31 Dec 2019. Cycle A-2020.

If the U.S. judges compete against each other in the number of creches and crosses pulled down, the U.K. officials outdo each other in getting their church bells silenced at night.

There are about 500 churches in the U.K. that have bells chiming every hour or every fifteen minutes. Many of these have been chiming for over a hundred years long before any of the residents in the neighborhood were born. Long-time residents breathed in comfort with the sound like the “beating of the heart of the town,” and even enjoyed the chiming like the “ambience of the community.” It was a ‘part of village life … giving residents a feeling of community.’ A new-comer, however, found it disturbing and sought to silence it.

As it was fashionable to do, one local official after another was finding it “his statutory duty to investigate” any noise complaint, and lo, one man’s plight sends the nine hundred ninety-nine to flight. The overwhelming majority who fought to keep the traditional chiming say, “People enjoy it. It’s quaint. It’s like going to the seaside and complaining about the seagulls, or going out to the country and complaining about the farm animals. If you don’t like it, you don’t go there.”

When is sound a noise? How loud is too loud? Although health experts have put up safe-sound standards, local officials who issued “silent night… the whole night” orders considered that one complaint was too loud, and one sleepless night was too noisy. They, then, declared the chiming bell a health hazard and they issued a “noise abasement order” to silence it the whole night from 11 p.m. to 6 or 7 a.m.

In 22 Nov 2017, the BBC of the U.K. reported that local officials in Sandwich, a Kent town in England, ordered the bells of St. Peter’s church silenced. those bells had been chiming every 15 minutes uninterrupted since 1779, and nobody, but one new comer, complained. These officials instantly silenced the chimes that residents enjoyed since they were born, chimes that annoyed just one man who just moved in. The Save the Chimes petitioners chided those same officials for failing, ironically, to resolve the much noisier motorcycles that the whole town of 5,500 had to put up with every Wednesday.

London’s Big Ben, one petitioner cited “doesn’t go into shutdown mode overnight.” The Big Ben is the big bell in the non-church Elizabeth Tower in London’s Times Square. It bonged every hour continuously for 157 years until it shut down, temporarily, in August 2017, for a four-year repair. Four other smaller bells in the same tower that chimed continuously every fifteen minutes also temporarily shut down in 2007 for repairs. The bong of the Big Ben could be heard as far as five miles away, but no one complained.

In 19 Sept 2017, Christian Today reported that St. Andrew’s church in Coniston, Lake District was also issued a “noise abasement order.” The guests of a neighboring small Yewdale Inn complained of sleepless nights because of the bells tolling. These bells had tolled for more than a century, with no resident complaining. St. Andrew’s Church had prior right to operate in that place over the right of the inn that moved in much later.

In 23 Dec 2013, The Telegraph of U.K. reported that St. Mary’s church bells in Ashwell, Herts were issued “noise abasement order.” Local officials found the chiming every fifteen minutes to be “prejudicial to [the] health” of twelve complainants. The Ashwell Parish chairman argued that the bells that have been chiming every fifteen minutes for 117 years “did not bother the majority of [the] villagers.”

In 1 Oct 2012, the Daily Mail reported that the All Saints’ Church that chimed every hour for 140 years in the Hertfordshire village of Croxley Green was issued a “noise abasement order” by local environmental health officers. It bothered just one man. “It’s ridiculous that one person can decide they don’t like something which have been going on for 400 years and suddenly the tradition is stopped … They shouldn’t have moved near a village church if they don’t like it.”

Anti-Christs needed no reason nor common sense. They had long wanted to banish the voice of the Christ whom they hated, and all they needed was one excuse to silence Him. How many more church bells were silenced without a whimper? How many more are awaiting similar fate? The world is entering a “Silenced Night … Wholly Night” mode.

In the U.S. the war on crosses and creches progressed to banning Christmas songs and greetings. In the U.K. the “noise abasement order” will progress to banning any sound emanating from the church at any time of the day. If Christ must go away in a manger, let Christ mass into our heart.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it (Jn 1:5). VSS

Picture: Bells modified from pexels-photo-633497.jpeg