- I expect I say it every year, but Holy Week and Easter in all our churches was this year very special, with some wonderful attendances and – much more importantly – a deep spirit of devotion and, on Easter Day, of joy. For that, thanks must go not only to clergy colleagues, but also to choirs and organists, to vergers and servers, readers and intercessors, flower arrangers, churchwardens and sidesmen, and perhaps not least to the Parish Secretary and Assistant Parish Secretary and office volunteers who run a printing ‘sweat shop’ prior to Good Friday which – if they belonged to a Union – would have everyone out on strike. When the ship runs well the Captain and the senior crew receive the praise. But never forget those who are stoking the boilers. They are the real heroes.
- Having mentioned the Abbey Servers, I have an urgent request to make. A number have had to give up recently for various very good reasons, including health problems, and the remaining members of the team are hard-pressed to cover the Sunday services. This is a ministry which can be fulfilled by those of chorister-age, teenagers, and adults of all ages. It is a vital ministry, but not a difficult one – and the more Servers there are, the less often duties comes around. Head Server Linda Woods always factors-in Sundays which Servers cannot manage: the monthly rota is tailored to people’s diaries.
So: would any members of the Abbey’s three regular congregations volunteer to join the Serving team? It would be particularly good if the 8.00 am and Evensong congregations could provide Servers for those services from within their own ranks! Husband and wife volunteers are welcome, as are parents and children. Any permutation, in fact. All that is needed is a love of Abbey services and a willingness to do a little training. Please give this some consideration, and contact either Linda or me if you are interested. Thank you very much.
- As most of you know, this year’s Lent Project has been to raise funds for two causes, one at home and one overseas. This year’s projects are the Pilsdon Community near Bridport in their refurbishment of a barn for use by the members of the community, and our link Church of St Saviour’s, Riga, in Latvia in their mission through ministry, worship and outreach.
Our support for these two causes is being expressed through our interest, our prayers and our gifts. Many thanks to all who have already contributed to the appeal fund. For those who have not, then please return your gift using a Gift Aid envelope – but write Lent Project on it – and of course fill in the details and sign it if you are a taxpayer. Then either place it in the collection plate at any of our services or return it to the Parish Office. This is my final note about the Project until I can announce the total raised. Thank you most warmly for your generosity.
- The season of Annual Parochial Church Meetings and Annual General Meetings ends today. The Lillington APCM takes place after the 10.00 am Morning Service; the St Paul’s AGM will be held after the 10.30 am All-Age Service and the Sherborne Abbey with Castleton & St Paul’s APCM will be held after Evensong. Annual reports and nomination papers for the last are available at all services this morning.
What is the difference between an APCM and an AGM? Briefly, every parish has to have an Annual Parochial Church Meeting. But in a big parish with three constituent churches, the smaller ones need their own AGMs first – which is why St Paul’s and Castleton each have one. This enables them to do their own Committee elections and nominate members to the larger PCC. Glad I’ve made that clear!
This year we also have to elect representatives to the Sherborne Deanery Synod for the next three years. I do hope that we have a good number of candidates for both the Sherborne PCC and the Deanery Synod. But that’s down to you!
In between chairing the Lillington APCM and the Sherborne APCM, I have to go to Dorchester where, as a Deputy Lieutenant of Dorset, I am representing the Lord-Lieutenant at the Dorchester and West Dorset District Scouts St George’s Day Parade, with Renewal of Promises and Presentation of Awards. I will be very diplomatic and not remind the assembled company that, when 23rd April falls on a Sunday in the Easter Season, St George’s Day moves to the Monday. As Debrett’s might put it, “The Resurrection takes precedence”!
- Tickets are now available for this term’s Insight Lectures. Tomorrow, Monday 24 April we continue our occasional series of lectures on different Christian Churches and traditions with a lecture entitled Here I stand, to be given by our own Assistant Curate, The Reverend Guntars Reboks, a priest of the Latvian Lutheran Church Abroad. He will be exploring the contribution of Lutheranism to the Global Church.
Then in June we will be celebrating the vote 25 years ago by the General Synod of the Church of England to allow the ordination of women to the priesthood. The title of our lecture series is Canterbury Tales. The first will take place on Monday 5 June when another member of our College of Clergy, The Reverend Nelva Moss, gives us The Vicar’s Tale. Then on Monday 19 June our guest lecturer will be the very first woman to be ordained to the priesthood in the Church of England, The Reverend Prebendary Angela Berners-Wilson. Though Angela is currently Rector of the Quantock Towers benefice, much of her ministry has been spent as a university chaplain. So her lecture is entitled The Chaplain’s Tale.
All the lectures take place in the Church Hall, Digby Road, at 7.30 pm. Tickets are £5 each, and are available from the Parish Office or on the door. But a Season Ticket for all three, bought in advance from the Parish Office, costs £12.
- Finally, the first of our new short services on Thursday mornings took place last week. Prayers for Peace will be held every Thursday at 11.30 am in the Sepulchre Chapel. A simple service, with space for silence, it lasts for about twenty minutes, allowing those who wish also to attend the regular 12 noon celebration of the Eucharist in the Lady Chapel to move from one chapel to the other.
I am grateful to Rosaleen Bryson for her initial suggestion of such a service, and to her and The Reverend Guntars Reboks for working hard to give it shape and content. It will be led by members of the clergy team for the first six weeks, and then mostly by members of the laity. All will be most welcome to attend.