Steep Bells Dedication This
Sunday January 24: The Story Behind the Bells In the steeple of First Baptist
Church Shreveport are 13 cast bells that were originally purchased in 1921 from
the McShane Bell Foundry in Baltimore, Maryland. The bells were donated by Mrs. E. M. Layne in
memory of her husband, Robert Thompson Layne.
They were installed in the downtown church steeple and dedicated on
Sunday, January 1, 1922. First Baptist
Church relocated to Ockley Drive in 1963 and the steeple bells were moved to
the new location. The largest bell (tone D) weighs 3050 pounds, and the smallest
bell (tone G) weighs 500 pounds. The
total weight for all 13 bells is 14,150 pounds. In November of 2015 the steeple
bells experienced a major renovation.
New electro-magnetic clappers replaced the old clappers on each of the
13 bells; an electronic carillon is now linked with the cast bells allowing for
the bells to be heard inside the sanctuary; the bells are now playable from the
organ console; the electrical panel was completely replaced; and both the cast
bells and the electronic bells are controlled by the computerized Schulmerich
Electronic system. The total cost for
this renovation was $68,615. The bells now play the
Westminster Chimes (chiming of the hour) daily from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The carillon plays hymns each weekday at noon. Each Sunday the bells play hymns as
parishioners arrive for Sunday School and worship, and the bells are used for
service music such as calls to worship and postludes. The renovation was made possible
by a contribution given in memory of Mary Allen Robinson Smith and Edward C.
(Kit) Robinson Jr. by John Allen Smith, Hermione ‘Bitsy’ J. Smith and Brian and
Sallie Smith Florsheim; and a contribution given in memory of Hubert Lane
Joyner by Mrs. Hubert Joyner and children Ginellen, Emilane, and Elenrae. We will dedicate these historic
and restored bells in worship this Sunday, January 24, in morning worship. Glen Adkins...