Restoration rings true: New bell comes to historic church after 25 years
RESERVE — Pastor Steve Perrilloux of Historic Riverlands Christian Center in Reserve believes in God’s ability to restore what has been lost.
Looking at the beautiful bronze-colored bell that now sits in the church’s bell tower, he is reminded of the scripture in Joel 2:25: The Lord says, “I will give you back what you lost to the swarming locusts, the hopping locusts, the stripping locusts, and the cutting locusts.”
When Steve Perrilloux and his wife, Rita, first acquired Riverlands Christian Center 25 years ago, they were given all of the contents of the church, including the bell. While building the ministry and relocating the historic church to its current site at 123 Redemption Way in Reserve, the Perrilloux family faced a series of conflicts that led to them giving up the bell during the transition.
While it was difficult to lose the original bell, Perrilloux knew in his soul that all would be restored, and there would one day be a new bell to take its place in the bell tower. He didn’t realize that day would come 25 years later.
While attending a recent homegoing service at St. Katharine Drexel Catholic Church in New Orleans, Perrilloux spotted a large bell sitting on the ground behind the fence. It was oxidized and covered in unsightly patches of green like an aged penny might be. Despite it’s outward appearance, Perrilloux knew it could be restored to what it once was. He shared his story with the owner and found an opportunity to purchase the 1,000-pound bell.
“I used to do body and fender work all my life,” Perrilloux said. “I sanded it down, and I painted it with a clear coating. I had to get it back to its original look.”
Once cleaned, he could clearly read the words “Cast by Stuckstede & Bro. St. Louis MO. 1939.”
Reflecting on everything that had to happen for that bell to end up in a historic church in Reserve, Louisiana, Perrilloux thought of Romans 8:28: “And we know that for those who love God, all things work together for good, and for those who are called according to his purpose.”
“Your past does not determine your future,” Perrilloux said. “We are proud caretakers of preserving our ancestors’ history. The bell has great meaning in the church and our history. It will be rung at every service, including tours. I want this to be a redemption project, whereas God has restored the historic site, Riverlands Christian Center.”
While it is not the same bell he started with, the new addition is even larger and just as beautiful. Perrilloux shared another scripture that he feels represents the Church’s newest blessing: “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”
For more information about Riverlands Christian Center, visit historicriverlands.com.