A new set of Rules was approved by the Guild at its AGM on 13th March 2010 and last revised (Rule 33) at the AGM on 11th March 2023. Implicit in these is the facility for the Executive Committee of the Guild to provide rapid interpretation of, and direction about, matters of detail without the need for time-consuming rule changes.
Although the general principles enshrined in the rules can be expected to endure for many years the detail associated with them may well change quite rapidly as customs and technology develop. The Executive Committee provides this interpretation and direction by means of Guidance papers which should be consulted alongside the rules whenever questions arise. There are currently three Guidance papers.
The Rules are set out below (download here) and the Guidance papers can be accessed via the links in the sub-menu.
The Peal Fee (Rule 37) for 2016 is 50p per rope. The peal fee for each ringer participating will be deemed to have been sent to the Peals Recorder. if, within the times specified, the latter has received:
- cash; or
- a cheque made out to “Guildford Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers”; or
- notification of a BACS transfer to the Guild General Fund, details of which are:
Account name: Guildford Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers General Fund
Sort Code: 56-00-33 Account number: 48065617
(as at 11th March 2023)
1. The objects of the “Guildford Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers”, hereinafter referred to as the “Guild”, shall be to unite in one organisation church bell ringers within the Diocese of Guildford for the purpose of mutual support and encouragement in the promotion of Sunday service ringing and the practice of the art of change ringing.
MEMBERSHIP and CONSTITUTION
2. The Guild shall consist of a President, not more than eight Vice-Presidents, and members.
3. The Bishop of Guildford shall be invited to be President of the Guild.
4. Vice-Presidents shall be persons deemed to have given outstanding service to the Guild and shall be elected for life.
5. Members shall be:
- Resident members, who pay annual subscriptions and who reside in the Diocese or who ring regularly on Sundays therein; or
- Non-resident members, who do not pay annual subscriptions and who do not reside in the Diocese.
A resident member who ceases to reside within the Diocese, and does not ring regularly on Sundays therein, will become a non-resident member without further payment.
Districts and Towers
6. For Guild administration and management purposes the Diocese shall be considered to comprise the Chertsey, Farnham, Guildford and Leatherhead Districts. A resident member of the Guild shall also be a resident member of one of the Districts.
7. Each church within the Diocese which possesses a ring of bells, hereinafter referred to as a “tower”, shall be considered to be in one of the Districts. A resident member will be listed as either attached to one of the towers, or as unattached, in the appropriate District. A tower may be transferred from one District to another only by a general meeting of the Guild.
8. The Guild Officers shall be: Master, Secretary, Treasurer, Bell Restoration Adviser and Independent Examiner. Guild officers shall be resident members and shall be elected annually.
9. District Officers shall be: Master, Secretary, Treasurer, Executive Committee Member, Independent Examiner and Chairman. District officers shall be resident members of the appropriate District and shall be elected annually.
Central Council and Central Council Representatives
10. The Guild shall be affiliated to the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers and the Guild shall recognise and observe the rules and decisions of the Council. Central Council Representatives shall be resident members and shall be elected for triennial periods in accordance with the Constitution of the Council.
Terms of Reference
11. Terms of reference for Guild and District officers and for Central Council Representatives do not form part of these rules, but may be determined by a general meeting of the Guild or by the Executive Committee as required.
ADMINISTRATION and MANAGEMENT OF THE GUILD
12. An annual general meeting (AGM) of the Guild shall be held on the second Saturday in March in each year for the purposes of receiving a report and Statements of Account from the Executive Committee, electing Guild officers, electing Central Council Representatives if appropriate, electing Vice-Presidents, electing members, and transacting other business as necessary.
13. Other general meetings of the Guild may be called at any time by the President, the Master or the Executive Committee; or shall be called by the Secretary at the written request of at least 20 resident members.
14. A motion for consideration at a general meeting of the Guild must be notified to the Secretary at least 28 days before the date of the meeting and, unless from the Executive Committee, must be in writing and signed by the proposer and seconder, who must be resident members.
15. The Secretary shall give notice of any general meeting of the Guild at least three weeks before the meeting by publishing the agenda as directed by the Executive Committee.
16. Decisions made by a general meeting of the Guild shall take precedence over those made by the Executive Committee or by a District.
17. There shall be an Executive Committee responsible for all day to day administration and management of the Guild. Ex-officio members of the Committee shall be the Master, Secretary, Treasurer, Bell Restoration Adviser, Central Council Representatives, and the Master, Secretary, Treasurer and Executive Committee Member from each District. The Executive Committee shall have a quorum of 7 members and shall meet each year as soon as convenient after the annual District meetings and at other times as it may decide.
18. The Executive Committee shall:
- maintain a record of membership;
- maintain a record of peals rung for the Guild;
- manage and maintain the Guild library;
- facilitate and advise on the maintenance, repair and restoration of bell installations within the Diocese;
- co-ordinate Guild training activities;
- prepare a report of Guild activities for the AGM;
- prepare Statements of Account for the AGM;
- make recommendations to Guild general meetings about the levels of subscriptions;
- determine the allocation of subscription moneys to the Guild General Fund, to the Bell Restoration Fund and to the District Funds;
- authorise expenditure from the Guild General Fund;
- authorise grants and loans from the Bell Restoration Fund;
- determine transfers of moneys between the Guild General Fund and District Funds;
- make recommendations to Guild general meetings about the level of the peal fee;
- provide guidance to the Central Council Representatives;
- prepare terms of reference as necessary;
- prepare standing orders as necessary;
- manage or co-ordinate other aspects of Guild affairs as necessary.
19. The Executive Committee shall appoint from among its members a Librarian, a Peals Recorder, a Public Relations Officer and a Training Officer, and such other officers as it may consider necessary. It may co-opt resident members to fill posts that cannot be filled by ex-officio members.
20. The Executive Committee may appoint a resident member to fill any vacancy occurring among Guild officers or Central Council Representatives until the next AGM.
21. The Executive Committee may appoint sub-committees of resident members to deal with any aspect of the affairs of the Guild and shall determine terms of reference as it sees fit. The convenor of any sub-committee shall be a member of the Executive Committee and the Master shall be ex-officio a member of any sub-committee. In particular the Executive Committee shall appoint:
- a Bell Restoration Fund Sub-Committee consisting of the Bell Restoration Adviser, who shall be convenor, the Master, the Treasurer and the District Masters. It shall be the duty of the Sub-Committee to examine all applications for grants from the Bell Restoration Fund and to make recommendations to the Executive Committee.
- a Library Sub-Committee, with the Librarian as convenor, to manage the Guild Library on its behalf.
ADMINISTRATION and MANAGEMENT OF THE DISTRICTS
22. An annual District meeting (ADM) shall be held in each District no later than the first Saturday in February in each year for the purpose of receiving a report and Statements of Account from the District officers, electing District officers, electing resident members of the District to other posts as may be agreed, electing members, nominating Guild officers, nominating Central Council Representatives if appropriate, and transacting other business. Other meetings of a District may be held as deemed necessary.
23. A District Secretary shall give notice of any meeting of the District at least three weeks before the meeting by publishing the agenda as directed by the Executive Committee.
24. District officers shall be responsible for the administration and management of all District affairs. A District meeting may appoint sub-committees of resident members of the District to assist them with this work.
25. District officers may appoint a resident member of the District to fill any vacancy occurring among District officers or other posts until the next meeting of the District.
26. Vice-Presidents may be elected only at general meetings of the Guild and only following proposals from the Executive Committee.
27. Members may be elected at any general meeting of the Guild or at any meeting of a District.
28. Members may be elected before a peal which it is intended to ring for the Guild provided that the majority of the band are already resident members. Such elections shall be subject to confirmation at a meeting of the Guild or of a District after the persons so elected have paid the appropriate subscriptions, and no later than the first Saturday in the following February.
Nomination and Election of Guild and District Officers and Central Council Representatives
29. Nominations for any Guild or District office, or for a Central Council Representative post, may be made at any District meeting, or in writing to the Guild or District Secretary as appropriate, at any time between 120 and 28 days before the meeting at which the election is to take place. They shall be accompanied by appropriate indications that the members nominated are willing to serve if elected. If any such valid nominations are in place, only those members so nominated may be proposed for election at the appropriate meeting. If no such valid nominations are in place, any resident member may be proposed for election at the appropriate meeting.
30. A contested election shall be carried out by paper ballot.
31. There shall be a Guild General Fund, a separately constituted Guild Bell Restoration Fund and such other funds as may be determined by the Executive Committee. Each District shall have a District General Fund. District moneys may be expended as the Districts may determine, unless the Executive Committee decides otherwise.
32. All moneys, except amounts required for petty cash purposes, shall be held at Banks or Building Societies in accounts in the name of the Guild or of the District concerned. All bank accounts shall be operated as directed by the Executive Committee.
33. The annual subscription for resident members shall be fixed by a general meeting of the Guild. It shall be permissible to fix different annual subscriptions for resident members under the age of 19 or aged 65 and over. Resident members elected after 30 September in any year shall pay one full annual subscription covering the remainder of that year and the full year following. A resident member whose subscription is unpaid at 31 December shall cease to be a member.
34. A non-resident member shall pay the equivalent of one annual subscription on becoming a member.
35. A proportion of each subscription shall be credited to the Bell Restoration Fund. This proportion shall be determined annually in advance by the Executive Committee.
36. Subscriptions shall be collected by the District Treasurers who shall remit to the Treasurer non-resident members’ subscriptions and such proportion of other subscriptions as the Executive Committee shall from time to time determine. The balance of subscriptions shall be retained by the Districts.
37. A peal will normally be accepted as being rung for the Guild only if:
- all persons taking part are members of the Guild;
- an account of the peal, together with the peal fee for each ringer participating, is sent to the Peals Recorder within two months of the date of the peal, or by the following 31 January if rung in December.
- In exceptional circumstances a general meeting of the Guild may accept a peal which does not meet these conditions as being rung for the Guild.
38. The Master shall be chairman of all general meetings of the Guild and of the Executive Committee. A District Chairman shall be chairman of all meetings of that District. In the absence of the designated chairman, the resident members present at a meeting shall elect a chairman from among their number. A chairman shall not be entitled to a vote other than a casting vote.
39. A resident member shall be entitled to vote at a general meeting of the Guild only if present at the meeting; and shall be entitled to vote at a meeting of a District only if a member of that District and present at the meeting. A resident member may take part in a meeting of a District if not a member of that District with the consent of the chairman, but shall not be entitled to vote.
40. A non-resident member may take part in a general meeting of the Guild or a meeting of a District with the consent of the chairman, but shall not be entitled to vote.
41. Officers shall take office at the end of the meeting at which they are elected or appointed, unless the members present determine otherwise.
42. Standing orders for the conduct of meetings do not form part of these rules, but may be determined by a general meeting of the Guild or by the Executive Committee as required.
CHANGES TO THE RULES
43. Any change to these Rules must be the subject of a motion to a general meeting of the Guild. A change may be made only if the number of resident members voting in favour of the motion is at least double the number of those voting against or abstaining.