Glaube, Hoffnung, Liebe

St. Pauls was originally at LaSalle and Ohio, but moved to Orchard and Kemper in 1898. Both of those church buildings had bells in the steeple.

The 100th Anniversary edition of the Bote in 1943 reports: "Mrs. Catherine Muhlke, while visiting the World’s Columbian Exhibition in 1893, heard the beautiful bells and decided that the Church at Ohio and LaSalle needed bells also. What a splendid gift for the 50th Anniversary! Three wonderful bells! So she made the offer to the Council and although it was necessary to raise the tower 10 feet so that the largest of the bells could be installed, it was done and in November 1893 the bells were dedicated, each one inscribed with the words 'Glaube---Liebe--- “Hoffnung.' When the new church was built, these bells were transferred into it and are now in the tower calling the congregation to worship and sounding just as sweet and perfect as 50 years ago.”

But 12 years later, Esther Hurst remembers this: “In 1955 my family lived in the 600 block of Fullerton on the same side of the street as St. Pauls church. The 25th of December had been a busy Christmas Day and we were all glad to get to bed. My husband and I were almost asleep when the St. Pauls bells began to ring. Our first thought, strange as it may seem, was that someone was having a wedding. However, we soon began hearing fire equipment coming from several directions. We quickly got dressed and hurried down to Orchard Street, where we saw flames shooting from the church. By this time there were many pieces of fire equipment blocking all traffic and hoses were everywhere. Through all the turmoil the bells rang and rang and didn’t stop ringing until the steeple crashed down onto the north building. I’ll never forget the sound of those bells. Our pastor, Dr. Grauer, said the bells sounded as though they were crying, ‘Help, help!’ As the fire was gradually brought under control we returned home saddened by the loss of our beautiful church.”

The fire of Christmas night 1955 destroyed the St. Pauls sanctuary, along with two of those bells. But one remained and it sits in our church courtyard today. If you look closely, you can still make out three words inscribed on the side of the bell: "Glaube, Hoffnung, Liebe". St. Paul wrote that when everything else is lost, these three remain: "faith, hope and love", and the greatest of these is love.