The Bells

By Nancy Moldt Sugges / 10 years ago

Have you ever heard it said “Your rights end where someone else’s begin”?

That phrase has taken on a new meaning in Phoenix in the past year and it involves a church and neighbors of the church.  The church in question moved into a vacated church building in NW Phoenix.  Shortly after they arrived neighbors near and neighbors not-so-near began to hear carillon bells.  The bells started at 6 a.m. and played every half hour until 10 p.m.

It isn’t easy being a ‘good neighbor’ when these bells wake you up in the a.m. and keep you awake at night.  The neighbors went to see the administrators of the church.  The answer to them was that they were spreading the Word of God via the bells.  The neighbors asked for less hours of the bells being played and were refused.  It became a neighborhood campaign to do something about the bells.

The neighbors went to the city with a complaint of ‘disturbing the peace’ against the church and the Bishop they had spoken to in particular.  A judge heard the complaint and ruled the bells could play but only on Sunday for limited hours.

The Newsletter of the AARP picked up the story and put it in a September 2009 issue.  Last night(110209) it was featured on ABC World News tonight.  The church has now brought suit against the city for ‘violating the rights of the church to spread the Word of God’.

The City of Phoenix has filed its answer to the church and a judge will hear the case in December.  It is an interesting case and emotions are running all over the place.  Our house just happens to have a special interest in it because our daughter is the Prosecutor for the City that is assigned to this case.  She has not, and will not, discuss the case outside City Hall due to confidentiality.  Her role is to ensure that the rights of everyone are heard and justice is served.  She does represent the side of the City.

For now the bells are quiet during the 6 days the judge has ordered.