This month

Covid-19/Coronavirus Update - December 2020 (updated 12/02/21)

Following the end of the second lockdown, some of our churches are now open for worship and private prayer. Details are below.

St George

  • Shortened Communion service every Sunday at 9:45am, with distribution of bread only and no singing
  • No need to book - just turn up
  • Please wear a mask, apply hand sanitiser (provided) on entry and leave your name and phone number
  • Sit in the marked pews and follow the one-way system
  • No refreshments after the service - please move outside before talking to friends
  • BCP service 1st and 3rd Sunday of the month at 8am
  • Also open for private prayer Wednesday 8:30am - 4pm

St Mary

  • Church is closed until further notice

St Peter

  • Holy Communion (BCP) every Sunday at 9am
  • Holy Communion (Order 1) every Sunday at 10.30am
  • Both services are abbreviated and arranged in accordance with COVID-19 requirements
  • No need to book - just turn up
  • Open for personal prayer 10am - 4pm every day
  • Benefice Prayer Group meets in the Hardye Chapel at St. Peter's Church every Friday at 10.30am for half an hour, with appropriate spacing and hand sanitising

West Stafford

  • No services at the moment
  • Church open on Wednesdays and Sundays between 10am and 4pm

Winterborne Monkton

  • Holy Communion service on the 1st Sunday of the month at 11.15am
  • Church open for private prayer every Friday, Saturday and Sunday during daylight hours. 

Compton Valence and Winterbornes St Martin, Abbas and Steepleton

‘What’s Lent?’

By the time you read this Lent will be into its second week but if, in these multi-cultural, multi-faith or no-faith times, you mention Lent in general conversation with someone, you might well be asked ‘What’s Lent?’ A fair enough question because if you have friends who are Jews, Muslims or Hindus you might ask them ‘what is Ramadan, Hanukkah or Diwali' seeking information about different religious seasons and festivals, all of which are important to those of other faiths and about which we probably know little.

So, what is Lent? As Christians we know that it is a period of 40 days (plus Sundays) observed as a preparation for our greatest festival, Easter, or Resurrection Sunday as it is known by some churches. Lent is a reminder that Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness preparing for his earthly ministry, coming to terms with some of his mortal feelings. It is for us a season of soul searching, a time for reflection, for taking stock of our spiritual lives. What do (or could) we do to shake ourselves from the routine of the remaining 46 weeks of the year? Many will give up something which seems important – or at least attractive – to them; chocolate, alcohol, some television watching for example, doing the same thing every year and going back to our normal routine immediately after Easter. Our Lord isn’t interested in our transient sacrifice of life’s trivia but he might look more favourably on our giving up hidden sins, things we probably don’t acknowledge. Are we guilty of hypocrisy perhaps or of duplicity – Christian on Sundays and anything but during the week; or something else?

Lent needn’t be boring; in fact there are a number of stimulating features with some special Sundays and then Holy Week which offers much to stir our imaginations and faith. It is not a time for being negative; it should be meditative but positive. When we give up watching Coronation Street or some other time filler, we need to use that time to refocus our faith, perhaps by following a Lent course, probably by zoom this year, reading a devotional book or a section of the bible we’re unfamiliar with. Maybe use the time to phone someone who lives alone or who is unwell. We can’t visit these days but there are many ways of showing our Christian concern for others. Try to find ways in which this Lent, affected by Covid-19 in its observance, can be meaningful for you.

Robert Potter
Licensed Lay Minister – St Mary’s

About us

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.

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.