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Grace St. Paul’s brings home its bell

Many years ago Grace St. Paul’s Methodist Church settled into the town of Mauch Chunk.

There the congregation constructed a church with a bell steeple. In 2007 the congregation built a new, modern facility in Penn Forest Township, selling the old church building to the Carbon Masonic Lodge 242.

It has taken 10 years but the old church bell has come home to Grace St. Paul’s.

The bell was built in 1870 by Vickers and Sons and Company, Sheffield Ltd. of Sheffield, England. The bell is constructed of cast steel and weighs more than 600 pounds.

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“It came to our attention that the Masons were going to sell the bell,” said church trustee Ted Jacobs. “They offered it to us and we purchased it back for around $1,000.”

At first the trustees of Grace St. Paul’s were undecided how the bell would be used. It was originally thought that the bell would be placed in the garden. Eventually it was determined that the bell would have a more prominent role. The church hired an architect to design a pergola to house it.

The structure is located in front of the building.

“It will be the first thing that gets your attention when you arrive,” said head trustee Harold Sanford.

“It is a very special thing to have so much of our history here for everyone to see. We are going to use it every Sunday morning at the start of our services.”

The pergola will be lit from within.

Retired electrician Bill Trimble donated the electrical work to the church.

“This congregation does so much for the community,” Trimble said.

“It’s nice to have the opportunity to give back to them.”

Trimble added a recessed outlet in the ceiling to allow the church to decorate the bell for the holidays.

The construction of the pergola was done by Meckes Builders and Excavation LLC, of Penn Forest Township.

A dedication ceremony for the bell is tentatively set for Nov. 5.

Rocky Meckes, left, fastens down the bell with assistance from his brother Roger. Rocky Meckes constructed the pergola that will hold the bell in front of Grace St. Paul’s Methodist Church in Penn Forest. Scan this photo with the Prindeo app for a video. JUDY DOLGOS-KRAMER/TIMES NEWS