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 opening for private prayer – from 5 July

Government and church guidelines now allow us to open the church for private prayer. We have decided to open the church on Sundays and Wednesdays from 11.30am to 12.30pm, and will start on Sunday, 5th July.

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.

Church shop re-opening – from 8 July

Please see full details on the Church Shop page


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.



Farewell service for Rev Pete and Debs Brazier

Rev Pete and Debs Brazier will be leaving their respective positions within the Circuit at the end of July, when they move to a new life in Leeds. We are all very grateful for the significant contributions they have made in Portland, Dorchester and across the wider Circuit area, and wish them well as they venture to the north.

A United Service to say 'thank you' had originally been planned for Sunday 12 July, but that clearly cannot now happen. Instead, there will be a Service on Sunday 19th July, which will be held via Zoom. If you would like be part of this event, please email Rev Gwyneth Owen (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and ask for the Zoom meeting details.




News from Traidcraft

Traidcraft continue to thrive in their new, slimmed down company. The Spring/Summer catalogue is now out, containing a complete range of Fairtrade foods, gifts and clothing. There is a new range of cards in the Church Shop and the ever-popular Real Easter Eggs are available, containing an Easter Story booklet as well as the yummy Fairtrade chocolate.

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.



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