Monroe church finds help in replacing stolen bell

MONROE — When their new bell arrives, the congregation at St. Mary of the Valley Catholic Church in Monroe already will have memories of sweet sounds played in its honor.

For months, church leaders have been raising money to replace the hefty antique brass bell that used to toll for services. The bell was stolen in November and busted up for a quick profit as scrap metal. Police were able to recover some of the pieces but not all.

Nevermind all that now. The church is nearing its fundraising goal for a new bell and tower — with a little help from a neighboring parish.

On Wednesday night, the Angelus Handbell Choir from Holy Family Catholic Church in Kirkland played a fundraiser concert at the Monroe church.

Roughly 60 people attended, including Monroe parishioners, handbell fans and neighbors of all faiths, the Rev. Phillip Bloom said.

The concert reminded Monroe church members of the generosity and solidarity they have found in others since the theft, Bloom said.

He credited the Kirkland handbell choir director, Pam Gunderson, for putting it all together.

“I was blown away by what she accomplished with the handbell choir,” Bloom said. “This was the first time I’d ever actually attended a concert like that. I did not realize the range and the versatility they had, and the types of sounds they could make with those bells.”

The choir also performed a few numbers with two teenage Monroe musicians: violinist Marianne Martinoli and pianist Arielle Howard.

That “really raised the whole musical layer way, way up,” Gunderson said. “That was really a nice serendipity that happened.”

Gunderson heard about the Monroe theft from a church newsletter. She floated the concert idea to her choir. Everyone agreed to it right away.

“We’re all part of the body of Christ, and when one part hurts, we all ache,” she said. “We couldn’t imagine the pain of someone destroying a bell. We love bells, and it was such a sad thing.”

Construction on the new bell tower is moving along, Bloom said. They are working on drainage and landscaping. Almost all of the labor has been provided by volunteers, including Monroe Boy Scout Nick Martinoli, 17.

The new bell, which is used but has been refurbished, is scheduled to arrive in the coming weeks, Bloom said.

A dedication ceremony is planned for 3 p.m. July 15 at the church, 601 W. Columbia St.

Rikki King: 425-339-3449;

More in Local News

Snohomish mayoral candidates have very little in common

Karen Guzak and John Kartak are vying for the new position.

Second teen charged after $1 million in school vandalism

Two teens now face felony charges for damage at two schools in Darrington last summer.

Charged in stabbing, his long list of felonies could grow

The Arlington man is accused of attacking a man who interrupted a possible burglary in Everett.

A potentially transformative council election in Snohomish

As the city adopts a new form of government, many new faces are seeking office.

Mill Creek hires Gina Hortillosa as public works director

Hortillosa will be responsible for creating strategic infrastructure plans to promote economic growth.

1 shot dead, another wounded in apparent Everett robbery

There are indications the victims might have known the shooter, who apparently fled in a vehicle.

No third term for Snohomish County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Roe

He quietly has been letting staff and community leaders know that he plans to retire in December 2018.

Ballots are going out and voting will soon begin

In Snohomish County, one of the marquee contests is in Everett where voters are choosing a new mayor.

Most Read