The term “City of Bells” was coined over ten years ago by Rebecca Jorgenson Sundquist. As a member of the staff at Central Lutheran Church, in downtown Minneapolis, she had just finished coordinating the construction of the bell tower (fulfilling plans made in 1927) and installation of a 47-bell, traditional carillon. Her idea was to have an organization—a network of bell lovers—to promote and celebrate all of the bronze bells in the Twin Cities. Such an effort would first require locating and listing all of the bells and perhaps getting some to ring that have long been silent. The idea lingered until the time was right to proceed.
That time came in January 2015 as City of Bells was formally organized by Sundquist, a professional fundraiser and director of development at Norway House in Minneapolis, Don Hall, a retired stockbroker, who was the catalyst for the Central Lutheran Church project, and Joe Bjordal, a former staff member of Central Lutheran Church, now a communications and public relations consultant.
Later that year, City of Bells spearheaded its first project: the complete restoration of the 24-bell carillon at Saint Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral. Because of that successful project, we were featured on The Today Show just in time for Christmas. In the summer of 2017, City of Bells was incorporated in the State of Minnesota and became a registered 501c3 nonprofit organization with the Internal Revenue Service, able to accept tax-deductible financial gifts.
Rebeca’s vision may well have been prophetic. Plans by several local organizations are now being considered that would give the Twin Cities one of the largest concentrations of bronze bells in the world.
Rebecca Jorgenson Sundquist: Founder & President
Don Hall: Founder
Linda Holmen: Secretary & Treasurer
Dave Johnson: House of Hope Presbyterian Church
Mark Kieffer: Central Lutheran Church
Joel Anderson: St. Olaf Catholic Church
Arden Haug: Lake of the Isles Lutheran Church
Bill Mathis: Bells of the Lakes
Johan Van Parys: Basilica of Saint Mary
Lawrence Lawyer: Cathedral of Saint Paul
Diane Nimmer: Community Volunteer
Phillip Baird: Community Volunteer
Maggie Peterson: Community Volunteer
Kevin Vazquez: Meyer Borgman Johnson
Elizabeth Manning: HGA
Fred Vagle: Saint Joan of Arc Catholic Church
Anna Vagle: Saint Joan of Arc Catholic Church