Parish Profile Benefice of West Purbeck

A Hard copy of the Benefice Profile (with photos) can be found in the three churches

 

Benefice of West Purbeck Profile

 
Benefice of West Purbeck 
 
Welcome to The Benefice of West Purbeck
 
This Profile has been prepared to provide an insight into the life of our benefice. We are very much a ‘work in progress’ as the Benefice of West Purbeck only came into being on 1st March 2019. The Profile is a snapshot of where we are now , three individual parishes, two of which were already a benefice, who previously had some collaborative ministry especially in schools, getting to know each other and learning to work together. The Profile sets out some of our hopes and dreams as we move forward together.
This is a very good and positive time for the Church in West Purbeck. There is a very supportive team, both lay and ordained, in the benefice and across the Deanery, for prayer and collegiality. Our new benefice has been formed and a cross benefice team of eight members are helping us to become a Thrive Learning Community, committed to a two year programme of development and growth for our benefice. There have been recent changes in the pattern and leadership of almost all of our local ecumenical partners; they are very keen to work with us. Significant developments are planned for our communities in terms of some extensive areas of new housing. There are schools and fresh expressions to work with and opportunities for new ones to be developed. The post provides an opportunity to work in semi-rural and rural contexts with a wide variety of worship styles and pastoral offices and to help determine the future shape of the benefice.
 
In the two years since I moved to the area, God has provided far more opportunities for mission than the church has been able to engage with. In answer to our prayers for more resources, we were delighted, and humbled when a self-supporting priest colleague recently requested to become a permanent member of our Ministry Team. She was licensed with us as a an Associate Priest at the inauguration of the benefice. We are now excited at the thought of a new colleague coming to join us and we look forward very much to welcoming an Associate Priest to work with us. West Purbeck is, we believe, a great place to be!
 
Carol Langford, Rector
 
Benefice of West Purbeck 
 
The Benefice of West Purbeck, inaugurated on the 1st of March 2019, is a multi-parish benefice of three parishes, Affpuddle with Turnerspuddle, Bere Regis and Wool and East Stoke. The parishes have independent Parochial Church Councils and are responsible for their own financial affairs and share payments, but are keen to maintain and develop a close relationship for mission and wider spiritual concerns. The first Incumbent of the new benefice is the Rev Carol Langford, a full time stipended priest, resident at the parsonage house in Wool. The intention is to also have a house-for-duty associate priest with a half stipend, resident at the Vicarage in Bere Regis with responsibility for Affpuddle and Bere Regis. They will work four days a week (including Sundays). He or she will be a member of the Ministry Team and will work collaboratively across the benefice. Their ministry will be supported and reinforced by the benefice team.
The benefice became a Thrive Learning Community in March 2019. Eight members from across the benefice now work together to focus on mission, leadership and ministry in the benefice. It is envisaged , for the new Associate Priest to be involved with this and that in due course that a Benefice Team Council, alongside the three PCCs, will be established to provide strategic oversight and direction for mission for the benefice as a whole.
West Purbeck Benefice is situated within in an area of outstanding natural beauty, in the beautiful countryside at the heart of Dorset’s ‘Hardy Country’ and close to glorious sandy beaches. Our local facilities are very good with schools, surgeries, pubs, post offices, library, pharmacy, level streets, not too many busy roads, playing fields and youth centres. There is good car, train and some bus access to Poole and Bournemouth, Dorchester, and Weymouth and we have good transport links to London and the South-West. There is a mix of housing, including some social housing.
We are in the Diocese of Salisbury and the Purbeck Deanery. We work very closely with our deanery and with ecumenical partners through Churches Together. The Rector is the Assistant Rural Dean of Purbeck and Chairperson of Churches Together in Wool.
 

Our Parishes

Affpuddle with Turnerspuddle
 
The Parish lies in rural Dorset ten miles east of Dorchester, in a chalk valley, on the banks of the River Piddle. The Parish is within the new constituency of West Purbeck , but is very close to the edge of district, constituency and deanery boundaries. The main form of transport in this part of the benefice is by car, as public transport is somewhat limited here with an infrequent bus service to Dorchester and Poole. There is an hourly train service during the day from the local stations at Wool and Moreton, (half hourly from Wareham) direct to Weymouth, Dorchester, Poole, Bournemouth, Southampton and principal stations on the main line to London (Waterloo).
 
The Parish consists of the villages Affpuddle and Briantspuddle together with the outlying settlements at Throop, Turnerspuddle and Rogers Hill. The population of the parish is approximately 450. Affpuddle, although once the larger village, contracted in size over the course of the 20th Century and is now in effect a hamlet consisting of approximately 30 houses; several are listed buildings dating from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. There are about 220 houses, mainly owner occupied, although there are some 20 local authority dwellings and several holiday cottages. Originally inhabited by agricultural workers, the villages are now largely populated by incomers who are employed in the surrounding towns, or retired people. The key industries in the Parish are agriculture and businesses associated with tourism. A number of the original population remain, but very few are employed on the land
 
As Affpuddle shrank in size so Briantspuddle expanded in the 1920s. There is a single small shop and post office run by volunteers in Briantspuddle and the village hall has recently been extensively refurbished and partially rebuilt. There is a good mix of ages in the parish with a wide range of talents and a very active social life. Most of the children in the parish attend primary school in nearby Puddletown and secondary school in Dorchester or Wareham. There has been very limited new development in this part of the benefice.
 
Bere Regis
 
Bere Regis is in South Dorset, twelve miles west of Poole and a similar distance east of Dorchester, the county town of Dorset. It occupies an important location at the intersection of the two major trunk roads of the county, the A31 and the A35, although a by-pass keeps much of the through traffic away from the centre of the village. The population is around 1,750 and, although now a village, Bere Regis was a market town until the late C19th. The geographical area of the parish is large.
The parish was formerly composed of three separate medieval manors that still have an influence in the significant outlying areas of population, including Roke, Doddings, Bere Heath and Hyde. Part of the centre of the parish is an area called Shitterton, originally oneof the separate manors, whose name has understandably attracted wider attention! Bere Regis has a greater social mix of population and a higher percentage of local authority dwellings than the rest of Purbeck. It retains many of the features of a traditional rural Dorset village, with a great link to the agricultural sector, and with fewer numbers of holiday cottages and second homes than in other Purbeck villages. A good range of ages still exists, and there are many clubs and activities in the village. Bere Regis has a Community Primary School and most children of secondary school age attend Lytchett Minster School. Approximately 50 additional dwellings are planned to be built in this part of the benefice.
 
Wool and East Stoke
 
The parish of Wool and East Stoke comprises the villages of Wool, East Burton, Coombe Keynes, Bovington (home to the Royal Armoured Training School of the British Army ) and East Stoke. The total combined population of the parish is approx. 5940. It is a very friendly and lively place in which to live with something always going on. There are three primary schools and pre-schools as well as toddler groups in Wool. Tourist attractions in the parish include the Tank Museum at Bovington and Monkey World in East Stoke. For about 100 years the parish has been an area of growth. A public consultation took place across Purbeck in 2018 which has resulted in a decision to site at least 500 new homes in Wool by 2033.
Members of all three of our church families are very actively involved in the life of the church and in service of our local communities.
 

Our Churches

St Laurence Affpuddle
 
The Parish Church of St Laurence, Affpuddle, is a Grade 1 listed building largely of 13th century origin, but extensively restored over the last 150 years. It is capable of seating a maximum of 120 people. A second-hand Bebington organ was installed in 1999. Our current organist has been playing for the parish for 65 years. The churchyard is an open for burials. The church has a small vestry and kitchen at the western end of the church building. A project is in hand to construct a lavatory in the churchyard and will require significant fund raising activity over the coming year. Some specific fund raising has already taken place including an organ recital and a ‘seed money’ scheme. The church is open daily from early morning until dusk. There are no other licensed places of worship within the Parish. There are currently 74 members of the Electoral Roll. The congregation consists mainly of middle-aged and retired ‘professional’ people, with some younger families.
 
Turnerspuddle Church
 
The church at Turnerspuddle has been declared redundant and has passed into the custody of the late Sir Gilbert Debenham’s family.
 
St John the Baptist, Bere Regis
 
The Parish Church of St John the Baptist is a Grade 1 listed building, dating back to the C11th. The church is a large building capable of seating around 250 people, and, although the exterior of the building is much older, the interior owes much to a major restoration, which was completed in 1875. The Church has a fine, well maintained, one hundred-year-old, two manual organ.
The building is very famous both architecturally and for its literary connections, primarily due to the constant growth and development between the C11th and C16th means that all of the major architectural styles of this period are represented. The mediaeval wooden nave roof is a very rare feature in Southern England, and made almost unique by the many carved features, especially the almost life size painted figures of what are generally accepted as being the twelve apostles. The church is described in vivid detail in Thomas Hardy’s novel ‘Tess of the D’Urbervilles’, with features of the real life and powerful Turberville family who were lords of the manor of Bere Regis between the C13th and C18th. The church is regularly visited by Hardy societies from around the world.
 
The church is in good condition at present, the most recent work was replacement of the nave roof in 2017/18. The parish successfully raised £200,000 for this work through the project, ‘Mission Apostle’ (the unique mediaeval carved apostles were under serious threat from the leaking roof above) There is no separate church hall, but a kitchen area built in to the western end of the South Aisle allows refreshments to be available after the main weekly services, and smaller scale catering for soup lunches, harvest suppers, afternoon teas for visiting parties and other one off events as necessary. The church is open to visitors during every day of the week between 9.00am and 5.00pm. It has outside toilet facilities. There are currently 94 people on the Electoral Roll. The congregation consists primarily of middle aged and older people from the parish itself. However a number of children and younger families attend the monthly Family Service.
 
The Church of the Holy Rood, Wool
 
A church, originally just a nave, has existed on the site of Holy Rood since the 13th century. The church has a maximum capacity of about 130 and is a Grade 2* listed building. There are kitchenette facilities for making tea and coffee and a free-standing building providing a toilet and storage facilities. In 2016 the pews at the rear of the church were removed to create a more flexible space for worship and welcome. The sound system was upgraded in 2018 and a large 75” moveable LED screen has recently been purchased for digital projection in the church. Many people visit the church and stop here to reflect and pray. The church remains open during daylight hours. There are currently 110 members on the Electoral Roll. The average age of the church family is 65+years but children and young families join us for non-Eucharistic worship, monthly Messy Church and through worship held ’Without Walls’ including Harvest Festival at a local farm and a pop-up nativity play in the village hall.
 

The Ministry Team

The Benefice Ministry Team currently consists of the Rector, two Associate Priests (1 with PTO), four Licensed Lay Ministers (all with PTO) and seven Lay Pastoral Assistants (LPAs). Two of our LLMs are licensed to officiate at Communion by Extension. The team will be extended to include our third Associate Priest (0.5 stipend) with responsibility for Affpuddle and Bere Regis. He or she will live in the Vicarage at Bere Regis.
 
Much of the work in the churches in our benefice is undertaken by members of our church families. Duly trained and authorised where necessary, they assist in the administration of communion, lead the intercessions, read the lessons, serve refreshments after parish communion services, and undertake duties as sidespeople, church cleaners and flower arrangers. Members of the church families also organise the annual fetes , coffee mornings etc. for fund-raising purposes, and also the harvest lunch. In Affpuddle A ‘Welcome’ pack is delivered, by church volunteers, to all those moving into the Parish. A large number of people from the wider community contribute to the major task of mowing our churchyards and keeping them tidy throughout the year.
 

Administration and Communication

Members of the church family in Wool took a leap of faith in 2018 and rented office space for church use at the at the D’Urberville Centre. The maintenance team decorated the room and it has been in use since January 2019. A part-time volunteer administrator has been appointed and a team of volunteers help to provide support in the Office when open to the public on a rota basis. The Office is currently open to the public on Thursday mornings. It is intended to gradually extend this to other days and for the Office to be an administrative hub for the benefice.
 
As the benefice has only very recently been inaugurated there are currently 2 weekly pewsheets, compiled and published by members of the church families. There are also 2 websites for the churches in the benefice, Affpuddle with Bere Regis and Holy Rood, Wool, and 2 parish magazines distributed by volunteers; a monthly magazine in Affpuddle and Bere Regis with an annual subscription and a quarterly magazine, ‘Without Walls’, free of charge in Wool. A community social media page is used for engagement with local families. As the benefice becomes more established it is intended to draw the different strands together as a unified whole.
 
In the Benefice we offer a range of worship styles
 

Our Worship

There iis a mixed range of worship styles celebrated celebrated across our benefice which is in the main representative of middle of the road Anglican tradition. All of our churches currently have at least one Service each Sunday.
In Affpuddle worship is usually Eucharistic. It includes Holy Communion (BCP & Common Worship Trad.) , Mattins and Communion, and an occasional non-Eucharistic Family Service led by the LLM. The average Sunday attendance is 28 but this varies according to the Service and can be up to 40 at Communion Services.
 
In Bere Regis, the church family parish strongly believes that the worship of God, and the feeling of God’s love for us can and should be expressed in different types of service, both traditional and modern. There are regular services from the Book of Common Prayer for Holy Communion, Matins and Evensong, and because these are less common in our area, the congregation sometimes includes visitors from other parishes, especially for Evensong. There is a Communion Service on most Sundays and Evensong is held twice a month. There is a Family Service once a month and a four-part (S.A.T.B.) robed choir with 6 regular members, which sings at most liturgical services. At the monthly Family Service the children and young families of the Junior Church are very involved. The service is planned and run by the Junior Church Team. The message of scripture is presented through drama and puppet ministry to a congregation made up of all age ranges. The puppeteers are children in Junior Church. The average Sunday attendance is 33 but this varies according to service and can be up to 40 for Communion Services and 50 for Family Services.
 
Bere Regis has a mid-week communion and lunch held on the 4th Wednesday of each month at 11am usually attended by older parishioners who are unable to attend services early on a Sunday morning.
 
In Wool, Morning Prayer is said in church Monday-Friday at 8.30am. Common Worship (CW) and the Book of Common Prayer (BCP) are used for the main Eucharistic services on Sunday with a more informal Family Communion as the main act of worship at festivals. A non-Eucharistic Family Service is held on the third Sunday of the month. These take place in church or in locations around the parish such as a local farm for Harvest Thanksgiving. Holy Rood has a church choir of 12 members who sing on the second Sunday of each month during communion, for major services at festivals and at other church related events including a Churches Together in Wool Christmas Café and Carol Singing at two local pubs. The average Sunday attendance in 2018 was 62.
 
Fresh expressions of church in the benefice include Messy Church which is held on the first Saturday of each month in Wool, usually but not exclusively in the church, and ‘Coffee and Cake’, a fortnightly mid-week Service of Holy Communion which is held in Wool Village Hall. This is a service where attendance has grown significantly because the informality of the service has encouraged people on the fringes of church life to attend and the accessibility of the building has enabled older people, unable to come to Holy Rood, to attend regular corporate worship. Average attendance is 18 although 40 attended on Ash Wednesday.
 
Special Services are arranged throughout the year including Carol and Christingle Services, Easter Vigil and Dawn Services, Memorial and Thanksgiving Services. Remembrance Sunday Services have very high attendances in our parishes due to our long military histories and the military bases that are located here. A Service of Thanksgiving in 2018 in Bere Regis, officiated at by the Bishop of Salisbury was attended by 250 people for the successful completion of the roof repairs.

 

Pastoral Offices

 
Baptism, 1st Communion and Confirmation
 
Our baptismal policy is to offer baptism to parishioners, to those who worship with us and to those who have a special connection with our church. Unless there are special circumstances adults are baptised at Confirmation at a deanery Confirmation Service. In 2018 the number of candidates for baptism was 24 (Affpuddle 1, Bere Regis 11 and Wool 12 + 2 Thanksgivings for the gift of a child). It is a few years since candidates were presented for Confirmation but in 2018 five children were admitted to communion prior to Confirmation in Wool.
 
Marriage
As well as first time marriages, it is the policy of the benefice to conduct the marriages of couples where one or both may have been married before wherever possible. All couples are required to attend Marriage Preparation, led by members of the Leadership Team and some of our LPAs. This is usually offered In February each year on the nearest Sunday to St. Valentine’s Day. In 2018 the number of marriages was 12, 4 in each parish.
 
Funerals and Interments of Ashes
It is our privilege to conduct the funerals of parishioners, members of the church families and those with a strong connection to our churches. The majority of funerals in our benefice take place in church followed by burial in one of the churchyards with only a few funerals being conducted by us at a crematorium. There are four open churchyards in our benefice at Affpuddle, Wool, East Stoke and Coombe Keynes. Each of these are open for full burials and for the interment of ashes. At Bere Regis burials take place in the local cemetery but ashes may be interred in the churchyard. It is also possible to inter ashes with permission in existing family graves in East Burton churchyard. In 2018 the number of funerals was 24 (Affpuddle 2, Bere Regis 11 and Wool 11).

 

Working in Partnership, Churches Together

There are seven denominations represented in the Benefice. Although Wool is formally the only parish in the benefice that has a Churches Together Group, the churches do collaborate together across the benefice. In Bere Regis there are three churches; Church of England, Congregationalist and Methodist. There has been some collaborative work in the churches and members of all three churches take part in ‘Open the Book’ which is delivered fortnightly in Bere Regis School and which also works collaboratively with a team from Wool to deliver this in Wool CE School and Bovington Primary School. There is also some joint worship including the Methodist Covenant Service in January and Communion services with lunch on Wednesdays in Lent.
In Wool and East Burton there are four churches: Church of England, Roman Catholic, Methodist, and The Cornerstone (Free Evangelical). In Bovington there is also a full-time Army Chaplain serving both Bovington and West Lulworth Garrisons. The Garrison Church of St George is within the security fence. The Churches of the Lulworths Benefice will join with Churches Together in Wool in 2019. The Rector is the Chairperson for Churches Together In Wool. Members of each church meet together several times each year to plan joint Services and events in the community. There is a joint Lent Course and joint Services held in the different churches or in the village hall. In 2018 these included a Taize Service on Advent Sunday, a Service in the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, and a pop up nativity play. There is collaborative fundraising in Christian Aid Week in May and the churches held an informal café-style Christmas celebration ’Christmas Cracker’ early in December, a Light Party in October and Three Kings Party in January 2019. In summer 2018 the churches in Wool worked together in conjunction with the community Library to provide lunches for local families during the school summer holidays. Funding is already in place to repeat this again in 2019.

 

Working in Partnership, our Schools

There are four schools in our benefice, Bere Regis Primary School, Bovington Primary School, Wool CE VA Primary School, and St Josephs RC VA Primary School in Wool. In Affpuddle there is no local school, most children there attend primary school in Puddletown. In 2020 it is planned for a new school to be built at Bovington for children with Special Educational Needs. On leaving primary school the majority of our children go to school in Dorchester (Affpuddle), Poole (Bere Regis) and Wareham (Wool).
 
Bere Regis Primary School
In 2017, the Bere Regis Primary School moved into new, purpose-built premises. There is an excellent relationship between the school and the church. The previous priest-in- charge regularly led assemblies at the school and the ‘Open The Book’ team leads worship in school fortnightly. Special school Services and events, such as Harvest Festival, are held in the Church and children come to church for teaching. Bere Regis School is very supportive of the church. In 2018 the Church Christmas Fayre was held at the school and while the church was closed for 6 months in 2017/8 while the roof work was carried out, most church services were held in the school hall.
 
Bovington Primary School
Our joint ‘Open the Book’ team lead worship twice each month. St George’s, the Garrison Church of Bovington Army Camp, is used for major services at festivals and at the end of term but the school and staff are keen to be more involved in the local community. They have established a ‘minibus choir’ who came to sing at a Christmas mid-week Communion Service in the village hall. There is further work to be done to strengthen the relationship but both church and school are keen to develop this much further.
 
Wool CE VA Primary School
 
There is a very strong and happy relationship with our church school, Wool CE VA Primary School. There are 4 Foundation Governors. The Rector is an ex-officio member of the Governing Body and serves as Vice-Chair of Governors. She is the link Governor for Religious Education and leads on SIAMS. The Rector and leadership team are active in delivering Collective Worship every week. A joint team from Wool and Bere Regis leads ‘Open the Book’ in school twice per month. Once each month and at festivals, major feast days and at the end of term, our children come to Church for worship. Once each month church led Collective Worship is held in school. The church and school work collaboratively and in partnership together. Members of the church lead ‘Messy Vintage’ in school every Friday afternoon and also assist with school fundraising events throughout the year. Members of the school community assist in church fundraising events and other events throughout the year.
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The churches in our benefice work creatively to engage with children and families in the parishes.
 
GIFT (Girls in Fellowship Together)
This is a Women’s Group of young mums that meets twice each month in Wool on Tuesday evenings in term time at the home of a member of the church family. In the school holidays special events are held for the whole family to enjoy. The fortnightly meetings include support, chat & refreshments. They end with a thought for the day and a prayer.
 
Affpuddle: At present there is no regular children’s work in Affpuddle. However, the Licensed Lay Minister organises non-eucharistic Family Services when required and also organises an annual Carol Service which includes choral support from a local choir and at which members of the local community, including children, participate.
 
Junior Church: Bere Regis Junior Church currently has 10 members of all ages. Puppet ministry is an important and exciting aspect of Junior Church which meets in the Church for an activity session with a Bible theme on the Second Sunday of the month at 10am. This is followed by the Family Service at 11am. At Christmas, the Junior Church children make and decorate 100 cakes and distribute to the elderly in the village.
 
Messy Church: Messy Church takes place in Wool on the 1st Saturday of the month from 3-5pm. It usually takes place in Holy Rood Church but Messy Church has also taken place in the village in support of the Pre-School Christmas Fayre and at the Churches Together Christmas Café. Messy Church is fast becoming a congregation in its own right with many of those who attend, previously non-churched, understanding Messy Church to be their church. Attendance varies each month but there is a regular core of 30 members.

 

Working with Older People
 
Teapot Club
This is a group for Older People, started by an LPA several years ago. The emphasis is on informal fun, with conversation, jokes or quizzes, tea and cake – but always including a serious 10-minute “Thought for the Day” led by a lay leader. A short and simple service led by an LLM is held at Christmas and Easter. ‘Teapot’ meets fortnightly in term time using Wool Methodist Church.
 
Coffee and Cake
‘Coffee and Cake’ began in September 2017. It meets twice each month on Wednesday Mornings at the Village Centre in Wool and each session includes a mid-week Communion Service. Coffee and Cake has enabled many more people to come to worship (attendance at our Ash Wednesday Service increased by 100%) including some people who would not otherwise come to church.
 
 
A summer ‘Staycation’ for Older People was held in in Wool in August 2017 & 2018. The themes have included ‘A 1950’s Day at the Seaside’ and ’A Open-Top Tour of the Capital City with Tea at the Ritz.’
These event are open to anyone who wishes to attend.
 
Lunch Clubs
In Bere Regis and Affpuddle, members of the church support local community initiatives including two monthly Lunch Clubs for Older People; the ‘Salt and Pepper Club’ at Bere Regis and ’Lets Lunch’ at Briantspuddle. Work is underway to introduce a church led Lunch Club for Older people in Wool in 2019.
 

Pastoral Care and Visiting

There are 7 LPAs in the benefice. They are all involved in working with Older People and visit on a regular basis. Monthly Home Communion, usually administered by an LLM (Affpuddle) or LPAs (Wool), is a much appreciated ministry among the sick. Members of our churches including LPAs form a prayer chain for specific requests for prayer and support our local community care schemes such as ‘Care and Share’ by driving people to hospital and other appointments.
 

Church Groups

Home Groups
 
There are thriving home and study groups in each of our parishes.
 
Affpuddle: The LLM organises Advent and Lent courses which meet in the home of church members. The courses have used York Course material in previous years.
 
Bere Regis : A Bible Study Group meets at the home of the LLM weekly throughout the year and studies York, Life Builder and other courses.
 
Wool: There are 3 home groups that meet regularly for study and worship. Each group has one or two appointed leaders and gets other leadership help from amongst its members. The home groups sometimes lead worship on Sunday evenings and at festivals.
 
Lent Groups & Activities
 
During Lent everyone in the benefice is encouraged to use the Diocesan Lent Book (‘Praying Together’ in 2019) and there are different groups and activities that people may join. Currently there are 4 Lent study groups, 1 in Affpuddle, 1 in Bere Regis and 2 in Wool. One of the courses in Wool is a mid-week ecumenical course based at the Cornerstone Church in East Burton. In Bere Regis there are weekly Lent Lunches that raise funds for Christian Aid. In Holy Week in Wool the home groups lead evening reflections.
 
The Mothers’ Union
There is a Mothers’ Union Branch at Bere Regis. The branch meets monthly in the local sheltered accommodation. Once per quarter the meeting includes a celebration of Holy Communion.

 

Bellringers

In Bere Regis and Wool there are active teams of bellringers, ringing the bells before services, in competitions and for special occasions. Quarter peals are rung regularly, and full peals on occasions. Visiting teams of ringers often come to our churches and ringers from away are always welcome to join the teams when they visit.

 

Maintenance Teams

There are very active teams of local volunteers in each of our churches.
Affpuddle: The interior of the church and the large churchyard are well cared for by volunteers, who have rosters for church cleaning, flowers and churchyard mowing.
Bere Regis: The upkeep of the church building is a source of great pride for many volunteers, regular cleaners and a team of volunteer tour guides to show visitors around the many historical features of the building.
 
Wool: A team of volunteers, both regular worshippers and members of the wider community, meets on the first Saturday of each month. In 2017 the Team were awarded the gold award from the Dorset Wildlife Trust. Recent ventures in the churchyard has been the introduction of the Nature and History Trails. A team of volunteers have a rota for cleaning the church building every week.
 

Finance and Fundraising

Like many benefices we fundraise to provide additional income for our churches particularly when it comes to missional projects and building and maintenance works to the church buildings.
Affpuddle: There are three major fundraising events each year, the Church Fete, a community Gift Day and the Harvest Lunch. Additionally there are coffee mornings, cream tea afternoons, flower festivals and a stall at the village Christmas Fayre.
 
Bere Regis: There are fund-raising concerts, art, flower and craft festivals, involving local organisation organised in the Church. There is also a summer fete and a Christmas Fayre etc. are co-ordinated by a small events committee.
 
Wool: Holy Rood has a Social Committee that plans fundraising and social events for the church. Events included a Summer Fete in July, concerts such as the ‘Last Night of the Proms’ led by our local town band, coffee mornings and pop-up pancake meals.
 
Fundraising also takes place in support of mission agencies selected by the PCCs. These have included Christian Aid, Embrace the Middle East, London City Mission, An Admiral Dementia Nurse for Purbeck, MAF, The Cheshire Homes & Wateraid.
 
All of our churches have a food collection point in support of our local foodbanks in Wareham and 
 
Some of the projects and events that are planned in the benefice are purely social events aimed at community engagement. These have included Harvest Suppers in the Village Hall, a church window knitting project of ’The Twelve Days of Christmas.’ Pop-up breakfasts at one of the village halls for young families playing football. A Festival of ’Angels and Shepherds’ where members of the church and community were invited to make hand-made angels that were displayed in church over a weekend in December (we were particularly impressed with the Butcher’s entry!), cream teas, church tours and musical events.
 
Benefice of West Purbeck Profile
Benefice of West Purbeck 24
 

Finance

Copies of the last signed Annual Accounts to 31st December 2018 for all three parishes are available on request as are accounts for earlier years. The Benefice is category ‘C’ in terms of Fairer Share which means that our members ‘whilst not amongst the least favourably placed, the members are generally less likely to be less able to pay than most.’ All 3 churches paid the Parish Share in full in 2018. Affpuddle and Wool parishes are members of the Parish Giving Scheme and many members of our congregations give regularly via this scheme, standing orders and some weekly envelopes together with loose plate collections.
 
In Affpuddle, Parish income has remained fairly static over the past five years as have the running costs of the church. After a number of years in which the funds available were insufficient to pay the Diocesan Share in full, the share has been paid in full for the last four years.
 
In Bere Regis there has been a large and necessary programme of repairs and refurbishment to the church building. In the last few years, around £350,000 has been spent, resulting in a new metal covering for the roof on both the Nave and North/South Aisle, as well as a complete overhaul of the six bells in the tower and strengthening of the bell chamber. Much of the money was raised from various generous grant providers but about £85,000, virtually one quarter of the total, was raised from our own local fund raising, split into two or three separate campaigns. There is the need to raise sufficient general income to enable the total annual Diocesan Share to be paid. This has not been paid in full in most recent years, but it was paid in full for 2018. Recognising this situation, a regular dialogue has been maintained with the Salisbury Diocesan Board of Finance. To reflect the difficulties in the recent past, and also to acknowledge the impact of the major local fund raising for building repairs mentioned above, our Share assessment was reduced to a lower category for 2018, and this is a major factor in the church being able to pay the Share in full.
 
Wool was, in the very distant past, in arrears with the Parish Share. However, in 2018 the Parish had paid the share in full for three years whereby arrears were cancelled. The Share is now paid by Direct Debit. In 2018 expenditure included the installation of a new PA system, payment for hire of a room in the village hall for mid-week services, a year's rent in advance for the Church Office in the village hall & essential maintenance to the boiler and church heating system and the organ. More recently a 'new' second hand photocopier for the Church Office has been purchased and fundraising has allowed us to purchase a large LED screen for use in worship. We are committed to being 'church without walls' and to ensuring that the office in the village hall can be a useful and central contact place.We also have an estimate of over £8000 needed for major repairs to the bells. There will be a challenge in 2019 to do this as well as paying the Fairer Share in full.
 

Hopes and Dreams

We believe that God is blessing us richly and that we are moving into a new and very exciting phase of church life here in West Purbeck. We are at the beginning of a journey together, moving forward gradually, listening and learning as we go. Each Church previously had a vision statement; we will work together to develop one for the benefice as a whole. We will use the Thrive Course to help us develop our vision, establish patterns of leadership and governance for the benefice and to guide us in missional thinking. In the interim our vision is that we may be one as the Father and Son with the Spirit are one.
 
Our aims for 2019/20 are:
 For the new benefice to develop a sense of identity and take root, to work and worship collaboratively together.
 To appoint a new colleague to be located in Bere Regis and for a Team Council
to be established across the benefice.
 For growth in personal discipleship.
 To explore the missional potential of new community spaces around the benefice.
 To work collaboratively with Churches Together on a large scale missional event at East 2020
 
In the longer term we long to:
 See people come to know Christ
 Grow vocations
 Have a Christian presence in every part of our Benefice