Easter Bells at York Minster

Progress with recruitment of new band of ringers

In our post Recruitment of Head of Bell Tower – York Minster we reported that the Minster was inviting experienced bell ringers to apply for the role of Head of Bell Tower, and interviews were planned for 11 March. Commenting on The Guardian headlineThe bells of York Minster could ring out on Easter Sunday after it began the search for a replacement bellringing team”, we cautioned that assuming a successful applicant is selected on 11 March, (i.e. the day before the 2nd Sunday in Lent), there would be a relatively short time if this were to be achieved.

The York Press now reportsMinster plans for Easter bells” stating that “York Minster and says arrangements are in hand for its famous bells to be rung again at Easter by visiting bands of bellringers – as happened just before Christmas… Continue reading

Recruitment of Head of Bell Tower – York Minster

“No ring of bells to our ears sounds”

“The ring of 12 bells in York Minster are widely regarded by experienced change ringers as some of the best sounding bells in the country”. However, they have only been heard on a couple of occasions since the axing of all 30 volunteer ringers in October 2016. The Minster is now inviting experienced bell ringers to apply for the role of Head of Bell Tower. Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 23rd October

A week in which most of the news was political: a 19 per cent swing to the Lib Dems in Witney, a Scottish Independence Referendum Bill – and French politicians competing to be “plus laïc que vous”…

Draft Scottish Independence Referendum Bill published

The Scottish Government has published its Bill for a second independence referendum. The proposed question is the same as that asked in 2014: “Should Scotland be an independent country?”. Under the Scottish Government’s proposals, which are very similar to those under which the 2014 referendum took place: Continue reading

Volunteers, Safeguarding and the CofE

Some of the broader issues raised by the sacking of York Minster bell ringers

The recent Statement by the Dean and Chapter of York concerning the Minster’s volunteer bell ringers was apparently triggered by concerns relating primarily to safeguarding, health and safety, and other issues. The circumstances in York are a matter for local resolution, and no further comment is necessary. york-minster-img_4461-3However, this has highlighted the necessity for PCCs and cathedral authorities to ensure that adequate measures are in place for the activities of volunteers for any place of worship, regardless of its size or perceived importance. Volunteers are used for a wide range of activities, some of which are described on the York Minster web pages. This post is not intended to provide guidance on the specialist area of bellringing, which is outwith our own expertise, but draws upon this as an example of the issues to be addressed in the organization of volunteer groups. Continue reading

Bellringing, inappropriate behaviour and judicial review: TH v Worcester Cathedral

In TH v Chapter of Worcester Cathedral & Anor [2016] EWHC 1117 (Admin) the claimant was a member of the Worcester Cathedral’s Guild of Ringers. In February 2015, the Chapter revoked his membership of the Guild and permission to ring at the Cathedral (‘the first decision’); and the Bishop invited him to sign an agreement that placed conditions on him ringing bells in all other churches within the Diocese (‘the second decision’).

Both decisions arose out of findings that the claimant had behaved inappropriately with children and young people. The original concerns were investigated by the Cathedral Chapter and advice was taken from Worcestershire County Council’s safeguarding officer: the Local Authority Designated Officer (“the LADO”). Both the first and second decisions followed the LADO’s advice. There was no question of any criminal conduct, however, and that remained the situation [1 & 2]. Continue reading