Since I last wrote Sunday service ringing has now resumed at a number of towers across Sussex. It's not all the bells, it's not all the ringers, nor is it all the towers (yet!).
At the moment we are constrained to ringing bells where the ropes fall two metres apart, and a risk assessment has been undertaken to ensure that appropriate measures are being taken to safeguard the health and wellbeing of those that are ringing.
Following on from a meeting between the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers and the Church of England Recovery Group, which was held yesterday (Friday 21st August), it is hoped to be able to ease some of the restrictions around service ringing. Primarily this will focus on reducing the distance between ringers to one metre, by ensuring that face coverings are worn, and that a tracing procedure is in place should a ringer fall ill with COVID-19 (this is an easy win as we know who we have rung with).
It is also hoped that a road map can be set out to allow localised decision making based on individual towers' circumstances i.e. ventilated ground floor rings, large ringing chambers etc. This will need to take into account local lockdown restrictions that may apply in the future.
Discussions are also ongoing about ringing for longer periods, and the use of simulators in church settings for practise, along with the issue of single household ringing.
Whilst all of these are welcome news, it should be bourne in mind that they have yet to be ratified by the CofE and we should be careful not to jump the gun. Please continue to abide by the current guidance for now.
As you can see from the most recent email update, there is still ongoing activity within the Association, and we hope to bring you more soon.
For now, please stay safe and continue to look after each other. I hope it won't be too much longer before we can enjoy each other's company again!
Rob Lane, SCACR Master
Saturday 22nd August 2020