This month

Covid-19/Coronavirus Update - September 2020

Some of our churches are now open for worship and private prayer. Details are below.

St George

  • Shortened Communion service every Sunday at 10am, 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
  • Also open for private prayer Wed 1 - 4pm, Sun 8:30 - 11:30am

St Mary

  • Eucharist every Sunday at 8am and 9.45am. Please book EACH week with Trudy (trtabone@gmail.com) if you wish to attend either service.
  • Eucharist every Wednesday at 9.30am - no need to book
  • Contemplative Prayer Group meets every Wednesday at 5pm 
  • Church is locked outside service times

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
  • 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
  • Open for personal prayer 10am - 4pm every day

West Stafford

  • Service every Sunday at 11.15am

Winterborne Monkton

  • Holy Communion service on the first Sunday of the month at 11.15am

Compton Valence and Winterbornes St Martin, Abbas and Steepleton

A Message from the Bishop of Salisbury

The impact of COVID-19 is changing us. In many ways, people have stepped up to look after each other. Churches have been part of this but it’s been a much broader movement of neighbourly care. We have applauded the NHS and care workers and we have redefined who are the key workers. The desire to look after each other is strong.

Every organisation has had to change rapidly. Churches have adapted locally extraordinarily fast. Thank you for all you have done to help. None of us knows if this is the new normal but at the end of summer it looks as though the winter could be long and difficult. This virus is not yet finished with us.

We are being tested. The virus is not limited by national boundaries. It is a global pandemic. There have been some key moments and our responses have been revealing. The death of George Floyd in Minneapolis set off an international movement that Black Lives Matter. Who are the people we want to celebrate and why? We have been too slow re-evaluating the statues populating our public space and frustration boiled over. People want to be dealt with justly and we need to rework our history so that it helps us tell a better story in our own day.

For example, there are lessons for us with regard to slavery. Church was part of the problem and became part of the solution. We were among those who profited from slavery and claimed it was part of God’s given order. We were also among those who campaigned for its abolition. In this respect my predecessor Bishop Burgess (1825-37) was courageous in the late eighteenth century in articulating his opposition to slavery. Nowadays no-one is in favour of slavery and the Church is among those challenging modern-day slavery. The question for us is why there was a re-evaluation of the way we understood scripture that changed our values and the way we acted.

One of my favourite Bible stories is from Matthew 22.15-22 when the religious leaders tried to trap Jesus with a political question. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor? Smelling hypocrisy, Jesus asked whose image is on a coin? They answered the emperor’s. “Give to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s and to God the things that are God’s.”

It’s a clever and enigmatic response. Whatever it means about God and Caesar, paying taxes, and the Christian engagement with political life and power, a Jew at the time of Jesus would have heard an unspoken second question: ‘And you, whose image are you made in?’ We are called to live as people made in God’s image.

That's at the heart of who we are and we need to take care to live up to it. A time of crisis is both a judgement and an opportunity.

+Nicholas Sarum

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.