Open hearts, open minds, open doors.
The Unity Bell Tower History:
The bell tower is the centerpiece of a courtyard located by the church entrance. The courtyard is made up of bricks which are available for purchase and can be inscribed in honor or in memory of others: current or past church members or other members of the community. The bricks are $30 for one line of inscription and $35 for two lines of inscription. Add a brick for you or your family! It has a unique story and a symbolism important to the congregation.
Both WFUMC and CUMC bells were cast by the McShane Bell Foundry, in the late 1800s, and restored by the same foundry in 2012, after their removal from their respective bell towers on June 15, 2011. The Unity bell was also cast by McShane.
July 1, 2011. Watervliet First and Coloma United Methodist Churches unite as one church - the Coloma United Methodist Church. Plans are soon underway to build a bell tower to house three bells, one from each of the original churches, and a new one to be purchased and eventually to be named The Unity Bell, symbolizing two good churches uniting as one church to "make disciples to transform the world".
June 12, 2012 Workers from the Coloma United Methodist Church hung the restored Coloma and Watervliet United Methodist Church bells in a new bell tower at the church, to signify the merger of those two churches which took place the summer of 2011 into the Coloma UMC facilities.
---It is determined that the third bell should ring with a pitch of E to blend harmonically with the first two bells. The search begins and is expected to be a long and tedious.
August 20, 2012: The morning of August 20th, as the dedication litany was being practiced (bell ringing included), it was discovered that there was a mistake made in the recording of the bells' pitches. Adjusting for that mistake, the Unity bell needs to ring to the pitch of F sharp! We are now looking for an F sharp bronze bell.
November 12, 2012.
A possible third bell was located! It had the required pitch of F sharp. Negotiations were accomplished! We've listened to its sound in combination with the two bells in our tower, and the sound is beautiful! Within the month the check is sent to McShane, and the bell purchased. The plan was made to remove it from its current location and bring it back to McShane sometime in December. Then McShane gave our new Unity bell a good refurbishing, removed its previous engraving, re-engrave it, and shipped it to us sometime in January or February. The Unity bell was engraved with the words "United in Christ 2011", in celebration of the unification of our two churches.
April 9, 2013: McShane contacted Duane Carter to say the Unity Bell would be delivered within the week!!! Duane was sent a wonderful photo of the bell, all refurbished, polished, and newly engraved with the legend "United in Christ 2011". Pastor Ron worked with District Superintendent Neil Davis and Bishop Deb's offices to schedule a re-dedication of the bell tower with all three bells in place later the summer of 2013.
April 12, 2013: The Unity Bell was delivered and was displayed in the narthex. It is beautiful!
June 18, 2013, the Unity Bell was hung in the last open spot of the Unity Bell Tower.
January 2014: The bell ringing mechanism was ordered. The McShane bell company's aim was that the system would be delivered and installed, ready to ring on Easter morning! The scrap drive continued. Bricks may still be purchased and donations made.
Easter Sunday 2014: The bells (all three!) rang from the Unity Tower for the first time at Easter Sunrise Services which were held outside near the Tower. They now ring Sunday to announce the beginning of services at 9:30 am., and Monday through Saturday at 12:45 pm.!
June 1st, 2014: Unity Bell dedication with District Superintendent Neil Davis officiating. All present celebrated the final step in the long process bringing the bells together into the Unity Tower,
A comment from our Facebook page: "These bells symbolize the body of Christ, past and present in the Watervliet First and Coloma United Methodist Churches, now combined in one congregation as Coloma United Methodist Church. Alleluia!"
Walk around the bells and reqd the engravings on each one!
CUMC Bell Facts
Weight: 400 to 500lbs.
Pitch : C sharp
Original Cost: $107.00
WFUMC Bell Facts
Weight: 738 lbs.
Original Cost: $143.55
Unity Bell Facts
The bell was purchased from a Naval Chapel, then shipped to McShane for refurbishing and re-engraving.
Pitch: F sharp