Not everyone likes church bells, ding dong

Our story so far: We hired a nimble reroofer to repair the rotting belfry in the 126-year-old church we intend to renovate into our dream home.

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At one point on Day Two of repairs, Reroofer rang our bell. Oh, what a beautiful sound! Full and melodious. I dreamed of ringing the bell on special familial occasions like birthdays and anniversaries and, of course, New Year’s Eve. Some grandmothers bake cookies or plant gardens with the grandkids; I wanted to be that special grandmother no one else had who offered bell-ringing responsibilities to her grandchildren.

belfry mid construction
Our belfry, mid construction.

In sharing these fanciful notions with interested listeners, I heard more than one story about kampanaphobia: The fear of bells. The phobia is triggered by a negative experience with bells.

“What will your neighbors think of you ringing your bell?”

I’d never considered the possibility that anyone wouldn’t like our bell.

When I looked up the village noise ordinance, I discovered, to my dismay, it applied to residential properties, which of course is what we hoped to be rezoned as: “All noise shall be muffled or otherwise controlled as not to become objectionable due to intermittence, duration, beat frequency or shrillness.” A church bell that belonged to a residence was required to abide by different rules than a church bell that belonged to a church. I prodded Tyler to discuss this with the building inspector who asked, “Well, are you planning to ring it at midnight every night?”

No, no, of course not.

It seemed the noise ordinance was enforced much like whatever rules applied to bonfires in our little village: Be responsible, don’t get carried away and be conscious of your neighbors.

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Tomorrow: Reroofer presents the bill for his services. Click here to read it.

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3 thoughts on “Not everyone likes church bells, ding dong

  1. That bell rang every Sunday morning for the better part of 119 years (except maybe the last 5 years) when we knew it wasn’t safe anymore. It rang for weddings and maybe funerals, for Christmas Eve services. Our great friend Louise Schwandt took great pride in ringing that bell and would often take any children present, up there with her to help. I look forward to hearing it ring again!

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