New Tower Bell Ringing Mark

by Faithful Friar

This past weekend for the first time a band of Community of Jesus bell ringers (pictured) were able to achieve an extended method ring in our church’s bell tower without visiting teachers or experienced ringers to help guide us. Good-sounding change ringing is a complicated business especially as you seek to extend a basic method (particular pattern of interweaving the tuned bells) by increasing either the number of bells or the length of ringing time. The complication may be traced to 2 main factors: the difficulty of learning to manage a heavy bell for both ease and precise striking, and the requirement to do it in coordination with a whole group of others. Both take a great deal of patience and perseverance, and one can see why advancing further only brings more difficulty. So why bother one may ask? Good question!…might be the reply. Two equally-connected reasons could be offered: the possibility for a tremendous satisfaction if/when the desired result is achieved, and the fact that it yields both a grand lovely sound and a sort of public witness to a hard-won unity. So even though the happy smiles in this photo are ones of anticipation before we began to ring, a photo taken 2 1/2 hours later would have revealed both stresses and strains we experienced, but also a sense of deeper contentment gained during that period of time. Enough to carry us on toward the next challenge….  (Sound familiar any of you Christians?)

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About Faithful Friar

I am a 20+ year member of the Community of Jesus Brotherhood, so I live in the Friary with the other vowed brothers along with any novices or combination of guest/ resident men – young or old – who may be with us at any given time. Our vows are the same as any simple or solemnly professed Community member, with the addition of consecrated celibacy and poverty. I moved here shortly out of high school to study music for a summer. At the end of that summer I chose to stay here as a CJ member. Shortly thereafter I knew another change was needed, and asked to be accepted into the brotherhood first as a postulant, later as a novice. My life in the Brotherhood involves a variety of occupations, but they are centered on the continual service of prayer and praise in our church and on the outreach ministries springing from that service. This means manual labor as well as ongoing study and training: theological, musical, technical/ scientific, artistic, historical, philosophical, etc. Sometimes this involves teaching others, so that is part of our life too. It’s a life of poverty and yet full of hidden riches.

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