History of Partnership  

The Southminster Ringers took handbells to Kateřinice and Ratiboř during their tour in June of 2011. Since that time, Southminster Alumni ringers have returned each August to lead a one-week Summer Camp to focus on handbells, English and Bible literacy.

However, the history of our partnership goes back much further than 2011! It really began in Zelów, Poland in 1992 - with the first trip of the Southminster Ringers to Poland. In 1998, Tom Flynn (Southminster’s Minister of Music) asked the famous question: “do we have youth in the parish”. Having received a positive answer, Tom offered to ask a handbell foundry if they would be willing to give us an octave of bells. In a few months there was a positive answer offering three octaves:) Tom sought someone from Zelów to work with the ringers. That person would come to Pittsburgh to learn about ringing and then return to lead the ringers in Zelów. There were no leaders available, thus we enlisted 15 year old Ewa Jelinek as the learner. The bells arrived to Zelow in March 1999 and since that year the Zelowskie Dzwonki choir has been alive and very active. In the meantime there was a change in the maestro for bellringing at Southminster. Richard Pinkerton became the new Minister of Music and our cooperation has continued.

Wiera and Mirek Jelinek have taken the idea of handbell ringing together with the friendship of Southminster church in Pittsburgh when they moved to the Czech Republic and started to serve here in 2010. The two congregations of the Czech Bretheren Church in Kateřinice and Ratiboř allowed us to start the fundraising process. The active people since the beginning created an association that cares about the choirs of handbells since that time. The first result came 10 months later in July 2011 - together with a group of Alumni Ringers and Rich Pinkerton. The choir is called Good News Bells - Zvonky Dobre zpravy. It means that we whenever give concert, we share The words of Gospel and encourage hearers to trust God.