November 3: McKim Memorial Chime of Bells (1922)

On this day in 1922, the McKim Memorial Chime of Bells in Epiphany’s tower was dedicated. The bells were part of a renovation of the church’s tower, a memorial to the Rev. Randolph H. McKim, who served as Epiphany’s rector for 32 years. Whereas the tower renovation was the result of parishioner donations, the bells were a gift of Isabel Freeman and Margaret Buckingham, long-time, faithful and generous parishioners. The bishop of Washington, the Rt. Rev. Alfred Harding, led the service of dedication. In the midst of the service, the bishop, vestry, and clergy of the parish proceeded to the tower vestibule. Here the bishop dedicated the bells and prayed, “May [these bells] turn heavenwards the thoughts of all who sojourn or labour in this neighborhood, and likewise of those who pass this way by day or night. May they assist them so earnestly to seek those things which are above, that they may serve thee more perfectly here on earth, and faithfully prepare themselves for the joys and privileges of thy holy city.”

The McKim Memorial Chime of Bells was made by Meneely & Co. of Watervliet (West Troy), New York. Meneely was the oldest bell foundry in America and had been making similar bells in the English manner for almost a century. Epiphany’s chime consists of 15 bells to give the ability of playing most tunes. The bells are made of a mixture of 78% copper and 22% tin.  The total weight of the bells is 18, 590 pounds. The smallest bell (G) weighs 225 pounds and has a diameter of 21 inches. The largest bell (C) weighs 4300 pounds and has a diameter of five feet. Inscribed on this bell are the words, “’Glory to God in the Highest, and on Earth Peace, Good Will Toward Men’ and in Loving Memory of the Reverend Randolph Harrison McKim, D.D., Honoured and Beloved Rector of the Church of the Epiphany, Washington, D.C. from 1888 to 1920, Prophet – Priest – Patriot, Born April 15, 1842, Entered into Life July 15, 1920.”

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