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Letter from Rev'd Pene

1st January 2022

Dear Friends

As I write this at the beginning of the New Year, it feels to me that it could not be more appropriate. A new year … with resolutions, perhaps, but new beginnings and fresh starts, definitely.

It was a fresh start when I came to St. Mary’s, Charminster, in 2012. I had begun serving my curacy in the Cerne Benefice, however, as my training incumbent retired eighteen months in, Janet Smith, at the time Vicar of Charminster and Stinsford, offered to take on the responsibility and I continued serving my curacy there for the next eighteen months until it finished, then remaining as an Associate Priest.

I was met with such love … and experienced such joy exercising the ministry to which God had called me during my time in the Benefice of the two parishes.

Then, in Autumn 2017, an unexpected fresh start, when after pastoral re-organisation and the joining together of Charminster, Stinsford and the Chalk Stream Villages, the Bishop asked me to take up my current post of House for Duty priest, having day-to-day responsibility for the Chalk Stream parishes. The transition was challenging – both for me and the Chalk Stream parishes. Pastoral reorganisation, the circumstances surrounding it and the change it brings is never easy. However, more than four years later things feel somewhat different to me, not that it has much, if anything, to do with me. God has been working his purpose out there without any help from me. I hope very much that in the Chalk Stream, the parishioners feel there is a difference, too.

Now, here we are at the start of 2022, and a new beginning and another fresh start for me. It was planned that I would retire at the beginning of July this year, however, after much soul searching and prayer, I have decided to bring forward my retirement, something to which Bishop Karen has agreed. My last day in service in the Benefice will be Sunday 27th February, and Mark will be in touch with you all regarding my last service.

I came to ministry a ‘late starter’, incredulous that God should have called me to be a priest. As I followed that calling, he placed me in your midst to love and serve you. As I have attempted to do so, I have been humbled by the love and service I have witnessed you showing to others, myself included.

May you continue to love and serve in the name of Jesus Christ all those whom you meet, in the knowledge that it is what you, also, have been called to do.

With my love and prayers


Messy Harvest was a treat!

We had a wonderful time at Messy Harvest in September - you can sign up to join us for Messy Church in October by clicking here!

Weekly Update from the Clergy.

Lockdown Services

During this national lockdown, the government has allowed churches to stay open for worship. For the safety of all, we have decided to only have one in-person Holy Communion service on Sundays at 9.30. This will a simple, shortened, service, with additional social distancing measures in place. 

UPDATE - As of Easter Sunday, most of our services are back to normal, with the exception of Messy Church and Breakfast Church. 

New Rev!

On Saturday 26th September Leila, our Curate, was ordained as a deacon in Salisbury Cathedral by the Bishop of Salisbury, the Rt Rev'd Nicholas Holtham.  It was a small and very intimate service because of restrictions but a lovely one. 


Ash Mills Photography: 26thSept2020 - Ordinations &emdash; 256  Salisbury Cathedral - Sept26th 2020 - Photo by Ash Mills

A deacon is the person who stands with Christ in the gap between the church and the local community. We serve those around us by embodying Christ's self-giving love. We're called to preach the Gospel, teach the faith, and to seek out and serve the vulnerable and those on the fringes of society.


Ash Mills Photography: 26thSept2020 - Ordinations &emdash; 191  Salisbury Cathedral - Sept26th 2020 - Photo by Ash Mills


Ash Mills Photography: 26thSept2020 - Ordinations &emdash; 154  Salisbury Cathedral - Sept26th 2020 - Photo by Ash Mills

Ride and Stride

Well done to all those who took part in this year's ride and stride!

Particular congratulations to Andy and Jane for making it around all 6 parishes in our benefices.


St Mary's Church achieves Bronze Eco-Church Award


St Mary's Church has been awarded a Bronze Eco-Church award by Arocha Uk. We see caring for and safeguarding God's creation as part of our worship and an integral part of our church life. 

We're already working towards our silver award! If you'd like to find out more about Eco Church, click on the badge below!

Socially Distanced Surgery Hours

Come and Chat!

Drop in at St Mary's West Door between 4.30 and 7pm on Tuesday evenings to chat to rev'd Mark and Leila, or just cheer them on in their weekly backgammon tournament! We will be there whenever the weather permits!


Organ cleaning in lockdown!


The Foy family have once again served our local community by taking our wonderful organ apart pipe-by-pipe, cleaning it and putting it back together again. The refreshed organ sounds wonderful, and was cleaned just in time to welcome the return of music into our services after lockdown!

Letter from the Vicar

The Church continues to be alive and active, but our buildings must close


Following the Prime Minister’s announcement of new government instructions on Monday evening, I am sorry to say that the Archbishop has instructed that all churches are now to remain closed. Therefore, as well as public worship being suspended, ours and all church buildings in the Church of England are now closed.
 This is a very sad step, but one which is vital for the safety and wellbeing of us all. We look forward to being able to open our doors again once restrictions have been lifted.
Our worship of God and our care for each other continue but cannot be done in our church buildings.

Please remember that we are here for you. If you have any concerns, wish to talk, or would like someone to pray with you, please feel free to call me (01305 262477) or email - revdmarkphillips@outlook.com

or contact Pene Kennedy (01305 251422) – revpenekennedy@yahoo.com

While our churches are closed, you might like to set aside a time or a place in your home for prayer and reflection. On the Pew News, (which will be emailed weekly Saturdays to everyone on the church Electoral Roll ), there will be a simple format for Morning Prayer. It is a daily office from the Northumbria Community, and I encourage all of us to join in with it. We shall be saying it at 9.15 every morning, but you can of course say it whenever you like.

Alternatively, you might like to access daily internet prayer resources, such as the Scripture Union’s website www.wordlive.org

Please be assured that our thoughts and prayers are with you and all in the community.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength . . . Love your neighbour as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”

May the peace of the Lord be with you

Revd Mark Phillips


Vicar's Update

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