Our Bells & Tower
The bells were dedicated on October 22, 2000 (the Sunday after the Feast of St. Luke), and are rung weekly after the 9:00 a.m. Sunday service and before the 11:15 a.m. service, as well as for special occasions such as church feast days and secular holidays and events.
St. Luke's Guild of Change Ringers
Regular practices: Thursday evenings, 7 - 9 pm, & 1st and 3rd Saturday
Individual lessons will be arranged for beginners.
Tower Captain, Judith Smith
A Brief History
Chiming bells (swinging them through a short arc using a rope and a lever) goes well back into the Middle Ages, but it was not until the seventeenth century that ringers developed the full wheel which allowed enough control for orderly ringing. In 1668 Fabian Stedman published Tintinnalogia - or the Art of Change Ringing, containing all the available information on systematic ringing. The theory of change ringing set forth by Stedman has been refined in later years but remains essentially unchanged today.
The British brought change ringing to the American colonies, installing bells in Boston, Charleston, New York, and Philadelphia in the eighteenth century. Paul Revere joined the band of ringers at Old North Church in 1750 when he was fifteen years old. His familiarity with the tower and his association with its keeper enabled him to use the tower for the lantern signals that directed his famous midnight ride.
After the Revolution change ringing began to die out in the United States. Throughout the nineteenth century new rings were installed at scattered locations, but interest waned. A weak revival occurred around 1900 with several additional new rings. By mid-20th century only a few towers had active change ringing bands.
Two new rings in Canada in the 1950s and the 10-bell ring at Washington Cathedral in 1964 sparked a revival that continues to gather momentum. There are a total of 45 active rings of change ringing bells in North America, 28 of which are associated with Episcopal or Anglican churches. Since the St. Luke's bells were dedicated in 2000, 9 new rings of bells have been installed in North America. Four of the new towers are in the southeast, at the Cathedral Church of St. Luke and St. Paul in Charleston, SC, the Church of the Good Shepherd in Augusta, GA, the Roman Catholic Cathedral of St. Paul in Birmingham, AL, and at the University of the South in Sewanee, TN. Most recently, a ring of 12 bells was installed at Trinity Wall Street, in New York, the only ring of 12 bells in the United States. There are over 400 ringers in North America.
Why Do People Ring?
Change ringing is a non-competitive and non-violent team activity that is highly stimulating intellectually and mildly demanding physically, and makes a beautiful sound. It develops mental and physical skills in a context of communal effort. The intense concentration required brings euphoric detachment that cleanses the mind of the day's petty demands and frustrations. Many people ring as a contribution to church life.
In addition, there is the companionable nature of ringers. The interdependence among individuals creates a tremendous fellowship. Visitors to a change ringing session will invariably be asked to join in if they are ringers. Almost all ringing sessions include time for socializing.
Could I Be A Ringer?
Probably. Ringing is within the intellectual and physical reach of anyone who can ride a bicycle. If you can count, you know all the mathematics you need. You can become a very good ringer without knowing anything else about music. Some intense practice is required at the outset, and ringers practice once or twice a week. Most also ring before or after church on Sunday. You be the judge. Come to a practice session and join in.