Bell ringing at St. John's Lutheran still a mystery

Charleston (WCSC) - The pastor at St. John's Lutheran Church says he has no clue as to what triggered their main bell to ring for 40 minutes straight shortly after 5:30 am Tuesday.

"For now we'll assume it's a technical glitch," said David Butler, Pastor of the downtown church. "We got here [to the church] and the only thing we could do was turn off power to the bell system motor... there will be no power back in to the system until we figure out what went wrong,"  he said.

The situation came to Butler's attention after he received phone calls from residents who live in the immediate area of the church.  The downtown church has 19 bells in their system; only the main bell, the largest of them all, made a sound. Butler estimates the main bell rings about 20 times a minute at its fastest, meaning about 800 tolls were sounded during the entire ordeal.

Church member John Evans says this is the first system error the church has had since switched to an electronic system in 1992.

"Usually the problem is not being able to get them to ring when we want them to," said Evans.  "Lightning might usually trigger something like this, but where was no lightning this morning."

"We're very sorry for the inconvenience," said Butler.  "We're working to fix the situation and will keep [the public] informed of our findings."

St. John's Lutheran is located on Clifford street and was first opened in 1742.