       Ben Linderman, Mark Mervis, Katy Sikorski, Jeannie Williams
Aug. 8       Ellie Beck, Mechala Blankenship, Mary Lee Schiesz
Church Calendar
Sunday, August 2
9:00 a.m.       Worship, Fellowship Hall & Livestream
                         Online Sunday School (following 9:00 service)
10:10 a.m.     Adult Sunday School
11:00 a.m.     Worship, Sanctuary
Monday, August 3
6:30 p.m.       Board of Deacons, Fellowship Hall
Tuesday, August 4
10:00 a.m.     Staff Meeting, Fellowship Hall
Thursday, August 6
7:00 a.m.       Men's Bible Study, Fellowship Hall
12:00 p.m.     Noon Bible Study, Fellowship Hall
Our Church Officers
Church Officers
Class of 2020
Class of 2021
Class of 2022
Nancy Allerton
Ann Abel
Anna L. Booher
Rebecca Beck
Randy Cook
Bruce Gannaway
David Hyde
John Graham
Will Hankins
Jordan Pennington
Katie McInnis
Dottie Havlik
Jerry Poteat
John Vann
Laura Ong
Blake Bassett
Fred Harkleroad
Mike Cleland
Rhonda Comer
Matt Kingsley
Geneva King
Ron Fox
Lisa McClain
George Linke
Brenda Lawson
Drew Rice
Charlie Taylor
Barbara Thompson
Joyce Samuel
Peggy Hill
Jack Butterworth
Nancy Cook