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

In This Issue
Deadline & Subscriptions
Word from the Pastor: Help
Five Cents a Meal Offering Sunday
Give Remotely to Keep Us Together
In the Office, with Care
Food Fight in Bristol
Let's Stay Connected
We Are Still Studying Online
Please Pray for All, Near and Far
Have a Need? See a Need? We Can Help!
We're Making and Wearing Masks
Sure and Certain Uncertainty
Pray for One Another
Church Calendar
Our Church Officers
May 17
6th Sunday of Easter
Ezekiel 34:22-26
John 10:19-30
Seeing Jesus in the Lobby
Sam Weddington
Last Sunday's Attendance
Livestream: 109 households
Total online views: 243
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

May 14, 2020
Word from the Pastor: Help
Because he himself was tested by what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.
Hebrews 2:18
Before I began writing this today, I wrapped up our weekly staff meeting. It was the first "in-person" meeting we've had in weeks, but it wasn't "normal." We met in the Fellowship Hall, and everyone was sitting at their own table, and every table was at least a few feet apart to ensure that we were socially distanced. It was so wonderful to get the band back together! We laughed and told stories of our time in "exile." I can't speak for other staff members, but our longer than normal meeting didn't seem so long, because it was good to be around people again.
We spent a lot of time thinking about and giving more detail to our plans for the limited return that starts this Sunday. We went over the very limited seating that will be available, and discussed overflow. We worried whether too many might try to return at once, despite our asking folks to limit their return plans and to think closely about their, their family's, and their neighbors' health. Little details rolled around like loose marbles in our heads and hearts as we considered the future. We planned some more. We prepared. We prayed. We will continue to work hard.
I walked away from that meeting convinced of a few things. One is that it is nearly impossible to make plans that accurately predict people's behavior. We can try our best, but in the end, people act out of a wide variety of motivations.
But the most important thing I took away from the meeting is that our plans only take us so far. I feel, personally, that our limited return plan is the best middle path through all the alternatives we have considered, ranging from continued shutdown for a couple of months to nonchalance. We've taken as many precautions as we can, and we have asked you to do the same. On this point, let me ask one last time: if you are in the vulnerable age group, or have underlying health conditions, please, please stay at home for a few more weeks, and join us online for worship.
We do not control the future. At some point, we must trust God to make a way. At some point, we're going to have to walk through the shadow of what we do not know, so that God can lead us into the future that God surely knows. It is here, in this dark valley of uncertainty, that we meet Jesus.
The writer of Hebrews concludes chapter two with that wonderful little verse we began with. Jesus suffered, and his suffering put his fully humanity to the test, the test of holding on to trust in God's provision, even if that way led through a cross. Jesus, of course, was actively obedient in this regard, doing for us what we could not do for ourselves. He walked the dark valley, not because he could "see" in the dark and look past the severity of his ordeal, but because he knew that through it, he would be led by the Father's faithful hand.
Because Jesus has gone before us, the writer tells us, he can help us. He can strengthen us. He will guide us. Even as we are tested, we are not alone.
So, as we begin this process of limited return, I ask that you pray for our church. Pray that Christ will meet us with success. Pray that Christ will protect and keep us. Pray that through this ordeal, we will emerge strengthened by God's grace. We're going to need all the help the writer of Hebrews promises that Christ provides.
In Christ,
Pastor Sam
Five Cents a Meal Offering Sunday
We will collect our quarterly Five Cents a Meal offering this Sunday, May 17, at both services and online. You can give this offering remotely here. (Click on the arrow on the Fund line, then scroll down and click on Five Cents a Meal.  More ways to give can be found in "Give Remotely to Keep Us Together," below.)  The suggested offering is $13.65 per person, or about a nickel for each meal in a three-month period. Your contribution will provide hunger relief through both local and global ministries. Our Five Cents a Meal offerings enable FPC to help feed the hungry in Bristol through Haven of Rest and Bristol Emergency Food Pantry, and in Ethiopia and Brazil through our missions in those countries. Please be generous!
Give Remotely to Keep Us Together
During the present 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.
In the Office, with Care
FPC Picture
As part of our plan to get church functions back to normal, staff will return to 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. Thank you!
Food Fight in Bristol
Food insecurity is growing everywhere, and our community is no exception. We have therefore turned our mission attention in May to stocking the Bristol Emergency Food Pantry. We had a Drive-by Parade to donate food to the Pantry last night, and we'll have another Wednesday, May 27. We invite you to drive up to a designated shopping cart at the Pantry and drop off a bag of shelf-stable food items between 5:00 and 7:00 p.m., then drive away. Volunteers will take your gift inside and restock the shelves. Any nonperishable food item is welcome, but cans of tuna, small bags of rice, and small boxes of spaghetti noodles are especially needed. The Pantry is located at 21 Washington Street, next to the railroad track and First Baptist Church. / Dave Welch
Let's Stay Connected
We are continuing to livestream our early worship service and other activities, so remember to subscribe to our YouTube channel. 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.
We Are Still Studying 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. No preparation is needed, other than to have 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.
Please Pray for All, Near and Far
As we weather the COVID-19 pandemic, 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.
Have a Need? See a Need? We Can Help!
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. And if you see a need, please let us know. You are not alone! If you are interested in joining us in the work, just email Dave Welch or Pastor Sam.
We're Making and Wearing Masks
Because we continue to need protective masks, we are reaching out to those of you who can sew. Ballad Health has invited us to help our community during the COVID-19 crisis by making masks for respiratory patients, so that medical-grade masks can be conserved for medical professionals. You will find the sewing pattern and instructions under "Documents" on the Ballad Health website. The specific URL is 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, 423-956-0209 or
If you need a mask, call the church office. We have a limited number made by members of our church. Even masked, you must maintain six feet of distance from those outside your household when you leave your home. A mask does not shield you from infection, but it may give others some protection from your exhalations. It is possible to have the disease without realizing it. Please take care.
Sure and Certain Uncertainty
We are in an uncertain spring, hesitating between winter and summer. Like spring, each of us is asking, Should I stay or should I go? We the church have decided to meet again this Sunday, both in our brick-and-mortar worship spaces and online. In the former, we will observe all the measures to protect one another that we have surely all mastered by now. The latter space certainly offers many of us the safest way to participate, by means of the livestreamed early worship service. Those who venture to the church building will see that Randy Cook (May 13-16) has mown the lawn for the occasion. Bruce Gannaway (May 20-23) will cut his way through high grass and thunderstorms to prepare the way toward the Ascension of the Lord, May 21, and Memorial Day, May 25. May we all stay safe, and may spring grow certain.
Pray for One Another

In Our Prayers
Please also include in your prayers members of our community who wish to remain anonymous.
Joe Bell
Bock family
Sujean Bradley
Brandi & family
Bristol Tennessee School System
Craig Buchanan
Becky Busler
Calleigh Cairns
Creasy family
Christians in Nigeria/ECWA
Community, nation & world
Raymond Dickenson
Dollar family
Ethiopian brothers & sisters
Trinka Felty
First responders & medical & infrastructure personnel
Garrett Foster
DeeDee Galliher
Roxanna Garcia & family
Diane Glymph
Goddards (missionaries in Paraguay)
Rose Marie & Jim Goodrum
Grubbs family
Ron Grubbs
Sarah Haas
Lou Hebb
Nate & Angela & newborn Higgins 
Marty Keys & family
Josh & Morgan King & family
Nancy Lilly
Amy Marion & family
Dot Mattison
Ashley McGill
Kathleen McGlothlin
Bob Millard
Alice Moore
Brianna Necessary
New Jersey & New York
Margaret Noble
Peggy Rutherford
Virginia Rutherford
Brittany Salter
John Scott
John & Karen Vann
Bill Wade
Maria Wagner
To the Church Triumphant
Dorothy Wiley Dollar
May 7, 2020
Birthday Prayer Fellowship
May 17     Don Pridemore, Matthew Reardon
May 19     Shannan Miller
May 20     Jane Crewey, Jim Ratliff
May 21     Sara Stocstill
May 22     Karen Boone, Myers Mumpower, William Mumpower, Branch Sword
May 23     Phil Bailey, Mendy Bechtold
Church Calendar
Sunday, May 17
9:00 a.m.        Worship, Fellowship Hall & Livestreamed
10:10 a.m.     Sunday School, Online Only
11:00 a.m.     Worship, Sanctuary
Tuesday, May 19
10:00 a.m.     Staff Meeting, 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