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

In This Issue
Deadline & Subscriptions
Word from the Pastor: Return
Final Online Communion This Sunday
In the Office
Holston Cancels June Camps
Go Ahead, Play with Your Food
Let's Connect!
Three Online Bible Studies Each Week
Zoom In on Togetherness
Please Pray for All, Near and Far
Give Remotely to Keep Us Together
Have a Need? See a Need?
We Can Help
We're Making and Wearing Masks
The 23rd Letter
Gifts to the Church
Pray for One Another
Church Calendar
Our Church Officers
May 10
5th Sunday of Easter
Livestream Only (10:00)
Ezekiel 34:11-16
John 10:11-18
Laying It Down
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 7, 2020
Word from the Pastor: Return
And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
Isaiah 35:10
I share Isaiah 35:10 with you with a note of caution and humility. Our experience of self-imposed exile, although it has been rough, in no way compares with Israel's exile, so I apply this verse to our situation with a grain of salt. In all our experiences of alienation and loss, as well as of returns and reconciliations, we have only a foretaste of the great return to come. All our homecomings point to our eternal destiny with God in Christ Jesus.
That said, I am happy to announce that FPC's leadership has adopted a plan of return for our church in the coming months. It is not a quick plan, but is, instead, cautious. Not everyone will be happy with the plan, but we feel it does a good job of balancing all the interests we've heard expressed about returning to worship while also remaining safe.
You can find a fuller articulation of our plans on our website, but here is an outline of Phase 1:
  1. On Sunday, May 17, we will reopen the church for limited, in-person worship at both 9:00 and 11:00 a.m. We will also livestream the 9:00 service.
  2. There will be no in-person Sunday School classes or nursery, but we will have online Sunday School offerings at 10:10 a.m.
  3. We will observe strict social distancing measures. Hand sanitizer and masks will be available.
  4. If you don't feel well in any way, please stay home. We ask those over 65 years of age and those with underlying health problems to stay home and enjoy the livestream.
  5. Meetings and classes will remain canceled or be online only. We will continue to offer weekly online studies, etc.
  6. We will observe these practices through at least Saturday, June 13.
As I mentioned, this is only the first phase of our reunion plan, and whether we go on to other phases will depend on infection rates after things open back up as well as on guidance from civil authorities. We promise to give you plenty of notice before we enter another phase or change plans in recognition of facts on the ground. We are hopeful, and we ask that you continue to pray.
I know that we are excited for this reunion. Some are cautious, while others are ready to get back to normal as soon as possible. I understand. If we learn anything from Isaiah, then it must include the realization that the return he mentioned was always done according to God's schedule, not Israel's. The same holds true for us. We are stepping out in faith that the time has come to meet again, but the success or the failure of our plan is utterly dependent upon God's blessing. So again, I ask you to pray.
Stay strong, and be a blessing.
In Christ,
Pastor Sam
Final Online Communion This Sunday
This Sunday, May 10, will be the last of the planned weekly online communion services. We will return to our normal communion schedule the following Sunday, May 17. Please prepare the bread and the cup at your home again this Sunday, so that you can 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.
In the Office
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!
Holston Cancels June Camps
Given the state of the pandemic and the steps that must be taken to prevent further transmissions and outbreaks, Holston Camp is canceling day and overnight camps for the month of June. Holston hopes that restrictions will ease to allow retreats after June and camp in July. Camp leaders will adjust their policies as necessary to keep camper families and staff safe.
The possibility remains that camp may be closed for the entire summer. If restrictions are lifted, then they will offer four sessions of ALL IN Camp in July. An overnight camp for rising 3rd through 10th graders, it would cost $399 and be based at the Rustic campsite. Day camp would also then be offered in July and August from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (without breakfast but with lunch and an afternoon snack). Wildcat CIT camps would be available for rising 11th and 12th graders.
All other camps will be canceled, so registered campers must move their current reservation to an ALL IN Camp session. To cancel or move your registration, call Jim or Mitchell at 844-465-7866 during office hours (8:00 a.m. -5:00 p.m. weekdays).
Without camper or retreat income, Holston Camp faces immediate financial difficulties that put staff and ministry at risk. Although full refunds are available for campers and retreats, they ask those who have already registered to consider keeping their deposit in their account for future use. They also request tax-deductible donations.
Go Ahead, Play with Your Food
Our mission emphasis in May is on the Bristol Emergency Food Pantry. To aid the Food Pantry (and get out of the house for some safe fun!), we will have a Drive-by Parade on two Wednesday evenings in May. Yes, we are inviting you to play with your food, right out in public. We invite you to drive up to a designated shopping cart at the Food Pantry and drop off a bag of food items on May 13 and/or May 27 between 5:00 and 7:00, then drive away. Volunteers will take your gift inside and restock the shelves. Any shelf-stable food item is welcome, but cans of tuna, small bags of rice, and small boxes of spaghetti noodles are especially needed. What a fun way to Be a Blessing! The Food Pantry is located at 21 Washington Street, next to the railroad track and First Baptist Church. / Dave Welch
Let's Connect!
We are continuing to livestream worship 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.
Three Online Bible Studies Each Week
We offer three 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 Tuesday and Thursday. If you subscribe, you will be notified when new studies become available.
Zoom In on Togetherness
Students! We need each other in this journey, so please join us on Zoom as we do life together from afar! Student Fellowship is a time for games, worship, a message, and breakout discussions. Middle School Gathering and High School Devos study and discuss the Bible in small groups. These are the Zoom IDs you'll need for access:
  • Student Fellowship, Sundays at 7:00 p.m.: 435-749-455
  • Middle School Gathering, Wednesdays at 7:00 p.m.: 196-217-088
  • High School Devos, Wednesdays at 8:00 p.m.: 638-854-949
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.
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.
Have a Need? See a Need?
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 also have medical personnel on call. You are not alone!
We Can Help
We are pleased and grateful to have eight response teams and three medical response teams ready to aid us safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. We appreciate their heart to serve! Please pray that God would use them in an effective and mighty way. 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. Symptoms normally appear two days after infection has occurred, and it is possible to have the disease without realizing it. Please take care.
The 23rd Letter
Image: Forbes
Whatever pattern recovery follows, local weather has settled into the indefinitely repeated, definite W-shape distasteful to economists and relished by meteorologists. On the most recent upward leg, a short walk in the hood on a hot, sunny Sunday left us a puddle of persp., but on Tuesday we are wearing layers and watching puddles of rain accumulate all around. Rain falls, and it falls to Pat Flannagan (May 6-9) to mow this week. It looks now as though Randy Cook (May 13-16) will mow the steep incline of the next upward stroke of the W. There's nothing like time at the window to help you appreciate the constant little adventures of our inconstant life.
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:
Michael Ehrie (Meg Rice's father): to the Brazil Mission Fund from Eddie & Peggy Hill
Buddy Eller: to the Bristol Emergency Food Pantry from Carl & Reveley McGrady
Jimmy Goebel (Jane Nickels's brother): to the Brazil Mission Fund from Eddie & Peggy Hill
Vivian Hill: to the Christian Hands Ministry from John & Karen Vann
Betty Ottenfeld (Karen Vann's mother): to the Brazil Mission Fund from Eddie & Peggy Hill; to the Children's Ministries Fund from Brandon & Mariel Story; to the Minister's Discretionary Fund from Kelley Mayden
Joan Sams (Scott Sams's mother): to the Brazil Mission Fund from Eddie & Peggy Hill
Peggy Truman (Linda Welch's mother): to the Brazil Mission Fund from Eddie & Peggy Hill; to the Children's Ministries Fund from Brandon & Mariel Story; to the Memorial Fund from John & Karen Vann; to the Minister's Discretionary Fund from Ernie & Karen Pennington
In honor of:
Volunteers & medical teams: to the Minister's Discretionary Fund from Frances Emerson & George Huber
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
Zach Botheroyd
Sujean Bradley
Brandi & family
Bristol Tennessee School System
Craig Buchanan
Becky Busler
Calleigh Cairns
Creasy family
Christians in Nigeria/ECWA
Community, nation & world
Cookeville & Chattanooga
Raymond Dickenson
Dorothy Dollar & family
Ethiopian brothers & sisters
Trinka Felty
First responders & medical & infrastructure personnel
Garrett Foster
DeeDee Galliher
Roxanna Garcia & family
Diane Glymph
The Goddards (missionaries in Paraguay)
Rose Marie & Jim Goodrum
Grubbs family
Ron Grubbs
Sarah Haas
Lou Hebb
Nate & Angela Higgins & newborn
Marty Keys & family
Josh & Morgan King & family
Nancy Lilly
Amy Marion & family
Dot Mattison
Ashley McGill
Kathleen McGlothlin
Bob Millard
Alice Moore
Nashville in wake of storms & power outages
Brianna Necessary
New Jersey & New York
Margaret Noble
Peggy Rutherford
Virginia Rutherford
Brittany Salter
John Scott
John & Karen Vann
Bill Wade
Maria Wagner
Vicky Wood's family
Our love and sympathy are with Dave Whitesides and his family in the death of his brother, Bill, on May 1 in Arlington, Virginia; and with Dave Ginn and his family in the death of his mother, Martha Ginn, on May 3 in Minnesota.
Birthday Prayer Fellowship
May 10     Nancy Allerton, Kendall Sampson, Misti Shaw
May 11     Amy Scott
May 12     Brenda Lawson, Matt Peltier
May 14     Blake Bassett, James Phipps, Andrew Smith
May 15     Bruce Gannaway
May 16     Dewey Pendley, Hugh Rice
Church Calendar
Sunday, May 10
10:00 a.m.     Livestreamed Worship
Followed by Online Sunday School & Adult Bible Study
Tuesday, May 12
10:00 a.m.     Staff Meeting, Fellowship Hall
Thursday, May 14
8:30 a.m.        Meals on Wheels, 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