They're not widely available

If Harald Hagen is on your holiday shopping list, here's a gift he would truly appreciate: a new clapper for the Lutheran Church in Hildre, Norway. Huh? Hagen, you see, is sexton of the church and was up in the steeple ringing its bell to summon parishioners to the 11 a.m. service on Sunday, Dec. 3, when the clapper broke off and fell. But since it weighs 65 pounds, it didn't just land on the steeple floor; it kept on going. "It is a very large bell" and dates back to about 1930, when the church was built, explained Hege Steinsland, spokeswoman for the Lutheran district council. The clapper and the stem on which it hung appear not to have been cast at the same time . What's more, the 385-seat church stands at the water's edge on a peninsula where the air is salty and winter temperatures are cold. So the weld that held them together finally gave out at that moment. Had the clapper broken through the roof a few inches to one side, it would have landed on the organ below – or perhaps on the organist, who was rehearsing at the time – "and ... caused a great deal of damage," Steinsland said. Fortunately, no one was hurt, and now the search is on for a new clapper in time for Christmas services.

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