Diocese of Carlisle

    Church bells to ring out for climate change

    Latest News
    27 Oct. 2021

    Churches across the Diocese are being encouraged to come together for a mass ringing of bells ahead of the COP26 climate summit.

    The Bishop of Carlisle, the Rt Rev James Newcome, and the Ven Richard Pratt, Archdeacon of West Cumberland and President of the Carlisle Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers, are asking CDGCBR members to ring church bells at 6pm on 30 October for 30 minutes or longer.

    Archdeacon Richard said: "The Church of England has committed to be carbon neutral by 2030 and one of the four themes of our refreshed ecumenical Vision is to "tread gently" which is very much about care of creation.

    "We mostly associate church bells with the call to worship, weddings and very special national celebrations such as the millennium or the ending of the Second World War. But they also have another historic function: to ring out warnings. This ringing out will remind the COP26 delegates of the urgency of the dangers we now face."

    The United Nations Climate Change conference takes place in Glasgow between October 31 and November 12.

    The idea of the mass bellringing was devised by Edward Gildea, the adventurer and environmentalist, who is a member of St Mary's church in Saffron Walden, Essex, as a vivid warning of the danger from the climate emergency.

    To date the places of worship that have confirmed they plan to ring their bells are:

    • Carlisle Cathedal
    • St Michael’s Workington
    • St Michael’s Shap
    • St Michael & All Angels Beetham
    • All Saint’s, Cockermouth
    • St Paul's Church, Irton
    • St James’ Barrow
    • St. Lawrence, Appleby
    • St Mary’s Wigton
    • St James Whitehaven
    • Holy Trinity, Grange
    • St Andrew’s Penrith
    • Keswick St John’s

    Andy Pollock, Tower Captain at St James’ Barrow, explained that bellringers there plan for a ‘firing’ of the bells, in which they are rung together simultaneously rather than in sequences.

    Andy said: “This is something rarely done and has not been done on our bells since before the restoration in 2014. It will sound louder, more urgent, and different than our normal English style ringing which will be heard afterwards

    “Firing is used for special events and to catch the attention – some places use this at weddings, others for New Year but we will use it to express the urgency and importance of making unprecedented and historic agreements at COP26.”

    Tower Captains and Ringers have been asked to check with their incumbents for permission to ring at their church.

    Those taking part and who post pictures or films on social media are asked to use the hashtag #CarlisleCOP26bells.


    Notes for editors

    Click here for more information about CDGCBR.

    For further information please contact Dave Roberts, Diocesan Head of Communications, on 07469 153658, 01768 807764 or at communications@carlislediocese.org.uk.