The Bells Are Not Silent

Stories of Church Bells in China

When Joann discovered a 150-year-old American bell hanging in a church in southwest China she knew there was a story to tell. Who had decided to ship it? How had it been transported? How had it survived the political turmoil of the 1950s and 1960s? She also knew that if there was one bell there must be others. Over the course of eight months she traveled around China looking for old church bells, finding ones from the United France, Germany, Russia, and the United States. This book is a collection of stories about those bells. But more importantly, they are stories of God’s faithfulness to his church in China.

The Bells Are Not Silent: Stories of Church Bells in China is available on Amazon.


The church bells of China provide both a window into the past and a metaphor for the Chinese church itself. In The Bells Are Not Silent Joann skillfully recounts the poignant stories surrounding these relics of history which today stand as a testimony to God’s faithfulness. In the process she points out milestones in the church’s own journey and relates, in a refreshingly conversational style, her own pilgrimage of understanding God’s amazing work in China. Joann’s narrative of her travels in search of the bells is itself fascinating, filled with valuable cultural insights and little known background on the history of church bells. As Noël Piper writes in the foreword, “it is difficult for us outsiders to grasp the complexity of the church in China.” Joann’s book provides a wonderful starting point for unraveling this complexity in a way that is engaging and profoundly inspiring.

Brent Fulton 
President of ChinaSource

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Joann Pittman

Joann Pittman

Joann Pittman is Vice President of Partnership and China Engagement and editor of ZGBriefs. Prior to joining ChinaSource, Joann spent 28 years working in China, as an English teacher, language student, program director, and cross-cultural trainer for organizations and businesses engaged in China. She has also taught Chinese at the University …View Full Bio