[Bell Historians] Consecration or blessing?

John Camp camp@bellringers.org [bellhistorians] bellhistorians at yahoogroups.com
Thu Apr 21 15:35:45 BST 2016

At 12:17 on 21 April 2016, Ted Steele bells at tedsteele.plus.com [bellhistorians] wrote:

> Bells in churches will have been consecrated for sacred use.

When the rehung 8 at St Mary Mag in Oxford (which had been augmented
by the two Centenary trebles which SJI later whipped out while nobody
was looking) were installed, we had a service conducted by the then
Bishop of Dorchester.  I announced this in the RW as the consecration
of the bells.  I was quietly told that this was the wrong word.  The
right word was "blessing".  OK - the back six had probably been
sanctified (to use a neutral word) before, but the trebles were new.

Not everyone has the sort of service Dickon likes, with a
swimming-pool full of holy water, smog-like incense and enough holy
oil to fry fish-and-chips for a century, preferably conducted by the
Papal Legate (though Richard Chartres will do at a pinch).  Seriously,
though, what is the difference between bells being blessed and bells
being consecrated?  Is it only a consecration when a bishop does it?
Is consecration holier than blessing?

The service itself was a bit of a pantomime.  Fred Sharpe turned up
uninvited, robed and carrying the ODG banner, and had to be fitted in
somewhere, though St Mary Mag, other than being geographically in the
Oxford Diocese, had no ties to the ODG.  It was (and is) run by the
OUS and the OS.  Wiggy (the late Canon Wigg), who was then President
of the OUS, decided that he would ascend into the ringing chamber with
the bishop.  Some may recall that Wiggy had a deformed leg.  It
consequently took a very long time for him to go up and down the
stairs.  Meanwhile, the congregation were getting bored and thinking
of nipping out for a pint.  Indeed, I believe that some did so.

John Camp

Posted by: John Camp <camp at bellringers.org>


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