The Rector writes…



  1. The autumn series of Insight Lectures begins tomorrow, Monday 24 September. The overall theme is Doing Truth, and we begin with Truth and the Media, a lecture to be given by the celebrated writer and journalist Ruth Gledhill. Until May 2014, when The Times decided faith was insufficiently important to warrant a specialist correspondent, Ruth was the religious affairs correspondent at the paper. She grew up in Gratwich, Staffordshire, a small village near Uttoxeter, as the daughter of the local vicar. She is married to Alan Franks, a writer for The Times and The Guardian. She is currently editor of Christian Today and is a regular contributor to The Tablet and other national newspapers and journals. With more than 30 years’ experience of reporting on religion and church in the UK (sometimes to the exasperation of the clergy!) there are few better placed to reflect upon how Truth can survive an encounter with the mainstream media. We very much look forward to welcoming her to Sherborne. Her lecture will begin in the Digby Memorial Church Hall at 7.30 pm. Tickets are available from the Parish Office at £5 each, or on the door.


The other lectures in the series are as follows:


Monday 8 October: Teaching Truth – Canon Dr Ann Holt OBE


Monday 19 November: Fierce Imaginings: God and the Great War – Canon Rachel Mann


Monday 26 November: What is Truth? Canon Bill Cave


  1. Harvest Festival is celebrated at stpauls@thegryphon today. It will be celebrated at the Abbey, Castleton and Longburton next Sunday, 30 September. Lillington will celebrate harvest on Sunday 7 October.  Contributions of vegetables, fruit and groceries will be most welcome on the day, or the day before.  I hope that all worshippers at all the services in our three “30 September” churches will bring something on the day, even if it’s just a small can of beans!  We want as many harvest gifts as possible, as they will be sold on the Parade on Monday 1 October between 8.30 am and 12 noon. The sale is being organised by The Reverend Guntars Reboks, who would be glad of some help. Please contact him if you can offer an hour or so, on 07925 158436 or at


All proceeds will be for the work of the Sudan Medical Link which supports the Episcopal Church of Sudan and South Sudan in carrying out its primary healthcare responsibilities to the people and communities in the dioceses – buying and sending medicines, training medical workers (especially community midwives), furnishing and equipping clinics in outlying areas, and contributing towards the salary of the local health administrator.  Even though there has been unrest in South Sudan we know that the Medical Link has been able to continue its valued work without interruption.


The Parish Harvest Lunch takes place on Sunday 30 September at 12.30 pm for 1.00 pm in the Digby Memorial Church Hall. The menu is cold meats and quiche with peas and potatoes followed by apple crumble or fresh fruit. Tickets at £8 each, or £4 for those aged sixteen or under, are available from the Parish Office until Thursday 27 September. Prizes for the raffle (proceeds to the Sudan Medical Link) may be left in the Parish Office.


  1. Our Annual Day of Prayer and Gifts for the Abbey, Castleton and St Paul’s is being held next Saturday, 6 October. If you are on the Electoral Roll you should by now have received a letter from me about Gift Day. If you haven’t, or you are not on the Roll, you should be able to find the letter at the back of the Abbey, or obtain a copy from the Parish Office. It contains all you need to make your gift.


May I take this opportunity of thanking all those of you who helped with the delivery of the letters within the town? You have saved us a fortune in postage.


  1. Remembering the Fallen will be back at its usual time of 11.00 am on the third Friday of the month, 19 October. At that service both our There but not There Tommies will be dedicated. These are life-size aluminium silhouettes which are appearing all over the country as we prepare to mark the end of the First World War. Our two have both been donated, for which we are extremely grateful. They are currently below the Abbey’s First World War Memorial, just behind the font.


  1. Another date to put into your diaries is a special service to celebrate the Centenary of the Royal Air Force, to be held in the Abbey at 11.30 am on Sunday 28 October. I am planning this with Sherborne resident Air Marshal Sir Christopher Coville KCB, who will give the Address. It is some way off, but if you would like to attend, do make a note in your diary.


  1. A couple of months ago I became aware that 2018 had been perhaps the worst year I had known for bereavement from our parish family – by which I mean not just Sherborne itself but our own congregations.


To try to work out how best to respond pastorally to this tide of bereavement, Sandra and I invited a number of recently bereaved spouses to lunch in August. Nine widows/widowers accepted our invitation, and we had a very happy luncheon full of laughter (and some tears) at the White Post at Rimpton. Chef Brett Sutton gave us a marvellous meal.


We all agreed we must build on what began that day, and to that end Sandra and I would like to invite all those in the Benefice who have been bereaved in the last year or two to come to have coffee with us at the Vicarage on Tuesday 9 October, from about 10.30 am.


Everyone grieves differently, and for some this sort of occasion would be quite wrong. But for others, the opportunity to talk about loss is very important, not least when family and friends (with the best of intentions) try to change the subject. Please don’t be shy about replying if you would like to come. Email me at or leave a message at the Parish Office (calls during office hours Mondays to Fridays on 01935 812452).


This is all about the Parish Family being a Parish Family. Please don’t hesitate to respond.