HANSVILLE — This week those passing by the Hansville Community Church may have noticed it looked a little different. This Sunday it will sound different too.
At about 10 a.m. the Sunday before Christmas the community will hear the inaugural ringing of the new church bell.
Wednesday, Hansville Community Church members installed a bronze bell atop the roof. The Civil War-era bell will be used as all church bells were intended — to call the faithful to worship, celebrate a new marriage and mourn someone’s passing.
“It looks like it’s always been there,” said Pat Miller as she watched her husband Neil and fellow church member Dave Barrett ease the belfry over the bell.
Finding the church bell find was a bit of a fluke Neil said. It began two years ago when Pat said she wanted to buy a bell for the church. The couple was vacationing back east and ended up at a 10-acre Amish run flea market in Shipshewanna, Ind.
Overwhelmed by the vendors and bargain hunters, Neil stepped outside to get some air. He also bought a bell.
A man was unloading items from a Ryder-style truck and in the back was the bell. It, however, was not for sale. The man had just bought the bell the day before and was not ready to part with it.
“The first thing I asked him is ‘where do you go to church.’ That was my opening line,” Pat said. After that the man seemed willing to help out.
The Millers struck a deal and the next summer drove across country to retrieve the 400-pound bell. Neil built the belfry to match the exterior of the church.
“It’s a gift from our family to the church,” Pat said.
The couple stored the bell at their home until arrangements could be made to put it in its permanent home.
“Our ancestors heard that bell, we’ll hear that bell and our children will hear that bell,” Pat said.