Gracious Spirit, Holy Ghost,
Taught by thee, we covet most
Of thy gifts at Pentecost,
Holy, heavenly love.
- Today we celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit, ‘the giver of life’. Pentecost comes from the Greek word for ‘fiftieth’ – it always falls 50 days after Easter. It marks that great event when, with signs of wind and flame, the Spirit came upon the first disciples, empowering them to bear witness to Christ. May the Spirit come upon us in the same way. Oh – and why ‘Whit Sunday’? Because in the early church this was a great day for baptisms, on which the candidates wore white robes.
I will be conducting the Short Abbey Service at 11.15 am today. This service, which lasts for no more than thirty minutes and is designed to be child-friendly, depends very much on word-of-mouth recommendation and invitation.
Sherborne Churches Together are arranging a Pentecost Picnic in the Abbey Close today. Please see details above.
- Also above you will find details of the AGM of The Friends of Sherborne Abbey, to be held on tomorrow, 21 May. It begins with Choral Evensong in the Abbey at 6.00 pm, to which all are most warmly invited.
- Sisters Ann-Marie Stuart FJ and Isabel Keegan FJ, our former “House for Duty” priests, at last have email contact with the world outside the Ring of Kerry. Until a few days ago I had only received a card thanking us for their “splendid” send-off from the Abbey, and the icon with which I presented them. Here is an extract from Ann-Marie’s first email:
Greetings! Well it only took nearly a whole month to connect us to a landline and today the internet! No phone, no radio, no TV, no nothing for a month. We were reduced to reading books!!!
Our Licensing was really lovely. A beautiful liturgy…. Nothing hurries fast here, but the people are warm, and kindly and we have set up our staff meetings and begin them next month with our two Readers, one of whom – a German woman – is hoping to be put forward for ordination.
Two days really wasn’t long enough to prepare to start work. It took us a while to get to grips with the house, the Social Service cards we have to have (and everyone carries here), not to mention registering the car, still not finalised as there is so much paperwork to produce. But it will get done.
If you would like to email the Sisters, Ann-Marie’s new address is firstname.lastname@example.org but Isabel’s address remains the same: email@example.com Their postal address is Seaview House, Gurrane West, Killorglin, V93 T2C1 Eire
- For Oberammergau 2000 and again for 2010, Sandra and I organised two trips in each year to see the famous Passion Play. Each trip included a week’s holiday in Austria, and two nights in Oberammergau. We have done the same for 2020, once again with McCabe Pilgrimages, and brochures are now available from the Parish Office.
The first “pilgrimage holiday” is booked for 26 May to 4 June, and will be led by The Reverend Lesley and Mr Stuart McCreadie. The second is booked for 29 June to 8 July. Sandra and I will lead this. Full details of both holidays are in the eight-page brochure, which also includes the booking form.
Completed booking forms, with deposits, should be returned to me, not sent to McCabe’s. And if you are interested, do please make your decision soon. 2020 sounds a long way off, but for an event of this kind it isn’t. McCabe’s are reserving our room allocation for just three months – and bookings are coming in fast!
- The Archdeacon of Sherborne, The Venerable Paul Taylor, makes his last Visitation of his Archdeaconry on Thursday of this week, 24 May, with the celebration of the Eucharist in the Abbey at 7.30 pm. During the service, Churchwardens from throughout the Archdeaconry will be sworn-in for another year. All the Bishops and Archdeacons of the diocese will attend, as will Rural Deans from the Archdeaconry.
Paul retires at the end of this month. He has been Archdeacon of Sherborne since 2004. He and I have become firm friends during that period, and the whole benefice owes him a debt of gratitude for his constant support and wise counsel.
All are warmly invited to the service, though at the party afterwards in the Church Hall it may be a case of “family hold back”! But all will be most welcome. Our Abbey Social Committee is doing all the heavy lifting for the party – blessings upon them – but thankfully the tab is being picked-up by the Bishops!
Meanwhile Paul is walking the boundaries of the Archdeaconry all this week to raise funds for the Southampton Hospital charity PLANETS, which is seeking to raise a million pounds to progress treatments of Pancreatic, Liver, and Neuroendocrine Tumours. Paul’s wife Janet underwent a major operation in Southampton Hospital in early February. Paul’s walk is in gratitude for the amazing care Janet received. The link to the website for giving is https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/paultaylor7
Now I await with interest the appointment of our next Archdeacon – my third. When our Rural Dean, The Reverend Vivian Enever, Rector of Queen Thorne, retires at the end of August, his successor will be my sixth – though I was one of them for eight years. I am also on my fourth Bishop of Sherborne, and third Bishop of Salisbury. But I am a Benedictine Oblate, and one of the Benedictine vows is that of stabilitas – stability – which basically means a commitment to the community. That’s why you are still lumbered with me!
6. Finally, I am delighted to have been offered not one, but two, There but not there silhouettes. These are outlines of a First World War Tommy. You may have seen them on television or read about them in the press. They come in different shapes and sizes, but ours are both full-size. One is already in position by the First World War Memorial in the Abbey, behind the font. Their purchase benefits no fewer than six charities dealing with the physical and mental health of past and present British servicemen and women. At £750 each, they represent two very significant gifts, for which I am most grateful. They will be used in different parts of the Abbey at different times and occasions. Tommy I will be on parade at our Remembering the Fallen commemoration this Friday at 11.00 am. They will both be dedicated at the same commemoration on Friday 19 October.