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

In This Issue
Deadline & Subscriptions
Word from the Pastor: Bedecked
Devotional Booklets Ready for Pickup Sunday
Sunday's Offering to Benefit Local Residents
Final Apostles' Creed Class Sunday
More Powers to Us!
Out of the Depths and into the Dumpster, with Thanks
Temporary Housing Need
Warmth of the Season Is in Our Hearts and Hands
We Share Christ Saturday
Please Remember Our Fairmount Children
With the Turkey's Grace: Thanksgiving Break
Women of the Church Gather Dec. 2
Get the BigStuf Discount
Great Escape Super-Discount Deadline Is Dec. 1
Register for Passion 2020 by Dec. 1 for Discount
Gifts to the Church
Music Notes
Pray for One Another
Church Calendar
Our Church Officers
November 24
Christ the King Sunday
Romans 6:3-11
Revelation 21:1-8
Our Hope
Sam Weddington
The Last Words of David
Last Sunday's Attendance
9:00: 137; 11:00: 105
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

November 21, 2019
Word from the Pastor: Bedecked 

For while we are still in this tent, we groan under our burden, because we wish not to be unclothed but to be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.
2 Corinthians 5:4 (NRSV)
I've recently been spending a lot of time in 2 Corinthians in my personal reading and study. I think it is a wonderful letter that does not get nearly enough attention. There is much to commend to you in 2 Corinthians, like 3:6 and Paul's statement that "the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life." There is all that language about veiling and unveiling at the end of chapter 3 and into chapter 4. There is the reminder that we "walk by faith, and not by sight" in 5:7. But more than anything, I think that 2 Corinthians grabs my attention because, with the exception of Romans chapter 8, nearly every page of the letter is preoccupied with the Holy Spirit.
I think this emphasis on the Spirit results from the fact that it is written by a heartbroken man. Paul reviews his ongoing trouble with the Corinthian community in the first two chapters, and with a little digging, we find that Paul's ties to the community are particularly frayed. By the time you get to chapter 10, Paul seems frantic. Angry? Maybe that's not fair. Maybe defensive is a better word.
Paul's reaction in chapter 10, I think, is the result of a heartbroken man who, at his wit's end with a stubborn bunch, experiences new wounding beyond the pale of what had broken him before. This new wound is the realization, I think, that for the foreseeable future, possibly even for the rest of his natural life, the community has rejected his leadership and care. Paul has invested, and nothing is shown in return.
This is why I think the letter is preoccupied with the role of the Holy Spirit. What keeps us hanging on and hanging in when all seems lost? To make it really personal, why hope when faced with the loss of a job, a relationship, or a loved one? We have no guarantee, no written contract, so to speak, that these things will be restored, or that "the sun will come up tomorrow." Judging by what we can see, and given the great pain inflicted on our broken hearts in these moments, it would be fair to say, by every objective standard, that there is no hope to be had save a barren realism that our pain and griefs are deep, time is swift (far too swift), and death is certain.
When such feelings and occasions arise, Paul's letter assures us that we have the Holy Spirit. In 4:16, he says that "we do not lose heart," because something is coming. Glory is on its way. He knows we are fragile jars of clay (4:7), but what we house is the glory of God shown in the Son, made present in us by the Spirit (4:11).
The Spirit's presence in us reveals that for which we truly long. We don't want to "lay [our] burdens down," as the old spiritual suggests, because life and all its disappointments are too much to carry, and we just want to give up. No. The burdens we carry are burdens because there is seeded within us a deeper knowing, an insatiable longing for what only God can give, and that is life. What we really want is our burdens, our mortality, our frailness, our brokenness to be "swallowed up by life." We long to be bedecked in the shared splendor of God's complete wholeness, which clothes our naked condition with more than our present tatters.
The Spirit's presence in us actually stirs a longing for that truly human part of ourselves that does not wish "to be unclothed but to be further clothed." Our burdens, if I might translate Paul, are a place of deep groans and sighs by which the Spirit both prays for us and teaches us to pray (Romans 8:26-27).
Our burdens and broken hearts aren't an indication of a lack of faith or the like but the very opposite. They are signposts directing us home. Their presence bears witness that we were made for more than this. Their gradual healing comes by the balm of Christ's presence. The Spirit keeps stirring, goading the pilgrim forward, as we make our way back to our soul's true friend. "In Christ," the Spirit whispers in the present darkness, "you have found your rest."
In Christ,
Pastor Sam
Devotional Booklets Ready for Pickup Sunday
Advent, season of preparation for the coming of Christ, begins December 1, just three days after Thanksgiving! Prepare to be prepared to prepare, for our Advent devotional becomes available this Sunday, November 24. It was composed by FPC members, including our Friendship Class, and can be found in both the narthex and the Fellowship Hallway as well as on the website. Please take only one per family.
Sunday's Offering to Benefit Local Residents
We will collect our annual Thanksgiving offering at both services this Sunday, November 24. Please be generous, for this special offering will benefit Bristol Faith in Action. FPC was one of the 13 area churches that worked together to found this ecumenical mission. Through it, we distribute commodity items, aid local residents in temporary financial crisis, provide financial and mental health counseling, and give referrals to other social service agencies. The aim is to help in emergencies while promoting long-term financial stability and self-sufficiency. More information is available on the BFIA website,
Final Apostles' Creed Class Sunday
Many of us have been studying the Apostles' Creed in tandem with Pastor Sam's 12-part sermon series. Through video and discussion, this class has explored what an ancient statement can say to us now about the Good News of Jesus Christ. All interested adults are invited to meet in the chapel Sunday at 10:10 for the final discussion in this series.
More Powers to Us! 
Rush and Lea Powers
We welcome Rush and Lea Powers to the fellowship of FPC! Rush and Lea are known throughout our community through their private and public service. They join their daughter Elise and son-in-law Charlie, also members, and grandsons Charles and Winston in our church family. Please join us in a warm welcome to all the Powers-that-be in FPC!
Out of the Depths and into the Dumpster,  with Thanks
We thank the following dedicated workers who cleaned out the basement last Saturday: Boy Scout Troop 3, Karen Boone, Kevin Buck, Larry Connolly, Wes Foster, Bruce Gannaway, Fred and Heidi Harkleroad, and Pastor Sam. After nearly filling a 30-yard dumpster, we can now see most of the floor! We also thank the staff and volunteers who red-tagged the items we wanted to hang on to. Finally, we thank Sydney Peltier for taking dozens of old metal chairs off our hands. They went to roller derby! Inquiring minds want to know whether they are intended for seating or ...? / Randy Cook, Chair, Building & Grounds Committee

Temporary Housing Need 
A member of our community needs temporary housing from mid-December through mid-February. For more information, please contact Pastor Sam or Dave Welch.
Warmth of the Season Is in Our Hearts and Hands

Our mission emphasis in December is well-timed: we're going to help keep our neighbors from the cold. We invite each member of our warm church family to decorate the Christmas trees in the sanctuary and Fellowship Hall with gifts of gloves, hats, and scarves. You can bring them to the church when you come to worship and place them on the branches or the tree skirts on any Sunday (or all of them!) in December. At the end of the month, we will box up all the items we've collected and, through Bristol Faith in Action and Fairmount Elementary School, share them with our neighbors who could use some warmth.
We Share Christ Saturday
Our turn to serve at the Sharing Christ downtown mission is coming up again this Saturday, November 23. Folks who have volunteered to serve dinner should be at the mission by 4:30. Those who are preparing food need to deliver it to FPC's little kitchen by 4:30 today, Thursday, November 21, or take it to the mission at the corner of State and Sixth streets by 4:30 on Saturday. For more information, contact Dottie Havlik at or 423-956-6747.
Please Remember Our Fairmount Children

We are collecting Goldfish for snacktime at Fairmount School, where the snacks go quickly. At least two children in each of 16 classrooms need food assistance. We take donated snacks to the school, and the teachers divide the contents into child-size portions. We need to provide 20 portions per child per month. Please remember our Fairmount children the next time you shop, and bring your donations to the Little Red House in the Fellowship Hallway. Thank you!
With the Turkey's Grace: Thanksgiving Break
Give us a break! While we are still capable of the feat, we will leap lightly, as the turkey leaps, over our usual Wednesday programming next week. Out of compassion for those of us facing the traditional feast the following day, we will refrain from pre-Thanksgiving fellowship November 27. We will meet next on December 4, by which time we should be ready to eat again. Except when we have special presentations, we worship on most Wednesday evenings by praying, singing, and studying God's Word together.
Women of the Church Gather Dec. 2

Join the women of the church Monday, December 2, for a night of connection, fun, and fellowship with speaker Jessica Stollings! This graduate of King University is the founder of ReGenerations, an organization that specializes in connecting generations. We will gather in the Fellowship Hall from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. Coffee, tea, and desserts will be provided, and the nursery will be available.
Get the BigStuf Discount

FPC high school students are going to the beach in June! We will leave from the church on June 19 for Panama City Beach and return June 27. We're going to BigStuf Camp for a week of worship, engaging speakers, mission opportunities, and tons of beach time with hundreds of high school students from around the country! We will stay in a beachfront hotel at the convention center.
Spots are limited, so invite your friends and register
now on the Student Ministries webpage.
  • Early Bird Price: $450; pay the $100 deposit by January 12
  • After January 12: $500 plus $100 deposit
The price for this amazing week includes:
  • Transportation & travel lodging
  • Beach lodging
  • Meals (excluding travel meals)
  • Camp
  • Mission days
  • T-shirt
Great Escape Super-Discount Deadline Is Dec. 1
Join the FPC Middle School Ministry for Christmas at the Great Escape! We'll leave from the church Sunday, June 7, and join middle school students from all over the country at Lee University in Cleveland, TN. We'll have a wild 'n' crazy week of incredible music, captivating speakers, engaging entertainment, and the messiest games you can imagine. One day will be devoted to an off-campus adventure! We will return to Bristol around noon on Friday, June 12.
Register through our Student Ministries webpage by December 1 and pay the super-early bird price of $415 and a $100 deposit. Register by January 26 and pay the early bird price of $450 and a $100 deposit. After February 3 the price rises to $475. The total balance is due May 1. Scholarships are available upon request.
 The price for this amazing week includes:
  • Transportation to & from camp
  • Camp programming
  • 5 nights of lodging
  • 13 meals
  • T-shirt
  • Whitewater rafting on the Ocoee River
Register for Passion 2020 by Dec. 1 for Discount

Start the new year right with FPC Bristol at Passion 2020! We'll join thousands of 18 -to-25-year-olds at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta from December 31 through January 2. Passion is filled with incredible worship, dynamic speakers, and sweet time with your church family. The cost is $150 if you register by December 1 and pay a $50 deposit. After December 1, the cost rises to $200. Register here. For more information, contact Katie Arnold at
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 gifts in memory of:
Nancy King: to the Capital Campaign Fund from Tom & Leigh King; to the Memorial Fund from Jim & Barbara Davis, from John & Karen Vann
Larry Story (father of Brandon Story): to the Memorial Fund from John & Karen Vann
Music Notes
Randall Thompson
Sunday's music: Our anthem this week is "The Last Words of David" by Randall Thompson (1899 -1984), perhaps the most significant American choral composer of the 20th century. His works are performed in churches and schools throughout the US and abroad. Thompson received degrees from Harvard University and the Eastman School of Music and later taught at the Curtis Institute of Music. His many notable students included Leonard Bernstein, whom he taught at both Harvard and Curtis. "The Last Words of David" is a stirring and dramatic work that Thompson composed in 1949 in the middle of his career. His dynamic and expressive markings are very specific, and the result is a work ripe with musical diversity.
Organist's footnotes: On Christ the King Sunday, the last Sunday in the Christian liturgical year, we celebrate the reign of Christ in all His glory. We also wrap up our series on The Apostles' Creed with a focus on "the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. Amen."
Jean-Yves Daniel-Lesur
French organist and composer Jean-Yves Daniel-Lesur (1908-2002) composed the quiet, introspective "In Paradisum" (our prelude) in 1933. From 1935 to 1964, he was professor of counterpoint at the Schola Cantorum under director Nestor Lejeune, becoming director himself in 1957. Between 1927 and 1937 he seconded Charles Tournemire at the organ of Ste. Clotilde, Paris, and from 1937 to 1944 he was organist of the Benedictine Abbey of Paris. Daniel-Lesur served as director of the Opéra National de Paris from 1971 to 1973.
Our offertory, "Glockengeläute" ("bell ringing"), is a handbell arrangement of a piano solo by Norwegian composer and pianist Edvard Grieg (1843-1907). Atypically for Grieg, the piece has no clear melodic line. Instead, it consists entirely of patterns of open fifths to give the impression, especially in the middle section, of all the town's church bells ringing in a cacophony of praise.
Our postlude, "Nun danket alle Gott" ("Now thank we all our God"), is a well-known hymn tune composed by Johann Crüger (1598-1662) and here arranged by David N. Johnson (1922-1987). This arrangement from 1982 is replete with quick-moving triplet figures. The tune is first heard in the highest notes of the manuals. Then in the second stanza, with even faster triplets in the manuals, a slower rendition of the tune is heard in the pedals. Johnson was an American organist, composer, educator, choral clinician, and lecturer. From 1960 to 1967 he was college organist and organ instructor at St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN. He was named music department chair at St. Olaf in 1965. In 1967, he succeeded Arthur Poister as professor of music and university organist at Syracuse University. He moved to Arizona in 1969, where he taught at Arizona State University, Tempe.
The more the merrier! The Sanctuary Handbell Choir wants you!
Bells for Advent: Come join the Sanctuary Handbell Choir and make music ring out in Advent! We practice from 6:15 to 7:15 on Wednesday evenings in room 212 upstairs, and play for the late worship service about once a month. This Sunday we will have an extra rehearsal, at 9:30 a.m., and play the offertory. Contact Bob Greene at or 276-696-9091 to join us.
Pray for One Another

In Our Prayers
Please also include in your prayers members of our community who wish to remain anonymous.
Ackley family
Becky Busler
Christians in Nigeria/ECWA
Dorothy Dollar
Ethiopian brothers & sisters
Bobby Fleu
Garrett Foster
FPC Pledge Campaign
DeeDee Galliher
Diane Glymph
Ron Grubbs
Lou Hebb
Jackson family
Selma Jennings
Marty Keys & family
Nancy Lilly
Dot Mattison
Lisa May
Roger McCracken
Bob Millard
Alice Moore
Music Ministries of FPC
Donald Page
Stan Parker
Larry Roberts (Greg's brother)
Peggy Rutherford
Virginia Rutherford
Joan Sams
Katlin Smith
Stigers family
Ashley Thomasson
John & Karen Vann
Nancy Ward
Doug Williams
Bill Woods
Birthday Prayer Fellowship
Nov. 24       Ron Grubbs, Brad Smith, Sam Weddington
Nov. 25       Louisa Cordon, Selma Jennings
Nov. 26       Jean Burnette, Meg Rice
Nov. 27       Cindy Samuel
Nov. 28       Doug Williams
Nov. 29       Carolyn Moore, Andrew Porter, Sam Story
Nov. 30       Charlotte Osborne
Church Calendar
Sunday, November 24
9:00 a.m.       Worship, Fellowship Hall
9:30 a.m.       Handbell Practice, Sanctuary
10:10 a.m.     Sunday School
10:15 a.m.     Sanctuary Choir, Room 202
11:00 a.m.     Worship, Sanctuary
12:30 p.m.     Contemporary Worship Volunteers, Fellowship Hall
3:30 p.m.       Christmas Play Rehearsal, Sanctuary
6:00 p.m.       Student Fellowship, Fellowship Hall
Monday, November 25
7:00 p.m.       Session of Elders, Room 123
Tuesday, November 26
10:00 a.m.     Morning Prayer Group, Conf. Room
10:00 a.m.     Staff Meeting, Room 117
6:15 p.m.       Handbell Choir, Room 212
7:00 p.m.       Boy Scout Troop 3, Scout Wing
7:15 p.m.       Sanctuary Choir, Room 202
Thursday, November 28
Church offices closed for Thanksgiving holiday
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