3rd November 2023 – Jonathan Rose


It is a story, I confess, I have mentioned to ringing colleagues on at least one occasion previously – so should they be reading this then I do apologise. The circumstance was ringing for a visit by a bishop to a rural parish church several years ago now. The church was full of local parishioners waiting for the prelate’s arrival. 

Unfortunately, the bishop was late arriving, through no fault of his own, and so we continued ringing to await his entry. The church in question had a ground floor ring and when eventually a churchwarden passed a message to me that our eminent visitor had arrived and the ringing should cease, I promptly shouted out stand. The effect of this was for the whole congregation present to get onto their feet promptly at my command – much to the amusement of the ringers, and indeed their surprise at the authority I possessed.

On becoming a tower captain several years after this episode, I remember thinking about how I was going to get the best from the ringers under my care and that any authority I exercised did not arrive through simply shouting out stand at the end of any length of ringing. It may seem obvious for those of you well versed in matters of leadership and the effective management of others, but it was clear to me that I needed to develop good connections with each member of our band and if they were to progress their ringing in terms of striking and method then listening to me was not a question of their having to, but ultimately because they wanted to. Could they trust me as I got to know them better?

Becoming a tower captain or even a deputy is not about the positional authority presented by the title but as in any role where leadership is required, it is about setting that sense of vision of what it is you want the team to achieve, being consistent in your approach, honest in your assessment of the progress made, and offering praise where praise is due. It is of interest to me at any rate to add that the Christian Church’s study of the New Testament Gospels would indicate that Jesus’ oversight of his twelve disciples occasioned on his part a fair degree of humility, compassion, self-control, patience, the ability to listen, the desire to delegate and forgiveness where it was relevant. Not a bad list of qualities for any of us who, at any level, find ourselves in positions of authority in ringing circles.

Jonathan Rose