Bristol church celebrates

Anniversary celebration coming Aug. 12

BRISTOL — The North Bristol Christian Church is marking 150 years of providing a place of worship in northern Trumbull County.

The church, 1955 Hyde Oakfield Road, will hold a special anniversary celebration service 10:30 a.m. Aug. 12 followed by a potluck covered dish picnic outside in the pavilion around noon.

Pastor Dale Briggs, who has been with the church since 1988, and a committee have planned the celebration.

Gena Robertson, a committee member, said the celebration will include an old-fashioned hymn sing service with historical stories and sharing of memories. There also will be church history displays and memorabilia on display. Special ornaments will be sold for $5.

“I feel the congregation is like a family. I have seen the children come through here and become adults. Some of them have moved away but they consider this church like their home and a church family. Everyone is always there for you,” Robertson said.

Dale Edwards, committee member, a lifelong church member for more than 65 years who grew up near the church, said “I grew up with my life revolving around the church.”

“I have seen the church grow both physically and spiritually,” he said.

Edwards said the church is one of the oldest buildings in the area.

Kay Weeks said four generations of her family have attended the church. She has been active as a teacher and volunteer at the church.

“It has been amazing to be part of the church. The congregation is always there for everyone,” she said.

Rhoda Starkey, as a lifelong member, also said the church is like another family.

“These people are like my family. I can’t imagine my life without this. I have been here for weddings, funerals and so many things,” she said.

Sue Wildman said her family members have been married at the church.

The church’s oldest member is Winifred Bowers, who is 100.

The purpose of the church is “to encourage a closer personal relationship with Jesus Christ and to meet the spiritual and physical needs of our church and community.”

From 1853 to 1858, a Christian church met in various homes and barns in North Bristol before ending up at the town hall.

In February 1868, a church was established with many of the congregation members coming from a North Bloomfield church.

The church was organized in February 1868 and officially dedicated Dec. 26, 1868, with the first wedding in May 1869.

The church’s first pastor was N.N. Bartlett and he held the position for four years.

A 15,000-pound bell manufactured by the Meneely Bell Co. of Troy, New York, was purchased in 1871, and it still rings each Sunday and at Christmas.

In 1868, a chapel and baptistry were added to the church. In March 1949, a rededication was held for a basement, kitchen, two restrooms, a classroom and new furnace. The sanctuary also had been replastered and woodwork and pews were refinished.

The church’s first parsonage on Messick Road was dedicated in February 1960. Since 1968, when the church celebrated 100 years, a new organ was added, carpeting installed in the sanctuary, new altar and upholstered church presented, sanctuary and exterior of the church painted. A telephone was added in April 1974.

In recent years a handicapped accessible lift was installed in 2003 and the bell steeple was taken down, remodeled and strengthened with iron crosses put up on three sides in 2016.