We are at the beginning of Advent: a new start, a new church year.
So what are we going to do as ringers to spread the message of hope?
It is the beginning of December and the nights are dark; are we reluctant to go out to ring? Or are we going out joyfully to ring for a service or a practice because our towers are gradually returning to a more normal way of operating? Have we been encouraged by our vicars to ring, or are some perhaps more reluctant due to the size of the building, the ringing room, the age and vulnerability of bands?
Only you can answer those questions but in the season of expectation and hope, the great anticipation of the Incarnation, we can ring and be part of the expectation for celebration, and like the prophets, the patriarchs, John the Baptist and the Virgin Mary, we can willingly say, ‘Yes, here I am’, ready to take a full part in the first Christmas since the lockdowns in 2020.Advent is the time of change and Jeremiah tells us we are on the verge of a new life full of justice and righteousness (Jer.33:15–16), but in contrast Luke tells us there is great distress among nations (Luke 21:25–26).
These contrasts perhaps reflect some feelings about ringing. But more importantly, as the church is being asked to examine how to reduce its carbon footprint, explore biodiversity and become more efficient in terms of the use of fuels, are these also areas to explore from our tower perspective?
Is there an opportunity to talk with PCC and clergy, especially given the ways we now have to ring with as much fresh air and air circulation in the tower as possible, that might help us use less electricity or heating? Are there some simple things that can be done? Each tower is different.
Rhona McEuneLicensed Lay Minister,Binbrook, Lincolnshire