The United Church Dorchester

United in faith, united in action

News and reports

Read below about some of the most important issues and developments within the United Church and beyond.




United Church Dorchester: Coronavirus and lockdown easing

The Coronavirus pandemic required very significant changes to Church life. All services in the United Church itself were cancelled, with provision moving and remaining largely on line. Events, activities and meetings were also cancelled or postponed.

Much of the local support that was established to cope with lockdown is still being offered: you can read all about that continuing support and guidance through our Coronavirus information.

However, United Church Dorchester is now beginning to ease the lockdown, and is taking small steps towards re-opening in line with Government regulations and wider guidance. It is exploring how to restore limited versions of its more usual activities and re-open its facilities – while keeping everyone safe.

The most recent changes include:

Church services re-starting - from 26 July

Over the course of the next month, starting on 26 July, limited services in the church will be re-starting. The first three services will show the Circuit's weekly Service from its YouTube channel. After that, starting on 16 August, we hope to start live worship again (although without singing), and may be able to live stream these as well.

Full details (including how to book any of the limited number of places available) can be found on the Services page.

Church shop re-opening – from 8 July

Please see full details on the Church Shop page

Church opening for private prayer – from 5 July: updated 20 July

Government and church guidelines now allow us to open the church for private prayer. With limited services in church starting on 26th July, the private prayer sessions will now be on WEDNESDAYS ONLY, and will run from 10.30 - 11.30am.

If you wish to come in to pray, entry will only be through the main doors from South Street. In the foyer, a steward will require that you use the hand gel which we will provide, and offer you a face covering if you do not have your own. In the church, there will be only about thirty, well-spaced chairs. When you wish to leave, please exit via the door at the front to the right of the organ, and turn sharp right to go down the alleyway back to South Street.

All doors will be propped open so there will be no need for you to touch the door handles. All bibles and hymn books will be removed. You may, of course, bring your own. The toilets will not be available.


Please assume that unless otherwise listed here, the buildings remain closed and no other events, activities or meetings are taking place. The only exception to this are Blood Donor sessions, which will continue as they have done throughout the lockdown.




Rev Steph Jenner / Rev John Yarrien

Unfortunately, Rev Steph Jenner has had to stop work due to ill health; the Advent Service on 1 December was a fitting tribute to her work with the church and wider community. 

We always hoped to have her replacement ready to begin work on 1 September 2020, so it is with great pleasure we can announce that Rev John Yarrien will become our next Minister from September 2020, subject to approval at Methodist Conference.

 Our New Minister

We look forward to welcoming Rev John and his wife Cora. John will be the Minister here at the United Church and will also be Superintendent of the Dorset South and West Methodist Circuit.

John worked for Hampshire County Council as an IT manager before training for ministry at Durham Cranmer Hall. Cora is an ordained Anglican Vicar. They are both very excited to be moving to Dorset with their two Labradors and look forward to becoming part of the community here.




Ride and Stride

This year’s Ride and Stride for Churches, organised by Dorset Historic Churches Trust, is being held on Saturday 12th September. As usual, the United Church Dorchester is one of the participating churches, though it will be putting in place additional and appropriate measures to keep everyone safe this year.

The event takes place between 10.00am and 6.00pm, and participants can visit as many or as few churches and chapels as they wish. Full information, including the sponsorship form, is available from your Parish Organiser (Shawn Board is this year's organiser at the United Church); or from the Dorset Historic Churches Trust website.

The United Church Dorchester is looking for volunteers who can welcome Riders and Striders, oversee sponsor sheets, provide directions to other churches, etc. If you think you might be able to help at any point during the day, please contact Shawn Board, and he will both organise a rota and provide detailed guidance nearer the time.


Action for Children: League of Light boxes

 At this time of year, we would normally hold an 'Action for Children' Sunday Service, to celebrate the work of this important charity and its work with children. It is also the time when everyone's 'League of Light' boxes are collected, with their significant financial contributions.

This year, of course, the Service could not take place. Equally, the boxes could not be collected, so we have set up two ways of making sure that the boxes can be handed in:

1. You can take your box to the Church Shop, when it is open on a Wednesday morning (10.00am - 12.30pm). Please tell the staff that you are leaving your League of Light box, and it will be placed in one of the  'quarantine' trays.

2. If you do not wish to go to the Shop, please email our Action for Children coordinator, who will make arrangements to collect your box from your own home.




News from Traidcraft

Traidcraft continue to trade in their new, slimmed down company. The Summer catalogue is now out, containing a complete range of Fairtrade foods, gifts and clothing.

Some items are temporarily out of stock as Traidcraft continue to source from new suppliers, but do please come in and see what is available and help to support the Fairtrade movement. Just by buying a box of teabags or some honey you are helping producers worldwide to raise their standard of living: a contract with Traidcraft gives them access to legal, health and environmental advice, encourages them to form cooperatives and guarantees a fair price for their produce.

The new catalogue is available online or pop in and pick up a copy from the United Church Shop (now re-opened, but only on Wednesday mornings).



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