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Reform Magazine | December 5, 2023

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Church for shoppers

Church for shoppers

Churches in Dorchester are offering welcome support for shop staff and shoppers. Chris Warren reports on the Dorchester retail chaplaincy project

Trading has not been easy over recent years for the weekly market stalls and small independent shops of Dorchester. United Church, a United Reformed/Methodist partnership, is right on the main shopping street, and a few years ago, our outreach group felt a sense of call to offer chaplaincy services to traders.

United Church, along with other churches in Dorchester, identified several potential chaplains in the congregation. We went on the Methodist ‘Chaplaincy Everywhere’ course, which proved to be excellent and strongly based on biblical principles. Successfully completing the course, we each made a personal commitment to the work, and were endorsed by the minister in our home church. A commissioning service was held in the shopping street in front of United Church on 7 April 2015, with the Mayor of Dorchester in attendance.

Chaplains went out in pairs to ask permission from the shops to visit them, leaving them with a leaflet explaining the service we offer. The response amazed everyone, as about 90 of 100 shops agreed to be visited. …

Chris Warren is coordinator of Dorchester retail chaplains, and chair of the Dorchester chaplaincy management group. For more information, visit


This is an extract from an article that was published in the March 2019 edition of  Reform

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