From Harold Stephens, New Team Rector of Dorchester

By now everyone will be aware that I am coming to Dorchester as the new Team Rector, some time in October.  Carol, my wife, and I are delighted at the prospect of becoming part of the Anglican presence in the town.  We look forward to working with you all and engaging in the life of the whole community – both town and our villages of the Team.

I am coming from the Benefice of the Lavingtons, Cheverells and Easterton, near Devizes in the north of the Diocese.  I have been Rector there since 1999, having previously been a priest working as a Comprehensive School Deputy Head.

My background in education has, you will not be surprised to read, inspired important aspects of my ministry.  I serve as chair of the Diocesan Board of Education’s Schools Committee and serve as a Church School inspector (occasionally).  More importantly I have placed a great emphasis on the teaching ministry of the Church to help build up the confidence of those who are members of the Church as well as to communicate the faith to others we hope to draw into its membership.

However, and at its core, the Church exists as the Body of Christ and must try to help all to come closer to the spiritual realities of our existence.  Our worship and our pastoral care, our service to our community and our voice within it are all to be driven by an understanding of a Church which is inclusive.  This understanding is of a Church that does not draw up the drawbridge of a “fortress” or which regards the world out there as something to escape from.  Rather we are called to engage with and recognise that we are a part of the community and society around us.  We seek to transform and challenge society not decry it and avoid it.

My licensing service will take place at St. Mary's on October the 12th at 7.30 p.m.  I look forward to seeing many of you there.  However, if you would like to join me on my special "Pilgrimage of Arrival"  (I shall be walking with any who wish to join me for any part of it) which will take me from West Stafford through the town to visit our Church schools and Churches, out to Winterborne Monkton and then ending at St. Mary's.  The timings for this are published elsewhere.

Thus, as I join the Team which serves the Town and villages so well, I hope you will pray for me as I will for all of you as we find my way around and come to know you all.

Harold Stephens
Team Rector designate.