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'To bring the joyful sound of Lutheran faith into the future' Seyda, Germany

In Seyda, a rural village about 20km from Wittenberg, Germany, the church bell was dedicated in 1717 to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Reformation. This bell served the congregation from before the days of Napoleon and through two World Wars, welcoming the faithful into a remarkable number of worship services, weddings, funerals and other events.

During World War II, the other bells in Seyda were confiscated for military use, however, the 1717 bell was spared. In the 1950s, a steel bell was added to the tower, however this bell rusted and outlived its service.

With the 500th anniversary of the Reformation approaching, this church, where Luther himself visited in 1528, decided to raise funds for a new bell. This was a significant challenge for the village of under 1,000 residents, especially since Seyda is in an area of the former East Germany, where 90 percent of the population identifies themselves as non-Christian. However, the persistence of Pastor Thomas Meinhof and his community, along with the cooperation of the bell manufacturer, enabled the on-time delivery of a new bell to be dedicated on Nov 1, 2017.

Since 2010, the Chorale has supported several aspects of the ministries of Reverend Meinhof. As a rural pastor, he tirelessly serves ten separate communities. He has proclaimed the Chorale as “Angels from America” for our support. As a gesture of gratitude, the new Seyda bell has “Valparaiso University Chorale” in the inscription, along with the text “We are Lutherans” in German, English and Danish, as a symbol of the international reach of this little community.

The Chorale, joined by university president Mark Heckler and other administrators, united with the Seyda community in a parade through the streets of the village to bring the bell to the entrance of the steeple. After a short dedication service and a nice meal, the bell began it’s accent to the tower to join it’s elder partner.

We are honored to have such a permanent place in the community of Seyda, a connection to the university’s Lutheran heritage and a joyful voice throughout the land for generations to come.

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