This month

Communities of Hope

I have appreciated over the last few months having a little extra time to read and one of the books I have been challenged by has been ‘Accompaniment, Community and Nature’* by one of our local clergy, the Revd Canon Jonathan Herbert.

It is easy to think of Christian Community as a rather exclusive thing, with its own rules and rhythms known only to those who belong there. Far from it, writes Jonathan, as he describes some of his own experiences of communities of hope and welcome, including two in our diocese – Pilsdon and Hilfield.

As these particular communities, and others, have shaped Jonathan’s life it is encouraging to observe how these communities themselves have also been shaped by all those who come into contact with them, bringing about a ministry of healing, fellowship and a generosity of service which transforms life far beyond itself.

For Jonathan it has been the ability to accompany individuals that has been informative and transformative, something many of our chaplains also would testify to. To live, sit or stand alongside individuals, to listen, advocate, encourage and give time is itself a precious gift which should not be underestimated or squandered.

Reading this book at this time has caused me to reflect on how a church without walls can be transformative in its own welcome, how we as individual Christians can be alongside others in their own life journeys meeting them, as Christ meets us, just where they are and how going forward we need to take time to stop, listen and engage with those outside our boundaries in new ways. The ministry of chaplaincy can do much to inform the work of the Church in its interaction with the world as we all contemplate a different future.

What Jonathan has shown me is that churches with very definite walls have to decide how to keep the door firmly open, not only to enable the needy, searching and interested to enter, but also, as we are reminded at Pentecost, to welcome God the Holy Spirit of possibility, surprise, interruption, creativity and discomfort in too.

*Accompaniment, Community and Nature by Jonathan Herbert is published by Jessica Kingsley

Covid-19/Coronavirus Update - Churches Closed

Following the government's announcement last night, we regret to tell you that all church buildings are closed until further notice.

However, we can still keep in touch with one another on our Facebook and Twitter pages. We also now have a YouTube channel where we will post the occasional video.

You can also register an account with this website, which will allow you to log in and contribute to our Forum.

There are also resources online for those hoping to find a virtual service - see Church Online - Virtual Services While Regular Services Cancelled.

And because we all need to remember that the Church is the people, not the buildings, we've chosen to illustrate this article with this excellent cartoon by Dave Walker of CartoonChurch.com, which really says it all. (Click on the thumbnail to view the full-size image.)

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.