By Frances Benell
UNIONVILLE, Ia. —
Unionville, Iowa’s bell is ringing again. On a very cold, windy night, Sunday Dec. 9, the bell was restored and now rededicated. The bell tower is more than 23 feet high with the cross at the top and is lighted. It is much bigger and taller than it is pictured. I would encourage you to go see it. The bell has a good sound, pure and true. The Unionville United Methodist Church was pretty well filled with people from all over the Unionville area for the service. Other Appanoose County cities were also represented to honor Unionville for the bell rededication they have worked so hard for. The church has been in continuos service since 1846.
Greg Shieboult re-paired the bell and bell tower and lives at SUndown Lake. He is a civil engineer in Pella. He rang the bell for its first public performance. Unionville is very proud of the work he has done.
In January 1890, the bell made all the work and expense worthwhile as it was credited for saving the town from complete extinction by fire. The old depot burned to the ground. It was windy and burning embers were being carried across town with many landing on rooftops. People came from miles around after hearing the bell and seeing the light to lend a hand. With so many watchers nothing else burned.
Joan Ervin is the minister for the Unionville Church and the Cincinnati Church. When you think of it, sharing ministers is not a new custom, it harks back to the days of ministers riding circuits on a horse. Deena Hoffman is the person who helps make it possible in Unionville and Paula Wells for the Cincinnati Methodist Church.
Unionville is not done though. The next project will be a plaque with information about the church and bell tower.
The people of Moravia have a special feeling for the Unionville United Methodist Church because it was the “Mother Church” for our Grace Methodist Church here.