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Flooded Church Celebrates First Festival Since Dorset Storms


9:07am 20th April 2014

A village church in Dorset is celebrating its first major festival 3 months on from being completely washed out by the floods.

The church of St Mary the Virgin in Charminster was left a foot underwater when rising groundwater levels burst through the floor back in January.

Services had to be moved to the nearby village hall due to water damage and they've been taking place there ever since.

Today they're hosting a special Easter service outside the familiar church walls.

The Grade 1 Listed building is set to undergo improvement work later this year and until that's done, services will be held in the hall.

But part of the church will open for a small special service this morning (Sunday 20th April) from 8am.

However Reverend Pete Stone, who's Curator, at St Mary's Church told us the main service will take place in their new setting, the village hall;

"With the building gone it's made us appreciate the building and each other more, the community has appreciated what the building meant to them."

"In one sense it's quite exciting being out of church because we're able to show that we can carry on with church in a box."

"The great thing about the story of Easter is the story of resurrection and new life, and what's better about new life in a church that was nearly dead a few months ago."

Despite the upheaval Reverend Pete and Vicar Janet Smith have seen an incredible turn around in the Charminster village, with more people attending their weekly services.

Pete says they're getting around 10 to 15 extra people every time and they're trying to put their finger on why;

"We're trying to work it out, it's a combination we think of possibly some people feel more comfortable in a more informal setting and people want to support us. So they come out and they appreciate God a little bit more, if that makes sense, because you can worship him anywhere not just in a church."

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