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

In This Issue
Deadline & Subscriptions
Word from the Pastor: God's Good Pleasure
Seeking Submissions for 2020 Advent Devotional
Beset by Crises, Spurgeon Hope Ministry Asks for Our Prayers
Back to the Office with Care
Give Remotely to Keep Us Together
Let's Stay Connected, Safely
Meet Us Online for Bible Study
Please Pray for All, Near and Far
Have a Need? See a Need? We Can Help!
We're Making and Wearing Masks
Not Pent Up
Organist's Footnotes
Pray for One Another
Church Calendar
Our Church Officers
May 31
Pentecost Sunday
Ezekiel 36:25-28
John 7:37-39
A River Must Flow
Sam Weddington
Last Sunday's Attendance
In person: 9:00: 27; 11:00: 16
Livestream worship (YouTube & Facebook): 86 families
Total YouTube views: 182
Total Facebook views: 57
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 28, 2020
Word from the Pastor: God's Good Pleasure
You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.
Revelation 4:11
Summer is rapidly approaching; I can tell. I can feel it in the first stirrings of my heart to run out and enjoy the mountains and the rivers. There, next to the constant rumbling of the water over the rocks, I feel a profound peace. That I can do it in relative warmth, and with an abundance of fish to catch, is what makes summer such a great time for me. This summer will be the first in a few years that I will actually be able to spend a little time doing the things I love, and I'm going to try my best to take that time and recharge my batteries.
That said, how should we, as Christians, think about the pleasure we might enjoy amidst the rocks, trees, streams, ocean waters, and cool summer nights beneath the stars? Are our vacation plans, as sparse as they might be in the year of the coronavirus, just a mad dash to take it all in and gorge ourselves on our own personal delights? Can there be something more profound about our experience of joy, especially in our encounter of the natural world?
Here I turn to the friend of my heart, Wendell Berry, to help us reflect on this subject. He writes in his famous essay, "Economy and Pleasure":
"This curious world we inhabit is more wonderful than convenient; more beautiful than it is useful; it is more to be admired and enjoyed than used." Henry David Thoreau said that to his graduating class at Harvard in 1837. We may assume that to most of them, it sounded odd, as to most of the Harvard graduating class of 1987 it undoubtedly still would. But perhaps we will be encouraged to take him seriously, if we recognize that this idea is not something Thoreau made up out of thin air. When he uttered it, he may very well have been remembering Revelation 4:11: "Thou are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created." That God created "all things" is in itself an uncomfortable thought, for in our workaday world we can hardly avoid preferring some things above others, and this makes it hard to imagine not doing so. That God created all things for His pleasure, and that they continue to exist because they please Him, is formidable doctrine indeed, as far as possible both from the "anthropocentric" utilitarianism that some environmentalist critics claim to find in the Bible and from the grouchy spirituality of many Christians. It would be foolish, probably, to suggest that God's pleasure in all things can be fully understood or appreciated by mere humans. The passage suggests, however, that our truest and profoundest religious experience may be the simple, unmasking pleasure in the existence of other creatures that is possible to humans. It suggests that God's pleasure in all things must be respected by us in our use of things, and even in our displeasure in some things. It suggests too that we have an obligation to preserve God's pleasure in all things, and surely this means not only that we must not misuse or abuse anything, but also that there must be some things and some places that by common agreement we do not use at all, but leave wild.
I do hope you will excuse the long quote, but I have circled it for many years now, and it always speaks to me deeply. I am fascinated by the idea that all things, even our pleasure and enjoyment of things, must be ultimately directed towards and limited by God's greater claim to take enjoyment from the good earth.
So I hope that you will enjoy your time of relaxation, your time of taking pleasure in that which God so long ago declared to be "very good" (Genesis 1:31). My deeper prayer for each of you is that in the midst of that enjoyment, you will see the signposts that point to the One who brought it all into being, and calls it all to fulfill His purposes.
In Christ,
Pastor Sam
Seeking Submissions for 2020 Advent Devotional
The Worship Committee invites the congregation to participate in our 2020 Advent Devotional by submitting devotions of no more than 300 words. Your contributions will enhance our time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. If you would like 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.
Beset by Crises, Spurgeon Hope Ministry Asks for Our Prayers
Violence has struck Kaduna State in the midst of the pandemic.
Photo: Daily Post (Nigeria)
Pastor Nehemiah Maji, founder of Spurgeon Hope Ministry, our mission partner in Kaduna State, Nigeria, sends his regards and gratitude. Our church recently sent relief aid to help those in the area weathering the coronavirus as well as violence from religious extremists. Many in Kaduna State who make their living from daily trips to the market have been hit really hard by the lockdown. Our aid has allowed widows, orphans, and retired pastors who have suffered persecution to have food when other resources were not available.
We ask that you renew your prayers for Pastor Nehemiah, his family, and all in the Evangelical Church Winning All in Nigeria. As many of you know, the pastor's daughter, Favour, was accepted at King, but the lockdown and violence have put her plans on hold by preventing her from attempting to get a student visa. Moreover, renewed extremist violence has made a bad situation worse. Pastor Nehemiah shares:
Good day, Pastor Sam. Please, pray along with us. There have been constant attacks on Christian communities in Kajuru, which is very close to where we live. Since yesterday, the Fulani Muslims have been killing and burning houses without security agencies' intervention. Two of our missionaries in ECWA are right now displaced, their houses, food, and properties totally destroyed. We really need prayers because we can see clearly the extermination agenda. Pray along with us in this gruesome moment in Kaduna State. Thank you.
For those who are interested in following the story, Pastor Nehemiah sent an article. Please, be in prayer for our brothers and sisters in Nigeria.
Back to 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.
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.
Let's Stay Connected, Safely
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.
Meet Us Online for Bible Study
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!
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. And if you see a need, please let us know. 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 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. Even masked, be sure to maintain six feet of distance from those outside your household when you leave your home. We now know that masks offer some protection from infection to both wearers and those they encounter. It is possible to have the disease without realizing it, so please take care.
Not Pent Up
We the church are the body of Christ and not the edifice we built, yet both must be maintained. As we gather now for worship in spirit or in person, we look forward to two especially significant Sundays in the church year. This Sunday is the Day of Pentecost, for which Randy Olson (May 27-30) mows the church lawn. Although in this season we constantly expect thunderstorms, any fire that rains down on his head will surely be of the spiritual sort. Ron Fox (June 3-6) will make smooth the way for Trinity Sunday, June 7, with a triple blade. We thank them, masked, from a considerate distance.
Organist's Footnotes
Each work heard Sunday is based in some way on the ancient chant Veni creator spiritus ("Come, creator spirit"), which is found in the early church's liturgy for Pentecost. The first written references appear in the 10th-century manuscripts of the Roman rite. The text has been attributed to various sources, including St. Gregory, St. Ambrose, and the Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne. The distinctive melody appears to have been used prior to this time and with different texts in the Ambrosian and Sarum rites.
Samuel Scheidt
Samuel Scheidt (1587 -1654) a celebrated organist-predecessor of Bach, was one of the three great German "S" composers of the seventeenth century, the others being Heinrich Schütz and Johann Schein. His importance rests with his then-revolutionary treatment of the chorale as the basis of an independent, artistically distinct work for use in the Lutheran service. His Hymnus setting of Veni creator spiritus is in three verses.
Johann Pachelbel (1653 -1706) was a prominent German organist and prolific composer of church music whose works served as one of Bach's early inspirations. His setting of Komm, Gott, Schöpfer is used to demonstrate one of the more charming stops of the Dyer organ, the piquant Krummhorn.
The works of Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 -1750) form the core of organ literature. One secret of Bach's universality in this medium is the consistency of inspiration and approach, with the smaller, more intimate pieces showing the same attention to detail and spirit as the larger, more famous "show" pieces. Bach had talent unique in the history of music for distilling whole theologies and professions of faith into a two- or three-minute prelude for organ that remained accessible and familiar to the congregation. He wrote his setting of the melody Veni creator spiritus (in German, Komm, Gott, Schöpfer heiliger Geist) for the Orgelbüchlein, or Little Organ Book, a collection of chorale preludes. The version heard in Sunday's postlude is a later elaboration of this work, which was gathered into a collection known as Eighteen Chorales of Various Kinds.
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
Christians in Nigeria/ECWA
Community, nation & world
Ethiopian brothers & sisters
First responders & medical & infrastructure personnel
Francis Forino
Garrett Foster
DeeDee Galliher
Roxanna Garcia & family
Diane Glymph
Goddards (missionaries in Paraguay)
Rose Marie & Jim Goodrum
Ron Grubbs
Heidi Harkleroad
Lou Hebb
Nate & Angela & newborn Higgins
Marty Keys & family
Josh & Morgan King & family
Nancy Lilly
Dot Mattison
Kathleen McGlothlin
Bob Millard
Alice Moore
Brianna Necessary
New Jersey & New York
Margaret Noble
Martha North
Peggy Rutherford
Virginia Rutherford
Brittany Salter
Student athletes returning to practice
John & Karen Vann
Bill Wade
Birthday Prayer Fellowship
May 31     Ernie Pennington
June 1       Emily Estes, Madyson Kent, Sandi Nelson, Annette Tudor
June 2       Heather Dotterweich
June 3       Nancy Butterworth
June 4       Sally Buck
June 5       Laurie Boyd
June 6       Stella Kite, Lisa McClain, Lynne Testerman
Church Calendar
Sunday, May 31
9:00 a.m.        Worship, Fellowship Hall & Livestreamed
                          Online Sunday School (following 9:00
11:00 a.m.     Worship, Sanctuary
Monday, June 1
7:00 p.m.       Board of Deacons, UberConference
Tuesday, June 2
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