The Past

The History of our Church

The Church began in 1887 as a group of Christians meeting, following – we understand – the ministry of Somerset born Ephraim Venn who was only around 30 years old at the time. He was convinced that he became a Christian on 11th July 1876.

“On that day, during a short walk with George Brealey of the Blackdown Hills mission, Clayhidon, who quoted John 5:24, the light entered his soul, and he knew himself a child of God. From that moment his one desire was to spread the joyful news of salvation and to lead sinners to Christ.  Two Sundays afterward, he and another young Christian began to preach the Gospel in an old Baptist Chapel near Clayhidon.”

Clearly an evangelist at heart, Ephraim poured his life into sharing the Christian faith, ministering both in Dublin and London, but the work in small villages and among country folk lay nearer to his heart. Shortly after his death on 27th December 1930, the following verse was found in his pocket book, and no doubt sums up his whole attitude to life, “Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord” (Phil 3:8)

It’s good to know that the roots of the Church are founded in ‘mission’. Dorchester Community Church became an Independent Church in the early 1970’s. In short this means that, although a Bible believing Church, we are not affiliated to any one denomination. We are however members of the Evangelical Alliance.

Moving on to the present, 2004 saw the Church appoint it’s first ever Pastor, Roger Frapwell. There were just 50 members. The Church had initially sought to recruit a part-time worker. Roger asked if the Church saw this role growing into a full time role?  The response he received was that the Church had enough money for a part-time worker for 4 years, but a full-time worker for only two years.  Roger said, “Then why don’t I start full time and let’s see what God does…”  Numbers began to increase.  We started to run an ‘Alpha’ course, developed child protection procedures, and began to develop small groups, soon linking with other Churches in more creative forms of outreach.  There was question and growing concern over the name of the Church – back then called ‘Acland Road Evangelical Church’.  Following much discussion we became ‘Dorchester Community Church.’


Roger left the church after 17 years of fruitful minsitry at the end of 2021. The church sought to recruit a new full time Pastor in 2022. Through the process it became apparent that God had a different plan. In June 2022 we appointed one of the current Elders ( Glynn Barrow) as part time Pastor and Jack Curtis as part time associate Pastor.

We continue to seek God on his plan to guide us and grow his kingdom through us. We gather around 100 people each Sunday to Worship, hear from his Word and have a chance to chat and share lives together with a time of coffee after each service.


Church Life at Acland Road

Let’s have a glimpse of the building, and Church life, 100 years ago…! The building itself was surrounded by other buildings, all fairly close. This together with the stained glass windows gave quite a dark and gloomy appearance! Coat hangers were all around the walls (as most people walked of course!) and selected Bible verses were displayed on the walls. As a result of people not having cars back then, outings were enjoyed by steam train!

Lighting was by 4 gas lamps plus two either side of the platform.  Heating was by two convection gas fires, one on each side of the hall half way down. The effect in Winter was to either freeze or roast – depending on where you sat!

The back room, known for years as the ‘school room’, was built mostly by Church members. This is where our Junior Church met.


Church on Poundbury

We said a farewell to our old building at Acland Road on Sunday 16th September 2018. Since then we have moved in to our new premises on Poundbury, Dorchester. The building was officially opened by HRH Prince Charles on Monday 26th November 2018.

We continue to examine ‘what we look like’ recognising that, whether we like it or not, to the world in which we live image is everything. If people go on first impressions, we want to do all we can to ensure that the impression they receive from Dorchester Community Church is a good one…

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