WARETOWN,, NJ - A few days into the Coronavirus Pandemic, the uncertainty of each day was difficult. There was an ominous feeling in the community; the kids were home from school, in-person worship and activities at the Waretown United Methodist Church (WUMC) had been postponed until further notice. There was less traffic was on the roads.
On Tuesday, March 17, 2020 Waretown UMC decided to play the clarion bells for a half hour at noon each day and invite people to pray when they heard the bells. As soon as the bells began to play the first day, their Facebook page and phone received several messages of how good it was to hear the bells.
One mom was outside walking with her daughters, as soon as they heard the bells, her 6-year-old daughter said “Mama, that means God says it will be okay.” Out of the mouths of babes come the words we all needed!
Another mom said that as soon as her girls heard the bells, they yelled, “Church!”
On the Facebook page “Our Little Waretown” a woman was quoted "Love hearing them every afternoon. Reminds me to say thank you.” Another Waretown resident said "Church bells are ringing. Very soothing.” and someone responded “I live near the WUMC. I sit outside and listen. So soothing I agree."
We have received several other messages from the community of how people enjoy hearing the bells. One community member shared that at the time they received a report from the doctor that the bells started playing. They were comforted that everything was going to be okay.
People have also stopped in the parking lot to listen for the half hour while the bells play.
Pastor Dawn Corlew says, “It has become a sacred moment to turn on the bells. I have been comforted by them as well. They have become a part of our new reality. I am reminded of the Christmas carol, “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The last stanza of the carol says,
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep: "God is not dead, nor doth He sleep; The Wrong shall fail, The Right prevail, With peace on earth, good-will to men."
Yes, God is with us during this pandemic, and we will make it through this time. The bells are played most days at noon and 6:30 p.m. as a reminder of God’s ever present help and presence with us.