On this day – Easter Sunday 2018 – I am reminded of some of the many marvellous attributes associated with bellringing. One week ago – Palm Sunday – our local team at St Mary’s Harrow-on-the-Hill rang for service as usual. We were able to ring all 10 bells, with a mix of experienced and relatively new team members. Today, on the other side of the world, I was able to join the team at St Mary’s Cathedral Sydney. We rang all 12 bells for the Easter Sunday service, with around 15 ringers being present. And I know that, all around the world, ringers will be supporting their local towers on this pre-eminent Christian feast day.
This tale of two towers, geographically so separated, brings to mind four attributes of a “healthy” ringing team – Quantity, Quality, Capability and Community.
In terms of quantity, at both of these towers bells are regularly rung – every Sunday, and frequently twice on Sunday – and usually have sufficient to ring all the bells. Both towers have healthy recruitment and teaching programmes, with “developmental” quarter peals and peals for special occasions.
In terms of quality, both towers have a focus on good striking, and a repertoire of methods which continues to broaden and deepen. This is evidenced by unsolicited feedback from our listeners – the local community – who value the place that ringing holds within the ebb and flow of daily life.
At both towers, the teams are extending their capabilities. This can be through trying new methods, trying heavier bells, or having a go at calling and conducting. Members of each team also regularly travel to other towers to seize opportunities for ringing different things with different people.
Most importantly for me is the unique sense of community and camaraderie within each team. We look out for each other, both in the tower and outside the tower. We open our towers on many occasions throughout the year for visitors, ringer or non-ringer. We support branch and association ringing events as much as possible, and there is purpose, commitment, enthusiasm and enjoyment in all the ringing we do.
As we gather this Sunday to give external expression to the Easter message, let’s all of us aspire to achieve and maintain these four characteristics – ringing out confidently and wholeheartedly.
A very happy Easter to all,