The Morthland Foundation named the Washington Hall bell Priscilla, at 1:15 pm on August 21, 2017, exactly seven minutes prior to the total solar eclipse of the same year, in the midst of a season of gathering stones together.
We met Priscilla, in the Summer of ’17, in the year of the total solar eclipse and the birth of the Idlewild gardens, during a season of planting hollyhocks, sticks of stone, and sunflowers, whose hearty stems and bursts of light attest to longevity and endurance, even amid drought and rocky soil.
And just like their stories, Saint Priscilla of the first century, a fellow laborer in Christ, and Priscilla of Franklin County’s nineteenth century Silkwood Inn, the bell reminds us to persist, to preserve, to cultivate that which we have already planted, and, most importantly, to believe that in seasons of adversity, Morthland College “shall in time bear witness to a storm that passes, even the chaff shall blow away.”
Unlike Alpharetta in the Whitfield belfry, whose rings are automated, reminding us daily of the county’s pioneers who have gone before us, let Priscilla only be rung manually, with the strength of human hands blessed by God, who gives us all of our strength.
Let Priscilla ring only on significant occasions only, when it is worth the climb to the roof, the cautious walk to the clapper, during times that symbolize victory over adversity, as a testimony of the Vision Statement that endures, whether we are in a time of planting or plucking up that which is planted.
Our Washington Hall bell, forever to be known as Priscilla, greets you for the first time today, cuing you when it is safe to stare directly into the sun, reminding you “the churches of Asia salute you…Priscilla salute(s) you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house.”
And when the bell clangs a second time, signifying a time to stop looking up into the sky, but rather at all the filtered beauty around you, Priscilla of the Silkwood Inn greets you too, the young girl who wandered long roads of sadness, all the while planting hollyhocks of hope that eventually led her to an unexpected home.