“Ring Out, Wild Bells” (Tennyson)
On the 25th September we will be celebrating two very significant positive events for the parish: the completion of the tower repair works and the much longed-for next stage of opening up of how we worship together inside the building (just approved this week by your PCC). This next stage of opening up also includes the cherished St Mary’s tradition of having the church building open during the daytime each day. Hooray!
But…. something still seems to be missing……… Of course! – it’s the church bells which sadly require some extra work before they can be rung again. Tennyson’s eight verse poem wonderfully captures the healing power of church bells as we make progress together as a church towards better times ahead.
Church bells are not an optional extra – CofE Canon law states that
“In every church and chapel there shall be provided at least one bell to ring the people to divine service” – we notably manage a bit better than that minimum! There is a clear link made between the summoning by bells and our worship together. Ringing bells was not really a thing in Old Testament or New Testament times, and perhaps a loud trumpet would be the nearest Biblical equivalent for announcing the presence of God among his faithful people (143 mentions!).
There will be much to celebrate on the 25th September and other things that we still miss will follow, including the bells which will also break free from their silence as we continue emerging from these most difficult of times:
“Ring out the darkness of the land, Ring in the Christ that is to be.”
Jenny and John Hosker