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

In This Issue
Deadline & Subscriptions
Word from the Pastor: How Long?
In-Person Children's Sunday School Begins, Nursery Opens
Join Home Groups for Saturday's Scavenger Hunt
Speaker Demo Sept. 27
Transformative Gifts
Join Our AV Team
Substitute Teachers Needed
Give Remotely to Keep Us Together
Join Us on YouTube and Facebook
Study the Bible Online
Pray for the World
Open with Care
Gifts to the Church
Organist's Footnotes
Pray for One Another
Church Calendar
Our Church Officers
September 13
15th Sunday after Pentecost
Proverbs 22:1-2, 8-9, 22-23
Mark 7:24-30
Making Room
Sam Weddington
Last Sunday's Attendance
In person: 9:00: 33; 11:00: 38
Livestream: 66
Playbacks: 157
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

September 10, 2020
Word from the Pastor: How Long?
Rev. Dr. Nehemiah Maji, founder, Spurgeon Hope Ministry, Kaduna State, Nigeria
When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slaughtered for the word of God and for the testimony they had given; they cried out with a loud voice, "Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long will it be before you judge and avenge our blood on the inhabitants of the earth?" They were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number would be complete both of their fellow servants and of their brothers and sisters, who were soon to be killed as they themselves had been killed.
Revelation 6:9-11, NRSV
The past six months have been rough for all of us. As conflict and mutual contempt rise within our society, things seem rather bleak and hopeless. This is the story I've been telling myself for several weeks, as I've struggled to make my way through many difficulties, both personal and pastoral.
However, my relationship with my brothers and sisters abroad has reminded me how truly blessed I am. The worst day of headlines in our nation is a picnic compared with what our fellow believers in Nigeria face for the sake of bearing witness to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
It has been my conversations with my brother, the Rev. Dr. Nehemiah Maji, founder of the Spurgeon Hope Ministry in Kaduna State, that have reminded me how pampered I really am. He and his family are in hiding, afraid for their lives in light of the terror perpetrated by the militant Fulani herdsmen, the killers of hundreds in a recent spate of violence. Among their victims is one of Nehemiah's friends, the Rev. Alibura Audu, who proclaimed the Gospel at Spurgeon Hope the morning before he was killed. That ministry to retired and persecuted pastors, their families, and displaced Christian refugees seems to enrage those who persecute and murder Christians.
As I have spoken and prayed with Nehemiah, I have come to realize how blessed I truly am, and how I am called to share the burdens of my brothers and sisters undergoing this hardship. Theirs is the testimony John speaks of in Revelation 6, and I don't mean that in an "end of the world is nigh" sense. The efforts and faithful witness of the Revs. Audu, Maji, and many, many others, too numerous to count, cry out in perpetual echo before the throne of God, "How long?"
It is here that we realize something very remarkable. The fact that God has not consummated all things is a testimony to his long-suffering patience. God has a redemptive purpose being worked out so as to redeem even greater numbers of individuals, tribes, and nations. And it is the faithfulness of the Lord Jesus and the faithfulness of the voices and lives of those called by his name that keep the question alive before the Father, awaiting the appointed time.
And we wait with them. We join our prayers with theirs. We share their burdens. We weep and mourn with them when they suffer, and we rejoice with them when they overcome. When we learn to take the focus off ourselves and off the limitations of our immediate circumstances, and focus instead on the larger movement of God's grace and the perennial witness of Christ's church to the world, we realize that God is truly sovereign, and his redemptive purposes are at work in us, even in the broken places.
I ask you to pray for Nehemiah and his family. Pray for the Spurgeon Hope Ministry. Pray for all pastors and members of the Evangelical Church Winning All. Pray for Nigeria. Pray that peace would prevail, and Christ's faithful presence would be revealed in the end.
In Christ,
Pastor Sam
In-Person Children's Sunday School Begins, Nursery Opens
Welcome back! This Sunday, September 13, we will offer in-person nursery and Sunday School for children of all ages! Children ages four and older are asked to wear masks. The nursery will be available for ages newborn through three years old during the 9:00 service and Sunday School hour. Kids' Kirk will be available during both the 9:00 and 11:00 worship services for children ages four through second grade. You can find our list of guidelines on our Facebook page and website as well as at the entrance to the nursery and children's education building. /Lilly Osborne
Join Home Groups for Saturday's Scavenger Hunt
Get connected this season with Home Groups! Whether you connect with others in a Home Group or do the Home Groups study within your family, we will all connect through God's Word. Each week we will release a new study guide, and the sermon on Sunday will conclude the topic for the week. Join us as we kick off this Saturday! All are invited to join us for a mission-style scavenger hunt. You can participate as an individual, a family, or a group, then share your findings on the Home Groups Facebook page. There will be prizes for the Home Group with the most points!
For Home Group sharing and interaction, or to find a Home Group, join the FPC Bristol Home Groups Facebook Group here. Let's get connected! You choose the time, place, and group! /Katie Arnold
Speaker Demo Sept. 27
During the 11:00 service on Sunday, September 27, we will feature a demonstration to measure speaker performance in our sanctuary. The service will be followed by a sound study that will require the participation of several individuals. Please attend the service in person that day, if you are interested in leaving feedback as we progress in our acoustic update project.
Transformative Gifts
This month the Stewardship Committee is highlighting the transformative contributions of two of our longtime members who went to be with the Lord in 2019. Dot Copenhaver and Marynan Smith left gifts to the church in their wills, and God used those gifts to free our church from all our debt. Thanks to their overwhelming generosity, we have not had to carry such a weighty financial burden during the hard economic circumstances the COVID19 pandemic has presented. God is good and uses all our gifts to glorify his name and lift others up!
The Stewardship Committee prepared two videos to highlight these special contributions and tell Dot's and Marynan's story. You can watch the shorter video clip
here. The longer video clip tells their story in greater detail during interviews with Sara Reuning and JimWhite.
If you are interested in discussing ways you might follow their lead, or have questions about planned giving to the church, please contact our Church Business Administrator, Betsy Galliher. You can email her at or call her at the church office at (423) 764-7176.
Join Our AV Team
If you are interested in serving with our audiovisual team, we would love to hear from you! No experience is necessary. We will train you to control the cameras, modulate the sound, or run the videos and graphics. Just contact the church office to join the team.
Substitute Teachers Needed
The Bristol Tennessee City School system urgently needs substitute teachers. The requirement for this position is a high school diploma. if you feel called to do so, this might be a wonderful place to serve Christ. By stepping up in this way, we equip our teachers, administrators, parents, and students to succeed in very trying times, and we give public witness that, in Christ, we are a blessing. Click on the application here, or go directly to the BTCS website, then to Human Resources, and look at the job openings.
Give Remotely to Keep Us Together
During the COVID-19 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.
Join Us on YouTube and Facebook
Remember to subscribe to our YouTube channel to watch the livestream of our early worship service and other activities. 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.
Study the Bible 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. All you need is 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.
Pray for the World
As we weather the COVID-19 pandemic, we are asking you to spend more time in prayer for our church, our community, our nation, and the world. Pray for our leaders, first responders, frontline workers, and the vulnerable. We also ask that you pray for an end to this disease.
Open with Care
Christian Education Week opens this Sunday in the PCUSA, as we at FPC cautiously open the new year for children's Sunday School (see "In-Person Children's Sunday School Begins, Nursery Opens"). Pat Flannagan (September 9-12) is mowing for the occasion. Bruce Gannaway (September 16-19) will make sure the lawn is ready for One Worship September 20.
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:
Virginia Rutherford: to the Minister's Discretionary Fund from Don & JoLynn Evans, from Jack & Anne Southerland, from Bill & Margaret Wade
Organist's Footnotes
Robert J. Greene Jr.
This Sunday I am exploring arrangements that are based upon early American hymn tunes. "Come, Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy" (our prelude) is based on the tune RESTORATION, written by William Walker, from The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion (PHH 44), published in 1835. I treat this rustic tune by playing it at normal tempo in the right hand, half tempo in the left hand, and quarter tempo in the pedals. The manuals wait patiently for the pedals to catch up before proceeding. The final two variations use strong, rhythmic chords to accompany the tune in the manuals and the pedals.
Peter Pindar Stearns
"Prelude on NEW BRITAIN" (also known as AMAZING GRACE) is our offertory. It was originally a folk tune, probably sung slowly with grace notes and melodic embellishments. It was first published as a hymn tune in shape notes in Columbian Harmony (1829) to the text "Arise, my soul, my joyful pow'rs." It was first set to "Amazing Grace" in Walker's Southern Harmony. The setting by Peter Pindar Stearns (1931-2016) breaks the tune into phrases, and intersperses 20th-century harmonies around it. Stearns taught music composition for 32 years at the Mannes School of Music, in New York City.
Franklin D. Ashdown
Our postlude, "Toccata on 'All Who Hunger, Gather Gladly'" by Franklin D. Ashdown (b. 1942) is based on the tune HOLY MANNA. HOLY MANNA is traditionally attributed to William Moore, though this is not beyond doubt. Moore published the earliest known instance of this tune in his Columbian Harmony. Ashdown's toccata arrangement is animated but not as flashy as some other toccatas. Ashdown is a composer and medical doctor who has pursued dual careers for the past three decades. A resident of Alamogordo, New Mexico, he enjoys a full life as an internist, composer, and organist-choir director for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
You can watch last Sunday's 11:00 traditional service on the church's YouTube channel.
Pray for One Another

In Our Prayers
Please also include in your prayers members of our community who wish to remain anonymous.
Scottie Bales & family
Joe Bell
Blountville Presbyterian Church
Sujean Bradley
Bud Branscomb
Bristol Tennessee School System
Jane Brooks
Becky Busler
Christians in Nigeria/ECWA
Community, nation & world
Thomas Covington
Ethiopian brothers & sisters
First responders & medical & infrastructure personnel
DeeDee Galliher
Goddards (missionaries in Paraguay)
Rose Marie & Jim Goodrum
Martha & John Graham
Gene Grindstaff
Steve Gross
Ron Grubbs
Conor Haaser & squadron
Lou Hebb
Nate & Angela & newborn Higgins
Kate Hill (missionary)
John Holler
Family of Lisa Holmes
Marty Keys & family
Josh & Morgan King & family
Danae & Dan Kreiss
June Lamb
Lyn Leach
Richard Lee
Nancy Lilly
Dot Mattison
Teagan McBride
Kathleen McGlothlin
Bob Millard
Megan Mitten
Alice Moore
Brianna Necessary
Martha North
Cheyenne Poteat
Jerry Poteat & family
Maria Poteat
Rosa Poteat
Laura Rodriguez
Family of Elizabeth Rogers
Harold Rutherford
Brittany Salter
Susan Solomon
Strickland family
Jim Swartchick
Bill Wade
Maria Wagner
Patsy Ward
Karen White
Dave Whitesides
Windsor Avenue Presbyterian Church
Birthday Prayer Fellowship
Sept. 13      Torey Bates Samuel, Brit Sawyers
Sept. 14      Sue Mumpower
Sept. 15      Jon McClain
Sept. 17      Nelson Lundberg, John Scott
Sept. 18      Keith Foster, Peggy Peters
Church Calendar
Sunday, September 13
9:00 a.m.       Worship, Fellowship Hall & Livestream
10:10 a.m.     Sunday School
11:00 a.m.     Worship, Sanctuary
2:30 p.m.       Fusion Fun at Vanns' Lake Home
6:00 p.m.       Student Fellowship
Monday, September 14
7:00 p.m.       Building & Grounds Comm., Fellowship Hall
7:00 p.m.       Worship Comm., Room 123
Tuesday, September 15
10:00 a.m.     Staff Meeting, Fellowship Hall
6:00 p.m.       Finance Comm., Online
Thursday, September 17
7:00 a.m.       Men's Bible Study, Fellowship Hall
12:00 p.m.     Noon Bible Study, Room 117
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