First Parish Tolls its Steeple Bell to Honor Rep. John Lewis

July 30, 2020
Rep. John Lewis


On a humid summer morning,  Rev. John Gibbons rang the First Parish bell to honor the life of Rep. John Lewis during his funeral.

First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church on Bedford Common was among the more than 500 churches tolling their bells on Thursday, July 30, 2020.

First Parish Senior Minister John Gibbons and several parishioners were present for an informal ceremony to honor the life of Representative John Lewis.

A leader in the Civil Rights Movement since the early 1960s, Rep. Lewis was among the original 13 Freedom Riders; throughout his life was dedicated to the concept of “good trouble, necessary trouble” as a way to motivate non-violent change.

Lewis was elected to represent Georgia’s 5th Congressional District in 1986 and served until his death on July 17, 2020, at age 80.

The Bedford Citizen sponsored a One Book One Bedford series based on Lewis’s trilogy March, a Graphic Novel, in collaboration with the Bedford Free Public Library, the Bedford School Department, the Bedford Cultural Council, and Bedford Television in the autumn of 2017.


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