It’s funny how things turn out. You could think it was planned. If you read the last Bellnotes in the last magazine it was how I started and strangely it could also apply this time.

Because of the date of Rev Melanie Otto at Petertide Ordination it came between the dates of the magazine, so here so to speak –to write- is part two. I’ve been to Salisbury Cathedral a couple of times but well into the past. Salisbury Cathedral used to be one of the main pictures on chocolate boxes from a Constable painting…whatever happened to chocolate box pictures? With a long slender central tower as its logo, it is famous but because of the size of the tower it is too fragile to have ringing bells – well this is Bellnotes! Mind you they have four sets of ringing bells in Salisbury to make up for it.

Anyway the Cathedral was full on Sunday 26th June for the Ordination of the Deacons. I was surprised when I thought about it how many ordinations I’ve been to over the years and although they are life changing for the ordinands, the service itself is straight forward and ends up with communion. They are asked about nine questions and except for one, the ordinands all reply ‘By the help of God, I will’. The exception is the one on doctrine where the reply is ‘I believe and will do so’, which dare I say is an interesting response in the Church of England or have I been in the C of E. too long. The worry for us comes when we are asked three questions:

Is it your wish that they should be ordained?
Will you continually pray for them?
Will you uphold and encourage them in their ministry?
And we all said ‘Yes’.

There were 12 Ordinands and I don’t how but it was gender equal and it seemed that some were going to Thomas Hardy areas – The Vale of Pewsey or the Three Valleys (yes I know it isn’t Dorset). Melanie’s was straight forward, North Bradford on Avon and Villages.

Bradford on Avon is very picturesque, usually full of visitors, a place perhaps at one time with a picture on a chocolate box. It has a river and a canal – you might guess the name of them – going through it, but to think it is large enough to have a North South split, is interesting.

After the Service we all met outside for photos with twelve lots of families and friends, plus a couple of Bishops, it was quite a crowd but we all seemed to meet up with the right group. We met up with Dick and Joyce or should I say Rev. R Field and Mrs J Field a former Vicar and wife of St. John’s. Joyce pointed out that just across the Cathedral green was where she went to college but I bet the ‘art statues’ were not there then. Now you know when you see people you do not expect to see somewhere you don’t expect to see them, you do a double take, then register surprise ‘What are you doing here?’ It’s funny how things turn out, I first met Malcolm Burns with Ian Boyce when they turned up as Leytonstone Sea Scouts (Yes! Sea!) wanting to know what this bellringing was all about. Malcolm and Jill said that Melanie was going to be their priest but they had not met her yet. Oh! we said we’ve known her for a very long time and her sister Melissa is our Goddaughter. We knew that the ‘welcome tea’ was in their village (we were going to drop in to see them as a surprise) but did not know that one of Bradford villages was Monkton Farleigh, where Malcolm had just become a Warden. When we got to the Village Hall, there was Malcolm’s Mother, Evelyn –one of the St John’s Ladies, who now lives with them. Later Melissa pointed out that Evelyn worked a George Tom school, when they all went there!

I’m sorry if this ends up as a bit personal, as it is supposed to be bell notes but most of them were St. John’s bellringers. Oh! I forgot to say that Malcolm was my best man, 40 years ago, in April.

We all did a lot of catch up with Dick and Joyce, Malcolm and Jill and all the others. You could think it was planned? Same time next year.

Pray therefore that your heart may

daily be enlarged and your understanding

of the Scriptures enlightened.

Pray earnestly for the gift of the Holy Spirit

From the Service, 26th. June 2016, Salisbury Cathedral.


Michael Wareing