The Rector writes…

  1. Our Day of Prayer and Gifts for the Abbey, Castleton and St Paul’s was held just eight days ago, on Saturday 6 October. Honorary Treasurer Bernard Brown tells me that the total of gifts so far received is £20,552, from 140 donations. This is inclusive of new or revised standing orders, and Gift Aid. I hope I am not wrong in taking your generosity as a great vote of confidence in the ministry and mission, the worship and witness, of our Parish. Above all I must thank all those of you who have contributed thus far.


However, we know from past years that gifts continue to be received over the weeks following Gift Day, so all I need to add is that the books will remain open until the end of the month. For those of you who have been away and want to make a donation, the white Gift Aid envelopes with the distinctive red dot are available from the Parish Office. Or simply use any white envelope, write GIFT DAY on it and put it in the collection or an alms box or return it to the Parish Office. If you are a UK tax payer, please complete the form on the front of the envelope. Very many thanks.


  1. Tomorrow is Pack Monday, when our Social Committee runs a café in the Church Hall, from 9.00 am to 3.00 pm. This is a wonderful piece of Christian service which also enables the Social Committee to raise the funds to put on other events on our behalf during the year. But it needs helpers. There is a list at the back of the Abbey, which is self-explanatory, for last-minute volunteers. Could you help for an hour? Meanwhile, please remember that we will be locking the Close gates immediately after Evensong tonight, and they will not be opened again until Tuesday morning.


  1. Remembering the Fallen, our monthly commemoration of those from the Dorset Regiment (and later the Devon and Dorsets, and now the Rifles) will be held at its usual time of 11.00 am on the third Friday of October, the 19th. 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. Meanwhile plans are far advanced for 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. The Vice Lord-Lieutenant of Dorset, James Gibson-Fleming Esq., will be present together with Civic leaders and senior Officers. At least 18 standards are expected, which will form a Guard of Honour at the end of the service together with the Air Cadets. The address will be given by Air Marshal Sir Christopher Coville KCB, and the prayers will be led by our new Rural Dean, The Reverend [Wing Commander] Tony Gilbert, RAF (Retd), Rector of the Three Valleys Benefice.


  1.  All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day will soon be here, 1st and 2nd November. This year All Souls’ falls on a Friday, and will be marked by a Requiem Eucharist at the usual Friday time of 9.00 am. The Eucharist will be celebrated at the High Altar, with the congregation seated in the Quire (or at the front of the nave if wishing to avoid the steps into the choir stalls).


Those wishing to have family members or friends commemorated at the All Souls’ Requiem are invited to write their names in the loose-leaf file at the back of the Abbey. Please note that the names of all those whose funerals we have taken this year are automatically included, and do not need to be added.


6. November is truly the “month of Remembrance”, and this year we have a rather special Remembrance Sunday. It coincides this year with Armistice Day, 100 years exactly from the day in 1918 when, at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, the guns of the First World War fell silent. We will publish a full list of services in all our churches soon, but please note that in the Abbey the preacher will be 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. Once again the Vice Lord-Lieutenant of Dorset, James Gibson-Fleming Esq., will be in attendance as HM The Queen’s Representative.