The Rector writes…

1. Today is Whit Sunday – the Feast of Pentecost. Once again there is a recorded service from the Abbey’s Sepulchre Chapel. You can access this by going to our website – www.sherborneabbey.com and following the links you will find there as you scroll down – on the left-hand side.

This is my penultimate Sunday recording – my last will be next week, Trinity Sunday. But I will also be recording a short Requiem Eucharist for all who have died in the pandemic. We usually have a Requiem at 9.00 am on the first Friday of each month, so this will become available on Friday 5 June.

Thereinafter I have asked Canon Charles Mitchell -Innes to take over. My Licence as Rector expires at the end of June, and there really must be a transition period. Equally I need to concentrate, with Sandra, on getting ready to move as soon as our carpets have been fitted. We still don’t know when that will be, but obviously we want the move to take place as soon as possible. Our new home has been standing empty for over four months, so we are keen to keep further delays to a minimum.

2. Meanwhile, we keep continuing to sort “stuff” here at the Vicarage, and are astonished at how much we have managed to accumulate over our 27 years here. Before lockdown it was flowing out to charity shops and the Sherborne Tip. The good friars at Hilfield have taken vast quantities of stuff, not least books. But our recent researches into the backs of cupboards and high shelves have revealed any amount of kitchen ware, from bone-china tea sets to more utilitarian crockery and cutlery, and much else besides. Does anyone need decanters? In another existence, we could either have held a sale at the Church Hall or put a table outside the Vicarage on a “help yourself for a donation” basis.

What I think we could do is to respond to enquiries about this stuff, and make it available to view at an agreed time. We are not looking to make any money: we just don’t want to have to put good “stuff” into a skip. Let me know if you are interested: vicar@sherborneabbey.com, or 01935 812452

3. I have been keeping in touch with former clerical colleagues by email or telephone. From Sisters Anne-Marie and Isabel comes this message, which I am delighted to pass on:

Greetings from smiling Kerry. We are grateful for this opportunity to greet you and hope that you are all safe and well. This has been such a testing time or us all. While it has made life extra busy, we still manage a short walk along the nearby lanes as we are surrounded by stunning scenery of sea and mountain. So, it is easy to remember our many friends from Sherborne and send you light and love and thoughts and prayers from the Emerald Isle. You are not forgotten. The Reverend Annmarie & Reverend Isabel.

4. Although it will take an eventual Annual General Meeting to elect them formally, the Committee of the Salisbury Branch of the Prayer Book Society has nominated two of our Sherborne team to be the next Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the Branch. The Reverend Hugh Bonsey is now the Acting Chairman, and our Insight Programme Coordinator Jon Riding the Acting Vice-Chairman. Canon Charles Mitchell-Innes continues as the Branch Chaplain.

Meanwhile the Editor of the Society’s journal Faith & Worship has asked me to resume writing for it. I have used “lockdown” to polish a talk I gave in 2018 to the George Herbert Society on the kind of worship which Herbert would have offered in his two little churches outside Salisbury when he was Rector there from 1630 until his early death in 1633. He remains one of England’s favourite poets,
and many of his poems are also much-loved hymns: The God of love our shepherd is; King of glory, King of peace; Let all the world in every corner sing; Teach me, my God and King, in all things these to see – and so on.

5. Last week I wrote at some length about our current financial position. There have been some generous responses. Honorary Treasurer Bernard Brown takes up the theme:

“Last week I wrote about the impact which the Covid-19 lockdown is having on parish finances. The closure of our churches, the Abbey Shop and Church Hall has resulted in reductions in income from collections, visitor donations and other activities of at least £1,500 a week. I have now arranged for the white Gift Aid envelopes to be made available in the Abbey porch (with pens) so that parishioners might like to continue with their regular giving. Both blue weekly giving envelopes and white envelopes which are used in this way can then be posted through the Parish Office letterbox whilst the office remains firmly closed.

“I am pleased to say that parishioners have started to make use of this rather unusual arrangement. Please do continue with your regular giving in this way. My thanks go to all those who continue with their regular giving by envelope or direct by bankers’ standing orders.

“If any parishioner would like to set up a bankers’ standing order or make a donation by BACS direct to the parish bank account, please let me know by emailing me at bernardandtina@icloud.com.”

With my blessing and love, as always

Eric