Africa keeps church bell imports alive

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While demand for church bells has fallen in Europe, Africa has become a prime market for the importation of ‘retired’ bells into the continent.

A centuries-old Italian foundry, Campagne Marinelli, has bells in some of Italy’s most famous places, even the Leaning Tower of Pisa and St Peter’s Square in The Vatican.

But these days the dwindling demand for Marinelli bells at home is seen as a reflection of the decline of Christianity in Western Europe – once the faith’s heartland

So rather than finding homes nearby, Marinelli bells are being shipped to where Christianity is still growing.

“We currently have orders from Tanzania, Nigeria and Congo,” says Armando Marinelli, an artisan church bell-maker from Italy.

The global trade in church bells heralds a new era for Christianity – one with Africa at its beating heart.

For now, demand looks like it is not going to wane.

“We believe the re-evangelisation of the earth is going to happen from sub-Saharan Africa and Nigeria in particular,” says pastor Paul Enenche of Dunamis International Gospel Centre. “

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