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Bell removed from United Methodist Church bell tower last Wednesday PDF Print E-mail
Written by Wauneta Breeze   
Thursday, 18 September 2014 20:11

Donna Applegarth, left, and Hondo Fanning pose for a picture next to the United Methodist Church bell, which was removed from the bell tower last Wednesday. The Wauneta UMC plans to create a display for the bell prior to their 125th anniversary celebration in November. (Courtesy Photo)


By Tina Kitt


The large cast iron bell which once rang every Sunday morning calling the faithful to worship service was removed from the belfry of the Wauneta United Methodist Church last week.

Removal work was handled by Hondo Fanning and crew members Jesse West and Matt Howard.

Boards supporting the bell, which with its cast iron saddle weighed over 1,000 pounds, had become compromised and ringing of the bell was causing damage to the mortar of the church building so the bell had not been used for the past several years.

Church members are collaborating with Barry Hackney of Wauneta to create an area alongside the church where the bell can be displayed. This project is made possible with the financial support of Donna Applegarth and family, given in memory of her late husband, Paul Applegarth.

Earlier this year a chime system purchased in memory of Kent and Susie Doetker was installed at the church with help from Shane and Larissa Gerhartz of the Palisade United Methodist Church.

The Fanning crew repositioned the chime speakers to the top of the church so the chimes can be heard more clearly.

Construction on the brick UMC church still in use today began in 1922, with the new church dedicated in 1923.  It is believed that the bell used in the brick church building was the same one used in the former wooden Methodist church which had been built on the same site in 1892 and torn down to make way for the 1923 church.  The bell tower and bell for the original church were added in 1907.

The Wauneta United Methodist Church, which began as the Methodist Episcopal Church of Wauneta, was the first organized church in Wauneta. It was established 125 years ago in 1889. A special 125th celebration is being planned for Nov. 2 and it is hoped that the bell display will be completed by that date.