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Jun 05, 2017 | Kevin Thompson

Grace, Galveston, Rededicates Newly Restored Bell Tower

In May, members of Grace, Galveston, gathered alongside diocesan representatives and the community to rededicate its fully restored bell tower. A survivor of many hurricanes, including the great 1900 hurricane, the bell tower stands as a symbol of hope and calling to all on Galveston Island.

“Our commitment to the restoration of the bell tower is a physical manifestation of our commitment to the restoration of our parish-- not only the people within our walls, but also the people in our geographical community,” said the Rev. Meredith Holt Crigler, Rector at Grace. “The bell tower is more than bricks, mortar, and windows. It is an outward and visible sign of who we are as a church: worship and prayer, historical and future presence, proclaiming and inviting, and vision for the community.”

Restoration of the bell tower included new bracing for louvered windows, mortar and grout work, an updated drainage system and a new bell. Members of the vestry heralded the completion of the restoration project as a commitment to the future of ministry in Galveston, highlighting that the project was completed without any debt.

“The bell that Grace restored is not ultimately about the bell itself,” said the Rev. Canon John Newton, Chief of Staff to Bishop Andy Doyle. “That restored bell is a living symbol of the restoration that God has done in and through Grace Episcopal Church these last few years, as well as the work of restoration that Grace is actively doing in the Galveston community.”

Built in 1894, Grace was designed by Victorian-era architect Nicholas Clayton, who also designed Galveston’s Bishop’s Palace and the Main Building at St. Edward’s University in Austin. 

Grace’s bell tower restoration was completed with the help of its community partners: The Moody Foundation, Moody Memorial Permanent Endowment, Ippolito Family Trust, Bromberg Foundation, Kempner Foundation, The Silk Purse Thrift Store and Boy Scout Troop 177.