The second bell that Noël Piper and I found in China was at a church in Ya’an, Sichuan Province. Like the bell we had found the day before, this one was cast in a foundry in Cincinnati, Ohio. The pastor didn’t know what had happened to the bell during the Cultural Revolution, and how it had survived. She did know, however, that it had been taken from the old church building (no longer standing) in the 1960s and returned in the 1980s.
Inside the main entryway of the downtown campus of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis sits a giant black bell tucked unceremoniously in the corner. Unless you’re paying attention, you will probably not even notice it. But as you can see, there is a striking similarity to the bell in Ya’an. Hmm…
Is that just a coincidence, or is there an actual link between the old bell at Bethlehem Baptist Church and the one in Ya’an? In order to learn the answer to that question, you’ll have to read my book, The Bells Are Not Silent: Stories of Church Bells in China OR come on out to the north campus of Bethlehem on Saturday, February 11 at 6:30PM.
I will be telling the story of these bells as well as few others I found in China. As fun as the stories are, however, the bells also serve as vehicles for telling the story of God’s faithfulness to the church in China.
And speaking of fun, here’s a bonus photo of a very young Pastor John Piper with the old Bethlehem church bell! (Thanks, Noël!)
Bethlehem Baptist Church (north campus)
5151 Program Ave.
Mounds View, MN
If you’re in the Twin Cities, come on over!