The small congregation of the Anglican church in Sliema is appealing for help to save its crumbling bell tower which has been damaged and is in need of urgent repair.
Damage to the bell tower was discovered in the 19th century church in Rudolph Street, which is dedicated to the Holy Trinity, about four months ago.
The damage was noticed by a congregation member when stones began to fall from the bell tower, prompting the area to be cordoned off for everyone’s safety.
Ursula Smith, who runs the bell tower appeal project, hopes there is no more damage than meets the eye.
She told Times of Malta that the priority was to determine the extent of the damage and to plan the way forward, ensuring that it is contained. Built in 1866, its architecture resembles a typical English country church in the High Victorian Style which was popular at the time. In an ever-changing Sliema, this gem in a relatively unspoilt stretch needs safeguarding to ensure its longevity, she said.
It is one of the earliest buildings in the town and has intrigued drivers and passers-by in this often-congested street.
It’s really lovely how the church has pulled together. It’s really binding us as a church to save our bell tower- Ursula Smith, bell tower appeal project
The vibrations from the bell and passing cars were possible causes, although the age of the church and weathering of the stone may have contributed to the deterioration, Smith explained.
The little Anglican church, a much-admired landmark in Sliema, has a small congregation of about 50 who are now pitching in to save the bell tower.
They recently launched the Bell Tower Appeal to finance a two-stage plan. A survey to assess the damage is the first step, with repairs following.
Smith explained that if lucky, the damage is limited to what can be seen. If the damage is more extensive, the money will go to making it safe and buying time until they could look into the possibility of funding opportunities which cover the renovation of historic buildings.
To raise funds, volunteers have set up a tabletop sale which is held every Saturday outside Bishop House, adjacent to the church, selling a variety of goods including books, ornaments, and clothes.
Smith looks on the bright side: “It’s really lovely how the church has pulled together. It’s really binding us as a church to save our bell tower.”
She is also grateful for the response from the community, with people stopping her on the street to give her items for the church to sell. “The people who live here have all grown up with the sound of that bell, and they don’t want it to be quiet,” she adds.
The small church and its members have a big heart. In spite of efforts to raise funds for the bell tower, they have been busy hosting Ukrainians and their children who needed a place to hold art therapy sessions.
“Our bell tower appeal is so minor when compared to what is happening to such a beautiful country. To put our tower before them would be wrong,” she added.
Donations can be sent to Belfry Appeal, Holy Trinity Church, 75 Rudolph Street, Sliema or arranged over the phone by calling 79331088.
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