Fundraiser to raise century-old church bell in Abbotsford

Parishioners seeking money to restore and ring bell first installed in original St. Matthew's Church in 1913

The Parish of St. Matthew Church is raising money to raise a century-old bell first rung in Abbotsford in 1913.

The Parish of St. Matthew Church is raising money to raise a century-old bell first rung in Abbotsford in 1913.

A 104-year-old bell originally installed in the city’s first church a century ago will ring out again if the parish of St. Matthew Anglican Church has its way.

The original 336-pound bell was installed in 1913 on the roof of the original St. Matthew’s Church on Montvue Avenue. The church was the first in Abbotsford. Cast at the C.S. Bell company the previous year, the bell moved with the parish to the new Guilford Drive church in 1977. However, in 2011, it was removed to allow for a roof repair but never raised again due to budget restraints.

It has been languishing in the church basement storage ever since, but parishioners are now raising funds to raise it once again.

“We’re quite excited about getting the bell mounted because it’s been part of Abbotsford for quite a while,” said Paulette Farquhar, a member of the church’s council.

It’s not known how much it will cost to mount the bell, which is cast-steel and must also be refurbished. With its assembly, it weighs more than 500 pounds. Once ringing, though, Farquhar said the raising of the bell comes as the church works to increase its presence in the community.

“I feel a bit of nostalgia for the sound of church bells on Sunday morning.”

On May 7, the parish will hold a garage sale at the church, at 2010 Guilford Drive, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., with a wide variety of goods, including donated plants from a local nursery, along with refreshments and home-baked goodies.