Georgia parish rings in Eastertide with a new set of bells

April 09, 2018 by Jonathan Foggin

Archbishop Haverland performs the "baptism of the bells" for St. Stephen's Church.

St. Stephen's parish in Athens, Georgia has a new way of making its presence known in the community, one with roots that stretch back to the earliest days of the Church--the parish has installed a peal of bells.  

The church has had a bell tower since its construction in 1981, and for many years used a large farm bell that was on loan from a parishioner.  However, a broken rope and the need for structural repairs silenced the old bell for a number of years.  So when funds became available through a recent bequest, Father Nick Athanaelos jumped on the opportunity to restore the tower to its intended use.

The Christoph Paccard company of Charleston, South Carolina was selected to manufacture three bronze bells.  The new bells were cast using the same 200-year-old method that Paccard is known for the world over.  Though it was hoped that the bells would be available for the Easter Vigil, a number of delays (including a blizzard at the foundry in the Alps) slowed the process, and it was not until Easter Week that they were delivered to Georgia.  Before they were hung, the bells were put on display in the church sacristy, and in due course, "baptized" by the bishop.  

The bells are currently set to ring the hours and signal the Angelus at noon.  They also ring prior to each Sunday service and mark their conclusion with a brief peal.  Keeping in line with ancient tradition, the parish has embraced the words of the psalmist--their sound is gone out into all lands!

For more stories like this, see the upcoming issue of The Trinitarian.