Coming soon: Light a Spiritual Journey

Exploring angels at Dorchester Abbey

DORCHESTER Abbey will be hosting a celebration of angels with an exhibition, interactive family themed workshops and a Celebration of Angels in Music concert. The exhibition will be open from 22 October until 6 January between 9am and 4.30pm, excluding services.Central stage will be given to a series of hanging angel painting reproductions with kind permission from the National Gallery in London. 

An angels trail will lead the visitor through the Abbey, exploring the role of angels in the journey of life. During half term, angel themed craft workshops will be geared towards primary age children. A draw your own guardian angel competition is open to all ages. The concert will be held on Wednesday 29 November at 6.30pm. Check for more information.

A school trip to Narnia

CHILDREN from Burchett’s Green CE Primary School are pictured as Kings and Queens of Narnia after they stepped through the wardrobe into the Narnia exhibition that has been running at Dorchester Abbey. burchettsgreen

The youngsters had already enjoyed a Narnia day at school, and the topic was combined with their evacuee day, as the children who went to Narnia in CS Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe were evacuees.

Crafts and worship at annual Love Is service


HUNDREDS of year six children took part in Love Is services arranged by the Diocesan Education Department towards the end of the summer term. The events took place at Dorchester Abbey, Christ Church Cathedral and Greyfriars, Reading. Photographs from Dorchester Abbey are in the gallery:

Step into Narnia at Dorchester Abbey later this year

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DORCHESTER Abbey is being transformed into Narnia for an interactive exhibition and series of events this winter.

Visitors will walk through a rail of hanging coats to the cloisters, where the lack of heating and stone walls will contribute to the chilly, wintery feel of the beginning of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

Before this they will have already been through an evacuation scene with gas masks and replica ration books from World War 2, recreating the experience of the child evacuees, Lucy, Peter, Edmund and Susan Pevensie, the main characters in the classic story.


Fit for a queen: Margaret tries out one of the thrones as she prepares to transform Dorchester Abbey into Narnia.

“CS Lewis hosted evacuated children in his home in the Kilns in Oxford,” said Margaret Craig, the Abbey’s education officer. “He bought them fish and chips every so often and would take them to Blackwells to buy them books.” Margaret has been planning the exhibition, complete with workshops and culminating in a concert for schools, for 18 months.

Snow will gradually deplete as visitors move around zones, including Mr Tumnus’s sitting room, Mr and Mrs Beaver’s House, a sleigh for the White Witch and a large-scale lion’s head to represent Aslan. The exit will be through another ‘wardrobe’ of hung coats.

All ages are welcome to the free Tuesday workshops on 13 and 20 September and 4 and 11 October to make Aslan Sculptures and magic snowflakes. Schools are also welcome to book visits.

The exhibition runs from October 22 to November 22, 9am to 4.30pm. A closing schools concert is on November 22, 6.30 to 8.30pm.

Wanted: Margaret would still like to find a couple of old standard lamps, old rugs and coats, fairy lights, play crowns, swords and shields, an arm chair, bows and arrows, and various other bits and pieces. Volunteers are also needed for school groups and half term/ weekend visits, including anyone who fancies acting as an adult character from the book. For more information see or email

Narnia® is a registered trademark of CS Lewis Pte Ltd
THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE by C.S. Lewis copyright © C.S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. 1950


A mile for migrants at Dorchester Abbey


I don’t expect any of us will forget those pictures of Aylan lying like a doll on the beach and then in the arms of a soldier. One dead child focused the pain and compassion of the world. The question we all asked then was “what can I do?” That question hasn’t gone away and I pray it will remain as long as necessary.

The Revd Canon Sue Booys

The Revd Canon Sue Booys

That week Denise Line, our mission co-ordinator came to me. “Not sure what you’ll think, this idea may be a bit old hat!” She was proposing a mile of pennies around the Abbey to raise money to support Migrants and the idea grew! We would lay the first coins immediately after Harvest Festival. We would begin in the chancel. Steph Forman (organiser of the Dorchester Festival) was persuaded to offer help and expertise and the event quickly became the Mile for Migrants. We had just a couple of weeks from idea to event which might seem just a bit risky! However we gossiped this bit of news everywhere we could and it soon became clear that it had caught people’s imagination. It allowed anyone to participate – pennies are not big things and (as we were to discover) many people had been keeping coppers for years.

Local schools, press and radio publicised the event. Members of the Fellowship of St Birinus (people who make outstanding contributions to Church) attending a service a week earlier gave over £500. A woman from Blackbird Leys saw the Oxford Mail article and phoned to offer her lifelong copper collection.

So perhaps we should not have been surprised when at half past eleven on Sunday people began to arrive; a gentleman with a sack trolley and two boxes of coins, one child who had emptied her piggy bank and another who had made his Mum drive from Hermitage. Josh and Ella Forman and Adrian Brooks made the Save the Children logo of pennies to start the mile and Jasmine Whitbread (CEO of SCF International) who lives in Dorchester came to take a look. In less than half an hour a triple line of pennies stretched along the nave to the back of the Abbey. By 6pm and masses of visitors, stories and cups of tea later we had made a mile and a quarter of pennies and a massive £1,068.42p.
Watching over us were the figures in our stained glass windows – pregnant Mary on a donkey with Joseph, migrants with nowhere to stay, refugees, forced to flee in the face of King Herod’s violence. Moses led slaves away from Egypt in that great migration Exodus.

Migration is not new, neither is the persecution and hardship that causes people to leave their homes in search of safety and security. Maybe we sense that this could happen to us and our families and perhaps that is why so many joined in with our Mile for Migrants. A big thank you to them all!

In the Abbey we shall be holding a Vigil for Migrants on Sunday 1 November 6.30pm – 9pm
Our Advent Carol service on 29 November at 6pm will follow a pattern of prayer and readings to help us pray together for refugees. Further details are on
The Revd Canon Sue Booys is the Rector of Dorchester Abbey.

For one night only…


RIDING Lights Passion Play for Lent 2014 will be playing at Dorchester Abbey on April 12th.

Inheritance by Bridget Foreman weaves the strands of the biblical Passion into a dramatic new narrative, exploring in particular some of Jesus’ encounters with women in the gospels. Inheritance evokes the community where Jesus lived, the people who knew him best, the powers that brought him to execution. And in the shadow of the cross it casts light on some of the women who Jesus stands alongside, sharing in their suffering.

See Inheritance performed in Dorchester Abbey on 12th April 2014 at 7.30 Dorchester Abbey is on High Street Dorchester on Thames Oxfordshire

OX107HH. Tickets cost £5 (£4 under 16) and are available from the online box office.  There are no charges for online booking unless postage is requested

Tickets may be booked by phone 0333 666 3366 – there is a small additional charge for this.




Carol concert for adoption charity at Dorchester Abbey


THE annual carol concert at Dorchester Abbey raised £1,000 for the charity Parents and Children Together (PACT). Read the Oxford Mail’s report here.