The Centennial Bell

May 23, 2017

BY: Pastor Tim Ahlman, George Frauhiger, Pastor Kevin Wyssmann, and Duane Hustrulid

The courtyard bell at CGLCS is 100 years old! I just found this out in the below article given to me by long-time member, George Frauhiger. The bell will continue to be a staple in our courtyard for years to come! What a joy to ring it 7 times each Sunday, signifying CGLCS as a place of rest.

The next time you’re on campus, take a picture by the bell with friends and family and post on Facebook. I’m serious. It’s a cool bell. #cglcbellcentennial Enjoy the article below!

The Bell

By George Frauhiger

This is the story of the bell in the courtyard at Christ Greenfield Lutheran Church in Gilbert, Arizona.

The bell was cast in St. Louis, MO in 1917. It was originally installed in a Lutheran Church in New Effington, South Dakota. New Effington is just south of the North Dakota border and just west of Minnesota.

Back in the early 1960’s, the interstate system was being built in that part of the country. I-29 was basically built right through New Effington splitting into two communities. Eventually they built a new church on the other side of the new highway. The old church was torn down. The contractor that tore down the old church eventually moved to Vancouver, Washington. So, the bell ended up in Vancouver.

There was a Pastor of that church by the name of George Larson. His son, Pastor Dave Larson, was the pastor at Nativity Lutheran Church. Nativity was a new mission congregation being started on Guadalupe Road in Gilbert, Arizona.

The wife of the contractor that had the bell knew that their old pastor, George Larson, had a son starting a new church in Arizona. Pastor Larson thought his son would love to have the old bell be part of that new mission congregation.

So, myself, Duane Hustrulid and another charter congregant, Curtis Nelson, drove to Vancouver Washington during a very heavy rain with Mr. Hustrulid’s pickup. We rented a U-Haul trailer from the U-Haul place where Mr. Nelson worked.

We then hauled the bell back to Gilbert. The wooden rails that it was mounted on were in very bad shape. Somewhere during the unit being moved around and changing the existing wooden rails, someone accidentally pushed down on the large bolt-like anchor holding the bell to the large frame with the loader bucket that was lifting it. The frame was broken. Mr. Gene Berg who was also a member of Nativity Lutheran, was well versed in metallurgy and had the contacts of the proper people that knew the proper techniques of welding that frame back together.

The bell was then mounted to the concrete slab that was poured at the northeast corner of the new church building we built there at 1351 E. Guadalupe Road. Eventually, Nativity Lutheran closed. I am not sure what happened. Eventually, whoever was in charge of that existing church (now “Wonderful Mercy Church”) mentioned at a local Gilbert ministerial meeting that they wanted to get rid of the bell.

We were at that time members of Christ Greenfield Lutheran Church. Pastor Kevin Wyssmann happened to be at that meeting and knew that I (Duane Hustrulid) had something to do with that bell. Curt Nelson and Duane had been nicknamed the “ding-dong haulers” for quite sometime!

So, Pastor Kevin Wyssmann contacted Duane and we made arrangements to go get this beautiful bell. We heard that if we didn’t get it they were going to melt it and sell it. It would have been a tragedy to lose the sound of that lovely bell. I sincerely hope that it will remain a permanent fixture here at Christ’s Greenfield Lutheran.

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