A Letter from your Vicar


My dear Friends,

Our village communities have suffered some sad losses in recent weeks. In Bere Regis, this has meant our saying goodbye to John England, Barbara Griffin and Tony Shave and in Briantspuddle to Kay Jones and before that to some other lovely people. All of them, in their unique and special ways, have contributed so much to the places which they have made their home. One of the wonderful outcomes is that their funerals have been so very well attended and one of the greatest privileges for a Parish Priest is to be asked to lead the service wherever that may be. It has been for the three in Bere Regis so wonderful that the work of our Parish Church Roof Project was completed so the funerals could take place in the most obvious place. I have no doubt that the super memories we have of all these people – as of so many who have been special to us - will continue to inspire us.


In our village parishes, so many people make their own contributions and so often I hear about wonderful acts of kindness and on-going good neighbourliness; village life has so much to offer and to celebrate. I find it so sad when people move into a village but want no part in its community life.


There is a role in the Church called ‘Lay Pastoral Assistant’ and you will see on our inside cover that we have two in Affpuddle parish who are able to play a very useful role. In Bere Regis, we now only have one and I am wondering if any of you have thought about fulfilling this position. There is a course where you can learn more about what might be involved, but how much you do thereafter depends on your own time and inclination. If you feel this could possibly be for you, please speak either to me or to someone already involved, without any sense of commitment.


The image of the local Church humourously suggested by the Emmaus course used to be one of a big double-decker bus with the Vicar as the driver and the Treasurer as the ticket-collector and everyone on board having a great time – or possibly criticising the driving! The local Church may have been like that but now it is of a family where different people have different roles but that everyone works for the common good. This gives me an opportunity to thank everyone for what they do; you are really valued and we thank you.


My father was a Vicar, as many of you know. For the majority of his ministry he had a parish of rather less than 1000 people with another added on towards the end of his time of about 150. In those days too there was not much paperwork. This meant he was able to spend much of his time visiting and in a pastoral role. He had sermons to prepare, services to take of course and there was still time to study and to pray. I wonder sometimes what he would have made of my ministry. In my last post, I had eight parishes but had the support of a team of priests and others, so my role was largely that of a manager. Now, I am supposedly part-time as a ‘House-for-Duty Priest and I have the help of a Ministry Team which meets every few weeks...but there is still not time to do all that I would like to do by the way of pastoral care and visiting. As another priest said to me the other day, it could be described as the ‘Frustration of the parish priest’.


However, I hope you all know that if you want me to visit you or indeed to bring Holy Communion to you if you are not well, it is an absolutely priority in my life, so in spite of what I have said, I am saddened when people say ‘you are so busy’. ‘Time for things’ is always a matter of priority.


Most of all, in this continuing Easter-time let us find joy and peace in what we do in these villages!

Your loving Priest and friend,



 Could this be speaking to you?


I am happy to start another Confirmation Course (also available for those who were confirmed a while ago) in the next couple of months. If you are interested, please let me know. We usually have 8 sessions which we time to fit in with your availability.  Charles



It is the greatest delight to be able to know that the new roof on the main part of our church (The Nave) is now water-tight as are the side aisles. We are very grateful to all of you who made this happen either by your financial contributions or in various other ways. We are indebted to our three grant-making charities, Viridor Credits, Erskine Muton Trust and the Dorset Historic Churches Trust. Alongside them Richard Smith has handled the challenges of the funding so smoothly.

Our very special thanks go to our contractors, AE Griffin and Sons, who masterminded the whole undertaking with such expertise and efficiency. On the Church side, we are grateful to our architect, Michael Vaughan, and also our own Bob Croom who liaised frequently and positively on our behalf.



We have been so fortunate in being able to use the School Hall Sunday by Sunday for our services. It proved to be a very positive experience for all involved, surprising some people I know. Thank you, Headteacher, Wayne Roberts, and others for allowing us a warm and friendly space in which to continue our regular worship.



I had intended to play a major part on March 24th in preparing the church for our Holy Week observance but I was laid pretty low (not even able to be at services the next morning). It was a real delight to see all the good work that had gone on that morning and I do want to say to the Holy Cleaners and Dusters and to all others a very big Thank You!



Please know that you are all welcome to our service of Thanksgiving for the completion of the roof Project on June 3rd at 10am. The Bishop of Salisbury, the Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam will be with us. We do hope that so many of you, who have enabled the work to happen, will be there to join in the occasion. Afterwards, there will be pre-lunch refreshments in the Scout Hut provided by Elm Vintage Teas and paid for by individual sponsors to whom we are very grateful.



Now that the church is open again, the box for any of your donations is back there and also in Affpuddle churchI should like to thank you for your continuing generosity; please keep it going!

The magazines for collectors though will remain, for the time being, in the vicarage porch.



At our Annual meetings, I am delighted to say that in both parishes the Churchwardens were re-elected. Thank you Sarah Welton and Joan Naylor in Bere Regis and Stephen Sanderson and Elizabeth Whatley in Affpuddle for all your help and support to me as your Priest and to all our congregations, and for all you have done throughout the year.