Pastor’s Corner June 2013

6 Jun

IMG_3938 copyOur church is distinguished in many ways, but one way  in particular is on the minds of our parish council members this month: the bells—and, not just any bells, but bells rung in 1896 at the coronation of the last Tsar and Tsarina of Russia, Nicholas II and Alexandra, who are canonized as saints in the Russian Orthodox Church.

We came by the bells in an extraordinary way: upon their arrival in New York, the bells were held up by customs, while American officials awaited payment of the import duty.  A special bill introduced in the 55th session of the United States Congress, which was adopted and signed by President William McKinley, allowed the bells to enter the United States duty free! Our church building was actually built around the bell tower, and these six sonorous instruments enhance the beauty of all of our services.

Regrettably Mother Nature had been wreaking havoc over the years, and the bell tower that houses the bells developed cracks and leaks that allowed water inside the building, leaving peeling paint and damaged walls. This month, we’re investing considerable money to repoint and repair the mortar and bricks.

When I think of our Church, I think of people: sinners made saints, on the road to salvation in Christ Jesus. But the bells call us to worship, remind us of our history, and add to the majesty of our services, and they deserve our attention.

You’ll be hearing more about the bells and their restoration as the work progresses. Meanwhile, would you kindly join in the preservation effort, either by prayer or by donation? Just let me know. I’d love to guide a group up the spiral staircase in the choir loft to show you these magnificent gifts from the Church in Russia.

In Him, Fr. Steven J. Belonick

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