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 for the appointment of Incumbent

Benefice of West Purbeck 
Welcome to The Benefice of West Purbeck
Foreword by the Bishop
West Purbeck Benefice Area
Introduction to the West Purbeck Profile 
Our Team
Vision for West Purbeck Benefice
Who are we looking for?
What can we offer you?
What are the challenges?
Current Worship Pattern
Covid-19 changes
Church Groups
Younger, Older and in Between
Individual Churches
Other Places of Worship in the Benefice
The Benefice within Purbeck Deanery
Family Album
Appendix 1 – 2019 Services pattern
Appendix 2  - Statistics
Foreword by the Bishop of Sherborne
Ministry in Dorset is a joy and a delight. In recent years significant changes have been made in the way clergy are supported and encouraged, leading to a greater sense of collegiality in our rural and urban areas.
The West Purbeck Benefice has been formed in the last few years by bringing together a number of separate benefices and reflects a commitment to collaborative ministry, lay and ordained across a number of villages in a beautiful part of Dorset.
Following the recent sad and unexpected death of the Incumbent we seek a new Vicar to lead the clergy and lay team into the next stage of its growth and development in a creative way. Supported by three Associate Priests (one self-supporting, one part-time and one House for Duty), and a growing team of Lay Pastoral Assistants and Lay Worship Leaders, there are huge opportunities in Wool and the surrounding villages to build on what is already happening and develop new forms of worship and ministry to meet the needs of residents and visitors alike. The first task of the newly appointed Vicar will be to appoint the third Associate priest who will be based in a House for Duty role in Lulworth.
The Purbeck Deanery, in which the new West Purbeck benefice is situated, encourages collaborative working by ensuring that benefices in the north and south are shaped for mission as well as for mutual support and fellowship. There is a renewed sense of working together and this includes churchwardens and other parish officers. And therefore whoever comes to fill this vacancy does so at an exciting time. I meet many people around who pray regularly for the Isle of Purbeck and mission and ministry there. 
The West Purbeck Benefice enjoys beautiful countryside, heathland, beaches and a stunning coastline. Many parts are filled with holiday makers during the summer season (more so this year than ever before). The benefice is varied and includes Lulworth and Bovington camps, with their own needs, the Dorset Police Headquarters (with its own chaplaincy team) and a number of schools. The larger towns of Dorchester and Poole are within easy reach, as is the market town of Wareham. The railway station gives access to going further afield with links to London Waterloo, Bournemouth and Weymouth.
Ministry in a rural location is always challenging and because of this the Diocese is wholeheartedly committed to it. Rural Hope is a development project supported by the National Church to encourage, support and grow the rural church. Strands of this work include increasing capacity through the work of an archdeaconry rural field officer, resourcing and supporting clergy and laity through projects, events, and encouraging people to move into rural ministry through a development programme at Sarum College, and local placements. If you would like to discuss the vacancy further please do not hesitate to contact either the Venerable Antony MacRow-Wood, Archdeacon or myself.
+Karen  (01747 811960)
Archdeacon Antony (07775 574971)
Introduction to the West Purbeck Profile
Thank you for your interest – and welcome to our profile of the beautiful and diverse West Purbeck Benefice. We are praying for the person of God’s choice to come here. West Purbeck is rural and holiday area of South Dorset between Wareham and Dorchester. The southern boundary is also the Jurassic Coast, a World Heritage Site,and has some of the best coastal scenery in the world. Alongside all this beauty are not just our seven churches,but five primary schools,two Army bases,large engineering workshops, science and technology park, a railway station accessing LondonWaterloo, and the fast growing village of Wool with large areas of new houses(and 800 more currentlyproposed). Most of this would have been unimaginable to Thomas Hardy as he wrote his novels based on this area.So what can and should the Church be achieving amid iconic views, large agricultural estates, picturesque cottages, mediaeval churches – and also rural poverty and social housing? What is our mission to our population — the farmers, engineers, teachers, scientists, retailers, landowners,carers,unemployed, labourers, commuters, nurses, hospitality workers, holidaymakers,and the retired?  We hope this profile will help you to see where we are and where we hope to be in answering that question — and we hope it will inspire you to take up the challenge to shape our new benefice and lead us all onward together with God into whatever our expandinfuture holds.
New Benefice
West Purbeck benefice is newand in the process of formation.It was inauguratedon13th March2019. Bere Regis and Affpuddle to the north, then in vacancy,was joined with its larger neighbour to the south (Wool, Bovington, and surrounding villages).The Wool Vicar, Revd Carol Langford,became the new Incumbent. At the same time Revd Jenny Alidina, a part-time selfsupporting priest, volunteered to be licensed to West Purbeck. IOctober 2019 a new Associate Priest, Revd Sandra Williams, was licensed with pastoral oversight for Bere Regis and AffpuddleAfter years of informal links between Wool and the parish of the Lulworths, the latter was joined to West Purbeck on 29thMarch 2020. Following an extended period of ill health, the incumbent for The Lulworths retired in May 2020.These changes, including cover for the Lulworths,were overtaken by the Covid-19 pandemic and excellently managed by our whole teamled by the Rector,Revd Carol. Sadly Revd Carol unexpectedly became gravely ill in August 2020, needing indefinite sickness leave.She died on Easter Tuesday, 6thApril 2021.
Our Team
Incumbent (Full time, this post) The Incumbent, resident in Wool, has been working across the benefice, setting our overall plans and direction, andtaking pastoral responsibility for Wool and Bovington, discipleship and fiscal matters.
Revd Sandra Williams, Associate Priest (half time post) Revd Sandra was licensed to the benefice in Bere Regis Church in October 2019. She works across the beneficewith pastoral responsibility for Bere Regis and Affpuddle. Revd Sandra is also our Benefice Contact for Baptisms. Special responsibilities:Schools and Children’s work.
Revd Jenny Alidina, Associate Priest (usually self supporting) – currently serving as part-time interim minister.  Revd Jenny generously offered to work with us in 2019. She is currently working beyond her ideal commitment to cover the Wool Parish pastorally while continuing as our Benefice Contact for Weddings. Special responsibilities: Missional work across the benefice – currently Lay Worship Leaders Course follow up, Supper Church, and Café Church Services. Jenny is currently leading the Alpha Course that started in February 2021. 
Associate Priest (House for duty) VACANT  This post is resident in West Lulworth and has previously taken pastoral responsibility for the area of the Lulworths, Winfrith Newburgh, and ChaldonHerring.  The Lulworthsis used to describe the parish of West Lulworth, East Lulworth, Winfrith Newburgh, and Chaldon Herring..
Revd Canon Keith Hugo (temporary cover) Canon Keith, a retired priest from Poole, has kindly stepped in to take the Sunday services in the Lulworths and to provide pastoral care during theirvacancy.
Lay ministries
Jenny Hunt (LLM, Wool) Jenny Hunt is based in Wool. She is the Benefice Contact for Funerals. Jenny shares in preaching, led some of our Church services pre-Covid, and is licensed to officiate in Holy Communion by Extension.
John Matthews (LLM, Wool)John is active in a home group, shares in preaching, and generously gives his time as organist when the church building is open.
Jonathan Haigh (LLM, Affpuddle) Jonathan organises home study groups during Lent and Advent, has shared in preaching and taken services.
Lay Worship Leaders (Commissioned on 25thApril 2021)
Michael Menzies (Affpuddle)
Marion Barker (Wool2)
Pat Wharf (Bere Regis and Wool)
Peter Wharf (Bere Regis)
Sue Marsh (Lulworths and Wool)
Giles Marsh (Lulworths and Wool)
Sarah Welton (Bere Regis)
Lay Pastoral Assistants in post
Gren Irwin (Wool)
Erica Moriarty (Affpuddle)
Pauline Matthews (Wool)
Penny Haigh (Affpuddle)
Paul Pinnock (East Lulworth)
Ted Cox(Bere Regis)
Vacancy period
With recent help in the Lulworths from Canon Keith, our remaining clergy, aided by the rest of the team, have met these many challenges magnificently and cared well for all the benefice churches.One of our priorities for a new Incumbent is to take the lead in shaping and forming this new benefice. An early task will be to take part in the selection of their new House for Duty colleague to reside in West Lulworth.  
Who are we looking for?
Vision for West Purbeck Benefice

We long to see God grow His church in West Purbeck, and to help increasing numbers of local people to come to faith in Him.


We hope to work both with our schools, and within our local area,to educate and inspire children and their parents with the Christian message.


We wish to deepen our own relationship with,and confidence in,God,based on sound and effective preaching and bible teaching.


We want to be “Church Without Walls” for us to be a blessing to the whole community and to see people's lives flourish.To have a visible presence across the benefice,outside simply church based activities;and accompanied by our clergy, show that God is relevant to all areas of people’s lives.


We should seek to offer a range of worship styles aimed at satisfying not just our traditional members but also at reaching out to all ages and cultures across the community.


Who are we looking for?

In our benefice of rural parishes, we pray for a new Incumbent who is rooted and grounded in the love of God, who will wholeheartedly preach the Gospel and will make God’s love known to all.

What can we offer you?

We are at the beginning of a new chapter as churches in a newly formed benefice.We offer full support and would want to enable you to lead us well, and to succeed, in order to develop a thriving benefice.


Strong ties to the wider community in our parishes including links to schools.


An active and developing children’s ministry that includes two Open The Book teams.


Ministries to older people that are well received and much enjoyed.


We share good relations with other local churches.


During the vacancy we have been blessed with our gifted associate priests, Revds. Sandra and Jenny, who have supported us spiritually and practically through this difficult time.

One of our Licensed Local Ministers (LLMstakes funerals and the LLMs preach regularly on Sundaysor at Midweek Holy Communion.


Dedicated lay worship leaders(LWLs), very recently commissioned,are trained in leading our future congregations in worship.


Lay pastoral assistants assist with Home Communion to the sickand ministry to the elderly/vulnerable.A number of home groups meet for fellowship and bible study.


An excellent part time benefice administratorbased in theoff-sitebenefice office in Wool. (And various volunteers regularly givmuch other assistance.)


centrally located modern vicarage(with an integral office)in the rapidly growing village of Wool.


Many people keen to see continued use of online worship that has enabled us to grow together as one benefice meeting as one congregation.

Wool Vicarage

The vicarage is a purpose built 1970’s, 4-bedroom property in a small quiet close without any through traffic. There is a study, dining room, utility room, and single (but double lengthgarage. Bedrooms have washbasins but not ensuite bathrooms. It is in a good state of decoration. The study may be accessed from the hall, without admitting callers to the residential area.


The Wool area as a place to live


Wool is the largest of the benefice villages. It has:a mainline railway station, limited bus services, doctors’ surgery, dental surgery, village hall (wheelchair accessible), and a library. The modern youth centre hosts a range of uniformed associations. It also has:chemist, hairdressers, bakery, butcher, convenience shops, garages, Post Officehardware shop, café,t akeaways, pubs and a Royal British Legion Club.

There are supermarkets and more shops in Wareham(6 miles)and a choice of bigger supermarkets and chain stores in Dorchester, Poole and Weymouth(12-15 miles).

The oldest part of the village, with its thatched cottages and clear stream running along their front gardens, is on the eastern edge, along with the 14thcentury church.The village, however, developed to the west. The parish population is about,6,100.Currently there are plans to build up to 800 new homes in Wool. A short car journey reaches Lulworth Cove, Durdle Door,Old Harry Rocks, and sandy beaches at Swanage, Weymouth and Studland. Also nearby is beautiful Hardy country, the Dorset cycleway, footpaths, and some excellent coastal walking. The Jurassic Coast, Monkey World and the Tank Museum are internationally known, and the National Trust has several properties such as Kingston Lacy and Corfe Castle within easy range of a car. The New Forest is ahour’s drive away, M25 two hours’ drive, and London Waterloo three hours on the train.


What are the challenges?

Whilst growth in the older community is welcome and worthwhile, we are conscious that some children and many parents are becoming a lost generation with no knowledge of the gospel or how much God loves them.

We have seen many benefits from the online services. We would like to retain all the good that has come out of this means of accessing worship.Moving some servicefrom a church building to the village hall has been a benefit (especially in Wool where the church is not very accessible). People who are disabled,and many others,attend hall services.

Some only rarely came before.Some areas represent an ongoing challenge to our ingenuity and creativity. For example,connecting with the rather isolated areaof Bovington;and the many visitorsin camp sites, cottages,and B&Bsas well as those coming to huge festivals held in Lulworth Castle grounds.

Current Worship Pattern 

In brief, within the benefice, currently we offer:

Daily morning prayer*;

Weekly Holy Communion using BCP and CW*;

Fortnightly,midweek Holy Communion*;

Monthly,All Age Worship*,

Supper Church,

Café Church*,

and Evensong.(*=Currently held online;=In church,† = In Village Hall-

Each Covid-19 permitting,Lent Lunches take place when allowed. In Wool preparation is shared among denominations. Winfrith undertake a Walk of Witness carrying a cross.

In Bere Regis church, HolyCommunion weekly, and a soup lunch;

Walk of Witness with Affpuddle on Good Friday. (They carrand assemble the cross at the top of nearby Black Hill.)

Café Church (monthlyBegan in October 2018 in Winfrith Newburgh Village Hall and grew rapidly (numbers in the mid 40’s). It is a different expression of church, where worship and fellowship are equally important.  Pre lockdown coffee, tea and croissants were served from 10.30, creating a chance to chat and meet the friendly team. There are songs/hymns, prayers, and ‘Table Talk’encouraging people to discuss their beliefs, thoughts and experiences related to the theme of the service. There is always something exciting for the children to do. Café Churccontinues online, where numbers have grown further51 screens in March 2021.

Supper Church (monthly)

Held for the whole benefice,Supper Church was launched inJan 2020. At 5pm on Sundaywe encourage families to come along to a lively service in the Wool Village Hall.A large team co-ordinatecatering, drama and activities. Having decided to cater for 50 people the first time, we were surprised and delighted when over 80 people including families attended from the benefice. God answered our urgent prayer over the food and everyone was fed. We managed two further sessions in February and March before lockdown began.


Covid-19 changes

Our averagonline Sunday attendance in 2020, which takes into account all services celebrated on Sundays across the benefice,was 77. We have had online congregations of over 100 for seasonal special services at Easter and Christmas.Since the start of the pandemic, the whole Christian Church has had to become a “Church Without Walls”. Services and activities have often moved online and in our benefice they started early on and have been really well attended. Benefits to this new way of working have included:A huge rise in numbers accessing church activities onlineServices and events increasingly accessible to people within their homeOutdoor services created and some other additional activities developedDeveloping the home delivery of door-to-door activities such as Easter bags for Holy Week and for Messy Church events.  There are some who struggle to access such new events.And some activities connect with others best, when face-to-face.Overall numerically, the number disadvantaged by moving online was probably balanced by the number newly able to take part. Obviously we would love to include both but constraints remain.  For people who are unable to access technology, isolated, or on the fringes of church life, we have various locally based schemes to give them small gifts from the churches at festivals (e.g.Lent or Holy Week thoughts and activities each dayand a small Easter treat). Copies of readings and sermons have also been distributed to those who cannot access online worship.What have we as a benefice learned from Covid? (and what might we consider to take forward?)A surprising number of people have newly learned how to use Zoom and mostly have enjoyed the opportunities it gives us.We have become accustomed to seeing one another frequently, even when scattered across the many different areas in the benefice, atonline services. We would not have,if we had stayed exclusively in our own parish churches.Even closing all the churches did not prevent Christians meeting together the total worshippers on Zoom have typically now settled around the 70-80 mark.Some groups (e.g. disabled, unwell, people with care needs for children or adultshave been able to take part in online services, in all weathers. They would otherwise have been excluded.We have had the benefit of different and varied high quality teaching from our ministry team, and have shared in different traditions.Less happily Zoom does exclude people with no access to the internet or the right technology; and the technophobic.


Younger, Older and in between

Church Groups (Some activities are currently suspended due to Covid-19 measures but have plans to resume.)

Home Groups

There are thriving home and study groups in each of our parishes. All are led by laity and are self supporting.

Affpuddle: Pre-Covid, LLM organised Advent and Lent courses which met in the home of church members.

Bere Regis: Pre-Covid, a Bible Study Group met at the home of a LLM weekly throughout the year. (Sadly the LLM died this year.)

Wool: Pre-Covid there were 3 home study groups that met regularly. Each group has one or two appointed leaders and gets other leadership help from amongst its members. The groups sometimes led worship on Sunday evenings and at festivals.  Post-Covid two of the groups have continued in an online format using Zoom.

Winfrith:The Prayer Group (about 10 people) meets weekly in a member’s home


Lent Groups  During Lent everyone in the benefice is encouraged to use the Diocesan Lent Book. There are different groups and activities. Before Covid there were four Lent study groups held weekly in the then three churches. One of the two courses in Wool was ecumenical and held at the then Cornerstone Church in East Burton (since closed).

Alpha  In Lent 2021 the seven benefice churches have undertaken an online Alpha course led by Revd Jenny with lay assistance. Currently (March 2021) about 58 people from every corner of the benefice have beentaking part every Wednesday evening.

Younger, Older – and in between

Working with Schools

Apart from several pre-schools,there are six schools in our benefice, including two CE schools:

Bere Regis Primary School 

At new premises since 2017,the school has an excellent relationship with the church. As well as the ‘Open The Book’ team,clergy (or Rev Sandra) alternate by taking assembly every other week.  

During Covidthe two church schools and Bere Regis have received weekly recorded assemblies for their learning platforms.Bovington Academy (ages 4-11)‘ Open The Book’ team lead worship twice each month.St George’s, the Garrison Church, 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.


Lulworth and Winfrith CE VC Primary School (on two sites)

The new House for Duty Priest at West Lulworth will be an ex-officio Governor. A new Foundation Governor has been nominated following the decease of the existing one. ‘Open the Book’ is held in the school weekly.

Wool CE VA Primary School (pre-Covid description)There is a strong,happy church/school relationship. ‘Open The Book’ was held in the school fortnightly. The Rector (ex-officio Governor and vice chair) and team were active in Collective Worship every week. Some church members played vintage board games with the children,also doing craftwork with thebased on a Bible story that they heard read.

St Josephs RC VA Primary School (in Wool).After age 11 After primary school the majority of our children go to school in the neighbouring towns. (There are no mainstream secondary schools within the benefice.)new secondary school is being built on Bovington’sold Middle School site, for up to180 children aged 10 to 19 with S.E.N.(High-functioning autism in this case.)Currently in its first year,it has opened(in temporary buildings) to ages 10-14.


Working with Children and Families

GIFT (Girls in Fellowship Together) group of mums meets fortnightly at the home of a Wool LPA for support, chat and refreshments. (In school holidays there are events for the whole family.All meetings end with a thought for the day and a prayer.

Bere Regis Junior Church Currently 10 members of all ages. The Puppet ministry is part of Junior Church, which meets in the Church monthly, followed by a Family Service. The children make decorate and deliver 100 cakes to the elderly at Christmas

Messy Church 

Messy Church, since October 2020, has become West Purbeck Benefice MessyChurch, meeting monthly online. Craft/activity bags are prepared and delivered around the benefice, with increasing participation from families, and a regular core of 30 members has increased to 40. (Pre-Covid, Messy Church was held in both Wool and Winfrith Churches every month, Many non-churched see Messy Church as their church.

Light Party event for children was held in Wool village hall, supported by other local churches and focussing on Christian light in the darkness on 31stOctober.


Working with Older People

Pastoral Care and Visiting

The LPAs in the benefice are all involved in working with older people and visit on a regular basis. Home Communion, usually administered approximately monthly by an LLM (Affpuddle) or the LPAs (Wool and Bere Regis),is a much appreciated ministry among the sick. Members of churches and LPAs form prayer chains for specific requests for prayer.


Teapot Club

Pre-Covid, this non-denominational fortnightly group for about 20 older people met in Wool Methodist Church. It was started by a Wool LPA in July 2004. The emphasis is on informal fun, with conversation, jokes,quizzes, tea and cake but always including a serious 10-minute LPA-led “Thought for the Day”. A short simple service led by an LLM is held at Christmas and Easter.Coffee and Cake


Coffee and Cake’began in September 2017. Before Covid it met twice each month on Wednesday mornings at the D’Urberville Centre(village hall buildings) in Wool which has good car parking and disabled access. Each session follows the 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.



The summer ‘Staycation’ for Older People has been popular. Themes have included ‘A 1950’s Day at the Seaside’ and AOpen-Top Tour of London with Tea at the Ritz’.(Open to all, not just churchgoers.)

Benefice Community Involvement – a selection

Lunch Clubs

There are two established monthly Lunch Clubs for older people, at Bere Regis and Briantspuddle. Work was underway to introduce a church led Lunch Club for older people in Wool but Covid temporarily halted this after the first session.Pre-Covid, a group working in Winfrith with the Village Hall had been providing community meals (“Let’s do Lunch” alternating with a simpler “Soup and Pud”). These have been very popular, particularly with older residents.The current offer is “Afternoon Tea” (to take away).


All of our churches have a food collection point in support of our local foodbanks in Wareham and Dorchester. The response to Covid from the local community was huge and food arrived in unprecedented amounts.Other Community Involvement

Many church members actively support their local community in schemes such as ‘Share and Care’ (driving people to hospital and other appointments). Others are engaged in local services such as running the Wool library, sewing group in Bovington, or the Bovington Community Room.In the early days of Covid,local churches took part both as a contact point,and in supplying practical help,for people self-isolating


For the description of the 7 Churches and appendices see hard copy