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 updates and changes to activities

In the light of current Coronavirus advice from the UK Government and various public bodies, the following changes to usual Church life have been agreed:

All Church Services, events, activities and meetings have now been cancelled or postponed. Indeed, following guidance from the national Methodist Church, and the national URC Churchthe United Church Dorchester building is now closed with immediate effect.

There are two groups for whom an exception is being made (in line with Government guidance): Solutions meetings and Blood Donor sessions. All other groups, activities and lettings have been cancelled for the foreseeable future.

Worshipping at home

For those who would like to follow Church Services from home, please see our Services information. This includes links to various options, covering on-line access, radio broadcasts and TV programmes – with both local and national provision.

Support system for church members

The pastoral committee has been looking at a variety of ways to support all our members during the rapidly changing situation with regard to Coronavirus. 

We are operating a support service for anyone who needs it – if you are vulnerable due to age, health issues or in a household needing to isolate due to possible infection then this support is for you.

We have a willing team of people comprising younger folk under 70 who can shop, collect prescriptions, post mail or any other urgent task.  Please don’t struggle on alone or put yourself at risk, particularly as shopping may involve lengthy queueing.  We are here to help.

To access support, please contact Peter & Gill Robinson who are coordinating the volunteers: their email is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Our thoughts are with all of those affected by the Covid-19 pandemic around the world, and we pray for health, healing and peace for all.




District Methodist Church: Coronavirus guidance and resources

The Southampton Methodist District has confirmed that it continues to follow both government and MCH guidance. The Methodist guidance has been updated today, covering a wide range of advice and links about Coronavirus issues, with a special focus on their implications for Church life.

In addition, the District has warned that scammers are taking advantage of the general Coronavirus situation, and are targeting vulnerable people. An information and advice document has therefore been produced, which explains what to be aware of, and how to protect yourself against these scams.



Wessex Synod URC Church: Coronavirus guidance and resources

The Wessex Synod of the URC Church has confirmed that it continues to follow government and national URC guidance. The Wessex Synod guidance has been updated regularly, covering a wide range of advice and links about Coronavirus issues, with a special focus on their implications for Church life.




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 and Circuit Superintendent from September 2020, subject to approval at Methodist Conference.



Bridport and Uploders: Pastoral Assistant

Bridport United Church and Uploders Methodist Church are looking for a part-time Pastoral Assistant. For more information, please see the Jobs and opportunities page.



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.



Winter Fuel Allowance donations

Dorchester Poverty Action (DPA) is asking if people who are financially secure might donate their Winter Fuel Allowance to those who are struggling with money issues. If you don’t really need your allowance – do please consider donating it so that DPA can respond to requests from social workers, health workers or family members to help people who are in a financial crisis.

To donate, go to the DPA website and follow the links; or go directly to the donation page, which includes the possibility of Gift Aiding the donation to increase the value of your donation by 25%.


Homelessness information leaflet

People First Dorset has produced an updated version of their ‘Easy Read’ leaflet about homelessness. This provides clear guidance on how we can all help people we see on the streets who might be homeless.

Please note that the advice refers primarily to homelessness, and not to street begging. Although Streetlink is the main point of contact for offering support to homeless people, alternative organisations (including the police) can be alerted to persistent begging from people who are known not to be homeless.



Chinese adventure

A member of the United Church, Mike Jacobsen (seen below on the day of his departure), has spent a year teaching in China. He has been working at a school in Jiangkou, Guizhou Province, though he has now returned and is safely out of the quarantine period for the 'Coronavirus' Covid-19 infection. If you would like to explore his experiences during his time away, you can read all about it via his blog.



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