Certainly there was a slight pause while deciding if I would answer. I don't expect to hear the bell on a Friday night; with many people on vacation, there are few people around who would hear the bell. And not expecting the bell, I hadn't planned on going - the plan was instead to finish a book.
But after hearing the bell, the decision was fairly simple. I could come to chapel, so why wouldn't I? It would remind me again to turn my heart to God and to attune myself to His presence. And I had no idea if chapel would simply be a series of songs and quiet prayer and a Bible reading; or whether in the midst of that I'd be more aware of God's presence in my life and what He'd have for me.
And I went. And in so doing I was reminded of why I came - and I remembered why I'd continue to go - for the simple reminder of turning my heart towards God, something I hope to do in my whole life but made easier by the regular chapel times and constant reminder to come and join in prayer.
update aug 2010: An article in the most recent letter from St. Gregory's Abbey also focuses on the value of the bell in calling one to prayer and recognizing the gift of being reminded of how one's time is for God. It can be downloaded from their Archive (current issue: or nr 242 once a new issue comes out).