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

In This Issue
Deadline & Subscriptions
Word from the Pastor: Live in Faith
Open and Shut Case for Doors
"Soul-Stirring" Organ Concert Here March 24
Bluegrass Mass Takes Us Away to the Skies April 10
Wonderful Opportunity to Serve at Sharing Christ
Let's Get Cooking!
Students Hold Brazil Mission Fundraiser Next Sunday
Pray for Ethiopia Mission Trip
2019 Women's Retreat: The Highlight Reel
Wednesday Night Fellowship Hits Pause
How to Respond to Shooters
The Question of March
Go Fish for Fairmount School
Gifts to the Church
Music Notes
Pray for One Another
Church Calendar
Our Church Officers
March 17
2nd Sunday in Lent
Isaiah 53: 5-6
Luke 13:31-35
Our Covering
Sam Weddington
Forty Days and Forty Nights
Be Thou My Vision
Agnus Dei
Last Sunday's Attendance
9:00: 139; 11:00: 128
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

March 14, 2019
Word from the Pastor: Live in Faith
Therefore just as one man's trespass led to condemnation for all, so one man's act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all. --Romans 5:18
For I delight in the law of God in my inmost self, but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind, making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with my mind I am a slave to the law of God, but with my flesh I am a slave to the law of sin. --Romans 7:22-25
I know I've done my job as a preacher when I get lots of interesting questions after a sermon. This past week was a wonderful example. To those with questions, who were confused or unsure of what I was getting at, I encourage you to consult Scripture. I am, by no means, infallible. You should always measure what I say by the witness of Scripture. Moreover, where I am unclear, I want to work harder to be clear, so I want to take up a question raised by some members last Sunday.
In the sermon last week, I said that acts like cursing a neighbor at a stop light aren't "sin," per se. Quite a few of you had questions on this point because you think that such instances are sin- -that sin is the tally God keeps on God's scoreboard of wrongdoing. In one light, you can say that those things are small "s" sins (plural). Such acts are certainly not the things that God would have us do or say. However, those instances are symptoms of the larger problem, the "disease" or "infirmity" that is "sin" proper (Isaiah 53:4).
Sin (singular) is a condition, a spiritual disease, not a bad mark on God's checklist to see whether you measure up. Sin is the engine driving our transgressions. Sin is the condition that drives us to discern for ourselves the good from the bad (see Genesis 3) because we love things that are beautiful in our own eyes. Our "flesh," or hearts turned in on themselves, is at war with God's will for our lives (Romans 7:22-23). In that war, we are inclined to curse our neighbor and disobey God's commands because we want to call the shots all by our lonesome. On our own, we suffer separation from God's will for our lives, self-deception, and blindness to our own motivations (see Calvin, Institutes, II.1.1-2).
Understood in this way, we commit "sins" (plural) because we are, by nature, sinners (Romans 3:10-18). You cannot escape sin, for it is part of the human condition. In Romans 7, Paul talks at length about this desperate struggle. Like Paul, we are all caught up in this cycle of disobedience and struggle, and when our best efforts fall apart under their own weight, we, too, despair: "who will rescue me from this body of death?" (Romans 7:24b). Why can't I get it right all the time? Why do I keep falling into the same old mistakes, again and again?
What we desperately need is renewed and right relationship to God. We need to be healed of our condition. As Scripture gives witness, the faithfulness of Jesus Christ is the cure for our sin-sick souls (Isaiah 53:5, 1 Peter 2:24, Romans 5:18). Jesus Christ's perfect righteousness and obedience to God does for us what we cannot do for ourselves. As we live in Him by faith, he makes us whole, delivers us, saves us, and gives us the power to resist sin's hold on our hearts as he conforms us into His image through the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:29). He renews our minds and hearts so that we can live in the power of His love, turning away from "sins" (plural) that are really symptoms of the underlying condition (Romans 12:1-2).
In light of all this, what then are we to say? A couple of things. One, we can't win the war by ourselves. We need God's grace in Jesus Christ to save us from our desperate condition. Two, Jesus Christ has won the victory for us, so clinging to Him is our only hope. When we slip and fall into our old ways of being, this isn't a call to beat ourselves up or point fingers. Instead, it is a call to plead to Him for help. Three, because He has won the victory already, we are, as Paul tells us, "more than conquerors through Him who loved us" (Romans 8:37). Whatever you are facing, whatever your trial, whatever falsehood the accuser (the devil) whispers in your ear, you have the power to resist it in His name, and in His name alone. Glory be to God!
In Christ,
Pastor Sam
Open and Shut Case for Doors
We launched our new worship and Sunday School schedule last week. Here is a reminder of the new hours for locking and unlocking the church doors on Sunday mornings:
8:30:       Doors unlock as the church gathers
9:10:       Doors lock 10 minutes after the start of worship
9:55:       Doors unlock a few minutes before worship ends
11:10:     Doors lock 10 minutes after the start of worship
12:00:     Doors unlock a few minutes before worship ends
If you need to enter the building while the doors are locked, you must make prior arrangements to do so. If you need help with this, please let Pastor Sam and Larry Connolly know, and they will see what can be done to accommodate you.
"Soul-Stirring" Organ Concert Here March 24
Charles Frost
Organist Charles Frost, whose playing has been called soul-stirring, will perform music by African American composers Sunday, March 24, at 3:00 p.m. in our sanctuary. Works by Fela Sowande, Ellie-Trevor Weston, Undine Moore, Ulysses Kay, Calvin Taylor, Phillip Barnette McIntyre, Ralph Simpson, David Hurd, Florence Price, William B. Cooper, and Carl Haywood are on the program. This event, the second in the 2018 -2019 FPC Arts Series, is cosponsored by the local chapter of the American Guild of Organists. Admission is by a suggested donation of $10. The recital will be followed by a reception for the artist in the church parlor.
Originally from Red Bank, New Jersey, Frost is a graduate of Westminster Choir College of Rider University, Princeton, New Jersey, where he received both the Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in Church Music. There he studied organ with Dr. Joan Lippincott, the former head of the organ department and a world-renowned recitalist and recording artist.
Now the organist at First Presbyterian Church of Hilton Head Island, Frost has served churches in New Jersey, New York, California, Michigan, and South Carolina. He also served on the hymnal committee for our most recent hymnbook, Glory to God. Away from his church work, he is artistic director and conductor of the Sea Island Chamber Singers. Besides being an accomplished musician, he is an avid cyclist who loves to cook and entertain. He's also a self-professed fan of both the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Yankees.
Bluegrass Mass Takes Us Away to the Skies April 10
What happens when you combine historic ancient texts of the church, gospel hymns, and a bluegrass band? You get a bluegrass Mass. That's exactly what you will hear on April 10 at 7:00 p.m. in our sanctuary. Tim Sharp and Wes Ramsey, two classically trained musicians, have arranged these texts and songs with a bluegrass flavor and given us this wonderful piece of music, Come Away to the Skies: A High Lonesome Bluegrass Mass. Our Sanctuary Choir will be joined by the choirs from King University and The Chuck Nation Band. Sharp will lead this program and play a little banjo himself. Come join us for an evening of great music that connects Christian worship across the centuries through a unique combination of text and music. Admission is free and the public is invited.
About The Chuck Nation Band: Close harmony singing and superb instrumental playing are the hallmarks of the musicians called the South's best bluegrass band. The band made their Carnegie Hall debut in 2015 and performed at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville in 2016, the same year they were nominated for the Georgia Music Awards Artist of the Year. Nation, a member of the Atlanta Country Music Hall of Fame, is a two-time Georgia State Fiddle Champion, a Georgia State Mandolin Champion, and a Louisiana State Fiddle Champion. The band tours internationally and, in August 2017, represented the US at international folk festivals in China and Inner Mongolia.
Wonderful Opportunity to Serve at Sharing Christ
FPC volunteers at Sharing Christ mission.
The FPC serving team needs one more person to volunteer at Sharing Christ on Saturday, March 30. Our helpers this time range from a volunteer from our mission at Marthina Chapel across town to a visiting missionary from Brazil across the equator --our guest preacher for the fourth Sunday in Lent, Dr. Brian Blount. Come meet them and share God's love!
You would gather with the team at the Sharing Christ mission, on the corner of Sixth and State streets downtown, around 4:30 p.m. You'd set out plates, mix tea and lemonade, make coffee, put bananas in packed lunches, and set out plates and utensils. The team also warms up the food, but the regular kitchen volunteer will be there, so you wouldn't have to cook if that's not your forte. You'd put food on paper plates for the hungry folks in the serving line from 5:30 until everyone has eaten, often two or three helpings. Then you wash the pots, wipe the tables, and vacuum. You're out of there by 7:00 or thereabouts. We'd love to have a new volunteer, or someone who hasn't done it in a while. If you'd like to serve, please contact Dottie Havlik at or 423-956-6747.
Let's Get Cooking!
FPC's rotational bereavement teams are still looking for a few more volunteers who can throw a casserole, salad, or dessert together and a couple of folks who are willing to occasionally help set up and clean up. Men of the church, we're talking to you! If you don't cook, dust off your gallantry and lend a little muscle.
Each bereavement team is on call for a month twice a year to provide a meal (if requested) when a church family has a death. Each team member provides one dish when it is his or her team's turn. We usually deliver the meal to the family's home, but every once in a while we need to set up and clean up elsewhere.
If you can serve in this ministry in any capacity, please call or text Nancy Butterworth at 423-341-3734.
Students Hold Brazil Mission Fundraiser Next Sunday
FPC students are working to finance their May 26 mission trip to our sister church and school in the village of Felipe CamarĂ£o in Natal, Brazil. You can help! All you have to do is dive into a spaghetti dinner while hearing about their plans for the trip. In this way, you will continue to nourish our congregation's 19-year partnership with a beautiful Brazilian community. Come to the Fellowship Hall at 5:00 p.m. Sunday, March 24, with curiosity in your mind, encouragement in your heart, and a donation in your pocket. You'll meet, or catch up with, some wonderful teens and enjoy a meal you don't have to cook yourself!
These are the members of our 2019 Brazil Team:
Alie Bassett
Ethan Moore
Katie Arnold
Gracie Buckles
Reece Proffitt
John Vann
Autumn Cathey
Kloey Tester
Karen Vann
Hope Godsey
Lance Tudor
Sam Weddington
Cole McBrayer
Lauren Turner
Linda Welch
Riley McCracken
Nolan Wishon
Pray for Ethiopia Mission Trip
A Berhane Yesus class during an earlier visit.
Pastor Sam will make his first visit to our mission partners in Ethiopia April 1 -11, traveling with Grace Kim and Peggy Hill, to nurture our relationship with the staff and students of Berhane Yesus Elementary School in Dembi Dollo. Please pray for our mission trio as they undertake this task. Please pray specifically for wisdom as they prepare, and for safe travel, strength for the journey, and grace for growth in our relationship with our partners in faith.
2019 Women's Retreat: The Highlight Reel
Morgan King put together a video of last month's spirited women's retreat in Blowing Rock. It was a joyful celebration of our life and love in Christ. Spend two minutes of your time to lift your own spirits here.
Wednesday Night Fellowship Hits Pause
While Bristol Tennessee City Schools are on spring break next week, our usual program schedule will hit pause. We will not gather for our Wednesday night fellowship programs March 20, but the Sanctuary Choir and the early service Worship Team will rehearse at their regular times and in their regular places. On March 27 we will continue our study of N.T. Wright's Resurrection series.
How to Respond to Shooters
We won't have Wednesday night fellowship Wednesday, March 20, but  from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. that evening the Bristol Tennessee Police Department will teach a Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events class in the Tennessee High School auditorium. The class will use real-life examples, videos, and hypothetical training to explain what to do when an intruder enters a room, the importance of knowing where the exits are, and what to do if the exits are blocked.
There is no cost to attend, but participants are asked to RSVP. To sign up, or to find out more about the class, contact Sgt. Brian Hess at or 423-989-3453.
The Question of March
Earlier in the week we were promised a springlike day today, and that may well have proved to be the case. We are, however, moving bumpily toward a new season, so it may be sleeting as you read this. Transitions are like rollercoasters, so the only thing we know for sure is that there will be ups and downs and fits and starts and cries of joy and dismay until we coast to a stop on level ground. Then, springlike, up pops the existential question: Does that ground need mowing?
If you find yourself pondering such deeps, which we are sure Sartre never did, FPC needs you on our mowing team. We welcome everyone who falls within the age of reason. Joining is as simple as contacting Captain Randy Cook at or 423-956-1541. If you've never used a Scag mower before, you can learn its simple philosophy from him.
Go Fish for Fairmount School
We are now beginning to collect goldfish crackers for snacktime at Fairmount Elementary School. Please bring your donations to the Little Red House in the Fellowship Hallway, and unseen hands will deliver them to the school. Thank you!
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 a gift in memory of:
Graham Barr: to the Minister's Discretionary Fund from Robin North
Music Notes
Sunday's Early Worship
You can hear the songs we'll sing in the 9:00 service here.
Sunday's Late Worship
Participants: Pat Flannagan, Bob Greene, Sanctuary Choir, Sanctuary Handbell Choir.
Sir Arthur Sullivan
Music: This Sunday is the second in the church season of Lent, and the choir will sing another setting of the "Agnus Dei" ("Lamb of God") text. This one is by Sir Arthur Sullivan (1842 -1900) of Gilbert and Sullivan fame. Although Sullivan is most remembered as part of that operetta team, he was a very serious composer who wrote music in almost every genre. He was also an esteemed music educator and an organist. He was the composer of "Onward Christian Soldiers" as well hymns 53, 234, and 308 in Glory to God.
Organist's footnotes: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) wrote 17 Church Sonatas (sonata da chiesa), also known as Epistle Sonatas, between 1772 and 1780. These are short, single-movement pieces intended to be played during a celebration of the Mass between the Epistle and the Gospel. I have performed several of these sonatas with strings before. On Sunday I will play my own transcription of "Sonata in D," K. 144 (prelude), for organ solo.
Mozart composed "Adagio," K. 356 (offertory), in 1791 for an unusual instrument known as the glass harmonica, which was invented by Benjamin Franklin in 1761. It uses a series of glass bowls or goblets graduated in size to produce musical tones by means of friction. The Sanctuary Handbell Choir will play a transcription of this piece.
Maurizio Machella
The "Rondo alla Turca" (postlude) is the third movement of Mozart's Piano Sonata No. 11 in A major, K. 331. Popularly known as the "Turkish March," it is one of Mozart's best-known piano pieces. It imitates the sound of Turkish Janissary bands, the music of which was much in vogue at that time. In Mozart's time, this last movement was sometimes performed on pianos built with a "Turkish stop," allowing it to be embellished with extra percussion effects. There's nothing like that on our Randall Dyer organ, but Maurizio Machella's transcription captures the spirit.
Sanctuary Handbell Choir wants you: We want you to ring a bell every once in a while on a Sunday morning (like this one) and most Wednesday evenings at 6:15. (We will not practice March 20, but save the following Wednesday for us.) Come to room 212 after the next fellowship dinner and join a group of fun-lovers who are learning together. Surprise Bob Greene at or ring him at 423-341-0378.
Pray for One Another

In Our Prayers
Please also include in your prayers members of our community who wish to remain anonymous.
Mendy Bechtold
Ethiopian brothers & sisters
FPC Search Committees
Ben & Patsy Frizzell
Austin Frye
DeeDee & Sarah Galliher
Dianne Glymph (Mary Ellis Rice's mother)
Ron Grubbs
Marty Keys & the Thomas family
Nancy King
Dot Mattison
Bob Millard
Eric Page (Laura Linke's uncle)
Pastor Sam's mother
Pendley family
Don Preston
Gary Roberts
Larry Roberts (Greg Roberts's brother)
Earl Rose Sr.
Virginia Rutherford
Sikorski family
Marynan Smith
Stigers family
Chuck Thompson
Jeremy Weaver
Sam Witcher
Birthday Prayer Fellowship
March 17         Taylor Connolly, Jordan Scott, Meredith Webb
March 18         Brenda Rogers
March 19         Tammy Connolly, Isabel Gross, Reveley McGrady, Angelica Poteat
March 20         Lilly Osborne, Cooper Peltier, Erin Reardon
March 21         Brie Kite, Issac Reardon, Finn Sproles
March 23         Alex Akard, Louise Bowdoin, Brooklyn Madison
Church Calendar
Sunday, March 17
9:00 a.m.       Worship, Fellowship Hall
10:10 a.m.     Sunday School
11:00 a.m.     Worship, Sanctuary
Tuesday, March 19
10:00 a.m.     Staff Meeting, Room 117
10:00 a.m.     Morning Prayer Group, Conf. Room
7:00 p.m.       Boy Scout Troop 3, Scout Wing
Wednesday, March 20
9:30 a.m.       Women's Bible Study, Room 117
5:00 p.m.       Evangelism & Outreach Comm., Room 117
7:15 p.m.       Sanctuary Choir, Room 202
7:15 p.m.       Worship Team, Fellowship Hall
Thursday, March 21
7:00 a.m.       Men's Bible Study, Parlor
12:00 p.m.     Noon Bible Study, Room 117
Our Church Officers
Church Officers
Class of 2019
Class of 2020
Class of 2021
Anna Booher
Nancy Allerton
Ann Abel
Lee Galliher
Rebecca Beck
Randy Cook
Pete Holler
David Hyde
John Graham
Han Ong
Jordan Pennington
Katie McInnis
Pete Stigers
Jerry Poteat
John Vann
Sujean Bradley
Blake Bassett
Fred Harkleroad
George Linke
Rhonda Comer
Matt Kingsley
Greg Roberts
Ron Fox
Lisa McClain
Nate Sproles
Brenda Lawson
Drew Rice
Bill Whisnant
Barbara Thompson
Joyce Samuel
Nancy Cook
Peggy Hill
Jack Butterworth