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May 1, 2016

Bell at Kovac Hill Church, Slovenia, Author Eleassar (CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported)

The sound of church bells is being lost to the world.

The use of church bells became common during the Middle Ages.  They once announced the times for daily prayer, Sunday services, marriages, and funerals.

Depending on their shape, size, weight, and composition, church bells like those at St. Mary-le-Bow in London each had a distinctive voice [1].  Before the Industrial Age, church bells could be heard from one end of a town to the other.

In times of war, church bells were often melted down for use as ammunition.  During World War II, the Nazis confiscated countless bells for this purpose, some centuries old [2].

As church towers went out of fashion (and bell ringers became scarce), recordings were increasingly used as a substitute for actual bells.

On the first anniversary of 9/11, a Bell of Hope was presented by London to the people of New York.  The bell was created by Whitechapel Foundry which, also, cast Big Ben and the Liberty Bell.  The Bell of Hope resides at St. Paul’s Chapel, a stone’s throw from Ground Zero [3].  It has been rung in remembrance of terror victims worldwide, ever since.

The sound of the bells will be heard when he enters the Holy Place before the Lord and when he comes out…” (Ex. 28: 35).

Lord God, the world is so filled with noise.  It can be difficult to hear Your voice above the din.  We ought, at very least, to respond to the call of bells.  But even that is growing faint.

Touch our hearts and minds, Lord.  Make Your word alive to us, that we may echo and respond to it.  Make Your law resonate in us, till we peal like bells.


[1]  True “cockneys” (formerly a pejorative term, now adopted as a badge of pride) are said to have been born within sound of the bells of St. Mary-le-Bow.

[2]  Through the efforts of a small group of specially trained men and women in the Monuments, Fine Arts & Archives Division (the so called “Monuments Men”) Allied forces managed to rescue over 5 million pieces of art the Nazis had stolen, including many bells.

[3]  Amazingly, St. Paul’s Chapel, a Revolutionary Era church in lower Manhattan, survived 9/11 without damage.  The chapel fed, sheltered, and ministered to recovery workers during the long months of clean-up.



  1. We always used to hear those church bells as children – now we never do…

  2. Monochrome nightmares permalink

    A very interesting and informative piece
    of writing Anna. Enjoyed.

  3. Interesting history, Anna 🙂 Plus the
    perfect verse with prayer accompaniment 🙂 ♥ ❤

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