The Bells of St. Michael's

Three bells hang in front of St. Michael's Church's building. Each bell has its own story (which we will eventually learn and tell).

The St. David's Bell, far right

We didn't know the history of "St. David's Bell" until we were approached by the United Methodist Church of the Good Shepherd in Kearny, Arizona, to borrow it for its town parade. Why did the Methodist Church in Kearny, some 60 miles to our east, want to borrow this particular bell? 

Way back before Kearny existed, there were three towns not far from each other in what is now the massive open pit Copper mine south of Superior. In the late 1950s, when the Ray mine was to be greatly expanded, the town of Kearny was built farther to the south and the towns of Ray (Anglo), Sonora (Mexican), and Barcelona (Spanish) were consolidated there.

The Methodist Church in Ray and the Catholic Church in Sonora were both moved -- buildings as well as congregations -- to Kearny. For whatever reason, St David's Episcopal Church in Ray simply disbanded. What to do with its bell? It had been given to the Episcopal congregation by Mrs. Sherwood Aldrich, a parishioner, in 1914. Apparently the priest at Christ Church, Florence, occasionally travelled to Ray to lead services at St. David's. It must have seemed obvious that the bell should be moved to Florence. 

The bell hung at Christ Church until it, too, disbanded. Now where should the bell go? Again, it must have seemed obvious that it should come to St. Michael's, a conregation that had been created out of Christ Church.

The theme for Kearny's Pioneer Days parade that year was "Lore and Legend." Good Shepherd United Methodist Church's float featured the St. David's Bell and the story of its travels from Ray to Florence to Coolidge. Following the parade it was returned to its place among the other two bells in our front yard.

We are also stewards of St. David's fine processional cross. 

 

The Bells