BETHEL, Conn. — Every hour on the hour, a beautiful sound can be heard coming from the United Methodist Church in Bethel — it's the sound of the newly installed chimes in the bell tower.
The chimes pay tribute to those who have lost their lives to addiction — and to those who still struggle with the problem.
“The chimes do a Westminster ring on the hour. And at noon and 6 p.m., they play a hymn,” said Senior Pastor John Parille.
The church raised $14,000 through social media and a winter fundraiser in just two months to pay for the new chimes.
“Some people said they lost a child or family member from addiction, and wanted to be part of this project," he said.
United Methodist Church also offers many support groups for those whose lives are affected by addiction.
“We have regular AA meetings and drug support counseling meetings for family members of drug addicts," he said.
The chimes cost $12,000. The remaining $2,000 will go toward planting gardens and building benches outside the church. That will give people a place to sit and listen to the chimes in the warm weather.
Parille said he hopes the Bethel community will benefit from hearing the sound of the chimes and knowing their significance.
“These are trying times that we live in, and we are hoping the chimes serve as a beacon of hope, to lift people's spirits," he said.
"We have 2,000 songs in the database that the chimes will play, such as 'Amazing Grace' and 'How Great Thou Art' as well as Christmas tunes, songs for Easter and Irish blessing songs," he said.
According to Parille, the church tower had chimes from right after World War II through the late 1960s, when they were taken down.
The sound of the chimes carries about a mile.
The United Methodist Church, 141 Greenwood Ave., Bethel, was established in 1860. It has 400 families as members.