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One of the joys of the past few months has been the way in which people from across the four churches in our benefice have come together much more to worship, both in person in our church buildings and on-line at our Zoom services.


It has always saddened me that in the past, when we have had a benefice service on the fifth Sunday, a number of people have chosen to stay away, if the service hasn’t been in “their” church. People have differing reasons for this, but at the heart of it is the sense that their particular building in their home village has become more important than worshipping God with others in community.


During the past year, those who have been brave enough to venture outside their own village to join us in worship have realised that it is a positive thing to do. Doing something new or going somewhere different can take courage, but it’s worth remembering that it doesn’t take many visits for what was new to become what is familiar. And the sense of togetherness and growing friendship and community across our congregations is definitely worth the effort.


The future of rural churches is a precarious one. If we support one another across our village boundaries, we are much more likely to flourish than if we insist on being too parochial. We’ve all seen what has happened to village shops and pubs over the years – let’s not watch our churches go the same way.


On 23rd May, we will be celebrating Pentecost, taken to be the birthday of the Church. That was the day when the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Jerusalem brought people together of many nationalities and languages and united them. Three thousand people were baptised that day - how amazing that must have been! In spite of all their different backgrounds, they were joined by their faith in Christ. People of different cultures found unity and understanding across the boundaries of language and tradition.


We people of Dorset are much more like each other than those people in Jerusalem that first Pentecost day. If they could come together in the power of the Holy Spirit, then surely we can cross village boundaries to worship together.


Look out for information about what we will be doing to celebrate Pentecost Sunday this year. As the magazine goes to press, plans are still being made, but I am hoping that we can have a benefice service and picnic to celebrate the birthday of the Church, our togetherness across the four villages and beyond, and the power of God to create and sustain community.


With best wishes



PS If transport is the reason you don’t come to benefice services, please speak to your churchwardens. We can always arrange lifts to help people attend worship.

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