Jump directly to the content

For Whom the Bell Tolls

What to do when the sound of church bells is not music to a neighborhood's ears.

Background. Many churches broadcast chimes and carillon music to their neighborhoods through bells in a steeple or electronic equipment. These broadcasts are inspiring and uplifting to many. But some neighbors may find the noise disturbing or even offensive. Do these neighbors have a legal right to stop the music? That was the issue addressed by a New York court.

Facts. A Presbyterian church played hourly chimes and in addition played carillon music at noon and 6 o'clock in the evening. A neighbor asked a court to stop the church from broadcasting the chimes and carillon music on the ground that it was "a complete disruption of her family life, prevents a child from sleeping, invades the privacy of her residence, and creates unnecessary stress." The neighbor claimed that the chimes and music were a "private nuisance."

The court's ruling. The court began its opinion by observing that "what ...

Join now to access this member-only content

Become a Member

Already a member? for full access.

Related Topics:
Posted:
  • February 1, 1996

Related ResourcesVisit Store

Planning a Church Building Project
Planning a Church Building Project
Learn about zoning laws, property sales, church construction, financing, and more.
Avoiding Church Lawsuits
Avoiding Church Lawsuits
Create proactive procedures to avoid common reasons why churches most often go to court.