Church Bell Controversy

Jewett City, Conn. -- Every hour during the day, chimes ring out from the bell tower of one Connecticut church.

As WVIT's Lisa Carberg reports, the songs aren't music to everyone's ears.
It's a sound that is hard to miss in Jewett City.  Near the top of every hour during the day.

"My office used to be across the street from the church and I used to hear the bells on a regular basis it was always a beautiful way to chime in the hour throughout the day," said Griswold resident Mark Cournoyer.

But the Connecticut chapter of the American Atheists doesn't like the fact that some of music includes Christian hymns.
And since the music system was purchased by the town they say that violates a separation of church and state.

Many who live here think otherwise.
"They don't just play Christian music. I don't see why. I don't see why the atheists have a problem maybe they should back out of Jewett City if they don't like them ringing. Go some place where they don't have to hear the bells," said Jessica Brooder of Jewitt City.

The town of Griswold purchased the sound system planning to put it on the roof of town hall, but the music was never moved.
The atheist group has now made a complaint to the town.
"It's an important issue, in that it's an unusual complaint it's one that raises a lot of concerns on both sides and something we need to deal with," according to Griswold 1st selectwoman Anne Hatfield.

But Hatfield says support for the music has been overwhelming.  A special town meeting is even planned for Monday morning to discuss the issue publicly.
People who live here say they will not be silenced over the music.

"If we don't open our mouths here in this town, we're going to lose it," said one Griswold resident.