A New Year’s Message from the President for 2021
Dear fellow members of our Guild.
A happy New Year to all Guild members and also those who ring in the Guild area but have yet to join us. As has been said in many places, good riddance to 2020! I do not need to elaborate on the impact the covid-19 pandemic has had on our daily lives, our ability to worship together and the loss of most of our opportunities to partake in that uniting passion of many of us for bell ringing. If any lessons are learnt from the past nine months it is that the only constant has been change and the only definite uncertainty.
I hope that you were all able to celebrate Christmas in a suitable way even if the tentative plans already laid were thrown into confusion with the very necessary last minute changes announced and the further limitations placed on our lives by being in a Tier 4 area. I know very few “bands” satisfied the criteria to ring on Christmas Day but many thanks to those who did, reminding the general public of our existence.
We know that 2021 is not without hope. It shall see us back into Churches and ringing in a way that we grew up with. We were reminded in the Christmas services that Christ’s birth gave us all hope. Surely by Easter, that other great festival of Christian Hope, vaccination programmes and the positive effect of lockdowns will have worked and this can be a time for much celebration with ringing and ringers playing their full part in sharing the good news. Ringing does not seem to have the same pressure groups or financial clout to influence the government into special relaxations as other activities but I know the Central Council will continue their work on representing us to get us back into our towers.
It is certainly a time of change. As a Guild we are making more use of direct communication with members as the traditional route of flow down of information via towers is not viable with most not allowed to meet up on Sundays or for practice. We have reports emerging that the Church of England’s future will need severe review in the coming years. This will no doubt impact into our parish churches and eventually on the organisation of ringing. For those who agree with change, it will not be happening fast enough; for those against it, all will be going at too fast as pace.
For those of you in our youngest age group, enduring schooling and college disruptions, we look forward to resuming all our teaching and training activities with you that ensures the very long term future of ringing. For those in the workplace, many of you will have been directly involved in covid related work and we give thanks for your dedication in these extraordinary times. What is a better relaxation from the workplace for all of us than meeting with friends across all age groups in the belfry to enjoy ringing. Finally for those in the more senior echelons of ringing we will back in 2021 to meeting up and continuing in traditions (possibly modified a little!) that many of us have been used to for 40, 50 and even many more years.
A brief reminder that at the AGM it was agreed that there would be no subscription levied in 2021, although the treasurer is very happy to receive an equivalent donation to guild funds in lieu. Whatever ringing we can achieve in 2021, this will be even better value for money!. Keep safe. Remember the advice “hands – face – space” and anticipating us all having an early opportunity to be vaccinated.