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

In This Issue
Deadline & Subscriptions
Word from the Pastor: Phase II
Phase II of Our Return Plan Begins Sunday
Life in the Pandemic
Name That Grad by Sunday!
Family Bike Night Wednesday
Annual Celebration Party Aug. 16
Devote 300 Words to Our Advent Observance
Back to the Office Safely
Give Remotely to Keep Us Together
Stay with Us on YouTube and Facebook
Study the Bible Online
The World Needs Our Prayers
We're Standing Ready to Help
We Still Need Masks
Unfazed by Phases or Wheels within Wheels
Organist's Footnotes
Pray for One Another
Church Calendar
Our Church Officers
June 21
3rd Sunday after Pentecost
Habakkuk 2:18-20
Acts 11:17-18
Sam Weddington
Last Sunday's Attendance
In person: 9:00: 23; 11:00: 18
Livestreams: 95
Total views: 229
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

June 18, 2020
Word from the Pastor: Phase II
Psalm 13:1 records a critical question many of us have been asking for some time: "How long, O Lord?" In the Psalmist's case, the question was how long the people would have to suffer persecution and defeat. In our case, the question has been how long we would have to endure the prospect of continued distancing and restrictions on so many things we have taken for granted, especially our gathering as the church.
I don't have a definitive answer for the question of how long our struggle will continue, but I am pleased to say that we are ready to take another step forward on the path to recovery. Our transition into Phase II is not a complete return, but it is an advance, and we ask you to both support the decision of the session and celebrate that we are taking this step. Again, I know that this plan will not please everyone, and there is much that we cannot offer yet, but there are advances here.
Apart from the details of our plan, please note two general points. First, parents of younger kids should be aware that the nursery will not be open during this phase of our plans and that, while we will offer Kids' Kirk outdoors, children's Sunday School will remain online. Our survey of your comfort levels made it clear that the vast majority of you are not ready to resume these activities, especially if they are held indoors. We have heard you, and this plan reflects where many of you are. Second, Phase II continues to emphasize social distancing, masks, hygiene, and the like, though less rigorously than Phase I. I understand that masks are not comfortable. At the same time, they are essential if we are going to sing together. Most important, masks are critical if we are going to be good neighbors by loving others as we love ourselves. Masks help protect others from what we might be carrying; they are a public witness of love.
Countless hours of prayer and thought went into developing these plans. I know the list seems long, and even unnatural when you think about meeting your family in Christ once again. I wish we didn't have to be concerned about COVID-19, but in reality we do. I believe God would have us balance our desire to return to normal with our obligation to love our neighbor as ourselves. So, again, I ask for your patience, and I also ask for your prayers. If we are to have a good path forward, it will be because God has led the way.
Stay strong, and be a blessing.
In Christ,
Pastor Sam
Phase II of Our Return Plan Begins Sunday
Phase II of our plan of return will begin this Sunday, June 21. This plan is based on current knowledge and the low number of active coronavirus cases in our area at this time. These recommendations are not a guarantee but a set of guidelines that may need to evolve as local conditions change. They include the following:
Loosened distancing rules
  • We will decrease the spacing between congregants to 6 to 8 feet.
  • Singers or speakers who remove their masks to speak or perform will stay at least 12 feet away from the nearest congregant.
  • We will also use small screens to help shield the congregation from performers' exhalations.
  • We will run the ventilation in the church at all times.
  • We will continue to offer masks at worship services, and ask people to wear them. Masks are key to continuing congregational singing.
  • We will encourage handwashing and the use of sanitizer.
  • We will refrain from handshakes and other contact during worship.
  • Those over the age of 65, and those with underlying health problems, are asked to consider carefully whether a return is advisable in their case. We want you to be safe.
  • We will ask those showing visible signs of illness to go home. We love you enough to tell you this so that we can all share fellowship in the future.
  • Leaders may resume Sunday morning adult Bible studies. They will be asked to remind participants to observe distancing rules.
  • Sunday School for children and youth will not resume at this time. We will continue to offer web-based children's, youth, and adult lessons after 9:00 worship.
  • The nursery will not be available during Phase II.
  • Kids' Kirk will be offered midworship at both services. Leaders and children will follow social distancing guidelines, wear masks, and meet outdoors when weather permits. Children will not gather at the altar during the children's sermon but will leave for their Kids' Kirk location. The following procedures will be observed:
    • Masks: Masks are strongly encouraged. If children take off their masks, they will be encouraged to put them back on by themselves. Leaders will not touch children's masks to put them back on.
    • Space considerations: Kids' Kirk will take place outdoors in good weather and in the chapel during inclement weather. The grass or floor will be marked with individual spaces for each child.
    • Hand hygiene: Participants will use hand sanitizer at the beginning and end of Kids' Kirk.
    • Snacks: No snacks will be provided, but water will be available in individual disposable cups. Leaders will dispense the water.
    • Temperatures: Because asymptomatic transmission is common for SARS-COV-2, temperatures will not be routinely taken. Anyone who is feeling unwell should not attend FPC events during this phase.
  • Vacation Bible School will be held, probably July 12-15, in an online format for three nights and with outdoor family fellowship on the final night.
  • Fun Family Fellowship may proceed outdoors this summer.
  • Youth events may proceed outdoors. We recommend that the confirmation retreat and the trip for graduating seniors to Ocoee Retreat Center proceed with safety modifications, since these are predominantly outdoor activities. As a respiratory safety precaution, FPC will not provide transportation. Overnight cabin assignments, meal planning, and food preparation for the senior trip will be carefully designed to follow social distancing guidelines and reduce the risk of viral transmission.
  • The 9:00 service will remain both live and livestreamed to accommodate worshipers who need to remain at home.
  • Traditional hymns will be prerecorded for replay for the sake of those joining 9:00 worship by livestream.
  • The choir will continue to give quartet and/or duet presentations at the 11:00 service.
  • Acolytes will not serve during this phase.
  • All hymnals and Bibles at the church will be removed. We ask that you bring your own Bible, make use of an electronic Bible, or listen to the readings. We will provide copies of any hymns to be sung.
  • The chairs in the fellowship hall will be in spaced rows. In the sanctuary, we will ask people to sit in every other row.
  • Signage will remain posted throughout the building, advising people to follow strict social distancing guidelines.
  • We will offer prewrapped snacks and sealed bottles of water, but no coffee.
  • Offerings will be taken, but we will not pass the collection plates.
  • We will not shake hands or touch during the sharing of the peace of Christ. Instead, we will ask people to turn to their neighbors.
  • We will observe the Lord's Table on Sunday, July 5, using the "rip-and-dip" cups. The pastors will distribute communion row by row or pew by pew.
  • Ushers will come behind the pastors to collect used containers in a lined wastebasket.
  • For those nervous about congregational seating, distanced seating in the balcony and at the rear of the sanctuary will be available as a no-singing space.
Life in the Pandemic
The Stewardship Committee has produced a video for use by the congregation. Life in the Pandemic brings together a number of volunteer panelists from a variety of disciplines in public health and biology to discuss how we can be both cautious and faithful. You can click here to see the video, or go directly to our YouTube site and watch it there.
Name That Grad by Sunday!
Every year we look forward to honoring the achievements of the new graduates in our church family. As we make plans for Graduate Sunday, July 26, we need to know who in our church family is in line to be celebrated! Please call the church office (423-764-7176) if you or a member of your family will be graduating from high school, college, or any other educational or training program this spring. We need the following information by June 21: graduate's name, current (not future) school or program, degree or certification earned, and field. Thank you for your help!
Family Bike Night Wednesday
We're holding a Family Bike Night next Wednesday, June 24! Bring your bikes, scooters, tricycles, skateboards, skates, and family to the church parking lot at 6:00 p.m. and roll around together! We will have outdoor games for those not up for rolling. Bring your own picnic and camp chairs. Kona Ice will be with us, so bring money if you want snow cones. Parents must stay in the lot to make sure proper distancing is observed.
Annual Celebration Party Aug. 16
Our entire church family is invited to our annual Celebration Party 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!
Devote 300 Words to Our Advent Observance
We want you to help build our 2020 Advent Devotional by submitting devotions of no more than 300 words! Your contribution will enhance our time of expectant 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.
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.
Stay with 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.
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.
We're Standing 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.
We Still Need Masks
We continue to ask those of you who can sew to make masks for respiratory patients and members of our congregation during the COVID-19 crisis.   You will find the sewing pattern and instructions  here . An FPC response team member will come to your home to pick up your finished masks for delivery. The contact person for this project is Peggy Hill. You can reach her at 423-956-0209 or . If you need a mask, call the church office. We have a limited number made by members of our church.
Unfazed by Phases or Wheels within Wheels
Keeping a cool head, Roger Sikorski (June 17-20) rolls out the Tiger Cat to prepare the lawn for Sunday's rollout of Phase II of our return plan. Ever resourceful, Larry Connolly (June 24-27) will make sure the world continues to spin smoothly underfoot for one more week, just as the wheels will spin around the parking lot next Wednesday.
Organist's Footnotes
Felix Mendelssohn
Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy (1809 - 1847) was a skilled organist and, during his visits to Britain, gave a number of well-received organ recitals. The six pieces in his Organ Sonatas, Opus 65 were commissioned as a "set of voluntaries" by the English publishers Coventry and Hollier in 1844 and published in 1845. Although British critics rated the music highly, Mendelssohn himself never performed any of these sonatas in public, either in England or elsewhere.
Sonata in C minor, Op. 65. No. 2 has four distinct sections: Grave, Adagio, Allegro maestoso e vivace, and Fuga: Allegro moderato. While the sonata is intended to be performed without interruption from beginning to end, the integrity of each section holds together well.
Pray for One Another

In Our Prayers
Please also include in your prayers members of our community who wish to remain anonymous.
Arnold family adoption, final June 19
Joe Bell
Booher family
Sujean Bradley
Brandi & family
Bristol Tennessee School System
Jane Brooks
Craig Buchanan
Becky Busler
Calleigh Cairns
Christians in Nigeria/ECWA
Community, nation & world
Ethiopian brothers & sisters
Evans family
First responders & medical & infrastructure personnel
Francis Forino
Garrett Foster
DeeDee Galliher
Diane Glymph
Goddards (missionaries in Paraguay)
Rose Marie & Jim Goodrum
Gene Grindstaff
Gerald Grubbs
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
Rev. McDaniel
Kathleen McGlothlin
Bob Millard
Mott Mitchell
Alice Moore
Brianna Necessary
Martha North
Lilly Osborne's family
Ed Richards
Peggy Rutherford
Virginia Rutherford
Brittany Salter
Josh & Ta'meka Stigers
Student athletes returning to practice
John & Karen Vann
Tom & Kitty Vann
Bill Wade
Maria Wagner
To the Church Triumphant
Laura Ann Warner
June 16, 2020
Our love and sympathy are with Margaret and Bill Wade in the death of Margaret's sister, Alice Morrow Caldwell, June 13 in Knoxville; and with Lilly Osborne and her family in the death of Lilly's mother, Virginia Ball Long, June 14 in Blountville.
Birthday Prayer Fellowship
June 22     Melinda Akard, Lucas Kingsley, Robin North
June 23     Jon Blankenship
June 26     Tom Faucette, Jon Lundberg, Mollee McClain
June 27     Robert Havlik, Erin Kingsley
Church Calendar
Sunday, June 21
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
4:00 p.m.       Evangelism & Outreach Comm., Fellowship Hall
Monday, June 22
7:00 p.m.       Session of Elders, Fellowship Hall
Tuesday, June 23
10:00 a.m.     Staff Meeting, Room Fellowship Hall
Wednesday, June 24
6:00 p.m.       Family Bike Night, Parking Lot
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