Revd Canon Thomas Woodhouse, Team RectorThe invitation to our Team website is simple: Come On In…

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.

This website will let you know about some of the things we do: some of them well established, some of them new ventures and all of them exciting and available for you to join.

Details about the individual churches are on this website and we welcome conversation. For now, thank you for visiting…

With best wishes

Revd Canon Thomas Woodhouse, Team Rector

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.

The F Word Exhibition

In September, St Peter’s Church will be hosting the F Word exhibition, in a joint venture with the Shire Hall Museum. The exhibition has been produced by The Forgiveness Project, which was founded in 2004 by the journalist, Marina Cantacuzino. At its heart is the idea that shared stories of forgiveness and reconciliation can act as a powerful corrective to narratives of hate and dehumanisation and can offer alternatives to cycles of violence, injustice and conflict. The testimonies collected by the Forgiveness Project come from people from a range of faiths and no faith. They bear witness to the resilience of the human spirit and provide a resource to help people examine their own unresolved grievances.

In the Christian tradition, we see Jesus in the Gospels urging us to forgive, not just seven times, but seventy times seven (Matthew 18: 22). We see numerous examples of his own ability to bring healing, forgiveness and reconciliation to those on the margins of accepted society. Yet we know from our own experience that when we feel we have been deeply wronged, forgiveness doesn’t come easily. It can be hard to let go of anger and a desire for revenge. Trauma can make us closed off to the other as we seek to protect ourselves from further pain. It can be difficult to risk lifting our guard enough to see the person who has wronged us as a real person.

Forgiveness is difficult unless we have some awareness and acceptance of our own faults. Jesus famously asked one of his questioners to remove the log in his own eye before worrying about a speck in his neighbour’s eye (Matthew 7: 5). Forgiveness begins with honest self-examination: it takes an open-hearted awareness of our failings and an ability to forgive ourselves if we are to have any chance of forgiving others.
Another important ingredient in our ability to forgive is curiosity. Being curious about the world and about people is an antidote to hate. Being curious fires up the imagination and helps us to ask questions and to wonder why. An openness to wonder and curiosity stops us from behaving as if we have everyone worked out already; it keeps us humble. In order to forgive, we need to move from ‘why me?’ to ‘why them?’ and being curious about the lives and experiences of others helps us to decentre our own hurt and pain and become open to others.

The F Word exhibition is a creative opportunity to explore these issues both individually, through viewing the material and collectively, through conversation and discussion. Schools will be able to book events relating to the exhibition through the Shire Hall Museum.

Revd Claire McClelland, Vicar, St. Peter's Church

- The F Word exhibition at St Peter’s Church 14–21 September 2018.

- Multi-faith panel discussion evening 17th September at 7.30pm – contributors include the Bishop of Sherborne, and the evening will be chaired by Canon Angela Tilby.

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.
e 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.