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By JILL BOOMER
After an absence of several years, the First Presbyterian Church of Jerseyville installed a new Carillon, in the bell tower of the church June 4, as a memorial to Georgia Ringhausen Schleper, a longtime member of the Church.
A dedication worship service and reception will be held Sunday, Aug. 21 at 10 a.m. at the church. The public is welcome to attend and help acknowledge this gift, not only to the church, but to the community.
Mrs. Schleper died June 20, 2019 and her family chose the Presbyterian Women’s Association as its memorial. Recently, the Schleper family and the Women’s Association selected the re-installation of a Carillon at the church.
“My mom always enjoyed sitting on her back porch listening to the Carillon,” her daughter Laura Smith said. “Two hymns that both my parents loved to hear are “Lord, You Have Come to the Lakeshore” and “Here I am, Lord.”
Approximately $8,100 was collected from memorials and the Women’s Association contributed $395 of its funds to reach the total cost; National Church Suppliers of Chesterfield, IL installed the state-of-the-art Carillon in June.
“We are so excited that the money from her funeral memorial is being used for something the entire community can enjoy,” she added.
“The church was her passion,” commented Beverly Metzler, longtime friend and fellow parishioner, said, “besides her family, this church was number one.”
Mrs. Schleper was instrumental in coordinating the rummage sales, annual Christmas Cookie Walks, the renovation of the church’s chapel kitchen, and a dinner several years ago to raise money for the roof fund, to name a few.
“She was our ‘go to’ person for ideas and coordination of a project,” Metzler added. “She would think of things to do and the women’s association members did them. We all worked together. Her passing was a loss for our church.”
In preparation for the Carillon installation, the bell tower was inspected, cleaned and screens were secured. Richard and Jim Lauwerens of National Church Suppliers spent several hours in the bell tower, inspecting the bell, which was installed some time after the church building was built in 1882.
The 1,500 pound bell was cast by the Meneely Foundry of West Troy, New York, later Waterbeliet, New York. At some time in the past, the bell and bell tower have been reinforced with steel beams. Four speakers were installed on wood supports near the bell and were connected to the Carillon located over the bell tower doors in the church’s sanctuary. A keypad hangs on the wall near the door.
The Carillon has a bell and a harp voice and was programmed on a soft setting initially (later the sound was increased) setting to chime the Westminister chime every hour from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m and play two seasonal hymns at 12 noon and 6 p.m.
Also, a plaque was purchased which states “in loving memory of Georgia Ringhausen Schleper by her family, friends and the Women’s Association”.
“She was a long time member of the church and would truly appreciate what is being done in her memory,” Smith said.