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

In This Issue
Deadline & Subscriptions
Word from the Pastor: New Birth
Introducing Our New Director of Contemporary Worship
Preparing for ONE Worship and Confirmation May 12
Please Provide Grad Information by Next Friday
Five Cents a Meal Offering May 12
Meet Three of Our Brazil Team Members
Brazil Team Collects Mission Supplies
Save These Dates for Vacation Bible School
Register for Our Family Camp Weekend
Early Registration Discount for C.S. Lewis Symposium
Time and Time Again
Music Notes
Pray for One Another
Church Calendar
Our Church Officers
May 5
3rd Sunday of Easter
Micah 2:12-13
John 21:1-19
Feed My Sheep
Sam Weddington
Christ, Whose Glory Fills the Skies
The Lord of Sea and Sky
All Things Are Yours, My God
Last Sunday's Attendance
9:00: 154 ; 11:00: 120
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 2, 2019
Word from the Pastor: New Birth
Jesus answered him, "Indeed, I tell you truly, if one is not born anew, they cannot understand the kingdom of God." Nicodemus said to him, "How is one able to be born after having grown old? Can one re-enter their mother's womb to be born anew?" Jesus answered, "Indeed, I tell you truly, if one is not born of water and the Spirit, they cannot enter into the kingdom of God."
John 3:3-5 [my translation]
Those hearing the sermon this past Sunday heard a phrase you aren't likely to hear in a Presbyterian church (there are exceptions!): "you must be born again." For some, this phrase about the rebirth that Jesus speaks of in John 3 makes us nervous because it is pregnant with certain ideas and expectations. Growing up a "Bapticostal," I used to believe being "born again" meant: (1) Responding to the altar call, (2) saying a particular "saving" prayer, (3) intense emotional response that included crying my eyes out, (4) getting baptized (maybe for the third or fourth time), (5) "living right" after that intense emotional experience, (6) eventually speaking in "tongues," (7) and becoming a moral example of holiness. As you might tell, that's a pretty intense checklist of things to do in order to be "born again." Moreover, it is focused on a set of personal experiences and choices. I think it misses the mark.
First, what does Scripture say about this new birth, or being born anew? Jesus makes it pretty clear in verse 5. We must be born of water and the Spirit. Reference to water here means that the sacrament of baptism is part of this new birth, as is the work of the Spirit. This exchange between Nicodemus and Jesus goes on with Jesus making it clear in verse 8 that the wind of the Spirit (and thus this rebirth) blows where it will (yes, even to gentiles), and Jesus makes it clear that this rebirth is being "born of the Spirit." In verses 11 -15, that move of the Spirit comes through the testimony of the Lordship of Jesus as he is "lifted high," or enthroned on the cross; and through belief in that testimony, by the work of the Spirit, we receive his life.
If I might sum it all up, the new birth is (1) belief in the testimony we have received, and by believing we (2) receive the life-changing truth of that testimony through the indwelling of the Spirit. This is being born of water and the Spirit. In our baptism, we confess that Jesus is Lord and are received into his family, and because we are his, the Spirit (in God's time) seals us inwardly and dwells within us. This is exactly the pattern we see John showing us in chapter 20. The disciples come to believe the tomb is empty, but that isn't enough. Their thinking is still backwards, and their expectations are twisted. It isn't until they encounter the presence of the risen Lord that they are able to truly confess him as Lord, and in that confession, Jesus gives them his peace and "breathes into" them the Holy Spirit. They are born anew, and equipped with what they need to evangelize the world.
Therefore, the simplest definition I can give of being "born again" is that in the rebirth, we have a life-altering encounter with the risen Lord who changes us and gives us his presence in the power of the Spirit. Changed, or reborn, everything is different now. There is no love that we have that is left alone; our loves, our hearts are converted so that they are pointed to and oriented around our love of God in Christ. Thus, we love our families, our friends, our enemies, and, yes, even chocolate rightly when they are loved in light of the love God has for us in Christ Jesus. That also means that if we have been born anew, we cannot love anything more highly than we love God, because we know that the source of all our love is found in the very heart of God alone.
If we understand being born anew in this way, a few things become clear. One, being "born again" isn't something we do but is something that God does within us. Two, what is being done in us by the Spirit is that we are being made into a dwelling place for God's very Spirit to live within us. Three, everything about us is remade to reflect God's glory in Christ Jesus. For this reason, St. Augustine talks about this spiritual rebirth in his City of God, Book XX, chapter 6, as the "first resurrection." For Augustine, through repentance of sin and faith in Christ Jesus, the believer is "quickened from death" into life by the indwelt presence of the Spirit of Christ, the "only person who [truly] lived." This first resurrection may, indeed, be very emotional and intense, as we witness in Augustine's own conversion in his Confessions, but the change comes through Christ at work in and through us to regenerate our souls and fashion us in His image. The will is involved, and we must respond ("take up and read"), but even our response is the result of Christ's supernatural grace at work in us.
Seen this way, "being born again" is a contemporary way of talking about something that Christians have been talking about from the very moment He breathed His life into the disciples and commanded them, "Receive the Holy Spirit" (John 20:22). Jonathan Edwards spoke about this exact same thing in terms of the "divine and supernatural light" by which the heart is converted to receive the reality of our confession that Jesus is Lord (saving faith), and that light becomes the light by which we judge all reality. In short, being "born again" is nothing less than a radical reorientation of our hearts by the Holy Spirit wherein we receive life in Jesus' name. For this reason, the church of Jesus Christ must, I believe, proclaim at all times and in all places, "You must be born again!"
In Christ,
Pastor Sam
Introducing Our New Director of Contemporary Worship
Rebekah and Anthony Childress
Meet our new Director of Contemporary Worship! Anthony Childress comes to us from White Stone Church in Knoxville. He has served several churches throughout the Southeast, helping to provide worship for services, retreats, and events. He realizes that the worship he brings is not in a song or piece of music but rather in the moment-by-moment surrender to Jesus and in sharing love and joy with those around him.
Anthony joined our ministry team on Wednesday, May 1. We will formally introduce him at both services this Sunday morning, when both congregations will have a chance to greet him and his wife as they pass the peace. We are excited to welcome Anthony and Rebekah to our worshiping family, and ask that you support them in your prayers.
Preparing for ONE Worship and Confirmation May 12
Confirmation Sunday is coming up! There will be a called Session between services this Sunday, May 5, at 10:10 in the chapel, so that the elders can meet the confirmands. Then in ONE Worship in the sanctuary at 11:00 on Sunday, May 12, we will welcome our confirmands as the newest members of FPC.
Since September 2017, these students have participated in weekly classes that have taught, informed, and challenged their ideas of faith. Watching them grow over the past school year and take ownership of their faith has been a joy and an inspiration to all who nurtured them on their way.
These students will be confirmed May 12:
Anna Comer
Claire Hankins
Layne Richardson
Logan Tudor
Ethan Webb
Grayson Webb
Jeremiah Webb
Wade Witcher
If you are writing a message of encouragement to one or more of these young people, please be sure to send it to Katie Arnold, Director of Student Ministries, by this Sunday, May 5. Your card, letter, or email could share a story or memory, something about your own faith, ways you have been affected by knowing the student, or words of love and truth that will spur the confirmand on in faith. Our confirmands will keep your kind words for years as a reminder of the great cloud of witnesses that surrounds them and that will continue to love, guide, and encourage them as they continue to run the race (Hebrews 12:1-2).
You may email your message to, hand-deliver it to the church office, or mail it to Katie's attention at First Presbyterian Church, 701 Florida Avenue, Bristol, TN 37620. Please contact her if you have any questions.
Please Provide Grad Information by Next Friday
Help us celebrate the accomplishments of our church family! We will publish news of upcoming graduations in mid-May and celebrate them in worship May 19. We ask for your graduate's name; school or program being completed; degree, certificate, or rank achieved; and future plans, if applicable. Please email this information by Friday, May 10, to or call the church office at 423-764-7176.
Five Cents a Meal Offering May 12
5 cents a meal logo
We will collect our quarterly Five Cents a Meal offering Sunday, May 12, at both services. The suggested offering is $13.65 per person, or about a nickel for each meal you eat in a three-month period. Your contribution will provide hunger relief through both local and global ministries. Last year our Five Cents a Meal offerings enabled 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!
Meet Three of Our Brazil Team Members
We begin this week to introduce our Brazil mission team to the readers of Windows. We lead off with two students and an adult leader.

Gracie Buckles
Meet Gracie Buckles! She is a junior at THS, where she cheers for football and basketball. Gracie works at Jersey Mike's and brings laughter to everything she does.

Autumn Cathey

Meet Autumn Cathey! She is a junior at THS, where she plays basketball and runs track. She also loves to sing, and helps lead worship for Student Fellowship on Sunday evenings.

Linda Welch

Meet Linda Welch! This will be a return trip for Linda. She brings a wealth of giftedness to the team through her creativity, incredible ability to remember names, and welcoming personality. / Katie Arnold
Brazil Team Collects Mission Supplies
May is not merely merry, it is mission month! All month long, the Brazil mission team is seeking donations from the congregation of supplies to take to Bethel School in Felipe Camarão. A list of needed items is available at the church and from Katie Arnold at If you are moved to help, you can join the team in their mission by placing your donated Items in the Brazil box in the Fellowship Hallway.
Save These Dates for Vacation Bible School
Parents will want to mark the evenings of Sunday through Wednesday, July 14 - 17, on their calendars. That's the time to take a midsummer break with a safari theme, when FPC's Vacation Bible School comes back with a roar! Roar is an African adventure for kids, right here on Florida Avenue. Students will learn that God is good and will stay with them forever. They will take a safari through learning stations that emphasize the daily Bible point. On the way, they will sing, play, have Bible adventures, do fun science experiments, play sports, and enjoy snacks and drama. Sign up with Lilly Osborne (, and ask her whether she needs any help!
Register for Our Family Camp Weekend
We are still registering families for our family camp weekend August 23 -25. We will go to the Young Life camp in Windy Gap in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains for adventure, relaxation, and family fun. Each family will transport itself to Weaverville, NC, and staff will be waiting for us at the camp.
Women and girls will be housed together, and men and boys will be housed together, all in first-rate cabins. Rates per person: ages 12 and up: $140; ages 3 -11: $80; ages 2 years or younger: free. A deposit of $25 per person is required to hold each spot.
Register now at More information is available at the Windy Gap Camp website at
Early Registration Discount for C.S. Lewis Symposium
Early registration has begun for C.S. Lewis: Influence & Relevance Today, an international symposium on Lewis and the Inklings, whose select members included J.R.R. Tolkien and Dorothy L. Sayers. The Presbyterian Heritage Center in Montreat, NC, will host the conference Nov. 6-8. Register online, find commuter and comprehensive rates, and learn conference details at Brochures are on the kiosk across from the church office.
There are several opportunities for reduced rates:
  • On or before May 31: $225 per person. (For a group of 10 or more registering before May 31: $175 per person. Groups should contact the registrar at or call 828-419-9829 to register.)
  • Between June 1 and August 31: $260 per person.
  • On or after September 1: $300 per person.
Time and Time Again
This Sunday we greet our new Director of Contemporary Worship, our confirmands meet with the Session, and Older Adult Week begins. Next Sunday our confirmands cast off their cocoons and emerge as members of FPC, we celebrate Mother's Day, and we all count ourselves another week older, whether officially recognized by the Presbyterian calendar or not. Nature and artifice in harmony, as Uncle Gardiner might observe. Larry Connolly (May 1 -4) harmonizes the lawn this week, and Pat Flannagan (May 8 -11) leads nature in the paths of righteousness next.
Music Notes
Sunday's Early Worship
You can hear the songs we'll sing in the 9:00 service here and watch the Hillsong video here.
Sunday's Late Worship
Participants: Pat Flannagan, Bob Greene, Sanctuary Choir.
Carl Schalk
Music: Our anthem today, "All Things Are Yours, My God," was composed by Carl Schalk (b. 1929), teacher, musicologist, composer, and author. He is the Distinguished Professor of Music Emeritus at Concordia University. Dr. Schalk taught graduate and undergraduate courses in church music at Concordia University from 1965 until his retirement in 1994. While at Concordia, he was instrumental in beginning the Master of Church Music program, which produced some 140 graduates serving throughout the church. He was the editor of Church Music (1966 -80) and served as a member of the Inter-Lutheran Commission on Worship, Hymn Music Committee, which prepared the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978). His numerous choral compositions are published by a wide array of publishers, and he has written more than 80 hymn tunes and carols. His collaborations with the poets Jaroslav J. "Jerry" Vajda and Herbert Brokering, in particular, have received wide acclaim. Dr. Schalk was commissioned to compose an anthem for Redeemer Lutheran Church in Bristol, VA, in 2017 that I was privileged to conduct with the composer present in worship. The text of our anthem is by Vajda (1919 -2006), who did not write his first hymn until age 49. From that time until his death in 2008 at age 89, he wrote more than 200 original and translated hymns that appear worldwide in more than 65 hymnals. He also published two collections of hymn texts, numerous books, translations, and articles. Despite his Slavic name, Vajda was a native of Ohio.
Vincent Dubois
Organist's footnotes: The moment I read the shocking news of the fire at Notre-Dame Cathedral on April 15, I immediately thought of the cathedral's irreplaceable 1868 Cavaillé-Coll organ. Fortunately, the organ was saved, though it sustained water damage. I also thought of the young man I heard in recital last summer at the AGO National Convention, Vincent Dubois, who is the latest named "titular organist" of the cathedral. He will now be among the ranks of people displaced by this disaster. The position of titular organist (head or chief organist; French: titulaires des grands orgues) at Notre-Dame is one of the most prestigious organist posts in France, along with the post of titular organist of Saint Sulpice in Paris, the home of Cavaillé-Coll's largest instrument.
Louis Vierne
Perhaps the most famous organist of Notre-Dame cathedral was Louis Vierne (1870 -1937), who held the position from 1900 until his death in 1937 (he literally died at the console!). Born nearly blind, Vierne had a life that was physically and emotionally very difficult, with severe spiritual trials that are reflected in much of his music. The pieces I play today are from his collection Vingt-quatre pièces en style libre, or Twenty-Four Pieces in Free Style. The prelude, "Canzone" (No. 12), conjures up for me images of gargoyles and chimeras, those grotesque statues found around the exterior of Notre-Dame. The postlude, "Cortège" (No. 2), rages ferociously like the nearly all-consuming inferno of April 15. In complete contrast is the serenely beautiful "Arabesque" (No. 15), heard during the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper.
Pray for One Another

In Our Prayers
Please also include in your prayers members of our community who wish to remain anonymous.
Rev. João Batista's granddaughter Melissa (Brazil)
Principal Genechu Beyene (Ethiopia)
Rebecca Campbell
Christians in Nigeria/ECWA
Nicole Crockett
Ethiopian brothers & sisters
Ben Frizzell & family
DeeDee & Sarah Galliher
Dianne Glymph (Mary Ellis Rice's mother)
Elizabeth Graham
Martha Graham
Erika Greene's family
Ron Grubbs
Greg Hand
Kevin Harkness
Marty Keys & family
Nancy King
Bob Kitchen
Dot Mattison
Bob Millard
Pastor Sam's mother
Pendley family
Karen Pennington
Sharon Potter
Don Preston
Ron Rackley family
Larry Roberts (Greg Roberts's brother)
Gary Robertz
Louise Rutherford's family
Virginia Rutherford
Rita Sheffey & mother
Sikorski family
Marynan Smith
Stigers family
Ashley Thomasson
Chuck Thompson
Joseph Trasito
Bill Wade
To the Church Triumphant
Patsy Kay Fourne Frizzell
April 26, 2019
Birthday Prayer Fellowship
May 5         Robert Gannaway
May 6         Frances Emerson
May 7         Allison Brooks, Morgan King
May 10       Nancy Allerton, Kendall Carter, Nancy King, Misti Shaw
May 11       Amy Scott
Church Calendar
Sunday, May 5
9:00 a.m.       Worship, Fellowship Hall
10:10 a.m.     Called Session with Confirmands, Chapel
10:10 a.m.     Sunday School
11:00 a.m.     Worship, Sanctuary
6:00 p.m.       Student Fellowship, Youth Wing
Monday, May 6
6:30 p.m.       Board of Deacons, Rooms 117 & 123
Tuesday, May 7
8:30 a.m.       Staff Retreat, Off Campus
10:00 a.m.     Morning Prayer Group, Conf. Room
7:00 p.m.       Boy Scout Troop 3, Scout Wing
Wednesday, May 8
4:00 p.m.       Finance Comm., Room 123
6:15 p.m.       Handbell Practice, Room 212
7:15 p.m.       Sanctuary Choir, Room 202
7:15 p.m.       Worship Team, Fellowship Hall
Thursday, May 9
7:00 a.m.       Men's Bible Study, Parlor
8:30 a.m.       Meals on Wheels, Fellowship Hall
12:00 p.m.     Noon Bible Study, Room 117
7:00 p.m.       Scout Order of the Arrow, Scout Hall
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