I would like to allow the viewer to pull on some strings or chains and let that ring my church bells (I know it won't make much sound, that's fine). I'm thinking I'll need a pulley and some string, right? Then, do I just thread the axle through the pulley and attach the axle to the bell somehow? Are there any other parts I might need? Is there a good tutorial you can recommend for LEGO pulleys?
It sounds like you're trying to implement a fairly simple bell mechanism such as this one:
You can certainly do this using some string and the pulley element that you mentioned.
I'd recommend tying the string to one of the holes in the pulley. Something like this worked reasonably well for me:
Here it is in action:
You'll likely want to do something to limit the range of motion so that the bell can't flip all the way around when the string is pulled too far. You should obviously make everything a lot prettier, too. 😀