You’re Invited – Channing Church 175th Anniversary and Steeple Dedication


Friends, this Sunday, May 16th, we are celebrating the 175th anniversary of  Channing Memorial Church in Newport, RI and the re-dedication of our newly restored steeple and rare chime bells.  Come celebrate with us!

This is a particularly special event as it is one of the last big events before Amy concludes her ministry at Channing and we move to Boston this Summer.  I am putting together a multi-media presentation which will be shown in conjunction with Amy’s talk so you’ll get to see some of the project in process.  The celebration is at 2pm at Channing Church (Google Map) with reception and parking at the Elks Lodge next door.    Full details below.  — Peter

Channing Church Celebrates 175th Anniversary
Restored Steeple, Carol of the Bells, Dance, and Procession Mark Festivities

Channing Memorial Unitarian Universalist Church’s newly restored steeple will be on display and its newly tuned bells will ring out a happy birthday as the congregation celebrates its 175th anniversary on Sunday, May 16.  The event is free and open to the public.

Festivities include the unveiling of the $1.2 million-dollar restoration of the historic church’s 150-foot steeple, the chiming of its rare nine-bell carillon, and an original performance to the tune of the bells by the Island Moving Company.

The celebration begins at 2 p.m. at the church on 135 Pelham Street, with a procession of clergy, invited dignitaries and elected officials.  It concludes with a reception at the  Elks Lodge next door.

William Ellery Channing, an early founder of Unitarianism, preached at the first Unitarian church built in Newport 175 years ago – a small wooden structure on Mill Street (now a condominium).  The present structure, of rose granite, was built in 1880 on the hundredth anniversary of Channing’s birthday. His statue in Touro Park faces the venerable old church he inspired.

The Channing congregation raised $1.2 million to restore the deteriorated steeple and to ship the bells, silenced since 2001, to expert tuners in Holland.  The Joseph Gnazzo Company of Union, Connecticut restored the steeple.  The whole project was completed in time for the bells to ring in the 2010 New Year.

The nine-bell carillon was cast and installed on Christmas Day, 1881, by William Blake, who perfected his craft working for the Paul Revere Foundry in Boston.  The rare set is one of only six such sets in the country.

Channing’s restoration was made possible by assistance from Save America’s Treasures Program, the National Park Service and the U.S. Department of the Interior with generous donations from the van Beuren Charitable Foundation, Inc., Prince Charitable Trusts, Aletta Morris McBean Charitable Trust, Arthur Barrows Steeple Fund and members and friends of Channing Memorial Church.

For more information, please contact the Channing Church office. See channingchurch.org.

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