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Evergreen residents sign petitions to silence the church bell

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Hundreds of residents of the Vollintine-Evergreen Historic District are calling a nearby church bell a nuisance.

Andi Bailey said the recorded ringing of bells at St. Theresa The Little Flower Catholic Church on Jackson Avenue is too loud and almost unbearable.

“It’s loud enough at normal levels 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 weren’t being heard by the church, Bailey said more than 400 community members had signed petitions to silence the bells that started up again late last year.

She said the bells rang at various intervals from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., sometimes lasting several minutes.

“At least 25 times a day, so people who work from home or people who have babies or people who work at night and sleep during the day. It’s disturbing,” Bailey said.

The WREG contacted St. Therese 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’s their right to ring the bells, no one disputes that,” Bailey said. “It’s not about religion. We just want it to be nicer in our backyards.

St. Theresa’s said it reduced frequency and volume after complaints from disgruntled neighbors.

Ringing in the community since 1951, they have now launched a petition for freedom of religious expression as neighbors weigh in on the chimes.

A church lawyer told us he would get back to us tomorrow with an answer. At this stage, it is not clear whether a compromise will be found in the community or in court.