On the weekend of February 19 through 21, most of the North Georgia ringers were happily ringing away in Charleston, South Carolina - I'm sure their home towers of St. James and St. Luke's felt bereft! Attending the biennial "Ring Around Charleston" were Lyn Barnett and Bill Buckner from Atlanta, as well as Cathy & Chris Brown, Derek & Jan Wilsden, Charley & Alice Heilker, Mary Platt, Jay Williams and Kathryn Tucker of Marietta. In the first photo, you can see Ray Gotko (an honorary member of the St. James' Guild) and Charley Heilker at the Friday night reception at the Cathedral. At the same venue were Jay Williams and Bill Buckner, also pictured below.
There was an enormous amount of ringing scheduled - at my last count, I had heard of 23 quarter peals slated, along with lots of general ringing. Rosalie Crouch, the organizer extraordinaire of the event, will soon have a final tally of quarters achieved. One of the quarters that I am certain was scored happened to be a significant one in which I participated. It was the first inside quarter for Alice Heilker - Plain Bob Doubles, conducted by the eminent Alan Regin. It was rung on a beautiful afternoon on Sullivan's Island, and very well-struck it was, too! Alice should be extremely proud of her performance.
From left to right: Paul Stannard, David Cornwall, Joyce Cornwall, Alice Heilker, Alan Regin and Kathryn Tucker.
On Saturday night, the Charleston ringers hosted a "Low Country" meal at Grace's parish hall. Before everyone dove into their food, the rector, Michael Wright, gave the blessing. And because it was one of the sweetest blessings I've ever heard, I will repeat it here for you:
Bless, O Lord, the food upon our dishes
As Thou, Lord, didst bless the loaves and fishes.
And like the sugar in our tea
May we all be stirred by Thee.
Sunday brought service ringing at all the towers except Stella Maris - there is no ringing on Lenten Sundays at the Roman Catholic church. After ringing at Grace Episcopal, there was a bell-themed service, as it was near the 10th anniversary of the installation of their bells. There was a handbell introit of Grandsire Triples and a beautiful "Canticle of Praise", written by The Reverend Canon Michael Wright of Grace, and whose subject was bell-ringing. The homily was also concerned with bells, nicely given by The Reverend Donald McPhail.
The last photograph was a charming one I managed to capture after the service ended. A quarter peal of Cambridge Royal had just begun, and these children were enthralled with the ringing. How well we all know that feeling of fascination, do we not?