Bristol and Michael

Not Alone on the Journey

I grew up in Northern Illinois, and still have a lot of ties to the Chicago area, where I went to college and seminary. My brother and his family, as well as my parents, live in Chicago, so I like to visit often. I have two sweet little nieces that are especially fun to see as they’re growing up. 

My husband Michael and I have been married for 3.5 years, and we live in St. Louis Park. He is on the Enterprise Risk Management team at Target, which is what initially brought us to Minnesota. We love living in the Twin Cities, and we really enjoy taking long runs around the lakes and bird watching. Although I run outside year round, I’m a fair-weather cyclist and spend more time on my bike in the summer and fall. I also love to read, both fiction and non-fiction, and I really enjoy crossword puzzles, even though I’m not very good at them. 

I’ve been working in ministry for almost 10 years, mostly doing parish-based family ministry. I have served churches in Illinois, Massachusetts, and Minnesota. I went to seminary at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and completed my internship last year at Mount Olive Lutheran Church in South Minneapolis. I’ve completed the candidacy process for ordination in the ELCA and am now eligible for my first call as a pastor. 

I started at Zion in December 2020 and will be serving in an interim capacity over the coming months as Zion navigates some staff transitions. I’ll be leading children, youth, and family ministry programming and supporting congregational life. I’ll also be part of the worship leadership team and will preach occasionally. 

Starting a new church position during the COVID pandemic has meant I haven’t been able to meet a lot of the congregation in person yet. However, I can tell already that Zion is a vibrant, connected community with a heart for service. I have found the staff and lay leadership to be welcoming and open. 

One of my favorite Bible stories is in Matthew 14 when Peter walks out on the water toward Jesus. He’s showing great faith and experiencing an astonishing miracle, but when he sees the storm around him, he gets scared and starts to sink. Then he reaches toward Jesus and says, “Lord, save me.” Without hesitation, Jesus reaches out and holds him fast. I relate to Peter’s combination of trusting Christ but experiencing overwhelming fear, and I take comfort knowing that I can always reach out to Christ and Christ will not hesitate to reach out and hold on to me. 

There are so many hymns I love, but I think “Lord Jesus, You Shall Be My Song” (ELW 808) is a really special one. The tune is so beautiful and moving, and I love the description of discipleship as being a life-long journey with ups and downs. My own faith journey has felt like that, with periods of feeling close to God and periods of feeling like it was hard to hear God’s voice. One thing that really gives me hope is that we’re not alone on the journey; we walk as a community of faith together. We are the body of Christ together, so no one person needs to be strong all the time because we can help carry one another.

Bristol Reading will be working with tasks from the Children’s Youth & Family Ministry and Pastor of Congregational Life positions while we begin looking for permanent staff in those areas.

zion
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