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Presbyterian bells ring in first Sunday of new year

Before their 10:30 morning worship service this Sunday January 6, 2008, Tyrone Presbyterians will ring the Carillon Bells in their church tower, as they prepare for an Epiphany Communion Service that will include carols about the Wise Men, an anthem about the gifts of the Magi, and a message on the need for Christians to embrace all people of the Earth. In the Christian church year, Epiphany always occurs on the twelfth day after Christmas – January 6. For believers, Epiphany marks the long awaited arrival of the wise men to adore the infant Jesus.
Ten minutes before morning worship, the Schulmerich Carillon, housed in the gothic tower of Tyrone Presbyterian Church, will “Ring Out The Old, And Ring In The New,” as the Carillon Bells peal forth a new collection of Gospel hymns, made possible by the generosity of Mrs. Mary Jane Bickle, who resides on Twelfth Street in Tyrone.
Mrs. Bickle and her family gave the one hundred dollar collection of ten new bell hymns to be played from the bell tower on the Presbyterian Schulmerich Carillon, each day at 11:45 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. The Bickles donated the collection of ten Carillon hymns in memory of Mrs. Bickle’s beloved friend – Mrs. Mardell Stover Fink. The Bickle family decided that the collection of Carillon hymns would serve as a fitting tribute to Mrs. Fink, who was a long-time Presbyterian and a generous patron of music at first Presbyterian church across many years. The bells will sound on several of Mrs. Fink’s favorite hymns including, “Amazing Grace/In The Garden/Ivory Palaces/If I Have Wounded Any Soul Today.”
Presbyterians installed their second Schulmerich Carillon at a cost of twelve thousand dollars in March of 1990. In those days, Mrs. Mardell Fink served as one of several Presbyterian woman who presented noon-time Carillon hymn recitals each weekday. The original Presbyterian Carillon, built by the Schulmerich Bell Company of Sellersville, Pennsylvania, was installed in November 1947. Financial support for that tube-powered Carillon evolved from Lillian Garman’s Speer Bible Class. For many years, Mrs. Faye Dickson Gates presented noon-time Carillon hymn recitals on that bell instrument, until her untimely death in the early sixties.
Thanks to the advances of digital clock computers, the 1990 Presbyterian Carillon peals forth each day at 11:45 a.m. and 6:30 p.m., and daily serenades the citizens of downtown Tyrone, without the need for a player at the miniature Carillon keyboard – attached to the console of the church’s 1998 Allen Digital Computer Organ. Likewise, at noon and at 6 p.m., the new state of the art Schulmerich Carillon from Tyrone’s Methodist Church of the Good Shepherd gently serenades the citizens of east Tyrone with a diverse repertoire of sacred and classical music.
Not surprisingly, since January 6 marks the Feast of Epiphany or the wise men’s arrival on the Christian calendar, Tyrone Presbyterians will unite their voices in singing two famous Epiphany carols – “We Three Kings Of Orient Are” and “As With Gladness Kings Of Old, Did The Guiding Star Behold.” Church organist Richard Merryman will present prelude and offertory voluntaries based on these two famous Epiphany carols.
The Westminster Choir will continue the Epiphany theme with a 1976 Kenn Carmichael carol that discusses the symbolism behind the gifts of the Wise Men. Carmichael’s carol comments on the Frankincense of Love, the Myrrh of Humility, and the Gold of Faithfulness.
Epworth Manor Chaplain and Presbyterian Preaching Pastor Reverend Mark Liller will celebrate the first communion of 2008 with church members, after delivering an Epiphany message entitled, “It’s a Monarch/Christian thing.” In this sermon, Pastor Liller will emphasize that even as the star in the East reached out with its shining rays to the Wise Men from the Orient, so God expects Christians to reach out with the good news of God’s amazing grace to people who in the past have been shunned by the church.
As the new year 2008 dawns across Tyrone, why not look to God for guidance by joining Tyrone Presbyterians for communion worship at 10:30 a.m. on this Epiphany Sunday, January 6? And as you wend your way to worship, let the pealing of the Presbyterian tower bells invoke these wise words from the British poet Alfred Lord Tennyson: “Ring Out Wild Bells, To The Wild Sky/The Flying Cloud, The Frosty Light/The Year Is Dying In The Night/Ring Out Wild Bells, Let The Year Die/Ring In The Valiant Folk And Free/The Larger Heart, The Kindlier Hand/Ring Out The Darkness Of The Land/Ring In The Christ That Is To Be!