“Make a joyful noise unto the Lord” (Ps.100.1).

From the lonely toll of a funeral procession to the cascading peal announcing a new marriage, the sound of bells ringing marks some of the deepest moments in life and faith. But, for me at least, the simple chime calling the faithful to prayer is the key to the Guild’s celebrations.

There has always been a strong connection between music and worship - as St Augustine said, “The one who sings prays twice” (maybe we should say “The one who rings, prays twice”). And perhaps the reason for this connection is that the beauty of music, like the glory of God, cannot be caught in words.

So, as you gather to celebrate the 125th Anniversary of the Winchester and Portsmouth Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers, I encourage you to go on celebrating the mystery of God through the music of bells as an expression of your own praise and as an inspiration to all who hear them, that they too may join in reverent worship of almighty God.

With my very best wishes and prayers for this anniversary.

+ Kenneth Portsmouth