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 renewed lockdown

In the light of the new national lockdown from Thursday 5 November, the church and buildings are currently shut except for permitted activities (specifically: Private Prayer, Blood Donors, AA) and for church business. Anyone using the building must adhere to UCD's lone working policy.

However, although the buildings may be shut, the church is determined to sustain its active life, both for services and for wider community support. It is therefore restoring many of the routines that were established during the first national lockdown.

The most recent updates to take account of the new lockdown therefore include:

Sunday Church services: updated 5 November

Live services with a preacher in the church can no longer take place. However, Circuit services on Zoom will re-start on Sunday mornings at 10.00am: please contact the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Jacqui Trent for log-in details.

Church opening for private prayer: updated 5 November

The church will be open for private prayer on Sundays and Wednesdays from 10.30am to 11.30am, with arrangements as before: if you wish to come in to pray, entry will only be through the main doors from South Street. The mornings of both 8th and 11th November will include a 2 minute silence at 11.00am.

Circuit prayer meetings: updated 11 November

Prayers led by Rev John Yarrien will take place over Zoom over Thursday morning at 9.30am: please see the Prayer Groups page for more details.

Circuit YouTube and printed Sunday services: updated 5 November

These will continue to be provided each week, and will be available on both UCD and Circuit web sites. Please contact Wendy Hilton if you cannot access the printed service and would like a paper version delivered.

Wednesday Market Day services: updated 5 November

These can no longer take place, but the church will be open for private prayer on Wednesdays (and Sundays), from 10.30am to 11.30am.

Circuit Advent Study group: updated 11 November

Please see the Fellowship groups page for details of the Circuit Advent Study group running via Zoom during November and December

Church shop closed but offering a ‘by phone’ order service: updated 5 November

Please see full details on the Church Shop page, including details of how you can order Fairtrade goods (‘Traidcraft Takeaway’) and Christmas cards.

Badminton clubs stop: updated 5 November

Both the Badminton clubs have now stopped meeting: please see the Badminton pages for further information.

Circuit Craft group: updated 11 November

Although the UCD group is not currently meeting because of Coronavirus restrictions, there will be a Circuit Craft group meeting via Zoom: please see the Patchwork and Craft page for more details.

Please assume that unless otherwise listed here, the buildings remain closed and no other events, activities or meetings are taking place.



Dorchester Family Support: Christmas Hampers

After a hugely successful operation in the summer, Dorchester Family Support are starting to gear up for Christmas by organising food hampers for their families who they know will still need help this December.

They are therefore looking for help in putting together food hampers with a range of foods that they know are well received: boxes of mince pies, small Christmas/fruit cake, chocolate, large bags of crisps, cheese biscuits, jelly/trifle mix, coffee, hot chocolate and Christmas puddings – though anything else that is “Christmassy” will be welcomed.

All contributions need to be made by Sunday 12th December: please deliver them to the church foyer where there will be a bin for receipt of items available on Wednesday and Sunday mornings, from 10.30 - 11.30am. If this is not possible, please take them in to the Dorchester Food Bank on the days and times they are open. 



Christian Aid Christmas Appeal

This year it has been difficult to raise funds for Christian Aid and yet there is a crying need for our support across the world. This Christmas we’re focusing on communities battling climate change, as well as the pandemic, in Ethiopia.  

Kawite’s village has secured a new water source which has helped dramatically the lives of Kawite and her family, so this Christmas we’re working together with all Christian Aid supporters across Dorset and Somerset to support other villages like Kawite’s.

There’s lots of creative ideas on the Christian Aid website about how we might raise funds for the appeal; or you may want to donate individually directly to Christian Aid. Cheques (made out to Christian Aid 2020 Christmas appeal) can also be sent to our local treasurer: see the information sheet for details.

We know it’s been a difficult year for so many but if you are able to give: let’s help make it a bumper Christmas appeal this year!


Dorchester Poverty Action

Are you one of the financially lucky ones during the coronavirus epidemic that has actually more money in your bank account than normal?  In DT1 and DT2 many people are not so fortunate for a variety of different reasons, some work-related, others due to difficult family situations.

Dorset Poverty Action has been there all through coronavirus supporting local people in DT1 and DT2, making grants of up to £200 to local people who have hit a financial crisis, at the request of a professional worker or agency who knows their circumstances.

With no fund-raising events, Dorchester Poverty Action is depending on the generosity of local people who perhaps realise that they have not spent as much this year as they usually do.  Please consider if you are one of these good people and make a donation by visiting the Dorchester Poverty Action website.



Christian Aid Recipe Book

Like so many charities, Christian Aid is struggling to generate normal levels of donations during the Coronavirus pandemic.

The local branch of Christian Aid is therefore looking to create a Dorchester and District Christian Aid Recipe Book. It will contain recipes from local church members, and will be sold to create much-needed income for Christian Aid.

For more information on the project – and on how you can contribute your own recipes to the publication – please see the Christian Aid Recipe Book information sheet, and send in your recipes by 16th January.



Christmas updates

1. The planned One Way Christmas Fair, in aid of our World Church charity Mission Aviation Fellowship, will not take place in November. However, depending on when we come out of lockdown, it may be possible to run an event at fairly short notice.

2. It has been confirmed that there will be no Christmas Cracker this year

3. The Action for Children team hope to be collecting and playing Christmas Carols outside the front door of United Church Dorchester on December 12th and December 19th from 12.00 until 3.30 – please go and see them if you can! The team will also be handing out Knitted Angels - if you can't be there on the day but want to help by knitting some angels for distribution, please have a look at the information sheet for the background to the idea, and how to get the pattern.

The team also wants to thank everyone for managing to collect over £650 through this year's League of Light boxes - a great effort!

4. The Church Christmas card will be printed in mid November and delivered with the Vision magazine by the current delivery volunteers.


URC CWM report for Wessex Synod

Local member Ruth Archer recently provided a report for URC's Wessex Synod, outlining the Council for World Mission's responses to the challenge of the Covid-19 pandemic across the world.

You can see the report here, or visit the CWM web site to see more about its important work.




News from Traidcraft

Traidcraft continue to trade in their new, slimmed down company. The Christmas 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 continue supporting 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.