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178-year-old church bell returns to St. Augustine after months of restoration

The church bell at Trinity Parish, the first Protestant church in Florida, was restored in Cincinnati. It will be rung on the church's 200th birthday.

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — It’s a homecoming for the history books. 

The bell at Trinity Parish in St. Augustine is returning back to its proper place in the church after it was restored for the first time since 1842. 

It will be lifted back in the steeple after it was removed for restoration in August. Father Matt Marino says the wheel of the bell has crumbled over the years. 

The restoration cost about 35 thousand dollars. It was restored in Cincinnati. 

RELATED: Bell at Florida's oldest Protestant church is being restored after 178 years

Trinity Parish is historic as the first Protestant church in Florida. Marino says this restoration is also historic since this is the first time since its installation in 1842 that the bell has left the church.

As the bell is put back into the church, Marino will hold a small prayer service outside the church. Marino says the bell hadn’t been rung in decades, but it used to have a big purpose in St. Augustine.

“The bells in small-town America, and bells in just the days before the internet, you know that was ‘something is going on’," Marino said. "It was the early warning system."

No warning here. The bell will be used to ring in church services, but not this Sunday.  

Marino says they're waiting until January 3rd to ring the bell to mark the church's bicentennial. Every Sunday of 2021, the bell will be rung for all services and occasions.

Trinity Parish's History

Trinity Parish Bicentennial Celebration Chair Chris Bodor wrote "Trinity Parish was established in 1821 when a priest named Andrew Fowler was sent from Charleston to open up an Episcopal Church. Ironically, at that time the city was plagued by Yellow Fever. 

According to the website Visitstaugustine.com "He apologized to the local priest, Father Crosby, for giving the last rites to a number of Catholics, but the good man told him that he was glad that some religious comfort had been given them since many died with no Christian rites at all. Before he left to go back to Charleston in November, Rev. Fowler had officiated at 95 funerals."

RELATED: St. Augustine dubbed one of best places to spend Christmas

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