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Formation of West Purbeck Benefice




The New Multi-Parish Benefice of West Purbeck - The story as from February 2019

The following letter was received in February 2019

Mission and Pastoral Measure 2011

Diocese of Salisbury

Benefice of Bere Regis and Affpuddle with Turnerspuddle and Benefice of Wool and East Stoke

I am pleased to inform you that the Church Commissioners did not receive any objections to the draft scheme to unite the benefice of Wool and East Stoke and the benefice of Bere Regis and Affpuddle with Turnerspuddle. They have informed me that the scheme will be made on 5th Feb, to come into effect 1st March 2019.

I will send a copy of the sealed scheme to interested parties in due course.

With best wishes.

Yours sincerely

Jill Hockham

Pastoral & Patronage Secretary

Diocesan Mission and Pastoral Committee

Our new benefice had therefore finally been approved and was formally brought into being on March 1st. The three PCCs met together to consider the way that our parishes will work together as we move forward.

The Benefice of West Purbeck - March 2019

Rev Carol wrote:

As many of you will be aware, last month we said farewell to Revd Charles and Felicity at Bere Regis. They have taken off for pastures new as they step out on the next stage of their pilgrimage together following Charles’ retirement. Although I was away on leave at the time, Charles and I were in regular contact and I know from him, and from many of you, that their final day in the benefice was a very good and happy ending to their time in Bere Regis and Affpuddle. As you will also be aware, although I have been very much in the background in Bere Regis and Affpuddle up to now, the parishes resolved, together with Wool and East Stoke, that when Charles retired we should become a multi-parish benefice of 3 parishes with me as the first incumbent of the new benefice and a new part-time colleague to join us in due course. A final public consultation has recently taken place about this and the good news is that this all went through without a hitch. I take this opportunity to tell you a little about the formation of the new benefice and some of our hopes and dreams for the future as we set out on the adventure together.

In order that everyone was clear about where I am coming from, I led a joint PCC Meeting of the 3 PCCs in January at Bere Regis School to explain and I gave everyone the opportunity to object/withdraw before the final deadline a week later. I’m pleased to report that no-one did (!) and that the new benefice, the Benefice of West Purbeck, lawfully comes into being on 1st March. The Bishop of Sherborne, Rt Revd Karen Gorham, will officiate at a Service to inaugurate the new benefice at 7pm, Wednesday 13th of March in The Church of the Holy Rood, Wool followed by refreshments in Wool School. At that Service I will be licensed as the Vicar of the Benefice and the Ministry Team, lay and ordained, will be licensed to minister across the benefice. We are delighted that Revd Jenny Alidina will also join us in the team, to be licensed as an associate priest. Everyone is very welcome to come to that Service, in which all of the churches will jointly take part, and we very much hope that you will do so. For a little while now the Churchwardens of Bere Regis and Affpuddle have been busy working on the Profile for the appointment of our new colleague. I am very grateful to them for their hard work and dedication as this should mean that we will be able to go to advert fairly soon after the new benefice is inaugurated. At the current time I am working with the profile, adding in things that are relevant to the new, wider, benefice so that before too long we should be ready to move forward. In due course, a new part-time colleague will be appointed to join the Benefice Team. He or she will be appointed on a 0.5 stipend basis, working Sunday + 3 days per week. They will be appointed as an associate priest in the team (most people will simply think of him or her as ‘the vicar’ in Bere Regis and Affpuddle although strictly speaking this is me) with the aim that they will minister across the whole team, particularly to work collaboratively on missional projects, but with a pastoral focus on Bere Regis and Affpuddle.

At the moment I, together with colleagues from Wool and the wider deanery, are covering most of the Services at St John the Baptist and St Laurence churches.

When our new colleague joins us I anticipate that we will continue to work across the benefice, primarily based in our own areas but probably leading worship in the other churches at least once each month. There will be some joint benefice services, as indeed there have already been in Bere Regis and Affpuddle on 5th Sundays, and things such as marriage and baptism preparation, Lent and Advent courses will also be able to be done collaboratively. We will aim to grow Lay Worship Leaders, Pastors and Preachers to share in leadership. In Wool, as you will read in a separate article, we have recently taken a step of faith and rented an office for church use in the village D’Urberville Centre. We hope that this will become a hub for Benefice administration in the future. One key way that we will attempt to discern God’s mission and how we may join in with this in order to engage with those at present beyond the church or even on the fringes of church life, is that we are to participate in a new diocesan project and become a ‘Thrive Learning Community.’ A group of people, up to 8, from across the benefice will meet in Blandford with other benefices for 4x2 non-residential days over a period of two years. Their job will be to consider ways that the church may grow and develop in order to reach out and build God’s Kingdom in this place. All in all, it is a very exciting time and we look forward to the future with great hope. There are always things we can do to help and get involved with. If any of what I’ve mentioned above appeals to you, admin, the Thrive Course, marriage or baptism preparation courses, leading worship, pastoral care, preaching please don’t be shy but be in touch; God has roles for us all. Most of all, I ask you to commit the benefice and this time in our history to prayer. Please pray for all of the Church Wardens, for me and for the Ministry Team and for the appointment of our new colleague. God has great plans for us, he will surely do with us more than we can every hope or imagine.

With every blessing,

Revd Carol


The Benefice of West Purbeck  - June 2019

Rev Carol wrote:

As I write, much of what I mentioned as future events for the formation of our new benefice in March has now come into being. As you will see from photographs in the “Without Walls” magazine, Bishop Karen came on 13th March to officiate at a very joyful inauguration Service at Holy Rood. Many representatives from the three church families and our local communities were present at the Service in which I was licensed as the Rector of the Benefice and Revd Jenny Alidina as an Associate Priest.

At the time of the licensing we were pleased to learn that it was planned for the post of part-time Associate Priest (0.5) to be advertised in May with the hope of appointment for September. The Churchwardens of St John the Baptist, Bere Regis, and St Laurence, Affpuddle, had worked very hard on putting together the profile for their parishes and as the appointment is for a colleague for the whole benefice (he or she will minister as a colleague across the whole team, particularly working collaboratively on missional projects, but with a pastoral focus on Bere Regis and Affpuddle), it then fell to me to bring this together into a Benefice Profile to include the parish of Wool and East Stoke and to also shape the profile in terms of the requirements of the colleague that we are looking for. This work was all completed by early April and the post was then advertised slightly earlier than expected, at the end of April. The closing date for applications is fast approaching with the proposed interview date of Tuesday 11th June. It is a fact of church life that there are relatively few applicants for most advertised posts these days, so we have been encouraged to receive a number of enquiries about the post. This doesn’t guarantee that people will actually apply of course but I do hope that we may have some more news to share in the coming months. Please pray for the interview panel and prospective candidates as we move forward.

Something that we discovered after we became a Benefice, which were weren’t completely aware of before, is that from 1st March when I officially became the Incumbent of the benefice, even though we are a colleague ‘short’, we were no longer deemed to be in Vacancy (sometimes referred to as an Interregnum) and because of this we are required to cover everything ourselves. Whereas in a vacancy the fees for retaining the services of visiting clergy may be reclaimed from the diocese, we cannot do so. We were able to do some negotiation over this to gain help with 2 services per month across the benefice and, thankfully and joyfully, as we know Rev. Jenny Alidina became a member of the team when the benefice was inaugurated which means that we can cover more Services ourselves. However, as our Associate Priest Rev. Jenny is with us in the benefice for 2 Sundays each month which means that there may be some gaps for Services to fill until our new colleague is appointed. With this is mind the Ministry Team drew up a pattern of Services across the benefice that we deem to be manageable. In considering the Services pattern of the benefice and what is practically manageable for the Ministry Team, even with some cover, we have noted the legal requirement that there should be at least one Eucharistic service in a benefice on any Sunday and we have endeavoured to treat each parish fairly.

On a very positive note, unlike in many multi-parish benefices, all of our parishes will have at least one Service each Sunday, although there may be an amendment to Service times, and there is a Eucharist in at least one of the churches each Sunday.

All three parishes will have three Sundays per month with 10am Services, one Sunday each month with an 8am service and each church will have one non-eucharistic Service per month. On fifth Sundays, as they occur, we will hold one joint Benefice Family Communion Service in the different parishes on a rota basis. On the down side, we have had to reduce the total number of Services on Sundays each month as follows: Bere Regis x1 Service and Wool x2 Services. This isn’t necessarily permanent but it will be the pattern of Services across the benefice to at least September.

In going forward, we need careful planning if we are to flourish and grow. The very good news is that since I last wrote, as a benefice we have become part of a ‘Thrive Learning Community.’ A group of 8 of us from across the three churches, together with teams from two other benefices in this part of the diocese, have committed to a two year course that includes 4 x 2 day sessions of intensive training in Blandford to help us to begin to work collaboratively on things that we identify as needs within our churches and communities. We met for the first 2 day session in March and have identified our ‘burning issue’ as the need for us to intentionally work at growing together and working together as partners in the Benefice. We’re very excited at this work and I look forward to sharing more of it with you in due course. A prayer group has already been established as everything must be undergirded with prayer. The dates for this will be published and you are warmly invited to come along. In June we’ll be sending out a questionnaire asking about people’s hopes and dreams for the benefice, please look out for this and let us have your thoughts as this will shape the work of the church going forward. Later in the year we hope to feed the results of this back at a benefice away day; look out for the details and do sign up to come.

God has many adventures planned for us, some of which we’ve dreamed about but much of which is as yet unrevealed. Please pray for the Ministry Team, for the Thrive Team and for the appointment of a new colleague to join us in the coming months.


New Benefice Associate Priest resident in Bere Regis

Interviews for the new post of a part-time priest for the benefice, to reside in Bere Regis, took place on Tuesday 11th June 2019.

Revd Sandra Williams has been appointed as Associate Priest and her Licensing Service will be on Weds 2nd Oct at St John the Baptist, Bere Regis

Revd Carol wrote:

I am delighted to announce that the Bishop of Sherborne has appointed Revd Sandra Williams as an Associate Priest in the Benefice of West Purbeck.

Revd. Sandra will work with us as a member of the Ministry Team across the benefice and within this she will have pastoral responsibility for Bere Regis and Affpuddle. We are all excited at her appointment and we look forward to welcoming her later in the year.

Revd Sandra will move into the vicarage at Bere Regis towards the middle of September with her husband Graham and she will be licensed at St John the Baptist Church, Bere Regis, on 2nd October.

In these next few months as we anticipate the arrival of our new colleague and priest, there is a real opportunity for us pray for Rev Sandra and Graham as they prepare to move to Bere Regis and also to ask ourselves:-who am I, or who are we, being called to serve in our communities at this time?


Proposed change to the Benefice to include The Lulworths, Chaldon, and Winfrith Newburgh Benefice

Meetings are in progress to discuss the proposal to include the Benefice of The Lulworths, Chaldon, and Winfrith Newburgh within the Benefice of West Purbeck.

Discussions are at an early stage and the next step will be to announce fuller details and enter a Consultation Stage where everyone in the affected parishes will be able to make any comments or representations.

More details will be posted once available.


Pastoral Reorganisation in Purbeck (August update 2019)

Under the guidance and direction of Bishop Karen and Archdeacon Antony, it has been formally proposed to bring the four Churches in our neighbouring Benefice (comprising churches in East and West Lulworth, Winfrith Newburgh and Chaldon Herring) within an enlarged West Purbeck Benefice.

Currently the West Purbeck Benefice comprises three churches:

·       Wool (including the parish areas of East Stoke, East Burton and Coombe Keynes);

·       Bere Regis;

·       Affpuddle.

The enlarged benefice would therefore include seven churches:

·       Holy Rood, Wool;

·       St John the Baptist, Bere Regis;

·       St Laurence, Affpuddle

·       Holy Trinity, West Lulworth

·       St Andrew, East Lulworth

·       St Christopher, Winfrith Newburgh

·       St Nicholas, Chaldon Herring


We know that many Rural Parishes and Benefices have, these days, needed to join into larger groups for various reasons, not least economic. There are some clear advantages for this. For example, no vicar can work seven days a week and clergy are enabled to give of their best when they have the support not only of their church officers and varying congregations, but also of one another as a clergy group that works closely together.

The proposal has met with Revd Robert Marsden’s endorsement (Revd. Robert is the Priest in Charge of the Lulworths, Winfrith and Chaldon benefice).and he has agreed in principle to stay on and be fully involved in the planning and introduction of this change, and be part of a proposed enlarged team of Benefice Clergy.

The three Parochial Church Councils of West Purbeck have met with Archdeacon Antony, as has the PCC of the Lulworths, Winfrith and Chaldon Benefice, and all have voted in favour of starting the period of consultation – desiring that the formal consultation should commence as soon as possible. The formal consultation period will enable the various parishes and all interested parties to consider the detail of the various aspects of this change and gives an opportunity to make comments, ask questions, and raise objections as part of the process. (This initial stage of the legal formalities may to take around six months due to statutory notice periods.)

In the proposed arrangement:

·       Rev Carol Langford, the present incumbent of the West Purbeck Benefice, will continue as incumbent (full-time) of the enlarged Benefice.

·       In October the benefice will be joined by Revd Sandra Williams who has been appointed as Associate Priest resident in Bere Regis. Revd Sandra will be working on three days plus Sundays, and replaces Revd Charles Masheder who retired in January 2019 as vicar of Bere Regis and Affpuddle.

·       There will continue to be a priest resident in West Lulworth but it will be on a House for Duty (HfD) basis (working on two days a week plus Sunday services, as opposed to the post being one of three days plus Sundays at present). Rev Robert (if he agrees following the conclusion of the consultation process) will, after due notice, be the first HfD priest.

·       In addition, we are fortunate to have Revd Jenny Alidina who is a self-supporting priest and who is licensed to our present Benefice.

·       Revd Judy Hill, who is officially retired from parish ministry but still licensed to us, continues to work in our Benefice as and when she is able.


We all are starting discussions and preparations for the reshaping process. For example, from October, Revd Carol Langford, as Benefice Incumbent, will begin combining rotas for Sunday Services. These will integrate all the churches in the proposed enlarged Benefice, calling upon the available clergy, as if we were one united Benefice already. The days off for the emerging clergy team will be structured as far as practical to ensure that a clergy member is available for emergencies within the enlarged Benefice, even if the locally resident priest is off duty.


It is likely that these sort of changes will happen in stages, while everyone involved adjusts to new timetables, roles and responsibilities.


Since the processes for the main changes involved have some statutory periods built into them, it may be a total of perhaps 12 months from now (August/September 2020) before we see the enlarged Benefice emerge as a legal entity with all the proposed changes in place—always assuming it all goes ahead following consultation.


Everyone concerned will be wise to hold in our prayers all those involved in the implementation of these changes.



The Expanding Team (September 2019)

In July we were delighted to share the good news that Revd Sandra Williams had been appointed by the Bishop of Sherborne to join us as an Associate Priest in the Benefice of West Purbeck. Rev Sandra will be licensed in Bere Regis Church on 2nd October at 7.30pm and after that she will work across the Benefice with pastoral responsibility for Bere Regis and Affpuddle. Sandra’s Licensing Service will be on Wednesday 2nd October at 7.30pm in St John the Baptist Church, Bere Regis; you are all warmly invited to attend, and we hope you’ll be able to come along to welcome Sandra and Graham and stay for refreshments in Bere Regis Scout Hut afterwards.

It was very good for the whole Ministry Team to spend time with Sandra and Graham when they came to look over the vicarage recently and everyone is very much looking forward to Sandra joining the team. Sandra is also really looking forward to coming and has written a letter (below) to introduce herself to everyone.

In the coming weeks the Churchwardens and I will produce some articles with information about Sandra’s ministry amongst us after her licensing on 2nd October and, remembering that she has been appointed to work 0.5 (Sunday +3 days), we’ll give details of her working days and the arrangements for the days when she will not be on duty as well as other organisational & administrative arrangements across the Benefice and Ministry Team. You will also see, on the Benefice page of the website, the proposal for the benefice to expand to include the Lulworths Parish (East and West Lulworth, Winfrith Newburgh and East Chaldon).

In the coming months there will be a process of consultation about this where everyone will have an opportunity to respond to the proposals. Do look out for further news in the coming months. In the meantime, please pray for the Revd Sandra and Graham as they prepare to move to Bere Regis, for the Lulworth Parishes at a potential time of change and for the whole wider Benefice as we move forward together.

With every blessing

Revd Carol Langford, Rector



From Revd Sandra Williams

Hello, I’m Sandra. I was born and christened down on the south coast of Hampshire and confirmed and married in north Hampshire, a village just outside Basingstoke, where I met my husband Graham on a Cub trip to Bovington Tank Museum!

We very much feel this move was meant to be. Since that time Graham’s work within the water industry has taken us to Hong Kong, Oxfordshire, and North Dorset.

Graham and I have three children – Amy, married to Neil, has two children, Zachary and Ruby and lives in Salisbury; our son Adam and his wife, Maria, are both teachers and live in Berkshire with their Schnauzer Gus; and our youngest daughter, Lucy, with her partner Sam and Husky/Beagle Cross Bella, live in Gillingham, North Dorset, where she works for Waitrose and keeps an eye on my parents who moved there a few years ago.

Our family grew up in Gillingham, where, prior to ordination, I was a Primary School Teaching Assistant. I was also a Cub Scout Leader for 30 years (I started very young!), stepping down before I was ordained. I’m very excited to have the County Camp Site, Buddens, just down the road, where Lucy and her Cubs along with grandson Zach have just returned from camp.

We are moving from Shipton Bellinger in North Hampshire where we have been for the last six years, most recently as Priest in Charge of five parishes west of Andover. Prior to that we were in Shropshire where I completed four years as Curate in The Wrockwardine Deanery Team Ministry in Lichfield Diocese, twelve rural villages between Shrewsbury and Telford.

One of my main loves is walking and I’m looking forward to getting to know the lovely footpaths around the area with our 8-month-old labradoodle puppy, Zinnie, born on Christmas Eve. Please do say hello if you see us out and about, and maybe share your favourite walk with us if you don’t mind a lively doodle!

We are looking forward so much to walking alongside you all in The West Purbeck Benefice, seeing what God is up to, and joining in!

With blessings

Revd Sandra Williams



Formal Consultation (August 2020 following Covid-19 delay)

There is an update to the proposal for the benefice of The Lulworths, Winfrith Newburgh and Chaldon joining the West Purbeck Benefice on a separate supplement page here, which opens in a new window. (A Scheme has been proposed and drafted and comments are invited no later than midnight on Monday 14th September 2020.)

September 2020

The Scheme was accepted.



Final Update on 1st November 2019, All Saints Day

It was announced by the Bishop of Sherborne, Rt Revd Karen Gorham, that from Thursday 29th October 2019, the West Purbeck Benefice is formally joined with the former Benefice of The Lulworths, Winfrith Newburgh and Chaldon.

Bishop Karen spoke in our joint online service on Sunday 1st November to announce the enlargement of West Purbeck Benefice and to encourage us all in this new venture as we explore together how we can all make the most of this increased opportunity.




Thrive News



Thriving together - June 2019

As a newly formed multi-parish benefice, joining Wool, Bere Regis and Affpuddle in a partnership, the West Purbeck Benefice faces a number of opportunities, challenges and decisions. In this situation we are not alone, as an increasing number of similar benefices are faced with common issues. The challenge has been recognised nationally, and the Church of England supports a programme developed by the Church Pastoral Aid Society (CPAS) to help benefices to explore solutions to their developing situations. Along with other benefices in the Salisbury Diocese, our benefice is taking part in this programme- titled “Thrive”.

Members of the benefice clergy, along with a number of lay members from each of the congregations in the benefice, 8 people in all, have begun exploring the issues and seeking to discern ways in which the benefice can work more effectively for God’s mission in the world. This process is facilitated by structured sessions led by Church Pastoral Aid Society staff, attended by teams from other similarly placed benefices in the diocese. We met together for the first time for two days in March and came away with an action plan for the next 6 months.

The whole process is of necessity highly participative. To ‘thrive’ it requires input and commitment from the whole body of the three parishes in the benefice. As this whole process is at a very early stage the means that will be used to communicate and engage with congregations, church councils and other church organisations is still under development, but we recognise that it is vitally important; we need your input and intend to keep everyone up to date with progress. Look out in the coming weeks & months for:

(1) times and dates of Prayer Meetings (please join us);

(2) a questionnaire that will ask for your thought, opinions, hopes and dreams for our benefice (please complete and return)

(3) details of an away-day when we can take these things forward together later this year (please set the date aside as soon as you have it).

Finally, please pray for our benefice as we set out on our pilgrimage together.

Rev Carol & the Thrive Team



Past Benefice Events




Inaugural Service for the new Benefice of West Purbeck - Wed 13th March

Holy Rood was full, for the service to inaugurate and celebrate our new benefice which came into being on March 1st. Many people attended from the West Purbeck Benefice churches - Holy Rood, Bere Regis, and Affpuddle - as well as visitors from the adjacent Benefice of The Lulworths, Winfrith Newburgh and Chaldon. Our Archdeacon, Ven. Antony MacRow-Wood, Archdeacon of Dorset, was also present.

At this service, our vicar, Revd Carol Langford, was given her new Licence, as the first Rector and Incumbent of the new Benefice of West Purbeck, by the Bishop of Sherborne, the Right Revd Karen Gorham.

At the same time, Revd Jenny Alidina was Licensed to the new benefice as an Associate Priest.





The Bishop of Sherborne, the Right Revd Karen Gorham, officiated and preached from the Gospel of St John chapter 15 on our need to be part of the True Vine.









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