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.

Slow and steady ...

Dear Friends,
For some the months of July and August give an opportunity to travel at a slower pace, indeed if you are on the A35 a very much slower pace! I hope those who have had a holiday have enjoyed their break; and those receiving exam results have seen their hard work rewarded. 

During September and October we continue to enjoy being shaped by the stories and parables of Jesus. We still have time to think through our response to the story of salvation, before the Seasons of All Saints and Kingdom, Advent and Christmas, Lent and Easter begin again. 

Thinking how much I have appreciated a slightly slower pace in August brought me back to one of my favourite books, In a Country Parson’s Shoes (SKEFFINGTON) 1954. It offers the reader “a peaceable habitation...and a quiet resting place”. 

In September and October our worshipping communities celebrate Harvest. This short extract (written in language of the time) highlights three related festivals that Monkton Church community have already kept: highlighting how our concern for the rural church and environmental issues cannot be contained by any one season of the Church. 

‘Plough Sunday’, usually the first Sunday after Epiphany, is often kept by the labourers: it is the day when a plough is brought into the church and blessed – symbol of the labour of breaking the earth and sowing the seed. Rogation-tide is of course observed by many, but I know a priest who seems to have made it more real to his parish in a simpler way than many others have down. He told me that on Rogation Sunday, he and his congregation go into the churchyard and, from various vantage points, look out over the village at fields, farms and gardens and the blessing is pronounced on cornfields, pastures, root-crops, animals and gardens. Lammas, or ‘loaf-mass’, on the 1st August, or as near to it as possible, is the offering of the loaf made from the first ripe corn, a symbol of the old feast of the first fruits. And so there comes to be a kind of yearly cycle of ‘God and the countryside’, and the farm-worker is reminded of God four times in the year instead of once at the Harvest Festival. 

As ever,
Canon Thomas 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.
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.