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Joyous sounds fill Dayton skies

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Anyone within earshot of the Methodist Church in Dayton of late has been in for a treat of beautiful music filling the skies.

Those joyous sounds of the First United Methodist Church are nothing new to the town. Still, they have been absent for nearly a quarter of a century now, and thanks to a generous anonymous donor, the chimes have made a glorious return.

“We are excited to resume a great tradition with the installation of our new chimes. Our prayer is that their music glorifies the Lord and blesses our community,” said Rev. Guy Williams.

The tradition began in 1930 when the late M.W. Ford was only 12 years old. Each afternoon he would go to the church and play the chimes at five ‘o’clock, which led to his longtime career as an organist with the church.

Years later, the chimes would be automated and set on a timer to play at noon, with a hymn also being played.

In 2009 Margaret Black became the organist for the church and found the keyboard for the chimes, which was no longer operational.

Skip forward a decade, and Mayor Caroline Wadzeck, a member of the church, brought the idea of seeking funding for new chimes to the United Methodist Women at one of their meetings.

That is when the donor stepped forward and offered to donate the funding for new chimes, and so Wadzeck set out to research the prospect.

Black informed Wadzeck of a company out of Lancaster, OH, known as Chime Master, and contact was made with the company about the different systems available.

Unfortunately, the chimes, like the rest of the world, were delayed by COVID-19, and it took some time for the church to move forward.

Finally, in the summer of 2021, with a bit of “normalcy” in life, the church could act and purchase the new chimes, which were delivered and installed this summer.

Speakers were installed in the church bell tower on Wednesday, July 20, and folks around town began commenting on the music and trying to identify the source.

A committee was formed to decide when the chimes would be played. The group decided they play daily from 8 am – 5 pm, with hymns at noon and five.

The church will host a dedication ceremony led by Williams on Sunday, Aug. 21, following the 10 am service.

First United Methodist of Dayton is located at 106 S. Cleveland St.

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