Asbury United Methodist Church prepares for a big bell coming to Downtown Harrisonburg

Updated: Jun. 17, 2021 at 6:34 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - Years of renovations continue for the oldest church organization in the Friendly City as Asbury United Methodist Church prepares to add a new addition to the church’s tower.

“The arts and the windows included are a crucial part of Asbury’s our identity,” Steve Hay, the senior pastor at Asbury United Methodist Church, said.

An identity that has not changed for more than 100 years; when the church held its first service at its current location on the corner of Bruce St. and S. Main St. back in 1913.

For Hay, this will be his last month serving as the leader for the church, but he says work started way before he joined on restoring the building.

From fixing leaky roofs to revamping the more than 100 stained glass windows around the church, Hay says the lead paint on the windows last for around 100 years so it was time for an updated look.

Since January alone, crews have been working to replace more than 20 of the stained glass windows just around the tower.

Some of those windows have the names of older members of the church.

It’s work Hay says the congregation decided on years ago to make sure the church stays on its corner of Harrisonburg for the next century.

“They made the decision to commit to this place and began plans for a total renovation so the stain glass windows are a part of that renovation,” Hay said.

Over the next few weeks, the church will continue its construction when a large crane comes in to place a bell above the church’s tower and later install a steeple.

“At the top of the tower there will be the bell, so it never had the bell before and that will be in that section and then the more traditional steeple above it,” Hay said.

The bell will ring on the hour in Downtown Harrisonburg and play Hymns throughout the day by the press of a button inside the church.

The construction will need a crane to lift the almost 100-year-old bell on top of the tower, causing the left lane in front of the church on S. Main St. to be closed.

Joining the steeple above the bell will be the church’s original copper spire that was found recently below the church in a catacomb.

Hay says while he will be leaving the church it’s a sight he’ll have to come back and see.

“Oh I’ll be across the street for when they put it up I’ll be watching,” Hay said.

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