Welcome

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.
Amen.

Haphazard by starlight.....

At Christmas last year you might have seen the programme ‘Alternativity’. It was about the artist Banksy’s hotel in Bethlehem called the Walled Off Hotel – an ironic reference to one of London’s most prestigious hotels, the Waldorf. It nestles against the controversial 8 metre high concrete barrier which separates the Israeli-controlled part of the town from the Palestinian territories. It all bears little resemblance to our cosy Christmas card vision of Bethlehem.
Banksy’s project embodies the struggle over this most important religious site. By playfully deconstructing the luxuries we enjoy in the West, the Walled Off forces us to think about some of the inequalities that underpin our own privilege: the hotel’s fire in the grate glows under a pile of concrete rubble, like at a bomb site, and the traditional seascape pictures in the bedrooms have discarded life jackets littering the beaches.
Banksy staged a Nativity play in the hotel car park, with the slabs of concrete as a backdrop and overlooked by watchtowers occupied by armed soldiers. The children in the play are Palestinians – some of whom have never seen the Wall, as their parents try to protect them from its existence. You might have thought it would be easy to get hold of a donkey in Bethlehem, but it seems not – they have been abused or are in fact mules but they get one eventually. The whole idea seemed to me to embody something so true about God’s coming among us at Christmas – that we can only work with what we have got – that God enters in to our broken humanity and works with and through our lives.
The Christmas story is all about light shining in darkness, about the promise we are given that God is to be found right where we might least expect – in a stable as vulnerable new born, in our troubled and divided world, in the mess and confusion of our ordinary lives. God, (unlike a donkey in Bethlehem) is easy to find because God is right with us, is part of who we are – not just our Sunday-best selves. God is in the whole of us: in all that we can love and accept and in all that shames and angers us. God comes to us, into any space we can clear, however broken and makeshift. God comes so that we can know our lives too are sacred and filled with light.

Rev'd Claire McClelland. St Peter's

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.