What is the Abraham Lincoln Society?
Anyone paying close attention to peals rung in North America will have noticed one published electronically today, 19 May, as rung for the Abraham Lincoln Society. Members of the band that rang this peal feel others might experience some confusion or worry about this, and so have asked me to post this explanation on the NAGCR web site. It is particularly important to stress that the Abraham Lincoln Society is not intended to be a competitor to the North American Guild, merely an adjunct for peals that cannot be rung for the NAGCR.
Those who were at the NAGCR AGM last year, or have been following the web site, will know that there was an unfortunate brouhaha over the acceptance by the NAGCR of several peals rung for it. Members of several bands were slothful in renewing their dues. While in all cases they did subsequently renew them, they did not do so as quickly as the officers of the Guild deemed necessary, and the officers decided these peals could not be rung for the Guild. Many details can be seen on the NAGCR web site at https://nagcr.org/discuss/2012/09/peal-requirements.html, as well as some other postings in that section around the same dates.
Unsurprisingly, some of the members of the bands whose peals were not accepted feel their efforts are not welcomed nor appreciated by the Guild, and so have subsequently allowed their memberships to lapse. This includes not just those ringers who did subsequently pay their back dues but still not have their performance recognized, but also some in the bands whose dues were current at the time the peals were rung. This presents a bit of a problem when a North American band rings a peal that includes one of these folks.
Today, we rang a good peal of six spliced surprise major that we felt represented an accomplishment for North American ringing, but that cannot be rung for the North American Guild as one of our band was one of the disaffected ringers. Had we published it merely as blandly "non-association" it would not have brought attention to it being an accomplishment for North American ringing. So we chose to constitute the Abraham Lincoln Society as a banner under which peals of which North American ringing can be proud, but that are not acceptable to the NAGCR, can be published. Again, I would like to emphasize that this is not intended to be a competitor to the NAGCR, and we are not trying to poke at anyone. We simply want to attach a name to this, and possibly future, performances, not acceptable to the NAGCR, but that we think reflect credit on North American ringing. In particular, our intention is only to credit to it peals that the NAGCR will not accept. Should the current contretemps be resolved, and peace and harmony reign again, I would expect peals would likely no longer be rung for the Abraham Lincoln Society.
While Lincoln was a US President, the intention is not to exclude Canadian ringers. We thought hard about a suitable name for the Society, and wanted to ensure we did not pick one that sounded at all like "North American Guild." We considered "American and Canadian Guild," but it seemed to make it too likely that it might mistakenly appear as a competitor, which we emphatically do not want. So, our apologies to North American ringers in Canada, we are not trying to exclude you in any way.
The rules of the Abraham Lincoln Society are four:
- The Society shall be called the "Abraham Lincoln Society of Change Ringers."
- Peals may be rung for the Society by any band with a North American connection, whose performance reflects or helps the development of change ringing in North America.
- In case of dispute about whether or not a performance meets criterion (2), above, it is to be settled by a simple majority vote of all of those members of the band that rang the inaugural peal for the Society, of six spliced surprise major on 19 May 2013, and who remain active ringers.
- These rules may be amended at any time by a simple majority vote of all of those members of the band that rang the inaugural peal for the Society, of six spliced surprise major on 19 May 2013, and who remain active ringers.
Finally, I think I should explain why I am posting this in the Articles section, rather than under Member Discussions. As this concerns former members who I presume are no longer granted access to the member discussions, it would seem rude to hide this message away where they are not allowed to see it. And counter-productive, too: if there are any responses posted to this, they may possibly be really addressed to the disaffected former members, and so it really needs to be where they can read them!