The sound of church bells is part of the landscape of sound in Pittsburgh just like car horns honking and helicopters flying overhead to the hospital. But they are also much more than that. Bells can carry meaningful and sometimes secretive histories of the churches where they hang. And for Christians who attend these churches, the sound of church bells ringing creates time and space for prayer outside of the secular world. By doing this, church bells make themselves a vital part of religious expression in Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh has a long history of diverse religious groups, and one such group is the Bahá’í faith. The Bahá’í faith in Pittsburgh dates all the way back to 1909 when they officially organized as a group. Although they are only a small portion of the United States, the Bahá’í faith has a wide range of practices and devotional groups. There are about 20 different devotional groups in Pittsburgh alone, each with a different topic and structure. This diversity shows the flexibility and, at the same time, the unity of the Bahá’í faith.