Bells ring again at historic CT church

The bells are ringing at the First Congregational Church of West Haven. (WFSB)

Just in time for the holidays, the bells are back in one Connecticut shoreline town.

After years of silence, the sound of church bells is once again clinging and ringing on the West Haven Green.

"I would remember walking on the green, just hearing the bells as I walked past," James Admans with the First Congregational Church of West Haven said. But, for years the sound of sound of church bells fell silent.

"I think the community is glad to have them back," Admans said.

Admans showed Channel 3 the storage area inside the First Congregational Church and there was not a single bell.

"It feels amazing," Admans said. "It feels as if the church has been renewed."

Now, there is a small black box.

"We're so glad they're back," Gert Beckwith, who has been a parishioner for 70 years at First Congregational Church of West Haven said. "You heard them, they used the Westminster chimes, dah, dah, dah duh, at 15 minute intervals and then on the hour they'd play the whole thing."

The church has been at the West Haven Green for nearly 300 years. But, years ago, the antiquated eight track system that they used for the bells stopped working and so did that ringing sound, which would reverberate across the center of West Haven.

"I would get comments on our Facebook page, like where are your bells," Admans said. "We had been working on it for a number of years."

When a member of the First Congregational Church of West Haven passed away and left money the church, members knew how they could honor her and bring the bells back with a new electronic system.

"A retired elementary school teacher, left money to the church in her will and the committees decided to use part of that money," Beckwith said.

Parishoners got to use the new electronic system for the first time this weekend when the city held its tree lighting ceremony on the West Haven Green and they told Channel 3 there's more in store.

"I've been told that there are Christmas hymns on there so we'll be hearing Christmas music as you walk around the center of West Haven," Beckwith said. "So it's not just for the First Congregational Church and its members, it's for the people of West Haven."

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