BEAUFORT — Despite the novel coronavirus pandemic, the church bell of historic Ann Street United Methodist Church will ring out 13 times Saturday to celebrate the Fourth of July and to honor the American colonies.
The bell in the church will join with bells of other churches in the 13 colonies to ring at 2 p.m., the time organizers of “Let Freedom Ring” say the Liberty Bell was rung announcing the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
A brief ceremony, which will be livestreamed on Facebook, will begin at 1:45 p.m. leading up to the ringing.
The Pennsylvania Society of Sons of the Revolution, organizers of the event, invited Ann Street several years ago to represent North Carolina as one of the colonies to ring a bell because of the church’s historical significance. The congregation organized as far back as 1778, and the current building was constructed in 1854.
Each year Ann Street invites a military veteran to pull the bell rope, and the church traditionally invites the public to attend a brief patriotic ceremony prior to the ringing.
However, because of social distancing and crowd restriction requirements due to the pandemic, Ann Street pastor the Rev. Taylor Mills said the ceremony will not be open to the public.
“Because of COVID, we won’t have an in-person congregation for this year’s Ringing of the Bell,” Rev. Mills said in an email Sunday. “But we encourage everyone to watch the Ringing of the Bell as a livestream on our Facebook page: facebook.com/asumc. If you miss it live, you can always watch it on our page anytime afterwards.”
The program will include patriotic music, prayer and, if time allows, a reading of the preambles to the Declaration of Independence and/or the Constitution.
The bell ringer this year is U.S. Army Reserve veteran Sam Brake, a member of Ann Street UMC.
At the same time the bell is rung at Ann Street, descendants of the signers of The Declaration of Independence will tap the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, Pa., 13 times.
Other churches, fire halls, universities, state houses and ships across the nation have been invited to ring out simultaneously.
As for the states that constitute the 13 colonies, they are North Carolina, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Virginia, New York and Rhode Island.
Contact Cheryl Burke at 252-726-7081, ext. 255; email Cheryl@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @cherylccnt.