7th June – David Grimwood

A round of applause

It is not often that ringers receive a round of applause. I can personally recall several occasions, but two stand out. 

One followed a peal on demanding bells which were very rarely rung – we came down from the tower to find local residents relaxing in deck chairs who had listened from the start. We had been told that the bells were noisy outside (which they were) upsetting many nearby, including a rest home, so the show of neighbourly appreciation was a real surprise.

The other occasion was during the service for the recent Bell Sunday, when the congregation applauded the ringers with real warmth and support. This for a group of people who had only very recently learnt to ring, recruited following an open day and to ‘ring for the King’. The ringers at this church are normally completely invisible as the ringing room is hidden upstairs in the tower, but despite that, the appreciation showed a positive relationship.

The point was made in the service that the bells are part of the worship, a noisy proclamation of the presence of the worshipping church and the presence of God, heard well beyond the confines of a church building. However beautiful or Spirit-filled the worship itself may be, it is not heard outside the building by neighbours or those passing by, whereas bells certainly are! Moreover, the sound of bells creates all sorts of significant resonances in the minds and hearts of those who hear them.

It is surely appropriate then for ringers to be appreciated, not only for enabling their contribution to the public soundscape but also for the time, effort and commitment that has been offered by ringers, whether new recruits or those with years of experience, an appreciation that connects people together at a personal level.

David Grimwood 

Guild of Clerical Ringers