Saturday, July 17, 2021

For Whom the Clock Strikes

Gossips post about the silenced city clock was referenced last night in a post on the Hudson Area Community Board Facebook page. Within an hour, it elicited twenty-five comments, the nature of which, it seems, inspired the administrator of the page to turn off commenting. A couple of the comments appealed to Kathryn Beilke, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, to clarify what happened. This morning, Beilke posted the following message on Facebook.
Dearest Hudson community,
Unfortunately the admin has turned off the commenting on the OP re: the church bells at First Presbyterian but I have seen my name tagged multiple times in the comments so I am just starting a new thread. The clock belongs to the city of Hudson and we have been in communication with the city about a plan to restore the church bell at First Presbyterian to ring only during the day and not overnight. We have a member who is consulting with an expert on historic clocks in the midwest who may travel here to help us program it. Even though the bell is technically not our jurisdiction, our posture as a church is to balance being a good neighbor to those who live nearest to us and keeping this pleasant historic tradition alive. It is very commendable the amount of research, thoughtfulness, and care this member has put into this proposal. Our hope is that the "silencing" of the bell will only be temporary. We are currently ringing it manually on Sundays.
To all the commenters on the OP who care about this iconic building, the recent storms have severely damaged our roof which desperately needs to be replaced. There is plaster and water coming into the sanctuary. This is and has been our priority for the last several years and it is has not gotten the attention it deserves. Please help by visiting to donate. 
The plan to program the clock so that it strikes the hour only part of the time is admirable, but it may not be possible. Vincent Mulford, who has for many years been the clock's most ardent champion, made this comment on Beilke's post. The information he provides confirms what Gossips has been told by DPW superintendent Rob Perry:
Nice try but as an antique dealer who specialized in clocks [I know]--it cannot be silenced for half a day--it's either all or nothing. The fact that complaints can silence something as important as this 219 year old matriarch should be a red flag for all citizens of Hudson. Something is very wrong with this administration.
Gossips needs to correct a false misimpression made by my initial post on the subject. I did not know the identity of the complainants yesterday when I wrote the post, and I do not know it now, but I have since then learned they are not folks who have moved here recently. They have lived in Hudson for a while.

Update: If you read the thread of comments on Beilke's Facebook post, you will discover that, according to Mayor Kamal Johnson, the decision to silence the chimes that ring the hours was made by the church not the City. 

This seems quite inappropriate since the clock is the property and the responsibility of the City not the church. As KD has already pointed out in a comment, silencing the clock was not the church's decision to make.


  1. If, as stated, the clock belongs to the City, it is not merely that "the bell is technically not our (the Church's) jurisdiction;" it seems to me that the Church has no authority whatsoever to silence it, except upon direct order of the City. Moreover, as to "being a good neighbor," that should be a two-way street, and a person who moves nearby and then seeks to shut down a 200-year old institution valued by countless other residents 1) does not respect the concept of being a good neighbor and 2) is not the kind of neighbor whose wants should be honored.

  2. KD, the complainer who initiated all this has been in Hudson many years. I'd wager she lived near the church that whole time.

    If it was the church who silenced the clock, as seems to be the case (anyway, Pastor Beilke didn't deny it), then I don't know why our complaining insomniac informed me that "all I had to do was ask the mayor!"

    If that was untrue, then the woman who registered the complaint should not be going around implicating the mayor.

    1. And outing herself as the person who has made a lot of people unhappy.