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Father and sons share hidden joys of bell-ringing

Cerith Gardiner - published on 04/24/22

This centuries-old tradition does more than unite the faithful in prayer.

There’s nothing quite so uplifting as hearing church bells peal. Whether they’re calling the faithful to worship, or ringing out in joy when a couple weds, it’s a familiar sound that we may take for granted.

While some churches have now installed a system to automate the bells, others still rely on the efforts of bell-ringers. It’s a physical task that requires great rhythm, strong arms, and an ability to climb up those many steps into the church tower.

Thankfully in east London, a number of parishes can count on the hard work of bell-ringer Andrew and his two sons Alexander and Thomas. According to the video produced by the BBC, the father-sons trio go to three different churches, where they ring together in harmony.

“When it goes well, it’s cracking, it really is marvelous,” shared Andrew, the self-proclaimed ringing master. But as he also points out, it is a moment to “provide constructive criticism … and teaching” to his sons.

While the moment is a wonderful opportunity for the family to bond, it also plays a vital role in the community, reminding everybody “that the church is alive,” as Andrew explains.

And it is these centuries-old traditions that need to be cherished, not just for their practical purpose and rich symbolism, but for giving individuals and families a chance to play a part in bringing Christ to the world.

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