The Team Rector, Canon Thomas Woodhouse has moved to take up a new appointment in London.  From the 2nd September the Rectory telephone will no longer be connected.  From the 14th September Thomas will no longer be responding to Dorchester and The Winterbournes related emails.


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


Dear Friends,
It is easy to become possessive and handing on our precious endeavours
for others to complete in not easy, but as St Paul reminds us, “I planted,
Apollos watered, but God gave the growth”. God’s purposes are worked
out through human links in a chain that stretches through time and into
eternity. Christian discipleship is costly because it means abandoning any
views of ourselves as in control of our destiny! Instead we are challenged
to give ourselves away, to allow ourselves to be spent for the Gospel.
Much of the ministry of Jesus was about building up the confidence of
other people and encouraging those with whom he had contact to become
more self-aware of their gifts and considerate in the community and in
When I was a young man my Baptist Minister did just that for me!
Following the service that marked his retirement he was too overwhelmed
by emotion to stand at the door to bid people farewell, so instead we went
individually into the Vestry. As I shook his hand, he looked at me and
said “this is an Elijah and Elisha moment”. In that moment something
extraordinary happened, but it was many more years before I came to
understand that he was inviting me to share in his ministry.
When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Tell me, what can I do
for you before I am taken from you?” “Let me inherit a double portion
of your spirit,” Elisha replied. “You have asked a difficult thing,” Elijah
said, “yet if you see me when I am taken from you, it will be yours –
otherwise, it will not.” As they were walking along and talking together,
suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the
two of them and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind. Elisha saw
this and cried out, “My father! My father! The chariots and horsemen of
Israel!” and Elisha saw him no more. Then he took hold of his garment
and tore it in two. Elisha then picked up Elijah’s cloak that had fallen
from him and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan. He took
the cloak that had fallen from Elijah and struck the water with it.
“Where now is the LORD, the God of Elijah?” he asked. When he
struck the water, it divided to the right and to the left, and he crossed
over. (2 Kings 2. 9-14)
You have allowed me, with Kate, Charlotte, Beatrice, Anne and Alice
to share in your ministry for five and half years. It has been a great
privilege to serve God alongside you as Team Rector of Dorchester and
The Winterbournes. Thank you!
To celebrate all we have shared together I would be delighted if you
could join me on Saturday 14th September in St Mary’s Church at 6pm
for a service that concludes my ministry and celebrates your ministry.
As ever,
Thomas M. B. Woodhouse
Team Rector of Dorchester and The Winterbournes


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.