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!