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Author: Subject: A History of the Bells of St. Paul Lutheran Church, Serbin, Texas
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[*] posted on 3-14-2017 at 09:11 PM
A History of the Bells of St. Paul Lutheran Church, Serbin, Texas


A History of the Bells of St. Paul Lutheran Church
Serbin, Texas

The Bell of 1854


The history of the bells of St. Paul begins in the small village of Kleinwelka near the large city of Bautzen in the Wendish area of Germany. In this village, the first bell to ring out over the Wends of Texas was cast. The Friedrich Gruhl bell-foundry cast the small bell in 1854. Our Wendish forefathers had these words cast onto one side of the bell: Gottes Wort und Luthers Lehr vergehet Nun und Nimmermehr (God 's Word and Luther's Doctrine Shall Now to Eternity Endure). On the other side of the bell are cast the words: Gegossen von Fr. Gruhl in Kleinwelke (Cast by Friedrich Gruhl in Kleinwelke). The raised letters and scroll work at the crown, shoulder and rim of the bell are exquisite in design. The cannon, adorned by four angel heads, is attached to a wooden yoke by iron bars and bolts. (Bells over Texas by Bessie Lee Fitzhugh.) This bell was rung at all the dedications of the three church buildings built by the Wends here in Serbin. It was rung each Saturday at sundown, it rang to call each member to services on Sunday, it tolled to announce that the congregation was at prayer, and it rang at 11 o'clock in the morning to announce the death of a member.

This small but highly decorated bell served the Wendish colony well from 1854 until 1904. The church minutes of Oct. 31, 1904 read as follows: Es wurde auf die Anfrage soil eine neue Kirchenglocke angeschafft werden, geantwortet ob soll erst die alte Glocke genau untersucht werden. Zu dieser Arbeit werde ein Committee bestehend aus den Herm William Vogel, Aug. Bamsch, Ernst Zoch, und Johann Miertschin emannt, welches sich dieser Arbeit sogleich entledigte das es zeigte sich dass die alte Glocke gesprungen sei. Diese Angelegenheit wurde dann bis zum nachsten Sontag verschoben. (The question as to whether a new church bell should be purchased was answered by whether the old bell should first be examined. A committee consisting of William Vogel, Aug. Bamsch, Ernst Zoch, and Johann Miertschin was named which quickly accomplished this work and showed that the old bell is cracked. This business was postponed until the next Sunday.)

The Bell of 1905


It was decided that the cracked bell had to be replaced. The church minutes of Jan. 1, 1905 read as follows: Es wurde beschlossen das der Unterzeichnete eine 814 Pfund schwer Kirchenglocke 36 inch in diameter bestellen soll welche und fur die Summe von $223.50 f.o.b. angeboten wird, von E. W. Vanduzen Co., Cincinnati, Ohio. Diese Glocke soll den naturlichen B Ton haben und soll die Intschrift tragen: Gottes Wort und Luthers Lehr vergehet nun und nimmermehr. (lt was decided that the undersigned [Gerhard Kilian] should order a 814 pound, 36 inch in diameter bell for the amount of $223.50 f.o.b. from E. W. Vanduzen Co., Cincinnati, Ohio. This bell should ring the tone of B natural and carry this inscription: God's Word and Luther's Doctrine shall now to eternity endure.
We do not know when the dedication of the 1905 bell took place, but the minutes of May 21, 1905 say that the $28.00 collected at the dedication should flow into the church treasury. Frieda Kasper, a school student at this time and mother of Milton Kasper, one of the donors of the new bell placed in the tower in 1993, told her children many times how teacher Kilian let all of the pupils out of school to watch this bell being hoisted up into the tower.

The 1905 Vanduzen Bell cast in the Buckeye Bell Foundry has served St. Paul for 91 years carrying out the same responsibilities as its predecessor. Its beautiful deep tone has inspired the congregation in its worship of our Lord and Savior. At some point through the passage of time, the bell stopped ringing on Saturday evenings and to announce that the congregation was praying the Lord's Prayer. These two items were reinstated by the voters in January of 1993. The custom of ringing the bells 30 minutes before church services was reinstated by the voters in January of 1994.

At a voters' meeting of June 12, 1927, a decision was made as to what to do with the original 1854 bell which has been stored in the church attic. Es wurde beschlossen, dass wir unsere alte Kirchenglocke dem Concordia College Museum in Austin zur Verfuegung stellen. Die Glocke bleibt jedoch Eigentum der Gemeinde. (It was decided to place our old church bell at the disposal of the Concordia College Museum in Austin. The bell, however, remains the property of the congregation). The bell now proudly stands on a pedestal in the main entrance to Concordia University in Austin.

The Bell of 1993


In March of 1993, the congregation voted to accept the gift of another bell to ring alongside the 1905 Vanduzen bell. The bell was dedicated on September 12, 1993.

The 1993 bell was cast by the Royal Dutch Bell Foundry of Petit & Fritsen in Aarle-Rixtel, Holland and was purchased from the Verdin Bell Co. of Cincinnati, Ohio. (No bells are cast at this time in the U.S.)

The 1993 bell is given by Mr. and Mrs. Milton Kasper and Mr. and Mrs. Jack Wiederhold in remembrance of the 140th anniversary of St. Paul Lutheran Congregation (1854-1994) and in loving memory of these Wendish pioneer families and their descendants:

George Kasper (1816-1864) and
Magdalina [Schneider] Kasper (1823-1895)

Carl Benjamin Weise (1820-1908) and
Maria [Noack] Weise (1812-1862)

Traugott Kasper (1851-1917) and
Amalia Bertha [Wiederaendersl Kasper (1855-1881)
Magdalena [Knippa] Kasper (1859-1941)

Ernst Weise (1854-1933) and
Anna Maria [Kappler] Weise (1860-1943)

Otto Kasper (1890-1975) and
Frieda [Weise] Kasper (1892-1975)

The 1993 bell carries the following inscription:

St. Paul Lutheran Church
Serbin, Texas
1994

Grosser Gott wir loben Dich
Holy God We Praise Thy Name

Presented by: Milton and Edna Kasper
Jack and Marian Wiederhold



The Bell of 1996

In a special voters meeting on May 19, 1996, the congregation voted to accept the gift of a third bell which would complete the three bell peal for St. Paul.

The bell which we dedicate today, October 27, 1996, is donated by Leonard, Lucy, Lori, and Valerie Mitschke. It is given to the Glory of God in memory of Leonard 's parents: Alvin Mitschke and Minna (Schneider) Mitschke and in memory of Lucy's father: Edwin A. Zoch and in honor of her Mother Alvina (Schubert Zoch.

This bell carries the following inscription:

THIS IS THE DAY WHICH THE LORD HATH MADE;
WE WILL REJOICE AND BE GLAD IN IT.
PSALM 118, 24.

To the Glory of God
presented by:
Leonard, Lucy, Lori, and Valerie Mitschke.



This 1996 bell was cast by the Royal Dutch Bell Foundry of Petit & Fristen in Aarle-Rixtel, Holland and was purchased from the Verdin Bell Co. of Cincinnati, Ohio.

With this bell, the three bell peal in the tower of historic St. Paul Lutheran Church of Serbin is complete. The 1905 bell rings the note of A (not B natural as is written in the minutes of 1905), weighs 814 lbs. and has a diameter of 36 inches; the 1996 bell rings the note of C#, weighs 484 lbs. and has a diameter of 28 1/4 inches; and the 1993 bell rings the note of E, weighs 290 lbs. and has a diameter of 23 3/4 inches.

A peal of bells is a musical combination of bells which can produce a harmonic chord. As the bells swing, each at a different speed because of their different sizes and the different diameters of their attached wheels, an every changing rhythmic pattern creates a joyful, tumbling sound. Sometimes the bells will strike at the same time, but more often their pattern will be different. Pealing is the joyous sound of ever changing patterns as the bells ring together. Because bells have different sizes of wheels and swing at different speeds, each bell always has its own rope. At Serbin, three people will be used to ring the bells, each pulling a separate rope.

* * * * * * * * * * *


May these three bells in the tower of St. Paul ring to inspire this historic Lutheran congregation to even greater heights of love and adoration for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.


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