I have been searching for resources on using a bell as a call to worship. I have found many resources describing the history and the different uses of a bell. I am looking specifically for a resource that would indicate the number of times a bell should be rung for a standard worship service. As our bell is outside (not near the sanctuary), it is not used during the Lord's Prayer (one ring at the start, one in the middle, and one at the end.) I realize that this is an adiaphoron, but many traditionalists expect the bell to ring. There is a bit of discussion on the exact number of times it should ring. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Christian Worship: Occasional Services offers these guidelines for ringing church bells:
“Church bells are used primarily to call people to worship and to announce the beginning of a service. In some areas it is also customary to ring the church bells to express joy, announce a death, to remind people to pray, and to encourage the absent to join in the prayers of the Church. These guidelines list some of the ways in which church bells have traditionally been used, though local customs may differ. Bells may be rung:
1) On Saturday evening at 6:00 PM to anticipate the celebration of the coming day (seven times)
2) Early Sunday morning to announce the arrival of the day (seven times)
3) One-half hour and one-quarter hour before each service (seven times) to call people to worship
4) At the hour of each service (seven times, a pause, then three single notes) to announce the beginning of worship
5) On weekdays at the early morning, noon, and evening (three times, a pause, then seven times) to remind the community to pray
6) At a marriage—when the service begins (seven times), when the bridal party leaves the church
7) At a death—at intervals of three to seven seconds to announce the death of a member of the congregation (sometimes tolling once for each year of the age of the deceased), when the funeral service begins (seven times), as the body is carried from the church
8) During the Lord’s Prayer (beginning, middle, and end) at all services to invite those who are absent to join in praying the Lord’s Prayer
9) At the Easter Vigil as the lights of the church are fully lit and during the Easter greeting to sound the Church’s joy at the resurrection of Christ.” (Page 334)
Keep in mind that these are guidelines only. As you noted, this entire matter is an adiaphoron: something that God has neither commanded nor forbidden.