The Rector writes…

1. The sermon by Canon Simon Everett in the Abbey last Sunday, marking Merchant Navy Sunday, has attracted many expressions of appreciation. ‘Inspirational’ is one word which has been used. The text of the sermon is now available to purchase for 50p from the table near the Abbey bookstall. It can also be viewed on-line on our website: www.sherborneabbey.com

2. The Dorset Historic Churches Trust annual Ride & Stride event took place yesterday. It’s not too late to make a donation. Just call at the Parish Office and sign-up on the sponsorship form there – which has a Gift Aid column to tick if you are a UK taxpayer – and hand-in your gift. Many thanks.

3. There is information above about Harvest Festival, and especially the Lunch in the Church Hall on Sunday 29 September. I hope all our Harvest Festivities will be well-supported, but do remember that St Paul’s goes a week early – 22 September – and Lillington a week later – 6 October. I wrote last week that the way we deal with all the harvest gifts will change this year. In brief, all non-perishables, will be given directly to the Foodbank. Fresh fruit and vegetables will be given to St Johns’ Almshouse, where Lorraine Hunt, the Manager, has assured me they will be warmly welcomed. That leaves home-prepared preserves: jams, marmalade, chutneys, etc. Also home-baked bread, cakes and biscuits. These cannot be accepted by either the Food Bank or the Almshouse simply because the kitchens from which they come have not been inspected to ensure they meet food hygiene regulations, in regard to preparation, cooking and storage. All gifts which arrive at the Abbey will be moved to the back after the Sherborne School service on Sunday evening, and sorted into those three categories. From 9.30 am on Monday (when Abbey morning services finish), members of the Food Bank team will remove the non-perishables. I would be grateful for help at the same time to take the perishables to the Almshouse. Meanwhile I need a third group of volunteers to set up a table or tables in the Abbey porch to sell preserves and anything else which is home-made. Offers of help to the Parish Office, please. The lightest job will be selling the home-made goods from the porch – but that may take longer than the other operations, so please indicate if you can help with that – and for how long. Very many thanks.

4. Next month’s Dorset magazine will have a major feature about Sherborne put together by Liz Murray. Here is a preview of part of her section on the Abbey, which will serve to flag-up an important day in the life of our churches: Sherborne has what its Rector, Canon Eric Woods, calls a “vibrancy of churches” – by which he doesn’t just mean the Abbey. The churches, of different denominations, work together under the umbrella of Sherborne Churches Together. An example of that vibrancy might be Saturday 19th October, when the ecumenical Christian Aid Committee hosts a coffee morning at Cheap Street Church. The same day there is an “Open Day” in Sherborne School’s Junior Common Room (next to “The Hub” café) to highlight the work of the Abbey’s Faith in Action Committee, which supports local, national and international charitable causes. Meanwhile, the Abbey will be the starting and finishing point of a Walk for Freedom to draw attention to modern-day human slavery. It will be a silent walk round the town, in single file – not collecting money but handing out information to anyone interested. I will soon write in more details about these three events on 19 October.