Awhile back I attended a concert of the Eric Whitacre Singers at the Cathedral of St. Paul. During the intermission, I joined a long line waiting to enter the restroom.
Sitting just outside the ladies room was this bell:
As you can well imagine, I am immediately drawn to church bells, so I gave it a close inspection. To my surprise and delight the inscription on it says “Buckeye Bell Foundry.” That’s the same foundry that produced the first bell I found in Sichuan that set me on my journey of researching church bells in China, and then eventually writing my book The Bells Are Not Silent: Stories of Church Bells in China.
On the wall above the bell was a small plaque with information about the bell:
The “Voice” of the Cathedral — Cast by G.W. Coffin Buckeye Bell Foundry, Cincinnati, Ohio–1850.
“Between 1915 and 1986 the Cathedral’s “voice” consisted of one bell, cast in Cincinnati in 1850. It had been given to Bishop Cretin by Louis Robert, and had hung in the second and third cathedrals, before being installed in the south tower of the present Mother Church.” (from Eric Hansen, The Cathedral of Sant Paul: An Architectural Biography)
If you’re ever in the Cathedral, be sure to head to the basement to check out the bell, and other interesting historical artifacts.
A Tale of Two Bells
Buckeye Bell Foundry
A Reunion in Coffeyville
Church and State
In February I had the joy of hosting 3 Chinese friends in the Twin Cities. It was a whirlwind 4 days, trying to see all the sights and meet all my friends.
One afternoon I took them to visit the Minnesota State Capitol, which sits on a hill overlooking the city. It’s a gorgeous building, designed by Cass Gilbert, the architect who designed the United States Supreme Court.
As we walked up the steps towards the main entrance, they couldn’t believe that we were going to just casually walk into a government building. “How can this be?” they asked. I told them that since the building belongs to the people and that “we the people” are the bosses of the elected officials, then the building had to be open. They shook their heads in amazement.
They were really taken aback when I took them to the gallery above the House of Representatives. The House was not in session at the time, but I was able to explain to them how things work, and that when they are in session, anyone can come in to watch and listen.
As we exited the Capitol building and walked back to my car, I pointed out to them St. Paul’s Cathedral, which sits on a slightly higher hill about a mile away.
When I explained to them that the cathedral had been built on the higher of the two hills that overlook the city to symbolize that God’s authority is higher than the government’s authority, the one friend who is a pastor in China jumped up and down and shouted, “YES!”