Church Bulletin Fans

17-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Sunday, July 14, 1912:  Went to Sunday School this afternoon. I was almost melting by the time I got there.

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Did Grandma fold a church bulletin to make a fan to cool herself ?

Fast forward 50 or so years to a time when Grandma actually was a grandmother and I was a small child. . .

I can remember sitting on hard pews in Messiah Lutheran Church in McEwensville on hot summer days.

To cool (and entertain) myself, I’d make fans out of church bulletins. Inevitably I’d accidently drop the fan onto the pew in front of me. And, Grandma would smile, pick it up, and give it back to me.

23 Responses

  1. Definitely have made these. Was thinking of this on Wednesday night. The air conditioner in our building went out.

  2. The church I used to go to had not AC, which explains in part why fellowship fell off in the summer. I, too have made fans out of the church bulletin.

  3. Oh, what a beautiful memory of your Grandmother Sheryl. I’m guessing she probably made the fans just like you did… hence the smile. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Smiling and chuckling a little bit – remembering hot summer services at Grandma’s little church – such blessed memories.

  5. I liked the memory of your grandmother, I too wonder if she thought back to her younger days that made her smile. One store around here still sell the church fans – from what I understand back in your grandmothers day they were actually called funeral fans because they had advertisements of funeral homes on them. We still have many rural church’s with no a/c so they are still fairly popular. For me, our church is a/c but for outdoor activities I have my “ladies fan” that I purchased in Gettysburg, Works great! Blessings – Patty

    • It’s cool that a store still sells funeral fans–I didn’t know that they were still available.

      On hot days like today, a fan is almost a necessity for any outdoor activities. :)

  6. When I was growing up and attending church in Detroit we had funeral fans stuck in with the hymnals. I’m pretty sure I also made bulletin fans.

    • I don’t remember the church that I attended as a child having any funeral fans, but it would have been a good idea because it got very hot.

  7. Wonderful memory… No wonder you’re having so much fun with her memory…

  8. Such a familiar site you portray. Thank you for sharing. Lived it many, many times… in our small rural church. ;-)

  9. I hope there’s air conditioning in that church this summer, it’s been crazy hot hot hot here and from what I’ve heard everywhere. Very creative with the program though.

    • I don’t think that church ever got air conditioning. It closed several years ago when it consolidated with another church in the parish.

      I hope you find ways to stay cool. :)

  10. I heard a news item this morning that air condioning was invented 125 years ago and I thought I’d post it here…. It seems the first commercial use of air conditioning (cool water passing over a stream of air) was at Tiffany’s…. But I expect it wasn’t in very many homes even by 100 years ago.

    • Wow, it’s amazing how long air conditioning has existed. The Muffly’s didn’t even have electricity, so I’m sure they didn’t have air conditioning.

      I can remember when my family got a window air conditioner in the middle part of the 20th century. We thought that we were so “modern”.

  11. now I did laugh here — I remember making church bulletin fans when I was a child — and we dinna go to church all that often. LOL

    • Fans must have been a favorite activity that parents used to keep their children relatively quiet during church. I also made paper boats out of church bulletins. (My parents didn’t permit me to make paper airplanes out of bulletins. :)

  12. I remember these! Funny…I can also remember having to undo the fan so the bulletin could be read!

    • It is funny the little things that we remember. I don’t remember having to undo my fans. My parents must have shared a bulletin (or maybe they picked up an extra one) so that I could have one.

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