operation of the Team - now and in the future
Within the Team Ministry, the parishes retain their autonomy, with twelve
PCCs covering the Team. There is a Team Council, on which all the churches
are represented, mostly by at least one Churchwarden. The Team Council
provides a valuable forum for coordinating activities, exchange of information
and discussion. Churchwardens also meet with the Rector regularly throughout
Three years ago the stipendiary staffing was established as a Team Rector
and one Team Vicar. They are assisted by two Licensed Lay Ministers (LLMs
= Readers), seven Lay Pastoral Assistants (LPAs) and on a regular basis
by four retired priests. There will soon be a further four LPAs who have
recently begun their training.
We are most fortunate in having the services of retired priests who make
considerable contributions to the operation of the Team services rota,
the staffing of weekday services, taking some funerals and other occasional
Historically, the division of ministry in the Team has been defined, not
by geography but with both stipendiary priests sharing full responsibility
for all the parishes. Recently this has been changing. It is recognised
that when the new Team Rector joins the stipendiary team, the pattern
of ministry will need to be reassessed. There will be a need to look at
how the parishes are developing, and to identify where ministerial time,
ordained and lay, might best be applied.
Within the Team new patterns of worship are evolving, with a truly diverse
mix of worship styles ensuring a rich variety of services both traditional
and more modern across the Area. A new rota with the aim of promoting
shared worship within the Team was introduced in January 2010. When there
is a fifth Sunday in the month, a Team Service is held in one of the Team
churches, which brings all the congregations together.
All the parishes co-exist harmoniously. In May 2009, a week of ministry
undertaken by the Hilfield Franciscan Friary emphasised the unity of the
Team both spiritually and socially, and has given rise to teaching, fellowship
and other events.
Ministry and Mission
As always, there is a tension between maintaining the status quo and reaching
out towards new people, new work and new possibilities.
The primary schools and the comprehensive struggle with ever-changing
directives, so that staff and governors need to continue to work collaboratively,
supported by the church communities. New ways constantly have to be found
to open our churches to children and young people - and we very much need
to continue to support and work collaboratively with the Reverend David
Harknett, the part time chaplain at Beaminster School.
Perhaps the biggest change in ministry in the last few years has been
the reduction in the number of stipendiary clergy and the consequent devolution
of responsibility to the laity. This means that the stipendiary priests'
key priority now is the training and support of lay people in the valuable
work they are doing for the Church. We also need to work positively towards
encouraging our smaller churches to join together more frequently for
worship and other activities.
In most of the churches there are only a few children belonging to Christian
families who may be seen in church. There is some children's work in Beaminster
and in a few village churches. In the churches young people of teens and
twenties are almost entirely absent.
The Team's present intensive programme of Sunday services is marvellously
supported by retired priests, LLMs and Churchwardens. The retired priests
and LLMs are ageing and in recent years, unfortunately, are not continuing
to be replaced. No authorised minister has come forward from the Team
for training and licensing. The balance of services is currently being
changed to take account of these issues, but more will need to be done,
if the church is to consolidate and then grow.
Pastorally, the Team yearns for the growth and development of a re-kindled
spirit to breathe new life into what has changed little creatively since
it was established some thirty years ago.
Location of the
Team and some principle features
The Beaminster Area Team Ministry (www.beaminsterteam.org) was established
in 1979, and is part of the Lyme Bay deanery within the archdeaconry of
Sherborne, in the diocese of Salisbury.
The Team covers some fifty square miles of largely unspoilt and beautiful
countryside in rural West Dorset (see accompanying map Appendix 1). The
peaceful area is well served for country pursuits, farming and other rural
industry, and the arts. It is just a few miles inland from the World Heritage
Jurassic Coastline, which offers excellent walking and opportunities for
geological studies. At Portland, the facilities for water sports during
the 2012 Olympics are already well developed, while construction of supporting
infrastructure is in hand. Within the Team there are the beautiful grounds
of Mapperton House and the famous Kingcombe Meadows Nature Reserve with
adjoining Kingcombe Centre. Close by are the attractive seaside towns
of Lyme Regis, Charmouth, Bridport/West Bay, and Weymouth. The Team population
is approximately 7500.
The town of Beaminster (population about 3000) is at the heart of the
Team area and is surrounded by the fifteen villages and hamlets of the
Team, most of which are served with their own church building. Alphabetically,
these are: Blackdown, Broadwindsor, Burstock, Drimpton, Hooke, Melplash
with Mapperton, Mosterton, Netherbury, Salway Ash, Seaborough, South Perrott
with Chedington, Stoke Abbott, and Toller Porcorum.
Historically, life in these communities centred around agriculture for
many centuries. However, over the last thirty years the numbers employed
in farming have fallen dramatically; at the same time the district has
become highly prized as a peaceful retirement area. This has led to some
social problems relating to housing costs, and an imbalance in the age
distribution. These social issues have been partially addressed by areas
of low cost and local authority housing, and by some increase in work
opportunities in the wider area, not least at Bridport. Whilst employment
opportunities locally are somewhat limited, there is a tremendous vitality
and entrepreneurial flair within the area, with companies such as Clipper
Teas and PH Hardwills, the diversification within farming, and the establishment
of small business parks throughout the area.
There is also a core of local families who have lived in the area for
Beaminster is a small, attractive town ('town' by royal charter) with
a great deal of social activity. There are some fifty active societies,
including cricket, football and hockey teams. Apart from its highly regarded
Festival, home-grown music in and around Beaminster is alive and well.
There are several instrumental ensembles, a chamber choir, a gallery quire,
and the Beaminster Singers who, as a community choir, aspire to professional
The majority of shopping needs are provided for in the town, and there
are supermarkets at Bridport, Crewkerne, Dorchester and Yeovil. As well
as shops, Beaminster has a bank, post office, library, museum, sports
centre and swimming pool, a number of pubs and some excellent restaurants,
two medical practices, a dental practice, a veterinary practice and a
youth centre. There are hospitals at Yeovil, Crewkerne, Bridport and Dorchester.
Beaminster is six miles from Bridport and seven miles from Crewkerne,
both of which are good shopping centres. In addition, by road, Yeovil
is fifteen miles, and Dorchester, the county town, is twenty-one miles
away; both are also noted shopping centres. Access by rail to London Waterloo
and the South West is from nearby Crewkerne; Salisbury is only an hour
away on this line.
The comprehensive school, with 750 pupils, and a part-time school chaplain,
is fed by six good Church of England primary schools, four of which are
within the team area, at Beaminster, Broadwindsor, Mosterton and Salway
The Beaminster Festival of Music and the Arts is a major annual event,
held over ten days at the end of June and early July. Now in its fourteenth
year it has gained a remarkable reputation for a small town, with a wide-ranging
programme of concerts, open air theatre, literary talks, poetry readings,
children's workshops involving the local primary and secondary schools
and art exhibitions. It attracts performers of international renown and
has a policy of encouraging young musicians at the start of their careers
(violinist Nicola Benedetti and trumpeter Alison Balsom are two notable
examples). Annual audiences, drawn from Beaminster, the surrounding villages
and visitors to the area, exceed 5000.
The Festival is a registered charity (1069847) and one of its aims is
to advance education in the arts; it is an Equal Opportunities organisation
and operates a Child Protection policy.
The church is actively involved in the Festival as some two-thirds of
the events are held in St Mary's and it hosts two Festival Services: a
Sunday morning service to celebrate the opening of the Festival, usually
with a guest preacher (Canon Roger Royle in 2008); and a Choral Evensong
with a visiting cathedral choir who give a short recital afterwards -
in recent years the choirs of Truro, Bristol and Exeter cathedrals and
Bath Abbey have visited. Intended as a free, community event this service
is one of the most popular of the Festival.
Other free or low-priced activities designed to appeal to the local community
are the opening festivities in the Square (with dancing in the evening
to a local band) and an afternoon finale of family entertainment and cream
teas in the Memorial Playing Fields.
The Festival is run by a group of Trustees and a Festival Committee of
volunteers which includes a Stage Manager and Stewards to set up and supervise
events; but there is a paid, professional Festival Director responsible
for arranging the programme and booking artists. The Festival's finances
- funded by sponsorship, donations, box office and some grants - are in
good shape. An active Friends organisation offers further support to the
Festival throughout the year.
The villages surrounding Beaminster make up the rest of the Team and they
are varied in size and character. Broadwindsor, where the Team Vicar and
her husband live, is a large village (population about 650) three miles
to the west of Beaminster. As well as its parish church and primary school,
it has a modern village hall, a good pub, a village store and a large
craft centre. The smallest village is Seaborough (population about seventy).
Many of the villages have their own halls, some of which are modern with
good facilities, a variety of clubs, and an active community social life
(there are at least nine pubs in the villages).
Ministry to younger people
Over recent times, there has been a growing emphasis on this aspect of
our Church's mission, recognising that it is vital for young people's
Christian development and crucial for the future of the Church.
The young people of the Team area experience issues common to their age
group; often these are exacerbated by the reality of living in a widespread
rural community. The challenge for any new Rector will be to encourage
connection with the younger generation. The Church competes with many
other activities for their time, so alternatives to the traditional Sunday
services are being explored. There is considerable scope for further development
as appropriate people and resources are identified and empowered.
Sunday schools for younger children operate on some Sunday mornings in
Beaminster, Hooke, and Netherbury. First Steps is a monthly opportunity
for toddlers and their mothers to gather in the afternoon at St Mary's,
Beaminster for fun, songs, and refreshments.
Team 'Fun Days' and events where young people, including members of uniformed
organisations, are enabled to join with the rest of the church family
occur throughout the year.
The four Church of England schools hold some of their special services
in their parish churches.
Beaminster School holds occasional services and concerts in St Mary's,
Beaminster and contributes musical accompaniment on some occasions, for
example, for the Beaminster Civic Service.
Beaminster School was founded in 1685. It has a secure place in the local
community and is a truly comprehensive school of 750 students and ninety-five
staff. Student outcomes are good and all needs are catered for. The school
promotes a Christian ethos through a 'broad faith' approach, and staff
and governors have a holistic view of education. The Team Rector is an
ex officio Governor. The Reverend David Harknett, one of the Melbury Team
Ministers, serves as School Chaplain (one day a week).
Through the links between the school chaplain and the team clergy, there
are new opportunities to develop schools ministry across the Team in a
Included within the Beaminster Team area are four Primary Schools:
Parrett and Axe CE VC Primary School, Mosterton - no. on roll 100+
Broadwindsor CE VC Primary School - no. on roll 90+
Beaminster CE VA Primary School - no. on roll 150+
Salway Ash CE VA Primary School - no. on roll 110+
(See school websites)
Currently the number of pupils is rising and parents from out of the area
are actively choosing to send their children to our village schools.
The quality of education offered in all our schools is high. The children's
experiences are further enhanced through sporting, arts and academic activities
organised jointly by the Beaminster Pyramid of Schools, that is, Beaminster
Comprehensive and its feeder Primary Schools.
Each school has its own unique character and particular strengths and
holds a valued place in the community it serves.
St Mary's, Beaminster is the largest of our primary schools
and includes a Learning Resource Base for children with moderate learning
difficulties. A new Headteacher has recently been appointed, and under
his leadership, the school was seen to have a good capacity for improvement
by Ofsted Inspectors in 2009.
All the school's work is effectively underpinned by the staff's care and
support for each child. Good links are made with families.
St Mary's has also become the home to the Pyramid's Extended Schools Provision.
This is, nationally, the first after-school club established by a rural
schools partnership and will be used as an exemplar for other rural schools.
Parrett and Axe was judged as a 'Good School with some exemplary
features' in its last Ofsted inspection.
The school has a happy ethos and a positive learning environment.
It has developed good links with the community it serves.
Broadwindsor was judged a 'Good School' in 2008 at its last
Ofsted Inspection. The school has a welcoming and inclusive ethos. It
provides its pupils with a good education and prepares them well for the
next stage of education.
Salway Ash received an 'Outstanding' grade in its last Ofsted
and SIAS Inspections.
The school has just completed a major building project to create a new
hall, entrance and offices. It has also redeveloped the existing building
to maximise space and create new teaching areas. The new build is sustainable
and incorporates a wind turbine, PV panels on the hall roof, an air source
heat pump and two smaller sedum roofs. The Bishop of Sherborne, The Right
Reverend Graham Kings, will open and dedicate the new building in January
schools are outward looking and some are beginning to establish links
with schools in the Sudan in connection with the Salisbury Sudan Link.
A strong Christian ethos underpins each establishment.
Clergy and lay church members are actively involved in the life of our
schools. The local churches are used by the schools for some of the major
festivals as well as centres for study. Some churches are beginning to
explore new and creative ways of developing relationships and sharing
experiences with their church school.
The Rector and Team Vicar share between them the role of ex officio Governor
at each school.
Beaminster has a Roman Catholic Church, St John's, who share occasional
joint events, in particular, the 'Stations of the Cross' on Good Friday.
One member of their congregation helps regularly in operating the Team
Church Office. A new Roman Catholic priest has just been appointed for
the area and it is hoped to build on our good ecumenical relationship.
There is also a free church, the Wellspring Mission. All three Beaminster
churches share publicity for their Easter and Christmas services, cards
being delivered to every house in the town.
There is a Methodist Chapel at Netherhay near Drimpton, which holds joint
services monthly with the parish church in Drimpton.
A recent innovation has been a Civic Service held in St Mary's, Beaminster,
which is likely to be an annual event.
Otherwise, all the churches in the Team Area are Anglican and are the
only ones available. They positively welcome people from different Christian
A summary of Parish statistics in 2009 is attached at Appendix 4, and
a copy of the provisional rota for January 2010 is included at Appendix
3. Taken as a whole, services are middle of the road and fairly traditional,
although mainly Eucharistic, using both the Book of Common Prayer and
Generally Beaminster has two services each Sunday, all the other churches
have one service each Sunday, except Burstock and Seaborough, which have
two services a month, and Blackdown only one service a month. The redundant
church attached to Mapperton House has occasional services. Beaminster
also has a Eucharist each Wednesday morning as well as on Red Letter days.
Eucharistic vestments are available at Beaminster, Drimpton, Hooke, Melplash
and South Perrott. Beaminster has an aumbry in the sanctuary where the
sacrament is reserved for Communions in care homes, and for the housebound.
Church Office - and the Team Administrator
Early in 2005, a Team Church Office was re-established in small shop premises
in the centre of Beaminster. Some of the Team administration is effected
by a paid part-time administrator from the office, otherwise manned by
volunteers, and run in cooperation with the local Roman Catholic church.
The Church Office is contributing to the Church's outreach and accessibility
for the community.
There is an excellent parish magazine, Team News, published once a month
under the editorship of lay volunteers.
A Team website has recently been established (www.beaminsterteam.org).
It is the intention to develop this further with the aim in particular
of communicating with the younger generation.
In recent years, the Diocesan Share has been largely met by each PCC.
Although it is a struggle, most manage. A few years ago, when raising
these funds was even more problematic, the Team parishes co-operated together
to raise the necessary totals.
Clergy expenses of office are fully reimbursed by the Team Treasurer,
who collects contributions from all parishes of the Team.
The purpose-built Rectory (to Church Commissioners' standards in the 1980s)
in Beaminster is situated in a cul-de-sac, comprising a variety of different
types of housing, including some sheltered accommodation. The property
is a short walk from the town centre, the Church Office and St Mary's
The accommodation includes the following:
Downstairs - a large study, two reception rooms, a large kitchen with
a larder, a utility room, a toilet with wash basin. Upstairs - four bedrooms,
a bathroom with a separate toilet and an airing cupboard.
There is an attached garage and further parking spaces. It is anticipated
that replacement double-glazed windows will be fitted during the interregnum.
The labour for redecorating the house will be provided by the Team, prior
to the arrival of the new Rector, to his or her preference. Central heating
The house is surrounded by an established garden.
St Mary of the Annunciation, Beaminster
Of the church buildings, St Mary of the Annunciation, Beaminster is the
jewel in the crown. An extensive programme of restoration, now completed,
has provided a well-equipped and welcoming building adequately sized to
accommodate Team church activities, as well as providing more and more
for secular and community occasions. A new pipe organ was commissioned
in March 2008. St Mary's has a professional musician as Director of Music,
who has developed the choral standards. Amongst other groups there are
three house groups and two prayer groups.
Nativity of St John the Baptist, Broadwindsor
Our parish church has a small choir, an organist and a team of bell ringers,
together with a loyal congregation. We use both traditional and modern
forms of worship and we welcome our Primary School to celebrate the major
The emphasis of our church is on the involvement of this agricultural
community through Plough Sunday, Rogation, Lammas and Harvest and a large
number of fundraising events such as quizzes, curry night, and Harvest
Burstock is a village set deep in farmland. Residents of all ages make
Harvest Festival a special celebration for the ancient church, which is
a place of peace and tranquillity for everyone.
St Mary's, Drimpton
A small regular congregation attend services each month, taken mainly
from Common Worship. The church runs several social/fund-raising events
throughout the year, widely supported from within the village and beyond.
Every month one service is shared with the local Methodist Church.
St Giles, Hooke benefits from an active PCC and a very supportive village
community. The fifteenth-century church serves not only as a place of
worship but as the only community building in the village. It therefore
plays host to Harvest suppers, village meetings, and coffee mornings.
There is an active Sunday school.
Christchurch, Melplash is supported by a strong local family and a few
long-standing and most loyal local people. The nave of the nineteenth-century
building is partitioned off for community use.
The church attaching to Mapperton Manor, within Melplash parish, is used
for occasional worship, but is not a licensed church.
St Mary's, Mosterton
Normal Sunday services have regular support. Special services, such as
Harvest, Remembrance, All Souls and Christingle are well supported by
the village. The church building needs work done on it to return it to
a satisfactory standard.
A medieval building with modern facilities, this church has a growing
congregation, with house groups and an enthusiastic Sunday school. It
enjoys the support of the village, which is renowned for its annual 'Open
Trinity, Salway Ash
Built in 1890, it is the youngest church in the Team, with a happy, outgoing
congregation working to nurture good fellowship, interaction and inclusiveness
with the school and local community.
The smallest parish in the Team - a hamlet of twenty-five dwellings. Services
are held fortnightly. Churchwardens organise some services (including
family ones) during the year. Traditionally the church holds a popular
Christmas Eve Carol service.
St Mary's, South Perrott
The population is representative of all walks of life, who mix well and
support local activities. In the church there is good music with choir
and organist and six regular bell ringers. Those involved in the church,
work hard and well as a team.
Mary's, Stoke Abbott
With a population of around 200, this lively community has a reputation
for being friendly and welcoming. It is renowned for the annual Street
Fair, which raises funds for the church and village hall.
Andrew's and St Peter's, Toller Porcorum
We aim to be a friendly, welcoming church attempting to support our village.
The Church is one of the oldest in the Team, with the tower dating back
to 1259, and the pedestal of the font believed to be much older. Toller
has benefited for many years from the pastoral and spiritual care of one
of the 'retired' clergy. The congregation joins with Hooke once a month
for worship. A dedicated team encourages young people through the Faith
is Fun Club.