What to know about Trinity Lutheran Church's bell-ringing tradition
Jennifer Lee Preyss
Nov. 8, 2013 at 5:08 a.m.
The church bells of downtown Victoria ring daily over the square - and have for more than 100 years.
A joyous sound of recorded traditional hymns and old-fashioned bell ringing, the bells summon Christians everywhere that church services, weddings or a funeral is about to begin.
And while other churches in the downtown area ring bells, one church started the tradition in Victoria in 1908: Trinity Lutheran, at the intersection of East Constitution and De Leon Streets.
Here's 10 things you didn't know about Trinity's downtown ringing church bells:
- Trinity Church's original brass bells were dedicated with a German inscription to the then German-speaking church in 1908. The bells originally hung on the East Constitution Street side, and a parishioner of the church climbed two and three ladders as many as four times daily to pull the cords attached to the bells.
- The original bells, along with the steeple, were moved to a new bell tower in the new sanctuary when the church completed its renovation in the 1950s. The original bell tower remains in the chapel, but does not house any bells.
- The bells are made of brass and weigh thousands of pounds.
- One of the original bells broke from its cradle and fell two stories from the original bell tower. It is now on display in Trinity's garden.
- The bells ring during the week by a carillon system, which is programmed to play recorded hymns at 8 a.m., noon and 5 p.m. The carillon sounds similar to authentic bells.
- Members of the church ring the bells by hand, using long, thick cords, Sundays at 7:30 a.m., 8 a.m., 10 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. The carillon rings Sundays at noon and 5 p.m.
- The hymns of the carillon change to represent the life and seasons of Jesus: Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter and Pentecost.
- Some of the hymns played throughout the year include, "O Come, O Come Emmanuel," "Away in a manager," "Blessed Jesus" and "Savior like a Shepherd."
- The carillon has been used by the church since the 1950s. Prior to the carillon, the bells were rung by hand.
- The original bells were given to the church by the Rev. Karl Weiss and church member Michael Weber in 1908.