PATCHOGUE, L.I. — As the human toll from COVID-19 continues to rise across the country, a Long Island church is doing its part to honor each one of them, one bell ring at a time.
The 850 pound bell at Congregational Church of Patchogue will ring 218,000 times, every six seconds, seven days a week through the end of the month. The solemn tribute honors lives lost from COVID-19 across the country, as the death toll keeps rising.
The church's pastor, Rev. Dwight Lee Wolter says he came up with the idea to remind the community of the human toll of the pandemic.
With in-person worship on pause for the last eight months, Rev. Wolter says this is a great way to bring awareness and also recognize the hard work of first responders and essential workers. The mournful chime called “For Whom the COVID Bell Tolls” has gotten a lot of attention on social media.
Some took to Facebook to express their deepest gratitude on the church’s page.
“Thank you, this is beautiful. I know seven of those bells belong to my friends lost to this horrible virus,” one person wrote.
Others have sounded off saying that the constant ringing is alarming to the community. Some have gone as far as threatening Rev. Wolter.
But he’s clapping back against the negative comments. Rev. Wolter says that the congregation has been through many life changing events throughout its over 200-year history, including the 1918 flu pandemic. But nothing quite like this global crisis.
In the meantime, the COVID bell will keep ringing until Nov. 1, All Saints Day.