The Burn Out

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When someone is attending a new church, after a few times, they will notice the same people that stand out. These are the people that greet visitors, who take part in helping in the service, who want to get to know new members at fellowship.

Once a person becomes a member and becomes involved in the church, they are usually asked to fill out a time and talents sheet to help determine where that person could take part in the church outside of the church service.

These time and talent sheets help out in a couple of ways:

  1. They create an opportunity for new to meet new people and create friendships.
  2. It helps bring new blood into the committees and different factors in the church life.

Bringing in new blood helps prevent burn out of the people who are currently in these committees. New people bring new ideas and new insight into the church life. If new people do not partake in these committees and groups, the flame on the committee’s candle begins to diminish and burn out and the portions of the church life die with it.

HOWEVER, the flip side to the burn out is that many of us feel burned out in our everyday lives. The hustle, the family, the jobs, traffic, politics, planning…it burns us all out. By becoming active in the church and volunteering on a committee, it refreshes a person knowing that they are giving back to the church and city community.

When a group gets new members and the excitement builds with new ideas, the excitement is infectious! We need to make the snowball and push it down that hill to get the church moving forward!

Consider helping out in different parts of the church. The committees welcome everyone to take a part in their groups to help the betterment of the church! If a person puts in to something, they will get something in return.

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The Church’s Annual Norwegian Bake Sale

Lefse. Krumkake. Sandbakkles. Rosettes.

That sounds like Christmas to me.

Why is it that we only bring out our ethnic desserts during the winter holidays? Is it something warm and cozy to heat us up during the cold nights? Is it bringing the memories of our relatives and holidays of long ago? Or is it a great reason to sneak a dessert or two?

When having Christmas dinner at my Norwegian-American grandmother’s house, she would make her cookies that Grandma only had the magic touch to make just right. In her later years, she began buying lefse from the store. I only knew that it was a flavorless Norwegian dessert that you spread butter on topped with cinnamon. But it was a nod to my ancestors and that made it special to me.

But why didn’t she make it? Why didn’t she teach me to make it?

Little did I know that when I was hunting for my next church home that I would learn the secrets behind making lefse and other Norwegian desserts.

While searching for my next church, I browsed webpages, looked for some unique identity, and the warmth that would bring me closer to God.

WelcomeIn our community, we have two ELCA churches: Bristol and the other church, which turns out to be an offshoot of our congregation. But something about Bristol’s community was unique and capturing: the Norwegian Bake Sale.

Bristol Lutheran Church has Norwegian ties going back to its first Sunday as an organized congregation. The church held services in Norwegian until the 1940s before switching to only English.

Although we are an evolving church, an evolving society, and a renewing mindset, we still have Norwegian culture surrounding us in our building. We have signs with rosemaling, potato mashers with intricate handpainted flowers and designs (okay, more rosemaling), and we have Norwegian Bibles on display in our glass cabinets.

 

Masher

The Bristol Lutheran Church Women’s group continues to breathe life into the Norwegian traditions. These women taught me what it takes to make these different delicacies and proved that homemade lefse tastes better than store bought. They introduced me to new desserts that I had never knew of but fell in love with (Mandelkake, the creamy almond cake, is utterly amazing). And most importantly, the women who taught me how to make these just right were doing it out of love to pass on the church’s traditions and through serving others.

Each dessert’s proceeds goes to a different charity in our community. It is a way to give back to the community and to help others by selling the products of our hands, our traditions, and our good will. Many people will benefit from our skills and food.

This will be my second year being able to help give back to the community. I originally signed up to help because I was going to learn the traditions of my Norwegian ancestors and for fellowship> They gave me a gift of family tradition that my grandma didn’t give. However, it quickly became evident that it is much bigger than that: it is another way to help God’s people.

Baking starts Labor Day and goes through the first week of October.

Sign-Ups are in the fellowship area.

The sale is on Saturday October 7th!

The Bill Board

The summer slump is almost coming to an end. We are winding down on our vacations, coming back with sun-kissed skin and refreshed spirits. We are ready to take on the upcoming school year and/or the future snow falls and winter traffic!

That also likely means that we also booked our Sundays with excursions out of town and maybe did not get to church as often as we normally do in the other seasons.

We have families who have registered for Simply Giving, which takes care of our weekly/monthly tithing for us. (If you are interested, please contact the church office for more details!)

If you prefer giving your contributions when the plate comes around on Sunday, we have another method for you to help the church AND keep in line with your pledge: The Bill Board.

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The Bill Board is located downstairs in the Fellowship area. Every month, we post copies of the bills that we have received that need to be paid.

These bills can be applied to your annual pledge!

The steps are posted on the board along with the monthly bills.

Although some members might not agree with having our bills posted on the wall, it allows for people to see how much it costs to operate the church on a monthly basis. It gives us ownership for the building we call our church home. Hopefully last year’s financial meetings helped us gain a new appreciation and understanding of our holdings and this helps illustrate that a bit further.

By considering this as a way to give back to the church, it will help us beat the summer slump, especially as we are transitioning into a new era of pastoral leadership!

The Giving Tree

This year, the Stewardship committee has been working hard to present a new theme each month representing God’s Creation. We have had live animals in our church, a local meteorologist talking about climate change, gardening, and more.

This month the focus is on our Giving Tree. The Giving Tree has ties to The Giving Tree┬áby Shel Silverstein (click on the title to read the poem). Silverstein’s poem/story focuses on the relationship between a boy and a tree throughout both of their lives. As they progress throughout life, they have different needs. The boy needs help, the tree is able to give him that help all the way to the end. In return, the tree is feeling fulfilled from helping this boy.

Giving Tree

Our congregation and community is filled with individuals and groups that need help. The Stewardship committee is hoping that you can help the tree by acting on its behalf; reaching out to others who need help and making new connections.

It takes a village to raise a child. It is a lifelong commitment. How can we help each other honor that commitment? One small act can mean the world to a person in need.

The Church with the White Picket Fence

The community of Sun Prairie is changing rapidly as more people move to the Madison suburb. But if one were to drive north on County Road N, the scenery changes drastically from the rest of the town.

A sixty-second drive north of town on N will bring you to a quaint but stoic looking church. That is Bristol Lutheran. It’s the one with the white picket fence, the church cemetery, and the beautiful tall white steeple.

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Our congregation is 110 years old (organized in 1907) and we have occupied this building since 16 June 1908, when it was purchased from the Methodist Episcopal Church of Bristol for $1,200.

The building was built by the Methodist Episcopal Church of Bristol in 1866 for $3,700. It was completed a year after the American Civil War had ended.

The original building was flush on the front and was rectangular in shape. The building also had a steeple which, according to The Countryman and The History of Bristol Lutheran Church, caused the Methodist congregation some trouble:

“That article indicated that the steeple had persistent leaks. It swayed whenever

the bell was run or a strong wind blew. Woodpeckers bored holes in the shingles.”

After being struck by lightning in 1898, the church gained a remodeled steeple.

The group of Lutherans were looking for a Lutheran church that was not far from their farmsteads, so they created their congregation and needed a building to purchase so they could meet in a secure and local spot.

Fortunately, the Lutherans were able to purchase this country church and the building became the home for the First Lutheran Church of Bristol.

Over time, additions have been added to the church, such as a new bell tower with steeple, a narthex, balcony, and portico in 1971, and an expansion of seating, pastor’s office, church office, entrance, kitchen, fellowship area, classrooms, and conference room in 1992.

The building’s history resemble one of the characteristics of our congregation: maintaining the original while adding new ideas and opportunities to what once was.