2nd February 2024 – Rhona McEune

Looking at the seasons of the year, we are now in a time of change. At the beginning of February is the Presentation of Christ in the Temple, Candlemas, a story showing great trust in God. Mary and Joseph take Jesus to the Temple to give thanks for his birth, showing it as a special place in Jesus’s life as he grew up. It is a time of thanksgiving and waiting as we turn our thoughts from Epiphany to Lent.

Whilst there are many occasions to ring for celebrations, it is the faithful people who ring for Sunday service in their local towers who have the most impact on their local communities.

In the story of Jesus being taken to the Temple there are two very faithful people waiting for him, Simeon and Anna. They are both elderly and have dedicated their lives to serving God. We are aware that many ringers are more mature and have dedicated their time and skill to their towers. Their faith must not be underestimated.

The project done on the age profile of ringers provided interesting findings, even though it was done a while ago, because the older ringers, perhaps taking longer to learn were more likely to be loyal and stay in their local. The younger ringers are the future loyal ringers as they press themselves into the challenges of university ringing and become part of the cathedral bands, or larger town and cities bands but it must not be forgotten that they were often taught initially by the local ringers in their towns and villages.

Therefore, as we turn from Epiphany to Lent and then Jesus’s death and resurrection we have the Holy Spirit to walk with us guiding, supporting, strengthening and driving us in our ringing endeavours.