The Newsletter


First Presbyterian Church, Tullahoma TN 37388

April 2020 Volume XLIX, Issue 3


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

The Christian Living class will meet in Fellowship Hall On Sundays. This class explores new and exciting subjects. The subjects come from different aspects and observations on the Books in the Bible, and scripture based upon renowned theological scholars.

Bible Study

Bible Study in Room 105 will continue their study of the Old Testament in chronological order. 


Dear Church Family,

Many years ago the Old Testament professor Walter Brueggemann wrote a book on the psalms. According to him, the psalms can be broken up into three distinct categories. They are psalms of orientation, psalms of disorientation, and psalms of new orientation.

Psalms of orientation are psalms “that express a confident, serene settlement of faith issues.” In psalms of orientation, life is good and one’s faith is sure and solid. Psalms like 145 and 33 are examples of such strong faith statements.  

In psalms of disorientation, however, the psalmist’s life has been disrupted by some event - natural, personal, or even corporate. The order and goodness that once seemed so prevalent, has suddenly disappeared. And so not surprisingly, such psalms express anger, grief, and disillusionment. Psalm 88 (personal) and 74 (corporate) are classic examples.

Psalms of new orientation, then, are psalms written on the other side of whatever struggle, trial, or heartache the psalmist has come through. The psalmist, in other words, has finally passed through his/her period of trial and is now experiencing, well, new life. Psalms 30 and 138 being, again, classic examples.

What is important to stress is that all three kinds of psalms are, finally, aspects of faith - including even psalms of disorientation. While it is often natural to think that doubts and worries and even anger are signs of a weak or bad faith, psalms of disorientation actually assure us otherwise. Faith is things like trust, and hope, and joy. It is also, at times, things like anger, doubt, and even despair. Or as Brueggemann puts it when discussing the frank language of psalms of disorientation, “There is nothing out of bounds, nothing precluded or inappropriate. Everything properly belongs to this conversation of the heart. To withhold parts of life from that conversation is in fact to withhold part of life from the sovereignty of God.”

So faith is always more than just expressing our rock solid beliefs to God. It is also, when needed, expressing our doubts, concerns, and even anger. So in the midst of what quickly seems to be a growing national and global tragedy, I am grateful for knowing that the Book of Psalms is more than just a collection of positive and happy sentiments. For in that book there are psalms full of hurt, anger, and doubt. Those feelings, after all, are also part of faith, right? For to withhold those parts of my life from God that might be far from joyous and happy, is, in a way, to deny the sovereignty of God. 

Or as I like to tell people when sometimes counseling and even encouraging them to express their anger and hurts to God, “Don’t feel bad about doing it. God’s really, really big. So I’m pretty sure God can take it.”

Peace, grace, and good health to all.

Your Pastor,



Minute with Mike

Michael Bradley, Parish Associate for Pastoral Care

Replacement Therapy for Coronavirus

The health problem presented by the coronavirus has caused all of us to make changes, both large and small, in our daily routines and even in our way of living. We see as important things which once seemed trivial (passing the offering collection plate from hand-to-hand) and, as a result, we have been forced to rethink many practices and habits. I suggest that a program of “replacement therapy” is in order to help us deal with the virus.

In order to practice this therapy you need to:

REPLACE ---------                                        with                                                       THIS----------

Anxiety                                                                                                                                Assurance

                 Anxiety does nothing to solve the problem. Be assured, God is still in charge.

Blaming                                                                                                                                    Blessing

Blaming someone else for the problem is useless, Bless those who help you.

Complaining                                                                                                                    Commitment

                       Stop whining and start doing something positive for yourself and others.

Despair                                                                                                                                   Devotion

                             Despair drags you down, Devotion to God and others lifts up.

Evasion                                                                                                                              Engagement

                           Accept the facts, then think about what you can do to help somebody.

Fear                                                                                                                                               Faith

                           Why are you afraid? Faith should be more important now than ever.

Greed                                                                                                                                     Generosity

                 Bare grocery store shelves because some people want it all should be met

                                                         with generosity on our part.

Helplessness                                                                                                                                    Hope

   No, you can't stop the virus; our church will survive. “Now abide faith, hope, and love... “

Isolation                                                                                                                              Involvement

                          Sure, we are not supposed to visit assisted living facilities and shut-ins,

                             but those people have telephones. Get involved with then.

Knavery                                                                                                                                    Kindness

            Knave is an old-fashioned word describing a bad person, don't become that; be kind.

Lamenting                                                                                                                                        Love

               I have heard enough “Woe is me”; show some love for the people around you.

Meanness                                                                                                                                       Mercy

                       Be kind to each other, especially if you are spending more time together.

Narcissism                                                                                                                       Neighborliness

                                                      It is not about YOU; it is about US.

Ostracizing                                                                                                                               Openness

                                            “Social distancing” does not mean “shunning.”

Panic                                                                                                                                            Patience

                                    Calm down; this will take time, but we will get past this.

Quaking                                                                                                                                     Quietness

                                   See previous entry. Sit down, shut up, take a deep breath.

Restlessness                                                                                                                            Resolution

                                        Can't focus because you are distracted by the virus?

                        Resolve to concentrate on that list of stuff you have been meaning to do.

Stress                                                                                                                                               Seeing

              Stress is unfocused energy and worry over what you can't do. Look for what you can do.

Tension                                                                                                                            Thoughtfulness

            Stop snapping at yourself and everybody else. Be nice, like your Momma taught you.

Uneasiness                                                                                                                       Understanding

    Read some reliable material about the situation. The more you understand the less uneasy you will be.

Vice                                                                                                                                                    Virtue

                              Do you really need me to explain this? I didn't think so.

Worry                                                                                                                                            Worship

            Worry focuses us inward. Worship takes us out of ourselves into the presence of God.

Xanthippe                                                                                                                                           X out

  Xanthippe was the wife of Socrates. She was so bad tempered she may be the real reason he was willing  to drink the hemlock poison after his trial. Don't be like her, X out that attitude (X out really is a word).

Yaup                                                                                                                                                       Yen

I hope you are impressed with my vocabulary!

Give up negative feelings and replace them with an anticipation of better things ahead.

Zero                                                                                                                                                      Zest

                                             Don't let life become null; retain zest for living.

Yes, some of this is a little corny, but try replacement therapy. You may be surprised at the result.

Offering From the Office by Martha Bradley, Church Secretary

40 years and counting: March 1, 1980 – March 1, 2020! March 2020 marked my fortieth anniversary of serving on First Presbyterian Church’s staff. When I tell people I’ve been a church secretary/Director of Christian Education for 40 years, their first question often is “At the same church?!!!”

Having been associated with churches and Bible stories my whole life, I can’t help but recall some of the times “40” is used in the Bible. Noah and the great flood with rain falling for 40 days and 40 nights. The Israelites wandering in the wilderness and eating manna for 40 years. Moses on Mt. Sinai for 40 days and 40 nights. Jesus in the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights facing temptations as he begins his ministry.

Stephen asked me if I had any pearls of wisdom to share about having “wandered in the wilderness of church ministry” for 40 years. I don’t think very fast on my feet, but after a few days (not 40, however) to reflect, here are some thoughts.

When I first started working as church secretary in 1980, I truly did feel as if I were in a wilderness. FPC was without a pastor. There was no one else in the church office except me, with a rotary telephone, an IBM Selectric typewriter, and a clothes-ruining mimeograph machine. I had one morning of instruction from the church secretary who preceded me. Her most valuable piece of advice was “Don’t believe or repeat everything you hear.” I still follow that advice after 40 years!

Pastors have come, stayed a few years, and moved on. Somehow every single one of them has allowed me to continue working with them, though I was told by one Pastor Nominating Committee that a particular candidate said, if he were selected, he would prefer to choose his own secretary without ever meeting me. Every pastor has been special in a unique way, and I have learned much from them. The first pastor with whom I worked was Vern Shankle, who came nine months after I was employed. I appreciate now that he had the confidence in me to suggest that I serve as Director of Christian Education, a position I held for 20 years (1982 – 2012). Vern retired after 14 years here, and then I was again alone in the office for almost 2 years.

At that time I learned the value of a connectional church and became acquainted with many ministers in the Presbytery. We did not have an interim during this period, and we had a different guest minister each Sunday. That was a time of trial and trust – trying to locate someone to fill the pulpit and trusting that they would arrive on time on Sunday morning. On one occasion the minister of the day was not here at the time to begin the service, so I stepped into the pulpit to begin the service, praying that she would arrive in time to preach the sermon. About 10 minutes into the service, she came in through the choir door with robe flying behind her.

It was a delightful relief when Allen Mosiman became our pastor for 3 years plus a few months. Allen challenged me as a Christian educator to expand my teaching experience by encouraging me to teach the Disciple classes and was demanding in the quality of the secretarial work.

When Allen moved on to Trinity Presbyterian Church in Nashville, FPC was fortunate to have Bill Starnes fill in as interim. Bill was a kind and gentle soul and was always complimentary about my work. He expected work to be well-done, and by his encouragement made me want to excel.

Patterson Lyles was installed in October 2000 and served for almost 12 years. Patterson was energetic and had a passion for helping people. He set an example for me of compassion and acceptance. After Patterson accepted a call to Kanawha Presbyterian Church in West Virginia, the next minister to be in FPC’s pulpit posed some different circumstances – he is my husband. For two people who had the same major in college but who always avoided taking any classes together because we did not want to compete with each other, could we have a smooth working relationship in the same office? The answer is “Yes”; we did work well together – our work styles are very similar and we respect each other’s gifts.

Then Stephen came in 2013. He is exactly the same age as my daughter! That gave me some pause in the beginning, as I imagine it might have for him. He has a wonderful sense of humor, is energetic about his ministry, and a joy to work with. We both seem comfortable bouncing ideas off each other, be they serious, trivial, or hilarious.

So, even though I began 40 years ago feeling that I was floundering in a vast wilderness of ministry, there have been many times I’ve seen glimpses of the promised land, and, perhaps with any luck, before I’m finished, I may even step a foot in that promised land!

Top 10 Reasons I’m Glad I Work Here

10. Things never move too fast when work is done through committees.

9. Vouchers are such fun to process.

8. I get to know first about leaks and stopped-up toilets and inclement rooms.

7. I get plenty of exercise in the fresh air and rain and ice going between the church office and the church building.

6. There is plenty of mail to sort through.

5. People often assume I know more than I do.

4. I look important because I have a key ring with 19 keys – “keys of the kingdom.”

3. Staff members are delightful, creative, and supportive.

2. The church family of wonderful people share their ideas, joys, concerns, and sorrows with me.

1. When I pray, “Lord, tell me again how lucky I am to work here,” God always does!

Around and About FPC

Mission Committee

“No Preaching, No Praying, No Singing, Just Eating” Free Meal program

The mission committee continues to invite folks from Autumn Manor (low-income senior citizens apartment), Farris Apartments (the church’s apartments), Shepherd’s House, and clients from Good Sam to our monthly FREE meals.  We’re also reaching out to the community in general by placing signage along Lincoln Street the week before the event.

The January meal was held on the 23rd and the menu included chili, Fritos, crackers, cupcakes, sheet cake, coffee, sweet tea, and lemonade. We had 13 folks come and partake of the meal we offered.

The schedule/menus for our next few meals are as follows:

April 26 – vegetable soup and dessert (Cancelled)

May 24 – cookout (hamburgers and hotdogs) and dessert

June 28 – still to be determined and dessert

We’re always looking for volunteers to help us show hospitality and reach out to our community to meet a need.  If you would like to help, see Ray J. or Lesley Lawson, who are coordinating the meals.

Hands-On Mission Events - Trinity Adult Day Care Center – We supported a workday at the Trinity Adult Day Care Center on Saturday, March 7, from 8:00 a.m. til noon. We had five volunteers doing yard work, which included removing a large tree limb from on top of their shed, trimming bushes, picking up sticks from the yard, and mowing the leftover leaves from last season.

Introducing or Re-introducing a Local Mission We Support - We would like to introduce or re-introduce to our congregation the various local mission groups we’ve supported over the years. This support may come in the form of financial assistance and/or hands-on mission events.  We plan on introducing one local mission group per month, and this month our focus is on…

Trinity Adult Day Care Center, located at 708 First Avenue in Tullahoma, is a local nonprofit center which offers a home-like atmosphere for adults (21 years or older) providing the participants nutritious meals/snack; a comfortable setting for reading, relaxing, or just watching TV; and companionship of fellow participants, volunteers, and staff.  The center also provides the caregivers of the participants a respite to run errands or just relax and recharge their batteries.

Good Samaritan food pantry needs.

Our next Mission Sunday is April 12. Items needed by Good Sam are canned fruits, canned vegetables, dry spaghetti, pasta sauce, soup, soda crackers, cereal, peanut butter, canned tuna, and canned chicken. As you grocery shop, pick up some items for Good Sam, and bring them with you to the worship service on April 12.


Another Day of Hope

Dear Friends,

Good Samaritan of Tullahoma in conjunction with The One Day of Hope Board of Coffee County, and Coordinating Churches and Agencies across Coffee County had planned on holding its third annual “Another Day of Hope.”

After much consideration about the current medical concern facing us all - Coronavirus (COVID-19), I think it best, at this time, to take proper precautions and follow the advice of the medical professionals. Therefore, I have made the decision to postpone our event - Another Day of Hope, which was scheduled for Saturday, April 18 until this situation improves.

As you know, this event is geared to our neighbors in need. It is a time when we seek to minister to those in our town, county and local area by providing access to free clothing and a lunch, a chance to speak with medical professionals, share a prayer request, take home some groceries – just to name a few of the things provided during “Another Day of Hope.”

I hope this event can be rescheduled in two to three months – perhaps we can tie it in with the start of school year activities. I will keep you posted when a new date is set, and I hope the FPC congregation will be willing to volunteer again this year.

As you know, it takes many volunteers to make this event successful!


Cindy Kinney, Director

Good Samaritan of Tullahoma

Liturgists wanted for Sunday Services

There is a sign-up sheet on the podium in the narthex. Simply place your name next to the date that you are willing to serve as liturgist. You will be given the information you need by the end of the week in which you are serving.



Presbyterian Women

In April we will look at the 2019-2020 Horizon Bible study Love Carved in Stone: A fresh Look at the Ten Commandments. Lesson eight is “Words of Love: Speak Truthfully.” The purpose of this lesson is to consider the dual emphases of this word: the importance of a trustworthy judicial system and the necessity of basic honesty for the stability of community. Scripture: Exodus 20:16, Deuteronomy 5:20, and Matthew 12:36-27.

Wednesday, April 8, 10:00 (Cancelled)

Church Women United

Coffee County Church Women United has been cancelled in April.

FPC Book Club

The next meeting of the FPC Book Club is scheduled for Thursday, April 26, at 2:00 p.m. in the church parlor. This event has been cancelled.

Children and Youth

Friend, how you treat your Judas says a lot more about where you are in your walk with God than how you treat your faithful Peter or beloved John.

Jesus could have easily exiled, exposed, embarrassed, or even eliminated Judas altogether, and yet instead He chose to extend mercy, love, and grace - even to a known enemy in His own camp that He knew would betray Him. Even dined with him and washed his feet among all the others. I believe we could all take something away from that.

There's this quote I love that says, "It's the people that irk you the most that God will use to grow you. Truth be told, you won't learn how to love well if you only love lovable folks."

Dear, I cannot begin to tell you how many people God has revealed to me how they really felt about me, and I never made an open fuss about it. I continued to love them and some of them God naturally removed from my life for a reason and I am grateful for that; and others, I still love upon them even as they secretly have set themselves against me and rival.

Jesus shows us that love truly is without conditions. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Yes, betrayals hurt. Gossip hurts. Lies hurt. Slander hurts. Persecution hurts. Double-minded "friends" hurt. But instead of looking at an offense as an attack against us, let's try our best to see these moments as another opportunity to serve God and glorify Him by being an example of His love.


Love them anyhow. We fight not against flesh and blood.

And am I saying be a doormat with no boundaries? Absolutely not. I'm encouraging you however to choose your battles wisely and don't ruin your witness if it can be avoided. Sometimes God is trying to do something bigger than you through you. Don't try to get even. That's not your job. Remember, it was Judas' own guilt in the end that drove him to eliminating himself. ♡


"And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful." {Luke 6:33-36}

"You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven."{Matthew 5:43-45}

"To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” {Romans 12:20}

"Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing." {1 Peter 3:9}

"But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you" {Luke 6:27}

"A man’s insight gives him patience, and his virtue is to overlook an offense." {Proverbs 19:11}

May God bless all of us with peace of mind and comfort during this time of uncertainty. My love to all.


Tentative VBS dates are June 1-3.

Please let me know if you can help during this time as we spread the love of Jesus to the children in our community.


You can email me or call me if you have any questions. or 769.226.4970

                             Lou Miley Griffing

Consider Online Giving To Support The Ministry of FPC


The First Presbyterian Church of Tullahoma  “Online Giving” page on our website.

Please go to our Home Page

On the banner across the top click on “Online Giving”; this will take you directly to our Online Giving page.

We have added two new donation options-

The Learning Place Scholarship - There are many young families in our community whom are looking for a safe, faith based preschool yet, are constrained as a result of lower income levels, single mom's or dad's and local support for preschool education. If you would like to make a donation to The Learning Place Preschool Scholarship Program, please make your donations online.


Presbyterian Youth - Safe faith based learning is not limited to those of preschool age. The First Presbyterian Church - Presbyterian Youth Connection provides youth of Middle-School and High School aged students the opportunities to become knowledge in Biblical Scripture and its application to both the struggles and the rewards of becoming young adults. 

Each year there are opportunities for our youth to attend "Sun Set Gap" and the Montreat Youth Conference. Unfortunately, some are not able to attend due to the costs involved for both of these events. Your donation to our Presbyterian Youth will allow some that are not able to attend, the ability to touch the lives of others and learn faith based responsibilities and create new relationships. Please make your donations online.

On the Online Giving page you will find step by step instructions on how to use the Online Giving form. At the bottom of the page click on the blue box “Give Now.”

When you click on “Give Now,” an Online Donation form will appear. There are four options for your giving donation.

  1. Your Sunday Giving/Pledge

  2. The Learning Place Scholarship Donations

  3. Presbyterian Youth Donation

  4. Other  (The “Other” box is for you to give a donation as you specify in the text box. As an example you may want to give to any of our Church Missions.)

Enter the amount you want to give, Then select the frequency you want to give. If you chose a recurring donation, you will be required to set up your own secure online account.

For those who use a mobile device, there is an App in both the IOS and Android stores. Search for GivePlus app and download to your mobile device. Enter the zip code 37388 and select FPC. You now have the ability to give directly from your smart phone or tablet.

If you have any questions, please contact Dan Peres 931 222 9268.


Newsletter Deadline

The next issue of the Newsletter will be the May 2020 issue. The deadline for submitting information and articles is at noon on Tuesday, April 21.