News & Views

Covid-19/Coronavirus Update - September 2020

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

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.

A new Team Rector for Dorchester and the Winterbournes

A message from The Bishop of Sherborne Rev Karen Gorham:

I am pleased to announce that the Lord Chancellor has approved the appointment of the Revd Keith Magee as Team Rector of Dorchester and the Winterbournes. Keith is currently Vicar of St Peter’s Church, Braunstone Park – a large urban parish in the diocese of Leicester. He trained at Westcott House Theological College Cambridge and was ordained in 2001.

Thoughts on the Pandemic

Dear Friends,

It was one year ago that I left Dorchester and the Diocese of Salisbury and I am pleased to be asked to make a guest appearance in the pages of the magazine for September 2020. What a time we have had of it! In the early weeks of the Covid-19 pandemic many of us drew encouragement and hope from the words of Her Majesty The Queen:

We should take comfort that while we may have more still to endure, better days will return: we will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again; we will meet again.

Communities of Hope

I have appreciated over the last few months having a little extra time to read and one of the books I have been challenged by has been ‘Accompaniment, Community and Nature’* by one of our local clergy, the Revd Canon Jonathan Herbert.

It is easy to think of Christian Community as a rather exclusive thing, with its own rules and rhythms known only to those who belong there. Far from it, writes Jonathan, as he describes some of his own experiences of communities of hope and welcome, including two in our diocese – Pilsdon and Hilfield.

Where is God in all this?

Ten years ago I led a team of workplace chaplains in Cambridgeshire and regularly visited the staff at Cambridge Crown Courts. On several occasions I took round the Courts a group of local ordinands. I asked them to visit staff and defendants with their families who sat outside the courts anxiously waiting to be called in. When reporting back they were asked to answer a short question, “Where is God in all this”. There were many responses such as “Christ was suffering with them”.

Living in Community

After the great celebration of Easter Day, the Church calendar carries on through the seven weeks of the Easter season to Pentecost, each Sunday gospel witnessing to the experience of the first disciples of the risen Lord, through the Ascension to St Luke’s story of the gift of the Spirit. Together, the disciples are gifted with the resurrection appearances, with his ascension into heaven, and with the Spirit.

Easter Hopes and Fears

I often wonder how Jesus felt as he entered Jerusalem at the beginning of what we call Holy Week.

He was met by triumphant crowds who saw him as the person who was to save his nation from domination by the Romans. Yet as the week went on we saw a man who shrugged off the adulation of the crowds, spent time with his friends, sought refuge outside the city for peace and respite and then gave the Passover meal with his closest a new and everlasting meaning. It did not end there as he was tried and in some people’s eyes found guilty and cruelly executed.

A Moving Story

This year Salisbury celebrates one of the most remarkable stories of medieval England. It’s the story of the Cathedral that moved.

In 1220 the consecration stones of a new Cathedral were laid and anointed, only 2.5 miles from the site of the existing Cathedral. Bishop Richard Poore and his clergy had determined that the hilltop of OId Sarum was no longer an appropriate place for their foundation. So, with breath- taking audacity, they moved it to the plain below, where five rivers meet, and where it has stood ever since.

Our Guide for Life

Some years ago we went to the BBC Gardeners World exhibition at the NEC in Birmingham. We drove there and back without any problems, guided every mile of the way by Christopher, the disembodied but very polite voice of the Satnav on my mobile phone. Perfect, precise directions led us through unfamiliar territory and navigated us successfully around complex junctions that offered a multitude of possibilities for taking the wrong direction. Finally, when we arrived at our destination, Christopher announced, “There, that wasn’t so bad, was it?”