Berinsfield’s Diamond Anniversary

St Mary and St Birin church in Birinsfield

The Church of St Mary and St Berin, Berinsfield, is celebrating its 60th anniversary in October. There will be a weekend of celebratory events on Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 October, commencing with a craft fayre and exhibition in the church and church hall on the Saturday. The craft fayre will feature stalls from local Berinsfield sellers, including many homemade items, and will be the perfect opportunity to get ahead with some Christmas shopping. The exhibition will include photographs and memories of the village, featuring contributions from across the local community, both young and old. There will also be flower displays.

On Sunday 24 October, the church will hold a special anniversary service, led by the Bishop of Dorchester, the Right Revd Gavin Collins. This will be an opportunity to give thanks for 60 years of Christian worship and ministry in the village of Berinsfield, and former vicars and curates of the church have been invited to come back and visit. As part of the service, the bishop will bless a new sign, as we will not only look backwards to fond memories but forwards to the continued work and presence of the church in our community. Visitors will then be treated to a special lunch, and various members of the congregation have been working very hard on all the planning and preparations for the weekend.

Sixty conversations for sixty years

As part of the lead up to the anniversary weekend, the congregation at St Mary & St Berin have been working with community organiser Keith Hebden from Citizens UK, who has challenged us to have 60 conversations as part of our sixtieth anniversary. It is currently an exciting time, not just for the church but for the whole village of Berinsfield as plans for a new housing development and transformation to becoming a garden village are underway.

The Revd Teresa Stewart-Sykes, Team Vicar in the Dorchester Ministry Team and vicar of Berinsfield

The Revd Teresa Stewart-Sykes, vicar of Berinsfield

The Church of England parish church was built by Berinsfield villagers in 1961 and designed by Reverend Harold Best, who at the time was the vicar of Dorchester. Like the village itself, the church is named after St Birinus (or Berin), the first Bishop of Dorchester who converted the Saxon kingdom of Wessex to Christianity in the seventh century. The church building is shared by the Roman Catholics, who hold a weekly mass there.

The next 60 years

St Mary & St Berin, Berinsfield, hosts a range of services and community activities. These include Sunday and midweek communion services, coffee mornings, Messy Church, monthly shared lunches, a weekly fellowship group, Christenings, weddings, funerals and memorial services, and our two latest initiatives: a chair-based exercise class and a memory café.

The Revd Teresa Stewart-Sykes, Team Vicar in the Dorchester Ministry Team and vicar of Berinsfield, said,

“60 years is a significant birthday for our church community; we are really excited to celebrate all that has been done in our church and village over the past 60 years, and we are hopeful that the next 60 years will bring fresh opportunities and new joys”.

All are welcome to the celebratory exhibition and craft fayre on Saturday 24 October and to any of our services. For more information about upcoming services, please see the website.

The Revd Sorrel Shamel-Wood

Assistant Curate in the Dorchester Team Ministry