United Methodist Church Rings Historic Bell For First Time In Decades, Following Restoration
Published: May 4th, 2020

United Methodist Church rings historic bell for first time in decades, following restoration The United Methodist church on North Broad Street had its tall steeple constructed in 1875 and the historic landmark had not been rung for many years. After reconstruction work it was again safe to ring the bell, which it did this past Easter. The interior of the bell, seen above, is still being worked on. (Photos by Tyler Murphy)

NORWICH – As the pandemic has changed all of our lives, so has the life of the Broad Street United Methodist Church.  

The United Methodist church is the church on North Broad Street with the large steeple that was constructed in 1875 and has been a historic landmark of the community ever since.

 However, its bell had not been rung for many years partly due to the deteriorating steeple that houses the bell. Since the steeple has been worked on and restructured, it was again safe to ring the bell, which it did for the first time in a long time this past Easter.  

Along with the ringing of the bell, many members of the church also rang their own bells and chimes at their own homes in commemoration and celebration of Easter and that once again the community would be blessed with the traditional sounds of the bell as it had in 1875. We think the bell was last rung in the 1980’s. The reconstruction project still has over a million dollars to finish the roof and steeple, but it is reassuring to see and hear the immediate benefits of the recent construction.

Along with the rebirth of the bell ringing, Rev. Rachel Barnhart initiated a virtual community Easter egg hunt.  She asked people to make large decorated paper eggs to be displayed in windows or on doors, so people could see the eggs from the road.  Each person participating was given a number and 225 eggs were placed in Norwich windows or on doors for individuals to drive or walk through the community to tally as many as they could find, using a printable sheet posted on our website. This event was a huge success for young and old seeing the symbol of an egg as a sign of hope and rebirth.

Beyond the virtual egg hunt, the United Methodist church also initiated a program for members and non-members to remain in virtual contact using telephones, computers, or cell phones. Small groups were established, and members in each group called “Circles of Care” were advised to check on each of the members in the group.  In this way, people are still able to safely stay “in touch” with one another in spite of the current social distancing practice.  If you are interested in being in one of these groups, please call the church at 334-2895.  You don’t need to be a member of the church.

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The Broad Street United Methodist Church has been responding to the Coronavirus in our community. Sewers in the congregation have made and distributed over 1000 masks in the last few weeks and will continue as long as the need remains. Those who need masks in Norwich can contact the church office and we will package up our homemade masks for you to pick up - free of charge!

While the effects and restrictions brought about by the current Coronavirus have changed our lives in many ways, the Broad Street United Methodist Church has been attempting to continue to fulfill its mission in the community using creative and positive practices.  It is their hope that their efforts will bring the people in the community closer together in spite of the isolation mandate.  Online services can be viewed by going to Facebook Norwich Broad Street United Methodist Church or https://broadstumc.wordpress.com/worship-and-prayer/.  

Rev. Rachel Ann Barnhart 

Pastor of the Broad Street United Methodist Church