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The Church Of The Holy Rood      --      Wool, Dorset, U.K.

West Purbeck Benefice

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West Purbeck Benefice


The Benefice of West Purbeck includes:

Holy Rood, Wool, www.holyroodwool.org (this website)

St John the Baptist, Bere Regis - http://www.bereregiswithaffpuddle.org.uk/bere-regis (opens in new window)

St Laurence, Affpuddle - http://www.bereregiswithaffpuddle.org.uk/affpuddle (opens in new window)



The Church and Benefice Office is based in the D'Urberville Hall, Colliers Lane, Wool

The Office is open for people to pop in on Thursday mornings 10am - 12noon.

Contact number is 07851 028117

The office email address is woolchurchoffice@gmail.com



Revd Carol Langford

Vicarage Address

Wool Vicarage, Vicarage Close, Wool, Wareham, Dorset, BH20 6EB
Tel: 01929 462215





Services in West Purbeck Benefice

Benefice Service Pattern - June 2019








About our Benefice

Beginnings - The New Multi-Parish Benefice of West Purbeck

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 have met together to consider the way that our parishes will work together as we move forward.

The Benefice of West Purbeck - March 2019

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

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.




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




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.



 New Priest

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.

An announcement will be made in due course, once formalities are completed. (Usually this announcement is made simultaneously in all the churches involved with any new appointment.)













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Last modified: Friday, 14 June 2019