15 Sep 2014
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No. 59: Hear the Bells Toll on Church Street

Community Church, the oldest church in Syosset, now has the newest state-of-the-art chimes

No. 59: Hear the Bells Toll on Church Street No. 59: Hear the Bells Toll on Church Street No. 59: Hear the Bells Toll on Church Street No. 59: Hear the Bells Toll on Church Street

A few years ago, Syosset’s oldest church bell went silent. 's original bell from 1861 was too temperamental and unreliable due to weather and age to chime regularly. Let’s just say the clapper was not performing its proper duty as a striker.

After memorial funds were established, a new and improved, 21st century system was put in place. The system started producing melodious music heard throughout downtown Syosset last summer, but was officially dedicated in the fall to the memory of those whose donations made it possible.

Instead of manually ringing the bell, this new electronically digitized carillon bolts out traditional Christian hymns and seasonal song all created by selecting a standard yearly program—think auto-pilot for chimes—by the church’s pastor, the Rev. Dr. Sean B. Murray.  Besides taking on all his duties as pastor, he is the keeper of the music selection.

Although the music and bell tones originate from the black box inside the church, the sound is actually emitted from the belfry in the church tower. To hear the sonorous bells, come by during the week either for your lunch break before noon or at dinner time at 6 p.m. and you will hear the toll of the hour followed by assorted hymns. Close your eyes to feel transported to an old European town square.

On Sundays at 9:45 a.m. there is an official call to worship using their new system. At 10 a.m., Pastor Murray rings the old bell manually from a switch inside the chapel ten times and he concludes the service the same way with three rings, the Trinitarian carillon.

For religious holidays and national holidays, such as Easter and Memorial Day, you will hear tunes that have been pre-programmed to celebrate the appropriate day.  For marking occasions not on the official seasonal almanac calendar, the Pastor selects music or hymns that are appropriate to mark the day. During 9/11 as sunset came upon Syosset, a perfectly pure and moving rendition of Taps was played. If you heard it, you would have thought the bugle player was right outside your window.

On a fun note, while officiating at a wedding ceremony in the backyard of a neighboring home, Pastor Murray timed the chimes to go off exactly at the conclusion of the service by playing the wedding march. The guests were all in awe.

So come by Church Street, flanked by Berry Hill Road and Split Rock Road, to see a 150-year old church and hum to some hymns.

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