In September 2019, the Team Rector, Canon Thomas Woodhouse moved to take up a new appointment in London.  


The Revd Claire McClelland, Team Vicar with responsibility for St Peter’s and The Revd Jean Saddington, Team Vicar with responsibility for The Winterbournes and Compton Valance can help with your enquiry (click on their names to get their contact details).


For general enquires relating to St Mary’s Church ring Ellie Stephens on 01305 263391 or Trudy Tabone on 01305 246126.  For general enquiries relating to St George’s ring Yvonne Lee on 01305 268179 or Paul Briggs on 07919 693949.  For St Andrew’s, West Stafford or Monkton click on the links for contact details.


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. You are very welcome to join us in any of the things we do, and we welcome all enquiries.

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

Some Christmas Poets

Throughout December we seem to be bombarded by Christmas tunes. Some are rather over optimistic: ‘I wish it could be Christmas everyday’ (really?). A great tune can have an odd message: ‘A spaceman came travelling’. Some tug the heart strings: ‘Feed the world, let them know it’s Christmas time’.

There is of course a long tradition of Christmas music. JS Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, Handel’s Messiah, and for many, Christmas is not Christmas without a carol from John Rutter.

Poets have also been inspired by Christmas. John Benjamin exclaims:

‘And is it true? And is it true,
This most tremendous tale of all, Seen in a stainless window’s hue, A Baby in an ox’s stall:
The maker of the stars and sea Becomes a Child on earth for me?’

One of U A Fanthorpe’s Christmas Card poems, BC - AD, comments:

‘This was the moment when ever energetic Romans Could find nothing better to do
Than counting heads in remote provinces.
And this was the moment

When a few farm workers and three Members of an obscure Persian sect Walked haphazard by starlight straight Into the kingdom of heaven.’

Rowan Williams is a fine poet as well as theologian.On the arrival of the Christ child he tells us:

‘He will come like dark.
One evening when the bursting red December sun draws up the sheet and penny-masks its eyes to yield the star-snowed field of the sky.’

Perhaps my favourite poem comes from the time of Oliver Cromwell, when Christmas was banned and people were put in jail for attending church on Christmas Day (all in the cause of Puritanism). Matthew Hale was very fond of Christmas, prepared to put up with the indignity of imprisonment and wrote one of the most poignant Christmas poems.

‘But art thou come, dear Saviour? Hath Thy love Thus made Thee stoop, and leave thy throne above? ...Dear Lord...I have a room...
And with Thy leave, I’ll fetch some flowers that grow In Thine own garden, faith, and love to Thee;
With these I’ll dress it up, and these shall be
My rosemary and bays, yet when my best
Is done, the room’s not fit for such a Guest.
But here’s the cure,Thy presence Lord, alone
Will make a stall a court, a cratch a throne.’

The Ven Penny Sayer,  Archdeacon of Sherborne


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.