the Southwell and Nottingham Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers
The Guild was created
when the old Midland Counties Association and the North Nottinghamshire
Association came to an end on the 31st December 1945. The old Midland Counties
Association had covered a huge area including part of Staffordshire and the
Dioceses of Derby, Leicester and Southwell. This new Guild which covered the
whole of Nottinghamshire was called the Southwell Diocesan Guild of Change
Ringers. At the end of the first year of operation the Annual Report recorded
213 ringing members which included 46 new members.
In 1959 the importance of
less experienced ringers, who rang regularly for Sunday service but hitherto
were not qualified for membership of the Guild, was recognised by changing the
name of the Guild from the Southwell Diocesan Guild of Change Ringers to the
Southwell Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers.
The Diocese of Southwell
changed its name to The Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham at the end of 2005.
At the Guild AGM in 2008 a motion to change the Guild's name to reflect the current name
of the diocese and to continue the diocesan link was finally passed.
Today, ringing is based
on six districts - Bingham, Mansfield, Newark, North Notts., Nottingham and
South Notts. - each with its own District Officers who facilitate the successful
running of the district. The 2016 Annual Report records a membership of 635.
If you would like to purchase a copy of the report, please contact the
Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham's Message for 2017
Once again I am delighted to contribute a few words of introduction to express my sincere gratitude to all who sustain the important ministry of our bell ringers across the diocese, especially the unique part you play in calling people to worship and marking significant moments in the life of our nation.
It is a great encouragement that from time to time this service to the church is acknowledged and appreciated more widely. I know many of you will join me in congratulating Bryan Birkett who it was announced is to be awarded the British Empire Medal in the Queen's New Year's Honours. In 2016 he had reached the milestone of having been a ringer for 50 years at Sutton cum Lound, as well as supporting the training of new ringers in the benefice and beyond.
As we are working together in this diocese to nurture faith in younger generations, one of the primary ways this can happen is through some area of participation in the church's life. It is good therefore to have read stories over the year involving young people being introduced to Bell Ringing, including 11 year old, Owen Peters, who completed at his first attempt a quarter peal in Bingham. I hope many other young people may be inspired by his achievement and find out more.
Coming as I do from a family of bell ringers, my heart always rises at the sound of ringing. I am so grateful that I was taught as a child that worship begins not when the first hymn is announced at the start of the service, but it begins in the bell tower, as an invitation sounds out to all across the community. Between Ascension Day and Pentecost I hope that many bands will join again in marking the ten days of prayer across the nation, an initiative of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York. Whether someone is simply moved to pray where they are, or drawn to worship, thank you once again for your part in extending faith, hope and love in a world that sorely needs it.
May God bless your endeavours in the year ahead.
Right Reverend Paul Williams Bishop of Southwell & Nottingham