Revd Canon Thomas Woodhouse, Team RectorThe invitation to our Team website is simple: Come On In…

Dorchester and the Winterbournes Team Ministry is your local Church of England uniting nine worshipping communities:

St Thomas a Beckett, Compton Valence;
St George, Dorchester;
St Mary the Virgin, Dorchester;
St Peter, Dorchester;
St Andrew, West Stafford;
SS Simon and Jude, Winterborne Herringston and Winterborne Monkton;
St Mary, Winterbourne Abbas;
St Martin, Martinstown;
and St Michael, Winterbourne Steepleton.

We are a community that attracts all kinds of people from across the town of Dorchester and six villages, Christians united by our common faith in Jesus Christ. We are a diverse and welcoming team of Christian communities, committed to prayer, service and growth.

This website will let you know about some of the things we do: some of them well established, some of them new ventures and all of them exciting and available for you to join.

Details about the individual churches are on this website and we welcome conversation. For now, thank you for visiting…

With best wishes

Revd Canon Thomas Woodhouse, Team Rector

Almighty God, the source of our joy, you gladden our hearts as we journey towards the heavenly city.
Deepen within us a desire for peace, that celebrating our differences and rejoicing in all we hold in common,
your people may prosper and come to praise you,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

This month

Be idle and blessed ....

These summer months are a time when many people take some time off work or their usual activities to be with family, or to travel on holiday. These natural cycles are useful for us as human beings - busy times give way to slower periods when we have the opportunity to appreciate life at a different pace.

Holidays are incredibly important for our wellbeing and they are beneficial to our spiritual growth too. The fourth century Christian thinker, St Augustine, said ‘you have made us for yourself and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you’. This speaks to me of our rootedness in God and our basic longing to be known and loved by God. Rest times can be a time to explore spirituality more deeply. We can take time to be with those we love in a more focussed way. Nurturing our connection with other people can be a good way of nourishing our connection with God – as we recognize and receive God in and through those around us.

We are lucky to live in a truly beautiful part of the world and the natural world can be a great resource for our spirituality. Who can fail to be moved by the song of a skylark high above on a sunny day, as we move across the curves of a green landscape? Being free from our usual concerns, we can pay close attention, just as toddlers invariably do when out on a walk. Somehow, we become most truly alive when we are close to what is not human – the landscape, plants, animals – all that is created on the earth.

The poet Mary Oliver is known for her poignant observations of the natural world which often refuse to acknowledge the boundaries between nature, the observing self and God. Her poem The Summer Day is a good example and could be our manifesto for the summer.

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down- who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes. Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face. Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields, which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

Mary Oliver

Revd Claire McClelland, Team Vicar, St Peter's Church.


Our message to you

You are welcome, whatever your beliefs, even if you find organised religion irrelevant.
You are welcome, whatever your lifestyle.
You are welcome, wherever you may be on your faith journey; believer or agnostic, conventional Christian, or questioning sceptic.
We look forward to receiving the ideas and experiences you can bring.
We welcome the infinite variety of human beings and hope that our shared witness to Christian faith will not leave anyone feeling unwanted or unloved.
We think that the way we treat each other is even more important than the dogmas we hold.
We think it is vital to take seriously the intellectual and emotional problems many people have with the Christian faith.
We think Christians must be concerned with global issues of injustice and suffering.
We recognise that our ignorance far outstrips our understanding and that there is great value just in asking questions as well as in finding answers.
We recognise that our faith involves discipleship and a consciousness of all that is bad and promotion of all that is good.
Our hope is that anybody visiting our churches will feel welcome.