From the Rector

Could we imagine a world without music?

Music plays such an integral part in so many of our lives.

It brings us joy, prompts us to dance, moves us to tears, evokes fond, and sometimes, sad memories, expresses thoughts too deep for mere words, and forms the melodic backdrop to the seasons of life.

I can hardly conceive of even a single day with no music to colour it.


Music is a key element of church worship too.

For so many regular worshippers it was the embargo on singing through the long Covid months of 2020 and 2021 that hurt the most.

Liturgy comes alive with song; the Bible is full of texts that exhort us to sing God’s praises and it just felt that a crucial ingredient was missing when all we were allowed to include was instrumental or recorded music.

Now that the full range of hymns, psalms, anthems and voluntaries has been restored, church services just feel whole once more.


But there is another expression of church music that is equally precious: the sound of our church bells.

They too were largely silenced for a long time, for change and method ringing are impossible with social distancing; but now that our teams are back in harness, the musical rehabilitation is complete.


Four of our churches in the Camelside Benefice (St Mabyn, St Tudy, St Breward and Blisland) have a peal of bells, two more have chimes (Michaelstow and Helland), and Temple has a single bell.

Bells send out all sorts of messages. In a monastic community a bell punctuates the day, announcing the seven times each day when the brothers or sisters come together for prayer. In parish churches, they mark special occasions.

Weddings, the beginnings of new committed relationships, are greeted with joyful ringing; more sober occasions, such as Remembrance Sunday, are marked with the poignant sound of a half-muffled peal; other less regular moments of national import are noted with quarter peals.

Sometimes visiting teams of ringers simply come to have fun ringing a different six or eight, for all towers are individual.


But it is in the day by day and week by week round of regular services that bells are heard the most.

They call the faithful to worship and they remind others that worship is being offered for all God’s people.

At St Breward a single bell is tolled at three key moments in the liturgy, so that anyone who is passing or who lives nearby can imagine themselves at worship from a distance-a powerful musical witness.


The next time you hear the bells from where you live or as you pass, give thanks for the skilful and dedicated teams who ring, and add your prayers of thanksgiving for the wonderful gift of music in all its forms.






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