A Letter from your Associate Priest


Dear friends


I was looking for some inspiration for this month’s letter and by chance came across some information about Leonard Cheshire who was awarded the V.C. for achievements in WWII, but went on to achieve even more in helping others, establishing care homes. It is an inspirational true story indeed, and I hope you will read on.

As a student at Oxford, Leonard had loved racing through the countryside in his little red sports car. When World War II broke out, he trained as a pilot, and was soon flying huge bomber planes. He took part in many dangerous raids over Germany.

After 100 trips he was awarded the Victoria Cross for his skill and bravery and was sent as an observer in the plane that dropped the first atomic bomb over Japan.

Once the war was over, and Leonard had left the RAF, he gradually became a changed man. Why shouldn't ex-service people work together for the good of all?

Leonard found out about a man called Arthur, who was suffering from cancer, and had been discharged from hospital with no relatives or money. Having failed to find anyone to look after Arthur, Leonard decided to do it himself. He cleaned and decorated a room in the large but shabby house that he had, and took Arthur in. He had to borrow a bed and blankets for Arthur. Soon they were joined by an old lady of ninety, who was also without other help.

Leonard did all the cooking and gardening, as well as nursing the patients in his care. Through the influence of Arthur, a Christian, Leonard began thinking about God, and his faith grew.

When the residents numbered thirty, he looked around for another refuge. He and his ex-service friends partly rebuilt and repaired an old RAF station to suit the purpose. For a time, Leonard worked so hard he became ill, and had to take two years off for rest and recovery. While still in bed he managed to obtain some secondhand buses that his friends drove around, playing recordings of his voice to attract people to enter his 'churches on wheels'. Although he had gained a great reputation for all his wartime achievements, his main aim now was, humbly, to show love and concern to poor, lonely and sick men and women.

Together with his wife, Sue Ryder, he did a tremendous job in resettling refugees who had been displaced by the chaos of war. The number of Cheshire Homes, as they came to be called, mounted steadily, not only in Britain, but in India, Malaysia, and Africa, to name but a few. Leonard's vision for helping the ill and homeless was being realised, and the important work he started still flourishes today.

You can find out more at http://www.leonard-cheshire.org/

Leonard’s story reminds us of sacrifices made, not only during the World Wars, but also in other conflicts, but it also reminds us that we all have the capacity to do extraordinary things for our fellow human beings. We have the greatest example of sacrifice in Jesus Christ, crucified for our wrong doings in the most painful and degrading way, so that we can have the hope of eternal life with him in heaven.

In this season of remembering, I pray that that may be an inspiration to you.


With blessings





Benefice and Parish news


Re-building the team

I’m pleased to report that the Revd David Chillman has been appointed as our House for Duty Priest in the Lulworth parishes. David should join the team sometime in January and will be living in The Rectory in West Lulworth.

Interviews will also be held this month for the Incumbent post, the successful candidate will have oversight of the benefice, be full time and live in The Vicarage in Wool.


Thank you

A very big thank you to all those who decorated the churches in Bere Regis and Affpuddle for Harvest. As I write they continue to look splendid. Thank you also to Sarah Welton for leading the service at Bere Regis and to Liz Whatley who nobly stepped in at Affpuddle, when fellow Churchwarden, Mike Menzies was called away on business.

Any food donated, along with Bere Regis Primary School donations, from their service, has been taken to the Food Bank in Wareham.


Food Bank Donations

During the pandemic donations of food had been going to the Food Bank at Pop in Place in Bere Regis, but for the time being both churches will donate food collected to Wareham Food Bank, unless needed again more locally. Boxes are available for donations of tinned, dried and packet foods, no fresh food. Thank you very much.


Service of Thanksgiving and Remembering (All Souls’)

Sunday 7th November, 3pm in Bere Regis Church followed by tea and cake.

This has certainly been a sad couple of years for everyone, especially as we haven’t been able to mourn loved ones in the way we would normally like. This service is chance to set aside some time to remember, reflect and give thanks for those we love who have passed away not just in the last two years, but at any time. It will also be a chance to reflect on this time of pandemic and pray for all those who have lost their lives because of it and all those who have given service in anyway during it. Much has been lost during this time – not just people, but jobs, schooling, freedoms, routines and, sadly, perhaps even hope. Please take this as an open invitation to any who would like to attend.


Remembrance Sunday - 14th November

Both parishes will be holding services to remember and give thanks for all those people who have died in the world wars or armed service.

There will be a short Act of Remembrance in The Peace Garden in Affpuddle Churchyard at 9am before the Communion service.

There will be an Act of Remembrance at the War Memorial at Bladen Valley, gathering at 10:50am.

At Bere Regis the Scout Group and others will be parading to the War Memorial in the Churchyard, where we will gather, with Wareham Town Band, at 10:50am for a service of Remembrance. We are hoping that the weather will be good enough to have the whole service outside. There will be chairs available for those who would like them. Refreshments afterwards in the church.


Messy Church

Following our ‘in person’ Light Party at the end of October, the Christmas Messy Church will be online on Sunday 12th December at 4pm. Please see the advert for details of how you can join in.


Life Events

Please do get in touch with me if you are interested in the church being involved in any of your life events.

From the sad ones – Funerals, to the happy and joyful ones – Christenings and Weddings, we’re here for you. There are also a few young people interested in confirmation – if you’d like to know more and maybe join in then get in touch.

Rev Sandra revsandrawestpurbeck@outlook.com 01929 792235. Please use this contact for any visiting requests too.




From the registers


St John the Baptist, Bere Regis



10th October John and Adam Ventham-Hein



Ring out for Climate!



We mostly associate church bells with the call to worship, weddings and very special national celebrations such as the millennium or the ending of the 2nd World War. But they also have another historic function: to ring out warnings.


Normally those warnings have been local: to warn of fire, floods or shipwrecks. But they were very much on standby to warn of possible invasions by Hitler, Napoleon or the Spanish Armada. Times of real national crisis.


Here at St John the Baptist Church, we believe that today is a time of real national crisis and so on Saturday 30th October we will be ringing our bells to warn the people of Bere Regis of the threat we face.


The IPCC report has stated unequivocally that the extreme weather events which have swept the globe are the consequence of man-made climate change. The UN Secretary General has signalled ‘Code Red for Humanity’, which he would not do lightly.


Our planet has given us warning after warning, through floods, wildfires, droughts, heat domes and hurricanes, that we have profoundly affected the balance of the planet and are making it increasingly hostile to mankind.


There can no longer be any doubt that humanity is now in mortal danger… and on a global scale.


As Christians we are deeply concerned with the millions around the world who are being profoundly affected: the poor who have contributed the least to the problem.


The nations of the Global South are already suffering the severest effects of drought, crop failures, hurricanes and cyclones. But the poor in this country will also be the first to suffer from rising food prices, heat exhaustion or the inability to insure their homes and businesses against floods.


On Monday, in Glasgow, the UK is hosting the 26th International Conference to address the Climate Crisis. So far those conferences have failed to slow the rate of greenhouse gas emissions, allowing us to continue the path of self-destruction.


The bells of St John the Baptist on Saturday 30th September will be ringing out our warning to remind the delegates of the urgency of the dangers we now face. We need our politicians to take the courageous and, if necessary, selfless actions that times of extreme emergency require.









From the registers




Bere Regis


3rd September

Phil Robbins


16th September

Jennifer Lake


22nd September

Mike Benjafield