8th December 2023 – Nicky Seabright

In our frenetic modern world we’re constantly bombarded with information, from breaking news on TV or radio to relentless electronic messages in every conceivable form, all of which demand our instant attention. Just how much of this can we process? In a world awash with news, fake news, and websites offering information on an immeasurable number of subjects, how can we discern what we need to know and what is authentic?

The myriad organisations to which many of us belong disseminate information with a frequency that at times feels overwhelming and relentless and may simply move us to reach for the delete button. So how, with reference to ringing, do we communicate effectively and in a way that not only ensures essential information reaches those who need to know, but also grabs attention and fires enthusiasm?

I was made aware recently of the frustrations felt by ringing organisers and teachers who put time and energy into promoting all aspects of ringing, both locally and nationally, and who themselves benefit from the information, resources and courses offered through the Central Council and ART.

 Should we expect the same level of interest and enthusiasm in all our ringers? The particular issue under discussion was whether or not to circulate the weekly CC round-up of news to all members and what, if any, purpose this might achieve.

The flourishing of any group depends on several factors, among which is good communication, but so much will depend on the energy, inspiration and commitment of individuals

in positions of influence – those who one might describe as having been well and truly “bitten by the bug of ringing”. This infectious enthusiasm leads to ringing being “caught” as much as being “taught”, in much the same way as our journey of faith has sometimes been described.

The Gospel accounts of Jesus’s life and ministry over three short years are full of people encountering him, and of something being “caught” from him that could not simply have been “taught”. The life and love that flowed from Emmanuel, “God-with-us”, was compelling, profound and life-changing for those often on the fringes – certainly not in the mainstream or on any circulation list for up-to-date news or information.

News of all kinds will continue to flow as we approach Christmas, but may we all be open to the “good news of great joy” – news that caught the attention of the most unlikely people in society some 2000 years ago – give us hope, and inspire us in our faith and in our ringing now and in the new year that lies ahead.

The Reverend Prebendary Nicky Seabright

Honorary Priest, Diocese of Hereford