St. James Lutheran Church, Chicago, IL

A local celebrity graciously showed me the St. James Lutheran Church bells–Warren Gast, the recently-retired principal of St. James Lutheran School. In crossing the street from the office to the church, at least two people gleefully shouted their greetings and chatted with us. And the street was given an honorary name after him! So I felt very honored.

St. James Evangelical Lutheran Church
St. James Lutheran Church bell tower

The church has two bells, both cast by Vanduzen & Tift company (of Cincinnati) in 1882. They have lovely inscriptions.

Dienet dem Herrn mit Freuden Kommt vor sein Angesicht mit Frohlocken [Serve the Lord with gladness(.) Come before his presence with singing]

St. James Evangelical Lutheran Church
Smaller bell with German inscription

Gloria in Excelsis Deo et in Terra Pax Hominibus Bonae Voluntatis [Glory to God in the highest and peace on earth to men of good will]

St. James Evangelical Lutheran Church
Larger bell with Latin inscription

Only one functions now as a swinging bell, the larger of the two. It is rung by a rope before the Sunday services.

Warren told me that the smaller bell used to ring three times during the service’s Lord’s Prayer. I never heard of this tradition! Apparently this dates back to the middle ages when the church tower bell was rung at the beginning, middle, and end of the Lord’s Prayer so that those outside of the church (working in the fields, perhaps), could pray along with the faithful inside.

Thanks, Warren, for a wonderful visit!

St. James Evangelical Lutheran Church
Stained glass in choir loft

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