The Rector writes…

  1. The Short Abbey Service will be held again today at 11.15 am. Last month was half-term, so the numbers of children were down significantly, but the presence of so many adults shows that this new service is appreciated across the generations. For that reason it will be held also during the holiday months on 23 July and 27 August.


However, in September it will move to the 3rd Sunday of each month, to avoid the clash with the Parade Service at STPAULS@THE GRYPHON. And from September we hope the Sherborne Young Singers will be a regular fixture.


  1. Several people have complained to me that they missed the announcement of the new Vergers. Well – whose fault is that, exactly? But here are the details once again:


The first new Verger to join us will be Graham Winter, a former Longburton Churchwarden, who has spent many years as a mechanical engineer and now lives in Yeovil. We have decided to expand the portfolios of both of our new Vergers, and Graham will also be giving Church Hall Manager Phil Prout some help, not least in deputising for him when he is away. Graham will begin work on Monday 3 July.


The other new appointee is Dr Chris Hamon, who retires at the end of term from teaching in the Chemistry Department at Sherborne School. He has long been a worshipper at the Abbey both during term time and school holidays, and has recently joined the Abbey Choir. His portfolio will include two afternoons each week in the Parish Office, and succeeding Richard Churchill as Flagmaster. He will also become Choir Librarian. Additionally, and separately, he will be the Verger for Sherborne School services in the Abbey and caretaker for Abbey concerts. His start-date has yet to be finalised, but will be a little later than Graham’s.


So our Verger Team will now look like this (avoiding all that complicated stuff about Second and Third Vergers!):


Duncan Withers                      Head Verger

Rosemary Mortimer               Verger (Abbey)

Mark Prideaux                        Verger (Castleton and Abbey)

Graham Winter                       Verger (Abbey & Hall)

Chris Hamon                          Verger (Abbey & School)


It is important that our new team uses the summer to bed into new rhythms and patterns of working, which I am sure they will soon achieve. They would be glad of your prayers – as are our other lay staff in the Music Department, the Parish Office, St Paul’s Church Office, the Abbey Shop and the Church Hall.


  1. Brochures are available in the Parish Office for our Parish Pilgrimage to Germany in the steps of Martin Luther, to commemorate and celebrate the 501st anniversary of the 95 Theses and those other historic events which are generally held to mark the start of the Reformation. The flight from London Heathrow to Frankfurt will be on Monday 4 June, and we will fly home from Munich on Thursday 14 June. We will be visiting Worms, Mainz, Eisenach, Erfurt, Eisleben, Wittenberg, Regensburg and Augsburg. All are key sites in Luther’s life. We will also take a boat trip down the Danube to Walhalla on one of the ‘relaxation’ days!


The cost of the pilgrimage will be £2,095, to include breakfast and dinner each day. A limited number of single rooms are available for which the additional charge is £345. Booking forms and deposits are coming in well. Please return yours to me c/o the Parish Office.


  1. The Abbey’s Patronal Festival will be held next Sunday, 2 July, the old date of the Feast of the Visitation of Elizabeth to the Blessed Virgin Mary. We have held Patronal on the Sunday nearest 2 July ever since I became Vicar, because the Choir is still with us before the summer recess and there is a chance of decent weather for an evening party.


So the main celebration will be at a glorious Sung Evensong at 5.00 pm, followed by a party in the Close (in the Church Hall if wet). The preacher will be the Archdeacon of Sherborne, The Venerable Paul Taylor. Paul retires next year, and it would be good if there could be a good contingent from all our churches to thank him for his constant help and support since he was appointed Archdeacon in 2004. Do come.


The Social Committee would welcome gifts of finger food, sandwiches or cake from 4.00 pm on the day, either in the Close or at the Church Hall if wet. There is a sheet at the back of the Abbey for you to indicate what you intend to bring. Also, a number of the Social Committee have retired recently and we need some new recruits. Please contact Bob Eccleshall on 01935 812446 if you can help.


  1. Then a look ahead to the weekend of 8 and 9 July. On Saturday 8 July the Abbey Choir will give its traditional end of year concert, highlighting some of its key repertoire during the past year. The concert usually lasts for just an hour, and begins at 7.30 pm.


On Sunday 9 July we celebrate Sea Sunday. The preacher at the 9.30 am Abbey Eucharist will be my boss when I undertake what has now become an annual Cruise Chaplaincy on one of the SAGA ships. The Venerable Arthur Hawes is a former Archdeacon of Lincoln, and I always refer to him as the Chaplain of the SAGA fleet. He and his wife Melanie will be staying with us for the weekend, and in his Sea Sunday sermon he will talk a little about cruise chaplaincy today, which SAGA has pioneered.


Then at the 6.30 pm Choral Evensong members of the Sherborne Branch of The Royal Naval Association will parade for the last time, for the Laying-up of their Standard. The Branch has now been decommissioned but its memory will remain in the town for many years, especially for the courageous and sacrificial service of the Royal Navy in two World Wars and many other conflicts, up to the present time. It will be my privilege to receive the Standard from the hands of its immediate past Chairman, Hugh Davies. The Abbey Choir has been rehearsing some very special music for the occasion, before its summer recess. You are summoned!


6. Finally, the 2018 pocket Abbey diaries have arrived at the Abbey Shop. They are priced at £1 and a bargain. Please make sure of your copy soon.