- Name and Object
- The name of the Guild shall be "The Lincoln Diocesan Guild of Church Bellringers."
- The objects of the Guild are
- to encourage the recognition of ringers as church workers
- to promote the ringing of bells for worship and on other suitable occasions.
- to promote the care and restoration of bells
- to recruit and train ringers
- to promote and advance change ringing
The Guild shall be composed of Ringing, Non-Resident Life, Associate and Honorary Life Members.
- Any competent* ringer residing within the Diocese, or actively ringing for Sunday service at a tower within the Diocese, shall be eligible for election as a Ringing Member of the Guild. A Ringing Member shall pay an Annual Subscription, the value of which shall be set at the previous Annual General Meeting of the Guild. The subscription rate for Ringing Members under the age of 16 or in full time education may be set at a lesser amount than that for adults. Subscriptions shall be due on the first of January each year. Any member whose subscription for the current year remains unpaid on 31st March shall be deemed to have withdrawn from the Guild. Such a ringer wishing to rejoin the Guild must submit to re-election, such re-election to be subject to confirmation at a Branch Meeting.
- Any competent change-ringer who is not resident in the Diocese of Lincoln may be elected as a Non-Resident Life Member of the Guild on payment of a fee agreed each year by the Guild Committee.
- Any Ringing Member of the Guild who ceases to meet the criteria of Rule 2a may apply for election as a Non-Resident Life Member of the Guild without any further subscription provided that they shall have paid annual subscriptions for not less than three years. Non-Resident Life Members shall have no voting rights and shall not hold any office within the Guild. The election of Non-Resident Life Members shall be ratified at the Annual General Meeting of the Guild.
- Any non-ringer resident within the Diocese of Lincoln, who has actively supported the work of the Guild, shall be eligible for election as an Associate Member of the Guild and shall pay a minimum annual subscription of not less than half the current subscription rate for Ringing Members. Associate Members shall have no voting rights and shall not hold any office within the Guild.
- Membership of any class is only valid after completion of a Membership Application form.
- Honorary Life Membership of the Guild may be conferred on a Ringing or Associate Member who has given outstanding service to the aims and objectives of the Guild.* No further subscription shall be required from elected Honorary Life Members and they shall retain their existing voting rights.
- Nomination and election of members shall, in all cases, follow the procedures as determined from time to time by the Guild committee and laid down in Rule 6.
- Officers and Committee
- The Bishop of Lincoln shall be invited by the Executive Officers of the Guild (see Rule 3b) to serve as Patron throughout the time of his Episcopate
- The Executive Officers of the Guild shall be a Master, a Treasurer and a Secretary. Each shall be elected for an initial term of three years, and shall not hold office for more than two consecutive terms*
- The other officers shall be a Peal Secretary, a Librarian, a Report Secretary, a. Webmaster, a Training Officer, a Membership Secretary, a Fund-raising organizer a Public Relations Officer, a Bell Repair Fund Administrator, a Safeguarding officer and a Youth Representative, all of whom shall be appointed for an initial term of three years, and shall not hold office for more than two consecutive terms.
- The Presidents of each of the Branches shall be ex-officio Vice-Presidents of the Diocesan Guild.
- The Guild Committee shall consist of the Officers mentioned in Rules 3b and 3c above, the Branch Secretaries, the Trustees of the Guild’s Bell Repair Fund,* and the Guild's Representatives on the Central Council. Branch secretaries may appoint a proxy if they are unable to attend a meeting.
- Any Office falling vacant shall be filled by the Committee. Any other vacancy in the Committee shall be filled by the Branch whose representative has ceased to hold office as soon as conveniently may be. Any person appointed under this sub-section shall hold office for the same period that their predecessor would have done.
- At Committee Meetings nine shall form a quorum, of which three must be Guild Officers, one of whom must be an Executive officer.
- A new election for an Officer may be requested at any time inside a triennium upon receipt by the Guild or Branch President (as appropriate) of a written request signed by 10% of the membership. The Guild or Branch committee shall give 60 days notice of the election to be held at the next AGM or at an extraordinary meeting, whichever is the sooner.
- To assist the Guild better to meet its objects, the Guild Committee may divide the Diocese into discreet geographical areas, to be known as Branches.
- Each Branch shall hold an Annual General Meeting within the first six weeks of the calendar year at which it shall elect a President, Executive officers of Master, Secretary and Treasurer, and Branch committee members as determined by the Branch. The election procedure shall follow exactly that as prescribed in these Rules for the Guild officers.
- Each Branch shall have the management of its own local affairs in all matters save and except where otherwise provided for in the Rules, or when they affect the principles or general well-being of the Guild, in which case the General Committee of the Guild shall have the power to intervene.
- In the case where the Branch does not agree with the finding of the General Committee, the final decision shall lie with the next Annual General Meeting of the Guild or with the Special General Meeting called for that purpose.
- Central Council Membership
- The Guild shall be affiliated to the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers.
- The number of the Guild's representatives on the Central Council shall be in compliance with the Council’s Rules and shall be elected at the Annual General Meeting before the first meeting of each Council triennium, except when the time between the above meetings does not allow for the required notice of the election being given to the Hon. Secretary of the Council. When this occurs they shall be elected at a previous meeting of the Guild.
- Ringing Members and Associate Members shall be elected by a show of hands at a Branch meeting at which both nominee and proposer should ideally be present. The proposer shall confirm the nominee’s competence and eligibility for election.
- Non-Resident Life Members (Rule 2b) may be elected by a Belfry election and shall be subject to confirmation at the next Annual General Meeting of the Guild
- Non-Resident Life Members (Rule 2c) shall be elected by a show of hands at an Annual General Meeting of the Guild upon submission of written application to the Guild Secretary not less than one calendar month prior to the meeting.
- Hon Life Members shall be elected by paper ballot at an Annual General Meeting of the Guild and shall require approval of four-fifths of the members present. The proposal shall first be submitted in writing as a Branch proposal to the Guild Committee, which shall, after due consideration, make recommendation to the Annual General Meeting.
The President, the Master, the Secretary and the Central Council representatives shall be proposed using the appropriate nomination form which shall be submitted to the relevant Secretary (Guild or Branch) not less than one calendar month before the respective Annual General Meeting. The nomination form shall include the name of the office, the names and signatures of the candidate, proposer and seconder.
In the case of Guild Executive officers and Central Council representatives the form shall also contain a short statement from the candidate setting out his/her experience and plans for his/her term of office if elected.
Election shall be by paper ballot of those members present at the meeting. It is recommended that Branches adopt the same procedure as for Guild officers.
- The Treasurer and all other Officers (Rule 3c) shall be nominated by the Guild or Branch committee and be subject to ratification at the relevant Annual General Meeting.
- Guild and Branch positions are mutually exclusive.
- The Membership Secretary shall be responsible for the collection of subscriptions from all Associate, Ringing and Non-Resident Members; all monies collected to be forwarded to the Guild Treasurer.
The Treasurer shall apportion the subscription income to cover the following items of expenditure:-
- Expenses of Guild Meetings
- The cost of printing the Annual Report
- Guild Insurance
- Postages, stationery and incidental expenditure
- The fees due to the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers
- The expenses of the representatives on the Central Council
- The cost of advertisements in "The Ringing World"
- Any additional sum to maintain a Guild Fund as decided by the Guild Committee
- A contribution, being not more than 10% of the subscription, to a restricted Guild Training Fund
- Branch administration expenses
- A donation, being not more than 50% of the subscription, to the Guild Bell Repair Fund
- Any expenditure not provided for in Rule 6b shall require authorisation by the Guild Committee before payment from Guild Funds.
- A Guild Bell Repair Fund shall be maintained under the control of the Guild Committee who shall be authorised to receive monies on behalf of the Fund. Administration of the Fund shall be as laid down in the special rules of the Fund.
- Two Inspectors of Accounts (who shall not be members of the Guild Committee) shall be appointed at the Annual General Meeting to examine the accounts of the Guild Funds.
- The Guild Committee, subject to the provisions of Rule 6g, will present a recommendation for all subscription rates and fees annually to the Annual General Meeting of the Guild. The new subscription rates and fees will be agreed annually at this meeting and will operate from the first of January of the following calendar year. The proportion of subscriptions paid into the Bell Repair Fund and Training Fund shall be set annually by the Guild Committee. The subscriptions of Honorary and Ringing Members elected in or after October each year shall also cover the whole of the next calendar year.
- The amount of the peal booking fee shall be only that required to meet the estimated cost of printing the peal records in the Annual Report and shall be reviewed from year to year to take into account any surplus or deficit resulting to the General Fund from transactions in this respect in earlier years.
- Any person ringing in a peal credited to the Guild must be a member elected under Rule 2, and in any peal rung for the Guild outside the Diocese of Lincoln, at least half the band must be members of the Guild elected under Rule 2a, 2c or 2f.
- The conductor of any peal rung for the Guild shall forward as soon as possible to the Peal Secretary a peal booking fee according to the current rate per person. The total sum of money collected during the year shall, as soon as possible after the end of each calendar year, be paid by the Peal Secretary to the Guild Treasurer.
- The conductor of any peal rung for the Guild on seven or more bells shall forward details of the composition to the Peal Secretary as soon as possible after completion of the peal. The Peal Secretary is empowered to request any other composition at his/her discretion.
All peals credited to the Guild shall conform in every respect with the decisions for peals enacted by the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers.
- The Annual General Meeting of the Guild shall normally be held at Lincoln on the last Saturday in April. A half-yearly meeting may be held in September at the discretion of the Executive Officers, if considered necessary, or at the request of any Branch, the Executive Officers may call a Special General Meeting.
- Twenty-eight days notice of the date and place of a General Meeting, shall be given by notice in the "Ringing World" and, with the agenda to Branch Secretaries, who shall notify their respective towers.
At all meetings of the Guild the Chairman shall be:-
- The President
- The Master of the Guild
- The President or Chairman of the Branch in which the meeting is being held
- A member elected by the meeting
- The Master shall have control of the ringing at all Guild meetings, or shall nominate an efficient member as deputy.
- Alterations to these rules
- No alteration of these rules may be made except at a General Meeting (i.e. Annual, Half-yearly or Special) of the Guild and must be passed by a two-thirds majority of those members present.
- A minimum of twenty-eight days notice of such Meeting and proposed alteration must be given to each member through their respective towers via their Branch Secretaries.
NOTES TO THE RULES
Rule 2a "Competent" shall mean having demonstrated an ability to ring rounds safely and unassisted, and actively supporting a tower within the Diocese..
Rule 2f Whilst wishing to retain Hon. Life Membership as an honour conferred for outstanding service to the Guild, the Guild committee also wishes to record outstanding service to a Branch or Tower by recording a member’s name on a Roll of Honour.
Rule 3b Wherever possible, the Executive officers shall endeavour to manage their tenure of office in such a way as to maintain a continuity of experience of the management and organization of the Guild.
Rule 3e The appointment of the Trustees of the Guild’s Bell Repair Fund is as laid down in the Rules of the Fund
CODE OF CONDUCT
In addition to the rules, there is now a (draft) Code of Conduct, which members should adhere to. It can be found here