About Dorchester and the Winterbournes Team Ministry

The Team Ministry of Dorchester and the Winterbournes comprises the three churches in the town (St. George's, St. Mary's, and St. Peter's), plus St Andrew's Church, West Stafford, SS. Simon and Jude, Winterbourne Monkton, the three churches of the valley of the Winterbournes (St. Martin's, St. Mary's, and St. Michael's), and, at its western end, St Thomas A Becket, Compton Valence.

The Team Rector is Canon Thomas Woodhouse. He writes below:

October 2014

Dear Friends,

As we embark on our journey through autumn, enjoying perhaps ‘St Luke’s Little Summer’ on the way, we prepare to engage with the cycle of our salvation: the story of what God has done for us, from Incarnation through to Resurrection and the gifting of the Holy Spirit. It is a journey we make as individuals, as worshipping communities and as a team of church communities in a new and exciting partnership. The focus of the journey is Jesus Christ, with the desire to deepen our faith, that we might better serve the communities we are set among.

It feels a God-given time for the new team ministry to be prayed into existence! The new team ministry, formally titled ‘The Benefice of Dorchester and the Winterbournes’, will exist from the 6th November 2014. On that day Jean Saddington is licensed as one of our Team Vicars at a service in Martinstown and her colleagues will receive a new license and commission. The service will focus on Jean’s new ministry, while giving us the opportunity to celebrate the worshipping and praying life of nine church families.

I was born in Northamptonshire and one of our county’s sons is the poet John Clare. Clare was fond of footpaths because they were ‘rich and joyful to the mind: ways of walking that were also ways of thinking.’ Footpaths are ‘lines of communication by which the flame of civil and religious liberty is kept alive’. The author in whose book John Clare’s words are recorded is Robert MacFarlane; the book is entitled The Old Ways. MacFarlane himself writes ‘These are the consequences of the old ways with which I feel easiest: walking as enabling sight and thoughts rather than encouraging retreat and escape; paths as offering not only means of traversing space, but also ways of feeling, being and knowing.’

We are about to embark on a new team journey, set within the worshipping and praying journey of the People of God in Dorchester and The Winterbournes. It is a journey that will take in the myriad footpaths running through Dorchester, West Stafford and Monkton, through the Valley and Compton Valence; it is a journey that will open new and exciting lines of communication; it is a journey I am thrilled to be making.

As ever,

Canon Thomas Woodhouse Team Rector

In addition to the material presented on this website, you can find out a little more of the life of our Benefice and of the people involved by looking at the Dorchester Benefice Magazine.

We sincerely hope that you will join with us at one of our church services in the Benefice. Please do introduce yourself, and be assured of a warm welcome.

We have a number of groups whose activities cover the Benefice as a whole. Links to groups particularly associated with a specific church can be accessed from that church's home page.

If you wish to make an enquiry about arranging a Christening or Marriage, you are invited to contact the Rector of the Benefice, or the Team Vicar of the church concerned. You will find their contact details here. If you wish to make arrangements for a funeral, please contact the Rector, or a Team Vicar, and note that contact details for local funeral Directors are to be found here. This website discusses some of the detail which you may also wish to consider.

The three town churches (St. George's, St. Mary's, and St. Peter's) each have a Church Hall which is available for hire. For details, contact the person listed under 'Hall Bookings' in the listing for each church here.

You can find where the churches are by clicking on the map here.

The Team Ministry also includes two redundant churches:

Whitcombe - Dedication Unknown - Occasional Services http://www.dorsethistoricchurchestrust.co.uk/whitcombe.htm

Winterbourne Came - St Peter - Occasional Services http://www.dorsethistoricchurchestrust.co.uk/winterbornecame.htm