The Vicar writes…

  1. Today is Mothering Sunday, also known traditionally as Refreshment Sunday or Midlenting Day. It should be a time of festivity, and relaxation from Lenten austerity – and of course a day of thanksgiving for our own mothers. In centuries past, servants would be given this day off to visit their mothers and families at home. On the way they would pick bunches of violets and primroses – wild flowers being so much more prolific in those days – giving rise to the traditional Mothering Sunday posy. Thanks to the members of the Mothers’ Union there will be little pots of primulas to be blessed and distributed at the Abbey’s Parish Eucharist this morning. And because Mothering Sunday can be an ‘excluding’ sort of day, the primulas are for all the ladies, not just the mums.


There are two other traditional themes to Mothering Sunday. The first is to visit – and certainly to pray for – the Mother Church of the Diocese (the Cathedral), and of the local area (in our case, the Abbey). Please remember both Salisbury Cathedral and the Abbey in your prayers today. The second tradition is to pray for Jerusalem, perhaps because of a verse in what used to be the regular Epistle for today: ‘Jerusalem … which is the mother of us all.’ [Gal.4.26].


  1. Normally the Abbey’s Sunday Evensong moves on this Sunday to its summer time of 6.30 pm, but this year we are postponing this for two weeks. The reason is that next Sunday, 2 April, the Bishop of Sherborne will be coming to inaugurate the new Team Ministry at a special Evensong, and as we are planning a party in the Church Hall afterwards we want to keep to a 5.00 pm start for the service. At that service I will be licensed as Team Rector. The Revdd Jane Craw, Lesley McCreadie and Jono Tregale will be licensed as Team Vicars. And The Revdd Ron Martin and Diane Tregale will be licensed as Associate Priests. I hope that as many people as possible will come to this historic occasion to support the clergy team – and to party afterwards.


  1. Tomorrow, Monday, at 8.00 pm we hold the fourth Lenten Service of Compline sung by the Gentlemen of the Choir. The addresses which precede Compline each week are seeking to mirror the themes of the course being followed by the ecumenical study groups now meeting weekly throughout the parish.


The text of all these addresses becomes available soon after they are delivered. Printed copies are available in the Abbey at just 50p each, or you can read them on our website, Many Abbey and Castleton sermons are available here.


  1. Our Holy Week and Easter leaflets have been printed, and I need to ask you for your help to deliver them throughout the Parish. St Paul’s is kindly taking care of those north of the A30. Those to the south are now available in the Abbey arranged by street, avenue, close, lane and every other configuration you can imagine. Lillington and Longburton churches already have their leaflets to deliver. So: Abbey congregation – please take what you can and deliver as soon as you can: a splendid bit of exercise! Castleton congregation – theleaflets advertise your services too. Please call in at the Abbey and take what you can. It is important that these leaflets go out this week. Please help – thank you.


  1. Each year during Lent we support two projects, one overseas and one closer to home, through our prayers, interest and gifts.  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. There is a colour supplement which gives further information about the work of these two communities and the specific projects which we will be supporting. Copies of this supplement are still available in our churches. If you have not had your copy already please make sure that you collect one. Thank you for your support for these Lent projects.


  1. Highlights for the rest of Lent and Passiontide include:


Wednesday 29 March: Sherborne Abbey is hosting a Training Day for people involved in music, art, photography and dance who wish to learn about early-stage dementia. Arts 4 Dementia works in partnership with arts’ organisations to develop workshops to re-energise and inspire people living with dementia in the community, to bring fulfilment to their lives, and to provide opportunities for quality time with their carers and loved ones, through engagement with their chosen art form. This training day will take place in the Digby Memorial Church Hall in Digby Road from 10.00 am until 5.00 pm, and will end with a short musical programme in Sherborne Abbey. If you would like to attend or know more about this event then please contact Jane Craw on 01963 251527 or email her on Further details of the course can be found on the Arts 4 Dementia website:


Friday 31 March: The Christian Aid Lent Lunch will take place from 12.30 pm to 1.30 pm in the Digby Memorial Church Hall, Digby Road. The lunch raises money for the work of Christian Aid in some of the poorest communities across the world. The event costs £4, so please do support this event as part of your Lent.


Sunday 9 April, Palm Sunday: The Palm Sunday Procession, with donkey, leaves from The Green at 9.15 am. Evensong tonight moves to the summer time of 6.30 pm.


Monday 10 April: Lent Compline is replaced by a special service of Readings and Music for Holy Week, in the Abbey at 7.30 pm.


Wednesday 12 April: the Abbey Choir will perform Stainer’s oratorio The Crucifixion, beginning at 7.30 pm. Tickets cost £10 and are available from the Abbey Shop in the Close. By this means the Choir hopes to raise a significant sum towards the cost of its July trip to sing in Paris.


Maundy Thursday, 13 April: The Eucharist of the Lord’s Supper in the Abbey at 7.00 pm. The service will be followed by the Watch in the Lady Chapel until midnight.


Good Friday, 14 April: The Three Hours’ Devotion, beginning in the Abbey at 12 noon. During the first two hours The Reverend Richard Wyld will give the addresses. The Liturgy of the Cross will take place during the third hour.


Holy Saturday, 15 April: The Great Vigil of Easter begins in the Abbey at 8.00 pm. Possibly the most inspiring service of the year.


7. I recently spent 40 minutes each with the candidates to succeed The Reverend Lindsay Collins as Senior Chaplain of Sherborne School. I am very pleased to be able to tell you that The Reverend Dr David Campbell has been appointed. He is currently Senior Chaplain of Marlborough College, and takes up his appointment at Sherborne at the start of the Michaelmas Term. Meanwhile we are delighted to have Lindsay with us for a few months longer, before she leaves to become Senior Chaplain of The King’s School, Canterbury.