The Circuit has a Covenant with the Parish Church of St John, Tolpuddle.
As part of our agreement to worship and work together, there is a monthly Methodist Service, normally in the Parish Church (9.30 am on the second Sunday of each month) but several times a year in the Methodist Chapel.
Tolpuddle Chapel is a Methodist Heritage site, open daily between Easter and October. Most of the Tolpuddle Martyrs were Methodists and three were Local Preachers; their striving for social justice was born out of their faith. An exhibition in the Chapel explores the Christian perspective of their story.
The Heritage Project has its own website which can be accessed via this link
For more information about Methodist heritage sites, go to the Methodist Heritage website.
The original Methodist Chapel, the building in which the Martyrs worshipped was purchased in 2015 by the Tolpuddle Old Chapel Trust.
Check the progress of this exciting development
on the Trust website.
Copies of the booklet:-
"God is our guide — The Tolpuddle Martyrs and their Methodist roots"
are available from the Shop at United Church Dorchester at £2.80 (incl. post and packing).
The annual Tolpuddle Festival ends with a Service at the Methodist Church. In 2018, we welcomed both the President and the Vice-President of the Methodist Conference (Revd Michaela Youngson and Bala Gnanapragasam) to lead worship at the beginning of their year of office.
JANUARY 2019 UPDATE]
Two relatively recent highlights at Tolpuddle have been the 200th Anniversary of the old original chapel and a candlelight carol service. More than 80 people from across the Circuit gathered for the special anniversary when the guest preacher was the Rev Dr Andrew Wood (Chair of the Southampton District of the Methodist Church). We were also delighted to welcome Bishop Karen of Sherborne who shared in the service. After worship in the 'new' (1860's) chapel we all walked down to the old chapel for a short open air act of worship led by the Rev John Walker. We had all been invited to take chosen flint stones which we handed over to be used in the rebuilt fabric as Christians are described in the New Testament as 'living stones' of God's Temple. Two member of the Trust greeted us and told us the latest news of fund raising for the renewal of the building. At present £120K still needs to be raised in matching funding to draw down the major grants that have been promised — with the hope of two more grants in the pipeline. Personal donations are welcome. ('Tolpuddle Old Chapel Trust' 59A Main Street, Tolpuddle, Dorchester DT2 7ET). The celebration continued with a fine tea in the village hall when the Bishop and Chair of District cut a wonderful cake.
The candlelight carol service in St John's Church was arranged by one of the churchwardens, Hilly Cobham, who liaised with Alison Cocks (now secretary of the Friends of Tolpuddle Methodist Chapel). A specially recruited united choir and guest organist ensured a musical treat and many aspects of village life were represented by the readers of the lessons.
Looking to the future the Friends are inviting quotations for the interior and exterior repainting of the chapel in order to preserve and present it well for the many visitors who each year come from all over the world. Our voluntary caretakers, John and Frances Russell, have had to withdraw for health reasons and we owe them a big debt of gratitude for all the time and care they have given. We need to look for new help...meanwhile covering the need on a rota again. Chris Warren has also withdrawn after a long and deep involvement which has been of great help. The Rev Peter Brazier has joined the committee and we welcome his fresh insights. Would you like to join the Friends?
A new printed booklet of Tolpuddle prayers in various styles has been presented to help visitors to the chapel enjoy a prayerful moment and take away a memento of their visit. A new leaflet called 'What Moved the Martyrs?' discerning the faith that shaped them and their peaceful protest will soon be available.
We are pleased to announce that we expect the preacher at the end-of-festival service this year (5pm 21 July) will be the Rev Dr Barbara Glasson who will then be the President of the Methodist Conference. Her alongside style of engagement with people and their needs in the inner cities (Liverpool and Bradford) is well known and effective.