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

In This Issue
Deadline & Subscriptions
Word from the Pastor: God Leads
Communion Together, from Home
Livestream-Only Worship This Sunday and Next
Let's Stay Connected
Lilies Unavailable for Easter
All Events Canceled until April 6
Study Online with Us Tuesdays and Thursdays
Give Remotely to Keep Us Together
Help Goes Both Ways
Our Response Teams Are Ready
Please Pray
Gifts to the Church
Pray for One Another
Church Calendar
Our Church Officers
March 29
5th Sunday in Lent
Livestream Only (10:00)
John 16:25-33
We Shall Overcome
Sam Weddington
Last Sunday's Attendance
Online: 107 families
Click here to livestream our contemporary service. You can also access past sermons and ministry videos on our YouTube account, "FPC Bristol."
Deadline & Subscriptions
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on First Presbyterian Church

March 26, 2020
Word from the Pastor: God Leads
Church family,
We are in week two of our nation's response to the world health crisis involving coronavirus. There will be much to consider, weigh, and measure in the coming months, when this is behind us, about how we can be better prepared for future crises. In the interim, many of us are sequestered in our homes, trying our best to work and carry on with some semblance of normality in our routines.
However, try as we like, this crisis is eating into that veneer of control over our circumstances we tend to harbor in the recesses of our hearts. Our anxiety levels are up. Some are having a hard time sleeping or concentrating. Some of us are glued to news telecasts. Others are weeping as they see the bottom line on their account statements. Amidst all this anxiety, I find myself making less time for the important things, as I try to react to what is going on around me. How are we going to keep things rolling here at the church, I ask myself? As a result, I've found that I have taken less time over the last week to have quiet time with God. I've got things to get done, and God will understand, I tell myself.
It is here that our hearts inevitably land on a series of questions, especially as our present circumstances drag on in the coming weeks. They aren't new questions; in fact, they are as old as the human race. The psalmist asks them in Psalm 77:
7 "Will the Lord spurn forever, and never again be favorable? 8 Has his steadfast love ceased forever? Are his promises at an end for all time? 9 Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has he in anger shut up his compassion?
We aren't sure of the circumstances surrounding the writing of this psalm. According to the superscription at its heading, it is "according to Jeduthun," and, unfortunately, we don't know much about who Jeduthun was or what he was going through. Was he sick? Had he experienced a great loss? Was he facing some sort of political, economic, or martial oppression when he wrote this? Again, it isn't clear.
But what is clear is the precision of his questions and description of the state of his heart in the first ten verses of this psalm. If you have time, go back and read the whole thing. It is crystal clear: the time of trial comes, our hearts cry out, and as our anxiety increases, we begin to question God's faithfulness. Here, verse 9 summarizes us at our worst: has God forgotten about us?
Yet it is the honesty of this psalm that leads us, by God's grace, to remember to whom we belong:
11 I will call to mind the deeds of the Lord; I will remember your wonders of old. 12 I will meditate on all your work, and muse on your mighty deeds.
The first thing we are to do in times of trial, this psalm tells us, is to remember who God is, and what God has done for us. It is God who is mighty, and God who has provided for us time and time again. Verse 16 pulls this memory as far back as creation itself. It was God who hovered over the waters of chaos to bring creation into being, and that watery chaos trembled before God's might. The psalmist then pulls our memory to the exodus event in verse 19. It was just when the people thought the end was nigh and Pharaoh would decimate them that God showed up and parted the waters of the sea so that people could pass through untouched.
I have no crystal ball and make no predictions about what is coming in the near-term. What I do know, however, is that just as we are told in verse 20, God has always been sure to lead us through. Whatever comes, cling to this hope. God will always make a way.
In Christ,
Pastor Sam
Communion Together, from Home
Though we are apart in person, we are the one body of Christ. Nothing we do in worship communicates this more effectively than our sharing of the Lord's table. To that end, when we livestream our worship for the next couple of weeks, we will also observe communion. So, every Sunday until we can meet in person again, we ask that you prepare the bread and the cup at your home, and participate with us as we share Christ at the table. All you need is a piece of bread, a cracker, or the like and juice, water, or whatever you have at hand. We will give you instructions during worship.
Livestream-Only Worship This Sunday and Next
Our Session of Elders voted Monday night to suspend in-person worship through April 5, in accordance with state and federal directives that people not congregate in groups of more than 10 individuals. Instead, we will livestream a single service at 10:00 a.m. and follow it with live, online special events for children, students, and the Friendship Class. You can join us for the livestream on our YouTube site (details in "Let's Stay Connected," below), by the link provided on our Facebook page, or by the link below the Worship section of our e-newsletter.
Let's Stay Connected
Although we need to livestream worship and other activities for the time being, we also need to stay connected. Remember to subscribe to our account. Go to YouTube and type in "FPC Bristol." Click on the link and hit "subscribe." You will get notifications when there is a new video. 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 for admittance to a group if it is closed. Beyond this, keep an eye on your email for Constant Contact updates and our newsletter.
Lilies Unavailable for Easter
We regret to announce that we will not be able to purchase Easter lilies for our worship spaces this year, after all. We learned Monday that the distributor cannot fill and deliver the order to our florist. It is possible that we will still be worshiping from home on April 12, as well, in which case we encourage you to join us in worship online (see "Let's Stay Connected," below). Wherever you are on Easter, stay safe!
All Events Canceled until April 6
To bring us in line with Governor Bill Lee's instructions in Executive Order 17, signed Monday morning, all events at the church, including Wednesday night meals and programming, Bible studies, and other gatherings, are suspended until Monday, April 6. The cancelations include the Easter Block Party and barbecue we had planned for the community. We will provide the congregation week-by-week updates on any changes we plan to make to our calendar. Please stay posted.
Study Online with Us Tuesdays and Thursdays
We cannot gather at the church for a while, and in-house groups may have suspended meetings, but we can still study the Bible together! We invite you to join us online. Every Tuesday and Thursday, we will post a short study, so that you can hear a word of comfort from God's Word and pray with us as we pray for our community, the nation, and the world. We encourage you to subscribe to our YouTube and Facebook sites, so that you will know when a new Bible study drops.
Give Remotely to Keep Us Together
During this present crisis, we encourage you to consider shifting your giving to our website or to 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-hand 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.
Help Goes Both Ways
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 responders are prepared to bring essential supplies and make general wellness calls. And if you see a need, please let us know. We have medical personnel on call, for the time being, whom you can call on if you feel the need. You are not alone!
Our Response Teams Are Ready
We are pleased and grateful to announce that more FPC folks have volunteered, and we now have eight response teams and three medical response teams. We appreciate their heart to serve, while praying that we won't have to call upon them too often in the coming days. Please pray that God would use these response teams in an effective and mighty way. If you are interested in joining us in the work, just email Dave Welch or Pastor Sam.
Please Pray
In the coming weeks, we are asking you to spend more time in prayer for our church, our community, the 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.
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:
Helen Davidson (Rhonda Comer's aunt): to the Memorial Fund from Julie King
Vivian Hill: to the Minister's Discretionary Fund from Linda Darnell
Glenda Schiesz (Byron's mother): to the Minister's Discretionary Fund from Byron Schiesz
Pray for One Another

In Our Prayers
Please also include in your prayers members of our community who wish to remain anonymous.
Joe Bell
Tilly Betz's family
Sujean Bradley
Bristol Tennessee School System
Craig Buchanan
Becky Busler
Calleigh Cairns
Jennifer Chang & family
Christians in Nigeria/ECWA
Rhonda, Mark & Anna Comer
Community & world (especially Italy) in light of COVID-19 pandemic
Cookeville tornado victims
Raymond Dickenson
Dorothy Dollar
Ethiopian brothers & sisters
Trinka Felty
First responders & medical & infrastructure personnel
Garrett Foster
DeeDee Galliher
Diane Glymph
The Goddards (missionaries in Paraguay)
Rose Marie & Jim Goodrum
Ron Grubbs
Sarah Haas
Lou Hebb
Eddie & Peggy Hill & family
Pete Holler
Marty Keys & family
Josh & Morgan King & family
Nancy Lilly
George Linke
Drew Long
Michael Long
Dot Mattison
Kelly Mayden & family
Baine McInnis
Military companies returning from Afghanistan
Bob Millard
Alice Moore
Brianna Necessary
Evan Patrick
Meg Rice & mother
Peggy Rutherford
Virginia Rutherford
Brittany Salter
Scott Sams & family
Joyce Samuel
John Scott
Solange & family
John & Karen Vann
Carol Van Olst's family
Bill Wade
Dave & Linda Welch
Vicky Wood
Our love and sympathy are with Linda and Dave Welch and their family in the death of Linda's mother, Margaret "Peggy" Truman, March 20 in Bowling Green.
Birthday Prayer Fellowship
March 30     AnnaLee Adams, Don Evans, Ann McAllister
April 1           Beth Flannagan                                                                        
April 2           Brenda Johnson, Karen White
April 4           Betsy Galliher
Church Calendar
Sunday, March 29
10:00 a.m.     Livestreamed Worship
Followed by Livestreamed Sunday School
Tuesday, March 31
10:00 a.m.     Staff Meeting, Room 117
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