Would you like to hear a little story? One hot August day I met Neal Ganz to ring the church bell as part of a nationwide commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King’s renowned “I have a dream speech.” Since the two of us arrived before the appointed hour, Neal invited me to have a look into the bell tower.
It was an unsettling experience edging my way high up the rickety ladder inside the dark, dusty bell tower. But when I came into the light and looked at the huge bell before me I had this awesome feeling of reaching back into time. Because there upon the bell was an inscription, “1849 Meneely Bell Foundry West Troy, NY.” Wow, I thought to myself, our church bell is old, 167 years old!
The tolling of our church bell, often by children on Sunday mornings, signifies the time to attend worship service. It can also be heard following weddings or in remembrance of an event. I love the clanging of our old bell because it’s a reminder to “come to God.”
So next time we hear the bell, let us remind ourselves of what’s important, the ones we love, the blessings we’ve been given and the hope for peace we all share. It’s a time to look back, a time to look forward, and a chance to look deeply within.
It’s been that way since 1849 and indeed well before then. We remember what’s important. May the peace of God be with you.
Church Historian’s Note: The bell was ‘subscribed’ on Jan. 15, 1847. In other words, on that date people signed a document promising to donate a certain amount of money toward purchasing the bell. The meetinghouse (our current sanctuary building) was then about four years old.