North Delta’s Trinity Lutheran Church seeks to honour for its historic bell for Canada’s 150th birthday

The bell was cracked when overzealous young Annieville men banged on it with a metal bar to celebrate the end of the First World War.

If Diane Hansen (pictured) has her way

If Diane Hansen (pictured) has her way

It was partway through a cool November when the parishioners at Trinity Lutheran Church heard the news.

Rumours the Great War was over had been floating around Vancouver since Nov. 7, 1918. So when word of the official declaration of peace made its way to Annieville, the congregation was ready.

Men and boys ran up the steps to the church and pulled the bell ropes. Out across the hill, the bells rang—one note higher, the other lower, creating a harmony to signal the end of the unprecedented conflict.

But it wasn’t loud enough. The men climbed up into the ceiling of the church, scaling the ledges built into the walls until they reached the two bells. With a metal rod, they hammered on the bells, and they banged so long and so hard the bigger bell cracked. And a cracked bell doesn’t ring.

In 1919, the church council sent a letter to the bell’s manufacturer, asking if there was any way to get the bell fixed without recasting it. There’s no evidence the manufacturer ever responded.

And so the bell sat in silence in the spire of Trinity Lutheran Church, too heavy to move and too broken to ring.

Now, nearly 100 years later, the bell might be ready to leave.

It can thank Diane Hansen for that.

Hansen has been a member of the Trinity Lutheran Church since 1992, and recently she’s taken over the heritage aspect of the church council. When the B.C. government announced a new heritage funding project in January, Hansen was there to spring into action.

The funding is designated for “legacy, culture and heritage projects in communities throughout the province” according to the government website, and that’s exactly what Hansen is hoping she can create with the broken bell.

The goal, Hansen said, is to bring the broken bell out of the church tower and create a heritage spot in front of the church for it. She’s looked at getting a bronze engraved plaque, outlining the history of the bell and its significance for the area.

She also wants to replace the bell with another of similar vintage, so two tones can call out from the church again.

“Ideally, we’d love to have the project completed in Canada’s 150th year of celebration,” she said. “This was a huge thing for the area, because they were celebrating the end of the war, and it just seems to fit in so well with the celebration of all of Canada.”

Hansen applied for funding through the B.C. grant program on Feb. 10, asking for $37,579. This would be enough to pay for the contractor to remove the bell from the tower and develop the heritage space for it, as well as purchase a replacement bell for the tower.

To qualify for the total amount, the church will need to raise around 20 per cent of that money on their own. Although there is a donation box in the church for the bell project, Hansen hasn’t approached the community as a whole.

“We do need support. This isn’t something you can put in your budget,” she said. “I mean, we need a furnace. So we can’t just say, ‘Well, we’re going to get that bell down and everybody here is going to be freezing.’”

If the grant is approved, the process of getting the 1,500-pound bell out of a tower won’t be easy.

First, scaffolding would have to be erected around the tower, likely destroying the flowerbeds beside the building. Then, a section of wall would have to be carefully taken out—since the church is a heritage building, the wood will need to be rebuilt into the wall. The bell would have to be removed, transferred to its heritage pad, and then the new bell craned in.

In total, Hansen said, the process would take about two weeks.

“We would love to see it as a community event when it does happen, that people can come and watch and see this,” she said. “Because this is going to be a once in a lifetime thing. You don’t see bells removed from heritage buildings.”

Hansen expects to hear back from the B.C. grant committee in late March. Until then, the cracked bell will wait in the church tower as it has done for 100 years, silent as its smaller partner rings out over Annieville.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum. (File photo)
Surrey mayor taking it on the chin during budget public hearing

So far, he’s cut five callers off during Monday’s virtual meeting

The entrance at Fleetwood Villa in Surrey. (Photo: dignified.ca)
Fleetwood Villa resident tests positive for COVID-19, leading to ‘outbreak’ at facility

Fraser Health says it’s ‘critically important’ for people in the region to use COVID-19 assessment tool

A Surrey protest now in week 12 against a local resident has frayed the nerves of neighbours fed-up with the group’s presence. (Submitted photo)
Surrey neighbourhood fed-up with strange protest

Surrey Mounties say they’re monitoring the situation

Bhupinder Hundal. (submitted photo)
Surrey’s Bhupinder Hundal hired as news director of B.C. broadcaster

Grad of Princess Margaret Secondary now managing Global station

(Delta Police Department photo)
Scam-savvy North Delta couple help would-be victims avoid Bitcoin fraud

Mike’s Convenience Store owners have stopped several folks from being scammed at their Bitcoin ATM

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest weekend of COVID-19 pandemic with 46 deaths; more than 2,300 cases

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides COVID-19 update

Menno Place. (Google Street View image.)
32 family members respond to Abbotsford care home’s plea for staffing help during COVID-19 outbreak

Menno Home asks for relief workers for food service, laundry and housekeeping

Kettle bells sit aligned in an indoor fitness studio. (PIxabay.com)
1 COVID-19 case at a B.C. fitness studio leads to 104 more infections, 6 school exposures

According to case data released by Fraser Health, one case of the novel coronavirus carries a big impact

Vehicles drive past a display thanking essential workers in Burnaby, B.C. on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
B.C. changing COVID-19 case reporting as virus spread continues

Manual counting takes more time, leads to errors

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Christy Jordan-Fenton is the co-author of the book Fatty Legs, which has been mentioned amid the controversy of an Abbotsford school assignment on residential schools.
Co-author of residential schools book condemns controversial Abbotsford class assignment

Children’s book mentioned amid controversy at W. A. Fraser Middle School

Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka takes over as energy and mines critic for the B.C. Liberal opposition. Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick (right) moves from health critic to assistant deputy speaker. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals pick critics to take on Horgan’s NDP majority

Interim leader Shirley Bond takes seniors, long-term care

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver. (Black Press Media files)
Judge hears Langley development case that could end in mayor, councillors booted out of council

The conflict of interest case was launched by local voters a year ago

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland listens to a question from a reporter on the phone during a news conference in Ottawa, Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Spending too little worse than spending too much, Freeland says as Canada’s deficit tops $381B

‘The risk of providing too little support now outweighs that of providing too much’

Most Read