MEMPHIS, Tenn.– Hundreds of residents in the historic Vollintine-Evergreen district are calling a nearby church bell a nuisance.
Andi Bailey said the recorded ringing of bells from St. Theresa The Little Flower Catholic Church on Jackson Avenue is too loud and almost unbearable.
“It’s loud enough on a normal level that I can’t watch my TV because I can’t hear it because of the bells,” Bailey said.
Some residents agree that the sound coming from the church is overwhelming.
After feeling their voices were not being heard by the church, Bailey said more than 400 community members have signed petitions to quiet the bells that restarted late last year.
She said the bells ring at various intervals from 8 in the morning to 9 at night, sometimes lasting several minutes
“At the minimum of 25 times a day, so people that work from home or people that have babies or people that work at night and sleep during the day. It’s disturbing,” Bailey said.
WREG contacted St. Theresa’s and we were directed to the Catholic Diocese of Memphis and sent to this statement from January.
It says in part, “Our ringing of bells is a proclamation of our faith and the exercise of our religious observance and duty.”
“It is their right to ring the bells no one is disputing that,” Bailey said. “This is not about religion. We just want it to be more enjoyable in our backyards.”
St. Theresa’s said it has both reduced the frequency and volume after complaints from disgruntled neighbors.
Chiming in the community since 1951, they’ve now started a petition for freedom of religious expression as neighbors weigh in on the chimes.
An attorney for the church told us he would get back to us tomorrow with a response. At this point, it’s unclear if compromise will be found in the community or in the courts.