On Sunday, September 27th, the United Methodist Children’s Home presented Bluff Park United Methodist Church with the “Guardian of the Bell” award during morning worship service. The “Guardian of the Bell” is part of an overall campaign to recognize those churches who support the cause of the United Methodist Children’s Home and those it serves. The United Methodist Children’s Home will award the “Guardian of the Bell” to a church in both conferences that demonstrate superior support for its missions.
Horne has dubbed the 158 year old bell “Windy” in honor of Katherine Tucker Windham, the great Alabama storyteller who wrote so wonderfully about her in “Autobiography of a Bell.” Cast in 1858 by the Meneely Bell Company of West Troy, New York, “Windy” summoned residents of the United Methodist Children’s Home Selma Campus to meals, class, worship, bedtime, and even to the swimming pool until it was replaced in 1948. It tolled the beginning and end of two world wars and honored those fallen in service to their country. Horne says “I am of the strong belief that ‘Windy’ belongs in the care of our United Methodist Champions. They are the body of Christ that gives the United Methodist Children’s Home life.”
UMCH President and CEO, Dr. Blake Horne, says “This precious artifact, which is saturated with such a proud history, is a reminder of their great generosity, our appreciation, and most importantly the children and families that we serve at UMCH. “
“Bluff Park UMC is so very honored to be the steward of this bell for the next year. Our focus has always been to assist in the United Methodist Children's Home's ministry of caring for children. Each and every life is precious, especially to God, but also to our church,” states Bluff Park UMC Senior Pastor, Mike Holly.
Founded in 1908 as the Methodist Church on Shades Mountain, each member was to pay dues of ten cents a month. The church has grown from a membership of twenty to a membership of well over two thousand. Bluff Park UMC has multiple opportunities for worship each week.
The United Methodist Children’s Home of Alabama and Northwest Florida has been assisting children and families in crisis since its founding in 1890. UMCH’s ministries include residential group homes for children, Higher Education Scholarship Homes, and Babies First homes providing young mothers and their babies with a safe place to live and grow. Additionally, UMCH administers foster care and adoption home services, as well as, family preservation and support services designed to keep families united whenever possible. These ministries are available to those in need regardless of religious affiliation. Each year UMCH transforms the lives of hundreds of children and families through its faith-based programming. For more information visit the UMCH website at www.umch.net.