Instruments‎ > ‎

Sanctuary Chimes / Bell Tower

posted Aug 14, 2015, 9:06 AM by Steven Vaughan   [ updated Aug 25, 2015, 2:53 PM ]
Prayer pulls the rope below, and the great bell rings above in the ears of God. Some scarcely stir the bell, for they pray so languidly; others give but an occasional pluck at the rope; but he who wins with heaven is the man who grasps the rope boldly and pulls continuously, with all his might. (Charles H. Spurgeon, British Baptist preacher)
When our church was built in the 1930’s, a set of chimes was installed on the back wall of the sanctuary by the J. C. Deagan Company of Chicago, who also supplied the famous 3-note NBC chimes. They were removed a few decades ago, though no one knows
when or why or what happened to them. When the St. Ignatius Jesuit Retreat House called “Inisfada” was sold in 2013, we were able to procure a set of similar chimes from their great front hall, with the only cost being their installation and rewiring of the fragile old electricity. This set was manufactured by the Rowland H. Mayland Company, established in 1866 right here in Brooklyn, who also supplied chimes for New York’s CBS Radio Orchestra. (So you could say we’ve changed our network affiliation!) 

In many churches, sanctuary chimes were replaced with the less expensive altar bells, and may be rung according to the same guidelines. Traditionally, they are rung 
continuously during the Gloria at Midnight Mass to celebrate their first use in the new Liturgical Year, since they are silenced during the season of Advent. 

Our church bell is in a 72-foot-high square tower, located on the right-hand side of the church building. A Verdin Digital Bell Controller is used with the now-stationary bell to program funeral tolls, hour strikes, wedding peals, and call to worship bells.