By Chris Capps 9/14/11
Construction workers hoping to create a replica of the old demolished structure in Africville, Nova Scotia has community members looking up in wonder at who could have left it there – and just how they could have gotten up into the Belfry without the help of stairs or a ladder. The small community is still building up the church and putting the pieces back together after an incident in 1961 when the church was completely demolished to make room for a bridge – against the wishes of many in the community. Is it a random act of kindness or something else?
Rebuilding a church after so many years is a symbol as much as it is a project. Residents still recall how the event unfolded one night when the entire structure was demolished in the dead of night with many of the churchgoers unaware of what was happening. After many years of recovery, it seems the church is ready to make a comeback thanks to the dedication of a few who refuse to let the good memories once connected to the area die. And it seems they may have a secret admirer – or something else – working with them. The church was originally designed without a place for a bell, so adding one now seems to be going the extra mile. But now planners of the project are deciding whether they should keep it up there and add the necessary support structures – or if they should take it down. But because of the overwhelmingly inaccessible place it suddenly appeared in, they still haven't had an opportunity to inspect the bell itself.
Mysterious events happening around churches and temples as they are being built are not completely unheard of. The Loretto Staircase is one such example. When it was first built, according to the legend, it was created by a carpenter who went by the simple name of Jode. When he had finished construction of the staircase he was about to be paid for his efforts, but instead left without receiving his payment. When the nuns examined his finished masterpiece they found that it stood without any known means of support – and in fact did so for centuries afterward. When a few of the nuns were dispatched to the neighboring town to find Jode and tell him of the miraculous feat of carpentry he had performed the townspeople said they had never heard of him.
While this may be a simple case of a good Samaritan attempting to help a church that simple would not accept defeat there are some who are suggesting there is another source. The bell looks eerily similar to a ship's bell – meaning there could be a hidden meaning or message behind this strange bell.
While the answers may not be very forthcoming, the residents of Africville are sure at some point they will be able to put this along with all the other parts of this long chapter behind them – and rebuild.