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

In This Issue
Deadline & Subscriptions
Word from the Pastor: What a Mess!
Mission: Back to School
Even If You Don't Sew, You Can Help Make Masks
Scammers Just Won't Quit
Who Are Those Masked Men?
Celebrate at Doe River Gorge Aug. 16
Would You Care to Say a Few Words?
We're Ready to Help
Back to the Office Safely
Give Remotely to Keep Us Together
Study the Bible Online
Join Us on YouTube and Facebook
The World Needs Our Prayers
Mowers, Miss Mulliner
Gifts to the Church
Pray for One Another
Church Calendar
Our Church Officers
July 12
6th Sunday after Pentecost
1 Samuel 4:1-11
1 Samuel 7:1-12
Failure to Remember
Sam Weddington
Last Sunday's Attendance
In person: 9:00: 23; 11:00: 41
Livestream: 66
Playbacks: 162
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 9, 2020
Word from the Pastor: What a Mess!
And again he said, "To what should I compare the kingdom of God? It is like yeast/leaven that a woman took and hid within three measures of flour until all of it was leavened."
Luke 13:20-21
I'm not sure what your disposition is, but I like things to be in order. I have a corner or niche for every item I use. I love those neat little boxes with compartments where I can segregate whatever type of item I am trying to organize into even finer groupings. I've got a system in place for my daily regimen of pills, followed by the mix I use for my morning vegetable protein shake. I know exactly how many cups of water go over the four tablespoons of coffee I grind daily when I make my morning brew.
I go on about such small, meaningless details to paint a picture of my life that clearly shows that I am a creature of habit. I wear my habits like a warm winter coat that promises to protect me from the chaos of life if I enact their rituals on a daily basis.
It is for these reasons that I have found the past four months to be so very challenging. As I write, I'm looking around my office and seeing that things are more disorganized than they have been in a while. It's worse in my head. Someone I was talking to the other day, a member of our community, called it "corona brain." That's it! That's what I've got: corona brain! I'm moving through a fog of days, and everything that I once counted on to help guide me is gone, and I'm left to grope for hidden handholds in the dark.
That sounds kind of bleak. Here's the hope: believe it or not, the kingdom of God comes in this way. Jesus makes that point in Luke 13 with the cryptic parable of the leaven. Lots of modern translations get it wrong when they say the woman "mixes" the leaven into three measures of flour. You don't mix leaven into approximately 70 pounds of flour unless you run a bakery or pizza shop. Even then, it's unlikely.
In fact, the word isn't "mix" at all. The Greek word is ekrypsen; our word "cryptic" comes from the same root. It means to purposely hide or conceal. In the parable, the woman literally hides or conceals the leaven in the flour, as if she knows that it will work its leavening magic on the neatly stored, purified flour so that it threatens to burst the seams of its container on its way to becoming bread ... or pancakes, or donuts, or whatever delectable treat you care to imagine.
In other words, the kingdom of God, by design, comes hidden into our lives and all our well-organized nooks and crannies, and repurposes and reshapes the whole shooting match. At first, the change feels threatening and disorienting. However, the promise is present amid the confusion, as the plain flour we once held on to for dear life can now become what it ought to become: bread. Oodles and oodles of seam-bursting, spongy bread stuff, waiting to be baked to perfection.
So I'm taking my case of corona brain as a hopeful sign that something is at work in me. It's a change, and that change won't always be comfortable. However, I am a citizen of a kingdom that is encrypted and concealed in the plain vanilla flour of life and, by God's design, will be perfected and brought to fullness in time (Philippians 1:6).
In Christ,
Pastor Sam
Mission: Back to School
Believe it or not, schools will be opening and students will return this fall. With this in mind, the Evangelism & Outreach Committee has designated Fairmount Elementary School as our monthlong mission focus. Every Sunday in July we will collect supplies that teachers and students can use as they start the new school year. (See the list above.) You can drop off your donations at either worship service, or bring them to the church Monday through Thursday. If you have questions, please contact Dave Welch.
Even If You Don't Sew, You Can Help Make Masks
We continue to make masks for members of our congregation and various organizations during the COVID-19 pandemic. We need volunteers for the following tasks:
  • Donating 100% cotton sheets (any color)
  • Pre-washing and ironing donated sheets and other fabric
  • Cutting sheets and other fabric into rectangles according to pattern
  • Sewing 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, call the church office.
Scammers Just Won't Quit
We have to give the scammers who have had us in their sights since January points for persistence. They are back on the job this month. If they keep this up, we will be tempted to praise their work ethic. They send messages, by email, text, or websites such as Facebook, that appear to be from FPC staff. You might get a brief note purporting to come from Pastor Sam that asks you to handle a matter for him discreetly but to reply to the message so as not to interrupt his prayer session. Never mind that the message came in at 3:01 a.m. Other messages may tell you to buy a gift card for someone in need or some worthy-sounding cause and send the card codes to the phone number provided. These are scams. PLEASE DO NOT RESPOND or take any action. The staff of FPC will NEVER ask you to do such things.
Who Are Those Masked Men?
The Men's Bible Study has resumed meeting at 7:00 on Thursday mornings. We are gathering in the Fellowship Hall, wearing masks, social-distancing, and bringing our own coffee and snacks. All men of the church are welcome.
Celebrate at Doe River Gorge Aug. 16!
Our entire church family is invited to our annual celebration at Doe River Gorge in Hampton, TN, on Sunday, August 16, from 1:00 to 6:00 p.m. The afternoon will be full of lake fun and outdoor lounging. At 4:00 we will have a baptismal service by the lake then move to the dining pavilion for dinner together. You may pack a picnic dinner or pre-purchase a dinner voucher from Doe River Gorge. We hope to have our whole church together for this glorious day of celebration!
Please register for the event at On this site you can also register for dinner at Doe River Gorge. The cost of the meal is $9 for persons 8 years of age and over, and $5 for those 7 and under.
Would You Care to Say a Few Words?
We want you contribute 300 words to our 2020 Advent Devotional to enhance our time of waiting and preparation for the celebration of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. If you want to share a devotion or have questions, please email Han Ong at or Candy Phelps at by August 1. If you choose to participate, please submit your devotion to Han by October 1.
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.
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.
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.
The World Needs Our Prayers
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.
Mowers, Miss Mulliner ...
We crested the slope of summer a few weeks back and now trudge across the plateau of July, feeling not unlike Aubrey Bassinger, the P.G. Wodehouse hero who was given to composing Pastels in Prose. In the short story "Unpleasantness at Bludleigh Court," he has seated Charlotte Mulliner* in the gazebo:
He took her hand. Her head was bent, and with the toe of her dainty shoe she toyed with a passing snail.
"Life, Miss Mulliner," said Aubrey, "is a Sahara through which we all must pass. We start at the Cairo of the cradle and we travel on to the--er--well, we go travelling on."
"Yes, don't we?" said Charlotte.
"Afar we can see the distant goal ...."
"Yes, can't we?"
"... and would fain reach it."
"Yes, wouldn't we?"
"But the way is rough and weary. We have to battle through the sand-storms of Destiny, face with what courage we have the simooms of Fate. And very unpleasant it all is. But sometimes in the Sahara of Life, if we are fortunate, we come upon the Oasis of Love. That oasis, when I had all but lost hope, I reached at one-fifteen on the afternoon of Tuesday, the twenty-second of last month. There comes a time in the life of every man when he sees Happiness beckoning to him and must grasp it. Miss Mulliner, I have something to ask you which I have been trying to ask ever since that day when we two first met. Miss Mulliner ... Charlotte ... Will you be my ... Gosh! Look at that whacking great rat! Loo-loo-loo-loo-loo-loo-loo-loo!" said Aubrey, changing the subject.
Our own proposal is that Fred Harkleroad and Pat Flannagan will stay on topic when comes the time that each sees the church lawn beckoning him. For Fred, that will be any suitable hour through July 11, and for Pat, ditto July 15-18. Alas! No Tuesday afternoon falls to either of them, but we must not despair.
* If you have not seen John Alderton and Pauline Collins play these characters in the 1970s TV series Wodehouse Playhouse , you have not known the abounding joy you deserve. The short stories are variously collected, but you can't go wrong with The World of Mr. Mulliner . In addition to more about the goings-on at Bludleigh Court, it contains vital information about "Mulliner's Buck-U-Uppo," of which we could all use the average dose for an adult right about now.
Gifts to the Church
Memorials and honoraria are published in the newsletter only after the family has been personally notified by our business office. Today we gratefully acknowledge the following gifts in memory of:
Virginia Long (mother of Lilly Osborne): to the Children's Ministries Fund from Ann Abel and from Karen & Ernie Pennington
Bill Whitesides (brother of Dave Whitesides): to the Memorial Fund from John & Karen Vann
Pray for One Another

In Our Prayers
Please also include in your prayers members of our community who wish to remain anonymous.
Regina Ambagis
Cathy Arnold
João Batista family
Joe Bell
Booher family
Sujean Bradley
Brandi & family
Bristol Tennessee School System
Jane Brooks
Becky Busler
Calleigh Cairns
Christians in Nigeria/ECWA
Community, nation & world
Ethiopian brothers & sisters
Evans family                             
First responders & medical & infrastructure personnel
Francis Forino
DeeDee Galliher
Goddards (missionaries in Paraguay)
Rose Marie & Jim Goodrum
Martha & John Graham
Gene Grindstaff
Ron Grubbs
Heidi Harkleroad
Marjorie Harr
Lou Hebb
Nate & Angela & newborn Higgins
John Holler
Marty Keys & family
Josh & Morgan King & family
Richard Lee
Nancy Lilly
Dot Mattison
Kathleen McGlothlin
Bob Millard
Mott Mitchell
Alice Moore
Brianna Necessary
Martha North
Caleb Revill
Mary Ellis & Paul Rice family
Harold Rutherford
Peggy Rutherford
Brittany Salter
Josh & Ta'meka Stigers
Joe Strickland's family
Student athletes returning to practice
Tom & Kitty Vann
Bill Wade
Maria Wagner
Karen White
To the Church Triumphant
Virginia W. Rutherford
July 7, 2020
Our love and sympathy are with Mary Ellis Rice in the death of her mother, Dianne Glymph, July 3.
Birthday Prayer Fellowship
July 12       Jeff Looney, Olin Mumpower
July 13       Moses Ong
July 15       George Huber, Linda Pridemore
July 16       Lisa Bailey, Danielle Booher
July 17       Carol Tudor
Church Calendar
Sunday, July 12
9:00 a.m.       Worship, Fellowship Hall & Livestream
                         Online Sunday School (following 9:00 service)
10:10 a.m.     Adult Sunday School, TBA
11:00 a.m.     Worship, Sanctuary
5:30 p.m.       Virtual Vacation Bible School
Monday, July 13
5:30 p.m.       Virtual Vacation Bible School
7:00 p.m.       Building & Grounds Comm., Fellowship Hall
7:00 p.m.       Worship Comm., Fellowship Hall
Tuesday, July 14
10:00 a.m.     Staff Meeting, Fellowship Hall
5:30 p.m.       Virtual Vacation Bible School
6:00 p.m.       Venture Crew 3, Room 165
Wednesday, July 15
5:30 p.m.       Virtual Vacation Bible School
Thursday, July 16
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