Ring that bell!

In the blog post announcing the generous gift from Dr. Ruth Alison, I wrote that here in the Crieff Hills office we needed a bell to ring when happy news arrives. Well, the sound of bell ringing has begun, thanks to a thoughtful friend of Crieff Hills.

When Gord walked into our office carrying a small cardboard box, we weren’t sure what he was up to. Most guests arrive with suitcases! But it didn’t take long for him to explain.

It seems that Gord, who is a member at Clarkson Road Presbyterian Church in Mississauga, is saying goodbye to his beloved boat this year. He got it all ready, making sure it was cleaned up and in good repair. There was just one more thing to tend to: he stopped to take off the brass bell because he heard that Crieff Hills needed one.

It’s the perfect size for our office, small enough not to get in the way but loud enough to catch everyone’s attention. Its strong sound makes sense since according to Canadian historians, a ships’ bell was rung to indicate the time of day, give warning in foggy weather, or as part of military ceremony. (Sometimes on large ships, bells have even been turned upside down and used for baptism, with the name of the candidate inscribed inside the bell!)

Our lovely little bell is also mounted on a brass anchor, which means that every now and then one of us starts humming…

We have an anchor that keeps the soul
steadfast and sure while the billows roll;
fastened to the Rock which cannot move,
grounded firm and deep in the Saviour’s love!

We are so grateful that Gord went to so much trouble to give Crieff Hills a great gift. We have tried it out already with a recent gift made to our Accessibility Fund, and know there will be plenty more opportunities in the coming days. Every community needs to be ready for those moments when God blesses us with extra special blessings. Bring on the singing and the ringing!

About the Author


Kristine O'Brien

Rev. Dr. Kristine O’Brien began work at Crieff Hills in September 2018.

Kristine studied music and English Literature at McMaster University before completing a Master of Divinity degree at Knox College, University of Toronto. After being ordained at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Strathroy, Kristine stayed for five years before moving to Oakville. She served Trafalgar Presbyterian Church for sixteen years, during which time she earned a Doctor of Ministry with a focus on justice and contemplative practice.

With a long history in camping ministry, including service on two Synod camp boards and two years as the Director at Camp Iona (Bala), Kristine is deeply rooted in the practice of Christian hospitality. She also loves the outdoors and is a passionate gardener which fuel her blog, bloomingreverend.com

Kristine shares her life with her husband Pat, who is a funeral director, her four almost-grown-up children, and a rescue Airedale named Minnie. She loves wilderness canoe trips, visiting beautiful gardens, and seeding the occasional flat of kale.

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