The Rector writes…

  1. November has been called ‘the month of remembrance’, and so it is – not least today, Remembrance Sunday. At the Abbey, the Parish Eucharist takes the form of a Requiem for the Fallen in War. This finishes in time for all who wish to do so to gather at the War Memorial in the Close for the Parade, and the laying of wreaths at 10.25 am. The Service of Remembrance begins at 10.50 am. The preacher is Lieutenant General Sir Robert Fry, KCB, CBE. Sir Robert was formerly Commandant General of the Royal Marines and Director of Operations at the Ministry of Defence, and is now (amongst many other roles) a Visiting Professor at King’s College, London and a Trustee of Help for Heroes. The Vice Lord-Lieutenant of Dorset, James Gibson-Fleming Esq, and the Mayor of Sherborne, Councillor Dominic Elliott, will read the lessons.


  1. The Short Abbey Service (SAS) will be held next Sunday, 18 November, at 11.15 am. A child-friendly service for everyone, it lasts for just half an hour. It has proved particularly popular with older parishioners who find the Abbey’s 9.30 am service both too early and too long! That’s great, but we need more families with children! The best form of recruiting is by personal invitation. Do please do what you can.


  1. Advent Sunday is late this year (2 December) which has an odd concertina-effect on our December services but gives me plenty of time to publicise what I always think of as Toy Sunday. This is held throughout the Benefice on the last Sunday of Advent, known officially as the Feast of Christ the King. That’s 25 November.


This is the day on which all five of our churches welcome gifts of toys, books and games for children and young people who would otherwise have a lean time of it at Christmas. The recipients will be the same as last year: the Mother & Toddler Group at the RendezVous here in Sherborne; the North Dorset Women’s Refuge and the West Dorset Women’s Refuge. Everything now depends on gathering a wonderful array of gifts.


All toys, books and games must be new and also unwrapped (except for their original packaging, of course). Please may we have a broad spread of gifts, ranging from those suitable for very young children through to teenagers? If you are unable to be at church on 25 November, please bring your gifts to the Parish Office at any time. Very many thanks.


  1. There is a wealth of Advent reading now available from the Abbey Shop in the Close, and the bookstall in the Abbey. Do browse to find one which would suit you. For value for money, try the latest edition of Daily Reflections for Advent & Christmas, written this year by Sister Genevieve Glen OSB. It offers a daily reading, reflection, meditation and prayer from Advent Sunday to Sunday 13 January (the Feast of the Baptism of Christ) – and all for just £1.50! You can’t get better value than that! The Shop also has a great selection of candles, Nativity sets and Christmas cards.


  1. Looking further ahead, the Christmas Day Lunch in the Digby Memorial Church Hall will be held again this year under the auspices of Sherborne Churches Together (SCT). The Lunch has been extremely popular in recent years, with many people accepting the invitation to be guests and others to be volunteer helpers.


Registration forms are now available in the Parish Office on which both guests and helpers people can indicate their particular requirements and also find contact details for the organisers. This means that the Parish Office, as last year, is simply the source of forms and the receiver of completed forms. The latter will go straight to the organisers. Potential guests and volunteers are warmly invited to collect a form soon. The Lunch will be held on Christmas Day from 1.00 pm to 3.30 pm.