The Rector writes…

1. Philip Prout retires as Caretaker/Manager of the Digby Memorial Church Hall at the end of this month. A fund is open for a Presentation to Phil, to express our gratitude for the extremely hard work he has put into managing the hall. You can send or deliver your gift to the Parish Office. Cheques should be made payable to Sherborne Abbey, and either on the envelope or in an accompanying note should be clearly marked Philip Prout Presentation. Please note that Gift Aid does not apply in these circumstances.

I hope to make the Presentation to Phil in the Abbey after the Parish Eucharist on Sunday 28 July. Please deliver your gift to the Parish Office by this Wednesday. Many thanks.

2. I am glad to announce that we have appointed a successor to Phil at the Church Hall. He is Marcus Bray, and he has wide experience of this kind of work, not least at Tinney’s Youth Centre. It is a part-time post which Marcus will combine with his other work as a gardener. He lives locally, is flexible about his working hours and has impressed us greatly. He begins work on Thursday 1 August, and I am very grateful to Phil for his kind offer of working alongside Marcus to show him the ropes. Phil will be retaining his role as Manager of the Abbey Shop in the Close.  

3. Many of you have happy memories of the years 2010 – 2012 when The Reverend Dr John Rennie was a non-stipendiary assistant curate in our Benefice. He had timed his retirement as a consultant surgeon in London (said to have been the capital’s “top bottom man”) to coincide with the completion of his ordination training, and from 2006 to 2010 was an assistant curate in the Melbury Team. When he left us in 2012 it was to become our Deanery Missioner, from which he “retired” in 2016. Now, aged 72, he is coming out of retirement to become Priest-in-Charge of the Upper Dever Benefice in the Diocese of Winchester, a few miles north of the city. He and Sheelagh will be living in Sutton Scotney on a “house for duty” basis, and he will be licensed by the Bishop of Basingstoke at St Mary’s, Micheldever, at 7.30 pm on Thursday 5 September. He and Sheelagh would be glad of our prayers as they take on this new challenge.

4. FIAC – our Faith in Action Committee – is the PCC committee responsible for donating the 10% of our parish giving and investment income we set aside for good causes. It is part of the face of the parish to the world. We identify and donate funds to a range of international, national and local bodies – from supporting the Church in Sudan and South Sudan to helping young people at Tinneys and the RendezVous – and we keep in touch with them regularly. We also make “one-off” donations from time to time. The committee jointly shares the tasks of recommending the overall balance of where donations will go, identifying and assessing potential beneficiaries, and being the contact for our regular recipients.

For many years David Smart has co-ordinated and run FIAC’s work superbly and we are greatly indebted to him for that. Sadly he is no longer able to continue and John Crossman has taken over as interim chair.

Over the next two years we need to appoint a new chair and, more urgently, a new treasurer. We would also welcome new committee members, especially from younger parishioners or those with relevant skills and knowledge. Our work is interesting and rewarding. If you would like to explore this opportunity to serve do please telephone John on 07721 616003 or email him at