West Virginia Building Safety Code Silences Church Bells

November 18, 2009

A set of 15 bells that was installed in Christ Church United Methodist in Charleston, West Virginia, nearly 100 years ago is coming down because of building codes.

The bells, which weigh several tons, have not tolled in years. Equipment failures and a 1969 fire in the sanctuary left them silent.

But the church learned in 2008 that the bells surpass weight limits for modern building codes. The largest of the bells is more than 9 feet long and weighs more than 300 pounds.

Church music director David Donathan says a church committee is developing a plan for the bells, which may involve incorporating them in a sculptur

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