RISING SUN — Every day at 12 p.m. and 5 p.m. Janes United Methodist Church on North Walnut Street bathes its neighbors in song with a new digital chime system.
“When it chimes at noon it tolls the hour and plays a hymn,” said The Rev. Steve Basht, pastor. It does the same at 5 p.m. every day of the year. “It also gives a call to worship 10 minutes before.”
For now that’s advance notice of the 10 a.m. service on Sundays. Basht said there are 12,000 hymns loaded in the computerized system. Following the church calendar, it is programmed to play the music of the season.
There is also a collection of music that can be used for weddings or funerals.
“It will play Christmas hymns at Christmas and Easter hymns at Easter,” he said. “We could have it play reveille if we wanted it to.”
Fortunately that has not been suggested, which is a good thing because the neighbors like the chimes.
“We’ve gotten 10 voicemails, all from neighbors and all positive,” he said.
The church administrative council made the decision to purchase the $17,000 system for a very specific reason. Basht said Joan Van Dyke, the secretary of the council, was the driving force behind the project.
“We’re doing it to honor the Graham family,” Basht said. Bessie and Bill Graham and their son Jake were lifelong members of Janes UMC. When Jake died he left a generous gift to the church.
“It allowed us to pay off the mortgage and set up an endowment,” Basht said.
The church operating fund paid for a portion of the system but Basht said the congregation has donated a good 50% of the funds through special giving.
Four speakers on the steeple broadcast the music, which resembles the sound of an old school bell tower. Basht said those same speakers could serve another purpose if needed.
“Honestly if the town had an emergency we could utilize that,” Basht said.