Church brings bells back to Westernport

Special to the News Tribune
First Baptist Church of Westernport

WESTERNPORT - The belfry chamber high in the steeple of the brown brick First Baptist Church of Westernport had been silent for many years.

The belfry's original rusted cast iron bell was broken long ago and had fallen from its cradle. Its sound no longer was heard throughout the Appalachian mountain valley town, calling the congregation to worship services each Sunday morning.

The belfry, however, is silent no more thanks to an anonymous donor  who provided the church in the valley the necessary funding to enable it to purchase and install a digital carillon bell system.  

That system was installed on May 19, 2021, by the The Verdin Company of Cincinnati, Ohio.   

Its sound is that of English cast bronze bells. The versatile system provides a Sunday call to worship bell; a peel of bells for joyous occasions such as weddings; and the solemn solitary sounding bell of a funeral toll. In addition, it's bells have the capability of playing sacred hymns, patriotic tunes and other selections appropriate for religious and national holidays.  

    The church has dedicated the bell system to the memory of Ruth E. Shaw,  a longtime and faithful member of the Church congregation.  She passed away in December 2020.  

    Now that the bell system is operational, persons living in the Westernport area may take delight in the following words from the country hymn, The Church in the Wildwood, also known as The Little Brown Church in the Vale:

“How sweet on a clear, Sabbath morning,

To list to the clear ringing bell;

Its tones so sweetly are calling,

Oh, come to the church in the vale.”

    The First Baptist Church of Westernport welcomes all persons to join with the church's congregation in attending its Sunday worship services at 11 a.m., Sunday School at 9:45 a.m. and many other activities.