Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘ringing’

By Ruth Szucs. Photos by Win Grant and Ruth Szucs.

calloutStarting time, agendas, discussions, problem solving, share and prayer time – sounds like most teams at First Baptist. And like most teams at FBC, FirstRingers do much more.

The sounds of rehearsals are more than just notes; there are lots of “sorry,” “oops,”

photo by Win Grant

“you’ll get it,” and laughs. Handbell choir has been called the ultimate team sport because it takes every person ringing in perfect sync. In rehearsals we practice lots of grace as we try to get that perfect sync.

Ministry within our small group grows out of that grace. We share with each other, pray for each other, take meals to each other, visit each other. Reflecting on our group verse, Galatians 6:2, Mary Eldridge says, “We have truly become a community of believers together, bearing one another’s burdens.”

Concerts in Romania, England, Scotland, Germany, and Slovakia, as well as throughout North America, Virginia, and Richmond have given our members opportunities for ministry outside our group. Martha Grace Washington commented on one of the blessings of concerts: “As we play familiar hymns, faces begin to light up – the faces of the audience, as well as our own.” Perhaps our most memorable ministry went beyond concerts. In 2000, in Cloppenburg, Germany, we were matched, side by side, to a group of new bell ringers, teaching them how to ring. We also prayerwalked and witnessed in their community.

FirstRingers bell choir

photo by Win Grant

Worship, our most visible task, can become our most fearsome. Getting the right note can take over our hearts and minds. We have to get past that, get out of the way, and let the music speak. Janet Chase says, “When we ring, our desire is to contribute to worship a musical praise offering.” We hope people will not focus on us, but close their eyes, move into the sounds, and let themselves be transformed by the music. Mary reminds us that “We use our bell ringing to point beyond ourselves to the Maker of all music.”

There is a long tradition of handbell music at First. Janet remembers “ringing bells since high school age, first at Woodland Heights Baptist and then at FBC. One of the reasons I ventured across the river was to ring with Dr. (Ray) Herbek before he retired—the FBC choirs had a reputation statewide.”

FirstRingers bell choir

photo by Ruth Szucs

Although many FirstRingers began their bell experience in middle or high school, Sarah Amick joined rehearsals in 2007 with no previous training. She has grown since then in knowledge and comfort with ringing and shares that she is “thankful to be a part of a group that so loves God, music and people.” On a mission trip to Austria, Kathy Rock found herself playing handbells for the first time in a worship service. Later during that trip she taught a children’s group how to ring and has been ringing ever since.

However they began, all bell ringers agree with Susie West: Ringing “feeds my soul – the music and the fellowship. I love being part of a small group making music.”

FirstRingers bell choir

photo by Ruth Szucs

Members: Sarah Amick, Sue Atkins, Chuck Batteau, Janet Chase, Mary Eldridge, Robin Hendricks, Martha Pugh, Trudy Rickman, Kathy Rock, Linda Stevens, Martha Grace Washington, Melissa West, Susie West, Ruth Szucs, director.

Editor’s note: In fall 2012 two new handbell choirs will begin, one for seniors, meeting on Thursday afternoons, and one for youths on Wednesdays. If you are interested in participating, contact Ruth Szucs at 358-5458 ext 164.


Ruth SzucsRuth Szucs has been happily married to Richard for almost 22 years; they have two children, Alexandra and Matthew. She is the music assistant for FBC, focusing on handbells and youth and children’s choirs, and thoroughly enjoys directing hymns when Phil is unable to be “on the platform.” Ruth began working with children’s choirs when she was in middle school herself, then after joining FBC in 1987, volunteered in the music program until filling in as handbell interim director in 2000. She is currently teaching 11th grade Sunday school. Ruth likes to keep things stirred up, from hiding under a bell table after a botched handbell solo to looking for fun in as many places as possible. Out of church you can find her at a horse field with Alexandra, at a soccer field with Matthew, or escaping to the lake with Richard.

Read Full Post »