The Wilton Congregational Church‘s home is a very iconic and historic Wilton building. Now the congregation is fundraising with an eye to taking care of the church’s historic elements as well as to moving it into the future.

The Church has launched a campaign, “Bring the Music On!” which kicked off this past Saturday night with a concert and fundraising event. The effort is being conducted to help fund both preserving the church’s steeple chimes as well as modernizing the interior sound and visual system. Church leaders hope the community will help support the project, because the church is an “historic beacon in the community” and an institution in town.

“We want to be a good steward of our church, not only the brick and mortar, but also what happens inside. In today’s world, the way you hear and see things is so important to your experience; we want everyone – no matter where you are – to be able to share the Message, the music, the fellowship, and the steeple chimes, says Nan Merolla, one of the effort’s committee members.

The current bell that rings in the 95-foot high steeple is only the second bell the church has had; it was installed in 1850. The first bell was installed when the belfry was added to the church in 1801, just 11 years after the building was completed and dedicated in 1790.

The carillon in the church’s steeple dates back to the 1940s, when it was gifted to the church by Charles Dana, and was first played on Christmas Eve in 1948. The carillon is what creates the music and ringing of the church bell on the hour, half and quarter hours. The bell is still rung by hand for weddings, funerals, holidays and special occasions. But now at more than 70 years old, the carillon is past its life span. It is aging and in a state of disrepair, and organizers say it needs to be replaced.

“We just keep repairing it and replacing parts, when necessary–parts that are now no longer available,” Merolla says.

A new carillon is part of this major project, which also includes a modern integrated sound and visual system in the sanctuary. The system will allow worshipers and others to participate in events that take place in the church via live, online streaming. The new system will have leading-edge audio and video components, completely integrated by wireless technology. Officials say that when it’s installed it will fit with the historical aesthetic of the church. The system will also have recording capability and assistive listening devices.

The church is sometimes home to other concerts and community events. In turn, church leaders hope that the community will help keep the Wilton icon healthy. “We are very excited about this project,” says Merolla, who adds that the carillon is something that everyone hears, enjoys and loves.

For more information about supporting church efforts, contact Coleen Amero in the Congregational Church office at 203.762.5591, or visit the Church’s website.

In front of the Church
(L-R): Coleen Amero, Jennifer Davatzes, Pamela Brown, Eugene Sirotkine, Rev. Dr. Anne Coffman, Carol Boehly, Dirk Boot, and Nan Merolla.