Thinking allowed

ringing in Philadelphia

A couple of weeks ago I spent some time in the USA. I had to be in Pennsylvania for a few days and took the oppor­tun­ity to do a couple of oth­er things too. One of them was to vis­it St Mark’s Church in Phil­adelphia. We stayed overnight a few miles out­side the city and drove in on Sunday morn­ing, find­ing a park­ing place just around the corner from the church (which is in Locust Street) — coin­cid­ent­ally right out­side the War­wick Hotel where I had stayed on my only pre­vi­ous vis­it to Phil­adelphia in Sum­mer 1976.

After the Sunday morn­ing ser­vice (very high-church Anglic­an, with excel­lent chor­al music) I was able to join in ringing the bells — St Mark’s is one of only 43 act­ive towers in North Amer­ica. It was a pleas­ure to ring these bells, and to enjoy the hos­pit­al­ity of the Phil­adelphia ringers. Although sev­er­al of their more exper­i­enced ringers were away we were able ring some call changes, as well as touches of bob doubles. The only tricky moment was when I pulled at hand­stroke and noth­ing happened, and then the rope bal­looned and shot up — the rope had slipped off the wheel. For­tu­nately I was able to con­trol the rope, which slipped back onto the wheel, and bring the bell back up and under con­trol. The touch of course was lost.

A nice set of bells — but I’m glad that I don’t have to ring in that heat every week!