The Tower Handbook
Yes. It is an occasion to elect officers (see above), review progress made, discuss future aspirations and plans, air problems, formally elect or welcome new members to the band, plan events and activities for the year ahead. It is an occasion when all members of the band can make a contribution.
Many towers find their AGMs can be quite lively because all the ideas that have been brewing over the year come out in the open and spark off lively debate. (Meetings need not be boring - see picture.)
Your parish priest, a churchwarden or someone representing them. This gives you an independent and impartial chairman (should you need impartiality). It is also an excellent opportunity for them to see you all, and hear about your activities and concerns. Most clergy rarely visit the tower, so this meeting plays an important part in confirming your role within the life of the church.
We could have asked 'Who should give a report?' but that depends on what combination of officers you have.
Enough detail to be interesting but not so much as to be boring. If you are an officer and have to prepare a report, make it short and to the point, but remember that most of the band will be unaware of much that you have done. The steeple keeper and treasurer in particular do most of their work alone. Digging out some facts and figures can add interest and help to sharpen up your view of how this year differed from previous ones. For example: the number of weddings rung for, the average attendance for service and practice ringing, the number of quarter peals.
Most bands find the AGM comes often enough and would not want any more. Many bands reserve a few minutes in the middle of each practice for giving any notices. By asking whether anyone has anything else to say at the end of this, you give those present the opportunity to raise any burning concerns. Often there will not be, but sometimes it is worth spending a few minutes to find out what other people think. It may be something the officers need to go away and discuss more fully.
Occasionally there may be a really big issue. One or more of the officers may have to leave the area. There may be a need for major work on the bells. You may have a request to move your practice night. These are things the whole band should have a chance to discuss fully so you can agree a solution. It is unfair (and undemocratic) to try to resolve a topic like this during a practice (or among those who go to the pub afterwards), since that will exclude members who are not present. On occasions such as this, you should call an EGM (extraordinary general meeting) and give it the same status as your AGM.
Officers' meetings sound very bureaucratic, but they need not be. If you are an officer, meeting together away from the hurly burly of everyday ringing events allows you to discuss problems and plan ahead. Many bands manage without such meetings. The officers talk to each other in odd moments and feel that is enough. But other bands find regular meetings (say three or four times a year) help the smooth running of the tower, enabling them to produce a result that is more than the sum of their individual efforts. If your tower runs smoothly without them, that is fine. If you are undecided, ask these questions.
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