The Newsletter


First Presbyterian Church, Tullahoma TN 37388

Summer 2021  Volume L, Issue 5


Church Office: 204 E. Grundy St.

Phone: 931 455-9328

Sunday school – 9:15 a.m.

Worship at 10:30 a.m.

Preschool Office: 931 455-1515

Preschool Email:

Preschool Website:





Church Staff

Pastor: Stephen Yates

CE/Youth Director: Christy Sherrer

Secretary: Martha Bradley

Organist: David Hiebert

Parish Associate for Pastoral Care: Michael Bradley

Learning Place Preschool Director: Bethany Sterling


Sunday School at 9:15 AM


The Christian Living Class. A study of different book and authors on Bibical Theology 


Fun activities and Bible stories to help young childeren learn about God, Jesus and christianity. 


Bible Study

The Bible Study Class addresses various books of the Bible and how they apply to everyday life.

Christian Education Opportunities

Children Pre-K through 5th grade - We will have Sunday school lessons for Pre-K through 5th graders following the Children’s Time in the worship service. We will “Splash in God’s Word” with several water-related stories from the Bible. We hope the kids will join us this summer as we splash through adventures with Noah, Jonah, Lydia and others each week.

Youth  - Because of the abbreviated summer schedule (9 weeks) of Tullahoma City Schools, the youth will not have a weekly Sunday School class in the Youth Apartment. Christy is encouraging them to be “Shepherds” to our Children’s Class (right after the Children’s Message) and at VBS this summer. Anyone who has led and helped a class for children has found that they can learn so much by teaching and serving. Please see Katie for sign ups.

Adults at 9:00 a.m. - The Christian Living Class has decided it will continue meeting in Fellowship Hall this summer. Everyone is welcome and we would love to have some new faces!

Mission Opportunities

Two Mission Sundays to help Good Sam: June 13 and July 11 - There are two Mission Sundays before the next Newsletter: June 13 and July 11. Items requested by Good Sam include canned fruits, canned vegetables, dry spaghetti, pasta sauce, soup, soda crackers, cereal, peanut butter, canned tuna, and canned chicken. As you grocery shop, buy some of these items and bring them with you when you come to worship. There are no special requests for these two months. If you are not attending worship in person, you may drop off food donations at the Good Sam Food Pantry (Monday – Friday from 9:00 – noon) or at the Good Samaritan Thrift Store (available Tuesday – Saturday from 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.)

Mission Meals

Two Mission Meals: June 27 and July 25 – The Mission Committee is always looking for volunteers to help with these meals. They prep and deliver meals immediately after the worship service on the 4th Sunday of each month. These two summer dates provide a wonderful opportunity for you to give this a try if you have not been involved in this ministry of FPC. Contact Kristi Fruechtl or J. Ray Joellenbeck for more details or to volunteer.

Sanctuary Flowers


We all can participate in decorating our sanctuary by providing a live flower arrangement for the shelf below the stained-glass window. Fresh flowers remind us of the beauty of God’s creation and help us celebrate during worship. Providing an arrangement is a perfect way to remember and honor a special person or happy event (anniversary, birthday, graduation, retirement, etc.)  Arrangements are $65; if you are interested in providing flowers, please check with Mary Jane Christopher for details and to reserve the date.


Pastors Column.jpg

Dear Church Family,

Stephen was given a “mini-sabbatical” from May 17 through May 31. Since his original, real sabbatical has been delayed for a full two years because of COVID and travel restrictions, the Session offered him a small break in addition to his regular vacation time this summer.

So, Stephen has been looking forward to the chance to recharge for a few weeks - especially after this last year and all the uncertainty and changes COVID brought. That said, the editor of the church newsletter, knowing that writing his column is not a favorite thing for him to do, let him off the hook for this issue! The following seems an appropriate!

A Day Away by Maya Angelou

Every person needs to take one day away. A day in which one consciously separates the past from the future. Jobs, lovers, family, employers, and friends can exist one day without any one of us, and if our egos permit us to confess, they could exist eternally in our absence.

Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for. Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us. We need hours of aimless wandering or spates of time sitting on park benches, observing the mysterious world of ants and the canopy of treetops.

If we step away for a time, we are not, as many may think and some will accuse, being irresponsible, but rather we are preparing ourselves to more ably perform our duties and discharge our obligations.

When I return home, I am always surprised to find some questions I sought to evade had become answered and some entanglements I had hoped to flee had become unraveled in my absence. A day away acts as a spring tonic. It can dispel rancor, transform indecision, and renew the spirit.


May the time away be so for Stephen.


Minute with Mike

Michael Bradley, Parish Associate for Pastoral Care

Time Off

During the announcements, at the beginning of the service, the pastor told the congregation that he and his family would be away for a couple of weeks on vacation. As everyone was filing out, at the conclusion of the service, one member (and every church has at least one member like this) said, “Pastor, I don't see why you take vacations. The devil doesn't take vacations.” The pastor replied, “Yes, and just look at how mean he is.”

Time off is related to a kind spirit and a good attitude toward work. The proverb “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” is quite true. To be gender inclusive, it works the same way for Jill, making her a dull girl. While our work ethic tells us “keep your nose to the grindstone,” in the end all that produces is a very sharp nose and less productivity. The Bible reinforces this idea.

Genesis reminds us that after doing the work of creation “God rested.” Genesis also tells us that God strolled through the garden in the cool of the evening. David spoke of God leading him to green pastures and still waters, a place of rest. Jesus took time to get away from the crowds and find time for rest and renewal. Even Paul, a real workaholic (and sometimes a sourpuss), recognized the need for some rest. Taking a break is Biblical.

So here we are at the beginning of June, the opening of summer, the start of vacation season. What are we going to do? There is a tendency to take the need for some time off and use it as an excuse to call off church for the summer. That approach is not “taking a break;” it is just spiritual laziness. So, you can worship God just as well on the golf course or on the lake as you can at church, but you won't, will you? Slowing down does not mean quitting altogether; resting does not mean inactivity. The life of the church must continue, albeit, at a slower pace.

Time off can be very productive in the spiritual sense. Walking a trail in Sequoyah National Park, surrounded by only the sounds of birds and the wind in the high, high branches of the enormous trees, I felt a closeness to God that I have never experienced in any church. Standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon made me strongly aware of the power of God in the world of nature. Sidney Lanier, a poet I like, wrote about his sense of the presence of God when he visited the Georgia coast:


As the marsh hen builds on the watery sod

       So I will build me a nest on the greatness of God.

       I will fly in the greatness of God as the marsh hen doth fly

       In the freedom that fills all the space twixt the earth and the sky.

       O like to the greatness of God is the greatness within

       The range of the marshes, the liberal sea marshes of Glenn.


Take some time off. Whether you go across the country or go to the city park, take some time to relax and see what is happening around you. Don't go alone. Know that God goes with you and has something to show you.


Offering from the Office by Martha Bradley, Church Secretary

Summer is upon us! The heat and humidity of summer in the South are bummers for me – zapping my energy and cutting down on my motivation for many activities I enjoy in other seasons. For that very reason Mike and I began taking our vacations in the spring and fall when we were no longer bound to the school calendar.

That being said, there are many good things that speak of summer: a tall glass of iced tea; ripe, juicy tomatoes; abundant fresh vegetables from local gardens; watermelon; the scent of freshly mowed lawns (and, yes, I do love to mow the grass!); sitting on the patio when there is an evening breeze.

Summer can also be a time of Shabbos. Shabbos is Yiddish for Shabbat, which is Hebrew for Sabbath. Briefly, Shabbos is “a day to play”– a day set aside to breathe freely; a day when we put aside the fact that we must earn our living and realize that we can celebrate Shabbos.  It can become a day (or days in the summer) for wild, free, and soul-awakening play, play for its own sake. I’m not talking about competitive games or participating in organized sports or even attending a ball game.

 I’m talking about lying in the grass and watching puffy clouds float by or watching the storm clouds gather. I’m talking about taking a leisurely walk in the woods with no goal other than observing the flora and fauna, really seeing and feeling your surroundings. I’m talking about sitting on the beach, listening to the surf, watching the waves roll in, and contemplating the vastness of the universe. I’m talking about sitting and having a deep conversation with someone you care about.

I hope you get the idea that this is play just to play – there is no imposed purpose and you don’t have to meet anyone else’s standard of how to do it. Your play does not have to be like anyone else’s. Whatever is play for you will be freeing and soul-enhancing. You just play! For the sheer pleasure and enjoyment of it.

Here’s a quote from our church newsletter in the summer of 2002: “Summer offers us the opportunity to put things into perspective. It is the season that draws us back toward the Sabbath ideal – God’s plan for life made up of work and rest. We find it hard to follow that plan, however, filling our schedules to the brim, keeping on the go from the moment our feet hit the floor till our heads hit the pillow.  Such a life is not what God intends for us; such a life will rob us of joy and blind us to the truth that we are not defined by what we achieve, accomplish, and produce. Instead, God calls us to keep the Sabbath, and not just in the sense of what we do on Sunday. To keep the Sabbath is to find the proper balance between doing and being, to know that it’s not a sin to sit on the back porch doing nothing more than relaxing and watching the clouds roll across the sky, to realize that paradoxically, life is much fuller when we don’t try to cram as much as possible into every minute of every day.”

As we move into summer, slow down and take the time to enjoy the many good things of the season.



by Ruth Jackson

Lying on the cool green grass

gazing upon the soft white clouds 

feeling the gentle breeze flow over my skin 

the trees bend in the rhythm of the wind 

the leaves float lightly till they hit the ground 

those white puffy flowers dance in the air

they are having a party and I watch it all in excitement

it is crazy to think that all of this was created in six days 

but it was, it was indeed and I love it all 

from the wet worms to the large eagles

each was created for a reason

running my hands through the grass

running through the dense forest

running into the cold spring 

running wild through the fields

I feel the warm rays of the orange sun on my face 

the wind picks up the flowers and they dance around me 

swirling and whispering to me 

“Be still” 

the sky turns into an artist’s canvas 

purple, pink, orange, hot yellow 

I get lost in the awesomeness of it

my eyes widen and I smile

Session Committee Reports


Property Committee – Travis Sherrer, chair


The Property Committee will be meeting soon to discuss any issues related to “return to normal” capacity and use of the church property.

Annex Remodel

Since the last newsletter, the property committee has been spending all of our time on the annex remodel project.  I am pleased to announce that the annex remodel is complete!!  The property team really did a fantastic professional job.  If you have not had the chance, stop and check it out.

On the Horizon

The maintenance never ends – broken door bar, replace light bulbs, replace tiles, leaking toilet, new playground gate, latches in the nursery and the list goes on.

Please feel free to contact me or any Property team member if you see anything that needs attention, have any ideas for improvements, or would like to become a member.

Thank you for all of your continued prayer and support.

Travis Sherrer


Words of Wisdom

“It’s important to listen to each other, to help each other and to care for each other – and don’t forget to brush your teeth” --- Grover


Mission Committee – Kristi Fruechtl, J. Ray Joellenbeck, Co-chairs


“No Preaching, No Praying, No Singing, Just Eating” Free Meal Program - The mission committee continues to deliver meals to folks at Autumn Manor (low-income senior citizens apartment), Oakland Court (next to Autumn Manor), Dossett Apartments, East Gate Apartments, Ada Farrell Apartments, and to one family home.  We made 60 deliveries in April!  We will return to in person meals on August 25 and will be talking to our delivery recipients about this change.  In person meals will be restricted to 40 persons.

Menus for our next meals:

   June 27 Menu:  Beans w/ham, cornbread, dessert

   July 25 Menu: Chicken sandwiches, chips, slaw, dessert

We’re always looking for volunteers to help. We prep and deliver meals directly after church on the fourth Sunday of each month. If you are interested, see Ray J. or Kristi Fruechtl, who are coordinating the meals.

May 2021 Local Mission Focus:  Shepherd’s House

Local Hands-On Mission Event –Rescheduled - Unfortunately we had to reschedule our hands on mission work day at Shepherd’s House. We will be rescheduling this event and are considering a weekday afternoon. We need help from those willing to get on ladders or work from a lift to clean gutters.  Please contact Kristi or J. Ray if you are interested in helping. We will be announcing more details about this work day soon.

Please consider volunteering your time.

Monroe Harding, located in Nashville, is a local nonprofit, which has been changing young people’s lives since 1893. Monroe Harding steps in as a family, providing resources for Homes, Healing, and Opportunity, what they call the “H20” that is vital to helping young people succeed. Today, through Monroe Harding’s foster families and the Supportive Housing programs they provide safe, loving and supportive homes. Their Youth Connections Resource Center is “home base” for young people aging out of care, a place where they can find encouragement through academic support, financial literacy, workforce development and learn the life skills that young adults need to succeed.


Finance and Personnel Committee – Ken Diehl, chair


Commissioned Ruling Elder

A big congratulations to Kathy Nichols as an up-and-coming Commissioned Ruling Elder!

Over the past year or so, Kathy has been studying to become a Commissioned Ruling Elder and has just completed her course work. She is now readying to go before the Committee on Ministry and ultimately before the Presbytery in July.

Further, Session has given approval for her to be commissioned here at FPC Tullahoma!

So, what does this mean?  It means that Kathy will be available to fill the pulpit and many other roles in Pastor Yates absence. A Commissioned Ruling Elder can perform both sacraments: Baptism and Communion; and Weddings (state law permitting). She is also considering and pursuing other possible ministries within our church. So, reach out and thank her for taking on this ministry! 

Phoenix Apartments

Long known as the Farris Apartments, they have recently been renamed the Phoenix Apartments and recognized as a Mission of our church. The sign will be going up very soon in front of the Apartment Building.

 In addition, a most generous donation was made to replace the windows and storm doors in the apartments. And we have just completed this project. It looks like a new building!  Check it out.

No boundaries

Love is a commitment to seek the good and to work for the good and welfare of others. It doesn’t stop at our front door or our neighborhood, our religion or race, or our state’s or [our] country’s border. This is one great fellowship of love throughout the whole wide earth, as the hymn goes. It often calls us to step outside of what we thought our boundaries were, or what others expect of us. It calls for us to sacrifice, not because doing so feels good, but because it’s the right thing to do.

—Bishop Michael Curry, Love Is the Way


An invitation to rest

Summer calls to mind a slower pace, time off from school and work. But many still face daily demands this time of year: farmers work long hours; teachers may take seasonal work to make ends meet; parents with kids now home all day may catch up on work late at night. Still, may the longer days and warmer weather beckon you into a bit of free time this season. Listen:

“When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.” —Eleanor Brown (public speaker and educator)

“Sometimes it's important to work for that pot of gold. But other times it's essential … to make sure that your most important decision in the day [is] which color to slide down on the rainbow.” —Douglas Pagels (author)

“Rest time is not waste time; it is economy to gather fresh strength. … In the long run, we shall do more by sometimes doing less.” —Charles Spurgeon

“Come to me, all you that are weary … and I will give you rest. … For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” —Jesus (Matthew 11:28-30)

Children’s Ministry 

June 9  Art Day Camp - We will be having an art day camp from 9am to 12pm. We will have 3 different activities and a snack. We will be tie-dying, painting kindness rocks, and creating canvas paintings with water guns.  Please be sure to dress appropriately.
June 23 Tim’s Ford - We will be going to Tim’s Ford State Park from 9am to 12:30pm. We are planning on playing outside bingo while we walk the trails. We will also have a picnic lunch and enjoy the playground before heading back to Tullahoma. The kids will need to bring a packed lunch with them.

July 12 through July 16  VBS

Vacation Bible School is “Who Is My Neighbor” VBS, where the kids will spend 5 days learning all about who their neighbors are, no matter how near or far that may be. Emcee and Sage will take us through the story of “the good Samaritan,” breaking it down over 5 days with each day having a different theme. Each day the kids will dive into scripture in small groups and share about God’s love for us and our call to love our neighbor, along with a story time where real stories of missionaries and their work with neighbors are told. We learn so much through play and are excited to try some new games, crafts and fun snacks with the kids each day. I hope that everyone will be able to attend VBS this year, but there will be a deadline for signups to ensure enough volunteers and materials. ***YOU MUST SIGN UP BY JUNE 28TH*** 
July 28  Field Day -  We will be having a Field Day of sorts from 9am to 12pm. We will have indoor and outdoor games and activities. We will also provide a snack. 
July 30  Lock-in - We will be having a lock-in for rising 3rd graders through 5th graders. I will be sending out more information via email and text message closer to the date. 
The children’s program is always looking for volunteers. If you would be willing to do any of the following, please let me know.

Nursery Volunteers for birth through 3 years old
     Sunday school hour
     Worship hour

Teaching a 3 – 5 week unit for Sunday school 
     Pre-K through 2nd grade
     3rd grade through 5th grade

Wednesday night teacher 3 – 5 week units
        2-year-olds through 5-year-olds
        Kindergarten through 2nd grade
        3rd grade through 5th grade

Children’s music and/or plays
Chaperoning outings 
Katie Prasser     931-841-8078

Youth Ministry

There will be no Weekly Wednesday night programming for youth during the summer.
Instead we will focus on building community with each other with these activities. (Closer to time for the events details will be sent out by email or text; contact Christy for info.)
June 9 - Lake Day on Normandy at Cedar Point Recreation Area. We will meet at 10:30 a.m. at Cedar Point. Please bring a lunch, chair, towel, and any water toys and necessities you want! If anyone has a kayak, bring it if you can! 

June 23 - Cave Tour and Ice Cream! 
Let’s meet at 2:00 p.m. at FPC Tullahoma. We will then load up and pick up our Manchester Youth at FPC Manchester and head to the Caverns for a fun, interactive tour of 2 caves! Afterward we will head back to Manchester for Ice Cream. Cost is TBD.

July 7 - Bigfoot Adventures in Tracy City! 
Ziplining, picnicking, outdoor games, hiking and more! I am still working out the details, but save the date!

July 21 - Let’s Take a Hike! 
We will meet at 2:00 for our hike. CJ and I will soon let you know where we will meet and where we are hiking. 

July 25-31- Montreat! 
Christy Sherrer 
Montreat Youth Conference: Called to Connect

     On July 25, we are heading back east to the beautiful mountains of North Carolina with 13 teens who attend PYC at FPC. We are going back to Montreat Conference Center, a little north east of Asheville for the annual, summer Montreat Youth Conference. We were unable to attend last year because of Covid. Montreat Conference Center is one of three national conference centers affiliated with the Presbyterian Church USA, annually visited by over 35,000 people seeking physical and spiritual renewal in the beautiful mountains of western North Carolina.

     The Montreat Youth Conference is designed for high school students, entering freshmen through graduated seniors, and their adult leaders. This summer they are doing something special for the 2020 graduates who did not get to have their special ceremony at Montreat. It is a unique gathering of young people from all over the country for a week of study, worship, and recreation. 

     Montreat Conference Center states, “Our Youth Conference affirms youth in their calling to be and to shape the church of Jesus Christ. Our desire is to help youth come to know and believe that they are the beloved of God and to be a place where authenticity, community, connection, and God’s truth thrive. We seek to be an inclusive space where each voice can be heard and where each heart can be molded; where change is invited, challenge is expected, and where all are embraced.

     We have spent the last year, and more, in a season of disconnect through our challenges and circumstances. God calls us to be connected in all aspects of life. Through the stories of Mary and Martha, Jacob and Esau, Jeremiah, and many others, we are reminded that we are all inter-connected in God’s intentional actions. Join us as we explore the many ways that we can reconnect to live out God’s call.” 
     We cannot wait to get back to Montreat in July! Please pray for us while we are gone. We are so thoroughly grateful for the love and support of our church family.

Save the date!   August 8


This year’s Rally Day, our kick off to our Christian Education year, will be Sunday, August 8! It is so exciting to be able to offer programming again after the year Covid dealt us. Hope to see there.

In January 2021, National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman presented her poem “The Hill We Climb” at the presidential inauguration. The final lines read: “For there is always light, / if only we’re brave enough to see it. / If only we’re brave enough to be it.”

How often we long for light! In recent years we’ve agonized amid pandemic, angry politics and new awareness of racism. Some have suffered deep sorrow. But Jesus says, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12) and invites us to turn to him. God is always bringing light into darkness, through helpers, healers, peacemakers, friends. Sometimes bravery is required to turn our focus from the negative to the positive — to see the light of God.

Jesus also says, “You are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14, emphasis added) and calls us to brighten the gloom. That requires bravery, as Gorman notes, but as Christians we’re urged to look for light not just to make our own lives better but to shine into others’ lives too. The Holy Spirit gives us the needed courage — to both see and be light.

Super human
Real strength is neither male nor female but is, quite simply, one of the finest characteristics that any human being can possess. —Fred Rogers

Congregational Care – Elaine Huffines, chair

The committee sent 36 cards, made 65 calls, sent 6 care packages, provided 2 meals, and 17 transports.

Thank you to all church members not on our committee who assisted and contacted members. We are all called to be the image of Christ in the world.


Newsletter Deadline

The next issue of the Newsletter will be the August 2021 issue. The deadline for submitting information and articles is noon on Tuesday, July, 20th.