A sound that echoes through the years
A tradition that is centuries old returned to the center of town recently, as the Trumbull Congregational Church’s bell rang out for the first time in recent memory.
“It’s a steady signal that some things in life are still predictable,” said church member Tara Brophy. It’s a sign that even the simplest activities are often the most exciting and meaningful. Perhaps it’s an invitation.”
When the church bell was installed in the late 19th Century, it also included a set of instructions on when and how to ring it, said Pastor Timothy Hare. The reprinted bell-ringing rules are still in the church’s belfry.
“One hour before services, ring the bell continually for five minutes to let the farmers know that it was time to start cleaning up and getting ready to come to church,” Hare said.
The bell was also to toll 30 minutes and 15 minutes before services, and then one last time five minutes before the Sunday service.
“That was the notice for people in the parking lot to come inside and start taking their seats,” Hare said.
The bell-ringing is now being done by youths in the church’s middle school Sunday school program, Hare said. The bell, cast by the Meneely Bell Foundry of West Troy, N.Y., is heavy enough to pull its ringers off the ground as it swings.
“I don’t know exactly how much it weighs, probably over a ton,” Hare said. “You have to start it rocking back and forth until it starts ringing.”
The sound of the bell tolling has already generated feedback, Hare said.
“A neighbor told me she loves hearing it, that it’s like going back in time,” he said. “We haven’t called in any farmers yet, but they’d be welcome.”