As midnight nears Christmas Eve, someone attending the 11 p.m. service at Marion Presbyterian Church will move into position to pull the rope that will sound the steeple bell to ring in Christmas Day.
Pastor Jeremiah Lange doesn’t know who that person will be.
“I don’t know that we actually have a designated person – it just happens,” Lange said.
“It gets done,” Roger Hannaford III said. “It’s just part of our tradition.”
Ringing in Christmas as worshipers exit the church has been going on as long as anyone can remember, a string broken only for two years when the congregation moved its Christmas Eve service earlier in the evening.
“It was brought back by popular demand,” Roger Hannaford III said. “There’s not a lot of people who go, but it’s just very touching at that time.”
Hannaford has rung the bell many times, and he said there isn’t a set number of rings.
“You ring it until your arms get tired,” Hannaford said.
While his arms may tire, Hannaford never tires of the sound of the bell.
“It’s just kind of a special feeling, doing it at Christmas,” Hannaford said. “It warms your heart to hear that bell ring, echoing over the valley of Luta Creek, all the beautiful lights in the park, the chill of the air, the starry skies, as you walk out into the night into Christmas.”