Local Churches

The latest church and benefice news.

church letter

And so – that was 2020. In fact, of course, as I write this, it is still 2020 and we are waiting to hear what may – or may not – be permissible during the Christmas “easing”. And then to decide to what extent we may or may not wish to take advantage of the relaxation of the rules. But by the time you are reading this, that will all be past history – the almost final page in the extraordinary annals of our very own 21st Century Year of the Plague.

There is so much to say about 2020 that my mind and my typing fingers have no idea where to start. And yet, for so many of us, for so much of the year, nothing much happened. We didn’t go anywhere; we didn’t meet anyone. The skies were quiet, the birds sang, the butterflies fluttered and the roads were almost empty except for unaccustomed family outings by bicycle – clearly enjoyed more by some members of the various parties than by others. The sun shone day after day – it really did although it seems hard to remember now. Shopping for necessities became an expedition – fraught with peril and queues outside shops and confusing arrows and one-way systems inside and hand sanitiser and trolley wipes – and empty shelves. Word whizzed around the village if there was pasta in stock – or even more excitingly, flour. Or, whisper the words – toilet rolls.

We stopped in the street and along the footpaths and chatted – at a safe distance – to neighbours whom we might previously have seen in glimpses, dashing off to work at dawn and returning at dusk, but who now had time and to spare, to talk. Volunteers appeared out of nowhere to do what they could to help friends, neighbours and strangers. Solitude became loneliness for many. People were furloughed and peoples’ jobs disappeared. People died and people recovered. And schools were closed and children enjoyed the freedom – and children were bored and drove their parents to distraction. And we all tuned in to the daily briefings and we all learned to read graphs – better sometimes, it seemed, than those presenting them. And churches were closed and meetings were cancelled and to our amazement we all (well, nearly all) learned to Zoom. And then to bubble.

The possibility of a vaccine maybe, just maybe, by the summer of 2021 was like the elusive pot of gold at the rainbow’s end. And where are we now – and what have we learned? What have we forgotten that once we knew?

If you are anything like me, you are still processing 2020 and its twists and turns and peaks and troughs – different experiences and different responses for each of us. What will life be like – post-Covid? Who knows? What will happen to those new friendships – and those new puppies and bicycles if it comes to that? What about those old relationships with people we haven’t seen for nearly a year? What will be the same? What will be different? What have we lost? What have we gained? 2,000 or so years ago, St Paul wrote – “And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love”. We need them all now, just as much as he needed them then . . . so may they be ours to take with us into the year ahead – into 2021, whatever that may bring.

Rev’d Tim Wood

Church Contacts


Associate Priest: The Revd. Tim Wood – Tel. 01488 669261; Mob: 07927352847; Email: revtimothywood@gmail.com.
Benefice Administrator: Alex King, part-time at the Benefice Office – Tel. 01635 226 064; Email: wbboffice@gmail.com. Churchwardens:
Inkpen: Gerald Atkinson (tel. 668375).
Combe: David Russell (tel. 668229), Katherine Astor (tel. 668284).

Inkpen graveyards on-line

For anyone wishing to view the details of Inkpen's graveyards, including burial details, grave stone inscriptions and the location of the graves, please click here.  Inkpen Burial, Marriage, Baptism and Birth records covering the period 1607 to 1837 can be found on the Inkpen history website, here.

NEWS FROM ST. MICHAEL'S

A Christmas Like No Other. This year Christingle was replaced by the Crib Service when, as the story was told, the children with their parents brought up the figures to create the nativity scene. It was much enjoyed and was a great success. In addition, the collection in aid of The Children's Society amounted to £200 - a figure which far exceeded the normal.

But no singing! So instead, on the evening of the Sunday before Christmas we listened in the candlelit and beautifully decorated church to some of the readings and music that make Christmas so special. However later in the week - Carol Singing - as more than 20 of us assembled on the evening of the 23rd in the Churchyard in some pretty miserable weather and we gave it our all!

Christmas Morning was exceptional. So that we could sing we met once more in the Churchyard - but this time over 100 of us. The temperature remained at around freezing but we welcomed the birth of Jesus as we should - with reverence and enthusiasm. Thanks to so many.

Services in January. For the Parish Communion on the 10th which will be led by Revd. Patrick Whitworth, we are breaking with the tradition of the Twelve Days of Christmas by leaving the Christmas decorations in place. We thought, because of the Tier 4 restrictions and so few had been able to enjoy them, we would give ourselves a final opportunity. We will celebrate Epiphany on the 6th at the same service. All are very welcome whether they take Communion or not. The quiet and reflective service of Compline which is on the 24th will be led by Christopher Sears and the Parish Communion on the 31st will be led by Revd. Tim Wood. There is no need to book for any of these services.

But for each of these three the obvious caveat is that Government dictum might change and clearly, we would be bound by that. And the same applies for the regular opening for personal prayer and meditation which at the moment is every Wednesday and Sunday (when there isn't a Service) from 10am to 4pm.

Gerald Atkinson. Churchwarden and Hon. Treasurer.

catholic services

Our Lady of Lourdes, Priory Road, Hungerford RG17 0AF Parish Priest - Fr Zbigniew Budyn 01635 40332. Sunday Mass - every Sunday at 9.00am Weekday Mass - every Wednesday at 10.00am. For further information contact Paul Burrough 01488 668882 Mobile 07836 292976 Email paul.burrough@talktalk.net

A victorian view - now and then

The images of St. Michael's past and present are shown here

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