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JOURNAL LE HAUT-SAINT-FRANÇOIS / Actualité
Rachel Garber Par Rachel Garber

Mercredi, 19 octobre 2016

The Sawyerville United Church Bell is Back!



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It was stolen in July 2015, and finally returned by the police this September.

The big 600-pound bell has had a tumultuous life. It was hung in the Sawyerville United Church by the Sawyer family well nigh a century ago, recalled Dr. Curtis Lowry last year. The family were descendants of Josiah Sawyer, the founder of Sawyerville.
When the church burned down on July 9, 2006, only the bell was intact, falling to the ground with a "forlorn ring," as a viewer reported. It spent some years in a shed before being installed on a cement platform in front of the church. Then thieves cut through the chain fastening it, and thus it disappeared for 14 months. Apparently it spent most of that time hidden under a pile of junk in a scrapyard. The owner had purchased it for $800, said Tami Spires, the Sawyerville United Church minister.

When the police returned the bell to Ian McBurney, president of the church board, it was missing its clapper and the support that it hung from. They asked him to keep its return a secret until they had finished their investigation. So the bell spent some weeks under tarp until September 28, when "the police said we may as well just announce it to the congregation and everyone, because their plan had fallen through, so their file is basically closed," McBurney said. "Apparently the scrap yard owner is not being charged, because once the police came to his place, he cooperated fully."

The church trustees are discussing the repairs needed to the bell, and where it will be placed. "Our church community is just thankful that we have our bell back and are thankful to the SQ for their hard work in helping us to get it back," said Spires.


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