A Message About no Ringing During the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) Pandemic
To all Guild members and other ringers in the Coventry Dioces
It is indeed in unprecedented times that I am writing this. We are all aware of the statements from the government about precautions during the current pandemic. Yesterday's press release from Archbishops Justin Welby and John Sentamu that it is now necessary to put public Church services on hold until further notice has a certain inevitableness about it. It is very clear that ringing should cease from immediate effect and there is no indication of when it can return to normal. Other faith leaders are making similar statements about ensuring their gatherings are minimised.
We will all miss our ringing be it the social side it provides, one for exercise of both body and mind as well as its traditional function of calling to worship or reminder to the public that worship is taking place. I am sure there will be advice appearing from lots of sources about how to keep our bands together for the resumption of ringing as well as useful things we can do to further our ringing that many never find time to do away from the tower. Unlike the ban on ringing at the outset of World War 2 it is not the sound of bells that is restricted but assembling to perform the activity. Those with simulators may have an advantage but not if it involves a gathering of people.
I have seen nothing about any special dispensations for the celebration of our major festival of Easter. Given the general tenor of the CoE statement this seems unlikely. Although weddings may still be taking place, full advice is doubtless still being developed by the CoE. Again I would be surprised if ringing for weddings is seen as an appropriate gathering. A useful website for all pertinent CoE matters is https://www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-churches
There will be no Guild or District events to go to. Which of these are postponed, such as the AGM, or cancelled for this year, striking competitions?, will be decided by the Executive committee and the membership informed of our deliberations. The annual report is complete and as needed before the usual date for the AGM. The hardcopy was scheduled for distribution to those who opt to receive it this way this week but this is no longer a priority. It will, however, be available shortly, as in previous years, in downloadable form for all to read on the Guild website.
I am sure we can all channel our surplus energy elsewhere to support our local churches and communities in ways indicated in the various releases that keep appearing and are compliant with the current government advice. I hope that it is not too long before a message indicating resumption of ringing is possible. As ringers we will certainly know how to celebrate getting back to our ringing activities with some form of ‘impromptu’ national/Guild/local events.
Andrew Alldrick -President 18th March 2020.