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 the latest lockdown

The church and its buildings are gradually re-opening, both for limited, permitted events (i.e. Blood Donors, AA) and various activities led either by the church or outside organisations (i.e. church shop, Story Tots, Country Market).

Please contact the Church Office if your organisation has used the buildings in the past and would like to re-start; or if you would like to find out more about starting a new Room Hire arrangement

The most recent updates, taking account of the gradual easing of lockdown restrictions, include:

Church services: updated 19 July

We are pleased to confirm that 'live' services, with a preacher in church, continue to evolve, and singing is now allowed! Full details can be found on the Services page.  

Details of on-line alternatives (including written services, YouTube and Zoom services, and national TV and radio broadcasts) can also be found on the Services page.

Please contact Wendy Hilton if you cannot access the printed service and would like a paper version delivered.

Private Prayer: updated 18 March

Given the re-starting of live services in church, and the need to continue follow strict guidelines on Coronavirus, it has been decided that the church will not be open at any other times for Private Prayer. Please contact either of the Ministers or Wendy Hilton if you need support for any pastoral issues.

Church shop has re-opened: updated 23 March

For further information, please see the Church Shop page.

Story Tots has re-started: updated 22 April

The weekly group for young children and their parents / carers has re-started: please see the Story Tots page for more details.

Badminton clubs re-started: updated 17 May

The Monday Badminton club re-started on 17 May, and the Friday group re-started on 21 May, with a range of measures in place to protect everyone's safety. Currently, only existing members will be able to participate - please see the Badminton pages for further information.

Circuit Craft group: updated 5 January

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

Forest Praise: updated 19 July

Forest Praise has re-started, and will be taking place in a new venue as the UCD organisers team up with St George's Fordington. Details of the next gathering on 29 July can be found on the Events page.




Give thanks for your Covid vaccination

Have you or your loved ones had your vaccine? To show your appreciation would you like to help families who have lost everything as they face the threat of this deadly virus?

Christian Aid is asking for support in its work with refugees and families who have fled violence and hunger in countries suffering conflict. Many live in crowded refugee and displacement camps with little access to medical care, clean water or enough food, making them extremely vulnerable to COVID.

Please read more about this, and find a prayer for these time, by looking at the ‘Give thanks for your vaccine’ poster, or go to the Christian Aid web site which includes information on how to donate.

Alternatively, you can contribute to the Methodist District Appeal for the same cause: the District has set a challenge of raising at least £2,600 – representing our District number of 26 - and is asking people to give as generously as they can.



General support for church members

Are you still worried about going out? Finding it hard to cope with masks and queuing? Family too far away to help? Needing to self-isolate?

Please don’t struggle on alone and put yourself at risk.  Don’t forget there is a cheerful and willing band of younger folk from church who are very happy to help out.  We are happy to continue shopping, collecting prescriptions or other tasks as long as needed so if you, or folk you know, need support then please don’t hesitate to make contact. 

Support is being coordinated by Gill and Peter Robinson.




Church AGM 2021

 UCD’s 2021 AGM is due to take place on Thursday 1st July, at 7pm in the church.

UPDATE: All the papers for the AGM are now available on the Members’ area of the web site: just follow the AGM and Annual Reports links once you have logged in to the password-protected area (and if you have forgotten the password, please contact Di Lawrence at the UCD Office for a reminder).

The papers include all the information about nominating Stewards, with four vacancies to be filled this year.




UK's International Aid Budget

Many people will be aware that, despite a campaign against the move, the UK government has cut its international aid budget. Moreover, a proposed debate and possible vote against this change was blocked by the Speaker in the House of Commons.

After West Dorset’s MP expressed support for the government’s actions, the committee of the local Christian Aid branch has written to him again to express significant concern, and to ask him to reconsider his position on the issue.

In the interests of transparency and accountability, the letter is being made available for all to read; and anyone who agrees with the sentiments of the Christian Aid committee is encouraged to lobby further if they feel able to do so.




Christian Aid Week 2021

Christian Aid Week took place this year between 10th and 16th May - but you can still contribute to the cause.

There were lots of opportunities to get involved, despite the uncertainties caused by the Coronavirus pandemic. In addition to the national programme of events and challenges, a local series of opportunities was planned. Some of these were postponed until the autumn, but other events listed on our Christian Aid Week page went ahead.

Update (27 June): local committee chair Tony Boyden has now been able to provide the full details of the Christian Aid Week collection across Dorchester and District:

£6000 exactly(!). This was 45% of the last full Christian Aid Week figure in 2019 but the following needs to be remembered:

  1. There were no house to house collections this year. The figure relied on church collections only.
  2. Some churches did not hold collections and members were encouraged to denote direct to Christian Aid.
  3. There was no Christian Aid Week Market or ecumenical service to boost funding. These will be held later in the year.

In the light of this I think we raised a very creditable figure, much better than last year,  and my very grateful thanks go to all involved in whatever way for raising funding.

The Quiz Wiinner was Peter Mann with full marks of 50/50 closely followed by Margaret and David Eaglestone with 49/50.  Amazing scores! Very many thanks to all those who supported the Quiz 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.




News from Traidcraft

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

The church shop has now re-opened, so do please come and support the Fairtrade movement.