One-person hand bell solo is one of many ways Mullins UMC is expressing its 'resurrection faith'


Dr. Andre Duvall skillfully holds several hand bells at once during social-distancing solo performance requiring 16 hand bells at Mullins United Methodist Church. Find link to video in story at left.

By Mary Beth Richardson
Newsletter Editor and Witness Team Member
Mullins United Methodist Church, Memphis, TN

During the challenge of COVID-19 social distancing, Mullins United Methodist Church (UMC) in Memphis, Tennessee, was surprised and delighted by an impressive and unexpected hand bell solo by the congregation's organist, pianist and hand bell director, Dr. Andre Duvall.

The solo took place at the close of the May 3 virtual worship service, after Dr. Scott Alford, senior pastor, ended the service with a prayer.
Duvall was seen and heard playing an amazing rendition of "We, Thee Adore" using 16 different hand bells, a feat usually undertaken by several people. Watch video at 27:30 mark

Additionally, Duvall provided piano accompaniment for himself by playing a recording he previously produced for the one-time event.

The church's four-person video production crew tries to make the most of its deliberate limited size. 
Needless to say, this creative adaptation has received favorable feedback from at-home worship participants, including regular members of the Mullins Ringers, who are unable to meet during this time, but are grateful for the ways God is helping and blessing the church during a period of rapid change. Everyone is working together and finding joy with what is given.
Temporary cutbacks in hand bell ringers and Chancel Choir singers only begin to represent creative adaptations experienced in this new season by the Mullins UMC congregation. Some examples:

  • Hot meals usually prepared and served indoors by Mullins UMC volunteers for the St.John's UMC soup kitchen were scaled back to al fresco sack lunches. 
  • Church members with extra time at home are sewing face masks to distribute to friends and neighbors in need.
  • Zoom sessions are replacing Wednesday fellowship meal time, and in-person worship is taking place with Vimeo. 
  • Daily Lectionary readings are on the church’s monthly newsletter to enhance the digitally-expressed rhythm of worship.
  • A team of home Communion servers, a new ministry of Mullins UMC just three months old before social distancing began, has been reborn for a time as a new texting prayer group. 
All in all, Mullins UMC is trusting God for what is taking place day to day as we move forward in what Dr. Alford calls "resurrection faith."


How is your Memphis Conference church/congregation adjusting & adapting to social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic? What new ways have you found to worship, share devotions & hold Bible study? How are you continuing to serve & reach out to your community? What new technologies are you learning & embracing to communicate & maintain your connection? Share your stories & pictures! Any word count is acceptable, but 100 to 200 words is ideal. Please include who, what, when, where, why & how. Email

Memphis Conference COVID-19 Resource PageCLICK HERE