The Most Important Meal

. September 23, 2014.

Food and fellowship are natural companions. Sunday morning cBy Laura Blair

offee and continental breakfast create a reason for church visitors and members to gather in the lounge at Sylvania First United Methodist Church in Sylvania. And if some of those people need the nutrition more than the conversation, that’s what the breakfast is about.

Lisa Bartholomew is the chair of the nurture committee at Sylvania First, and she runs the Sunday morning breakfasts. The first Sunday of the month offers a free, hot breakfast in the church’s Fellowship Hall. The remaining Sundays, breakfast is served in the lounge of the front entrance in continental style. The community has been invited since the breakfasts started in January of this year.

“There are families that need a meal not out of their budget, but done in such a low-key way,” said Bartholomew. “And it’s good for us as a church. We have older members that need social interaction, and then there are some families with young kids that might not make it to church on time if they didn’t eat breakfast here.”

Good nutrition is a part of the breakfast program. Sylvania First wants to reach out to neighbors who are food insecure, but they want it to be substantial and not filled with empty calories. It’s less cookies and coffee cake and more yogurt, fruit and mini-muffins, or pancakes and bacon.

Usually, Bartholomew, in her signature hat, stocks up snacks and coffee in the lounge before heading down the hall to teach adult Sunday school. Teaching adults is a change from her job teaching math and reading to sixth, seventh and eighth graders at Regina Coeli School, where she’s taught for 21 years.

She and her husband, Gary, have been members of Sylvania First for three and a half years. In that time, she’s been involved in the educational programs at the church. She’s taught vacation Bible school for a few summers, and recently took the reins of the breakfast program from Jackie Lerch, who started it.

“It’s not too hard to run, because of all the volunteer help,” said Bartholomew. “It’s fun. I enjoy talking to all of the people.”

Some of the conversation revolves around her hat collection. Bartholomew remembers being impressed by the hats she saw during Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s wedding. But she didn’t start wearing them until after her oldest daughter was born. Now, she tries to find unique ones and would like to travel to Europe to shop for them.

Bartholomew grew up in Temperance, MI, and she received her Bachelor’s Degree at the University of Toledo, and her Master’s Degree at Bowling Green State University. Currently, she is co-authoring curriculum on anti-bullying. She’s presented a program that empowers kids to communicate and include each other in solutions at Regina Coeli School and a few others.

When she is not spending time at the church or school, she enjoys reading, stamping cards and spending time with her two daughters, Caryn and Annie.