Bristol performers kick off church fundraising

BRISTOL — It’s never a good sign when a roof needs a tarp.
Unfortunately that’s exactly what happened this summer at the Bristol Federated Church. Wind and water have taken their toll on the building at 37 North St. and the roof has begun to fail.
“Small things had started happening,” said Diana Bigelow, a member of the church’s fundraising committee. “Then earlier this year it became a major issue.”
Phase one of the roof-replacement project is estimated to cost $40,000, half of which is due in the early autumn.
The news was “a real wallop,” said Jim Stapleton, Diana’s husband, who is also a member of that committee.
Phase one of their fundraising campaign was a resounding success, however. In fact, it received two standing ovations.
On Aug. 26, Bigelow and Stapleton, along with fellow performers Ali Dawson, Mark Gibson, Robin Hewitt, and Vernita and Tim Weller, hosted a buffet dinner and music/comedy variety show.
Dawson and Gibson performed a jazz-folk program; Hewitt performed a Lily Tomlin routine; the Wellers performed show tunes; and Bigelow and Stapleton performed a scene from the one-act comedy “You Know I Can’t Hear You When the Water’s Running.”
More than 60 people attended and the event raised about $1,100 for the church roof.
“They filled the sanctuary,” said Stapleton, who with Bigelow organized the entertainment. “We were pleasantly surprised. The event was an unknown. We didn’t sell tickets and had no idea what the turnout would be.”
The variety show kicked off what church officials told their membership this summer would be a “monumental fund-raising campaign to fund our roof project.”
Bristol Federated Church will reach out not only to its own community but also to the wider community, Bigelow said.
“What has happened is not as sexy as a hurricane,” she said. “But the result is the same — a shot roof.”
The church is itself a community serving the larger community, lay leader Robin Hewitt pointed out.
“Over the years we have hosted many Boy Scout troops, cooking classes, Thursday Morning Coffee and Conversations and recovery groups such as AA, NA, and Overeaters Anonymous,” she said. “We open our doors on Halloween for bathrooms, hot cocoa and candy to over 800 trick-or-treaters and their families. We help out with Have a Heart Food Shelf and provide a safe place for DCF and Easter Seals to meet.”
Other efforts to raise money have included collecting broken jewelry to sell in Burlington, which Stapleton said has raised $150 so far, and scaling up this year’s Christmas bazaar.
A GoFundMe campaign is also forthcoming, Hewitt said.
Anyone interested in donating or helping fund-raise may contact Bristol Federated Church at 453-2321.
Reach Christopher Ross at [email protected].

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