Local Churches

The latest church and benefice news.

church letter

Just another summer .

I am writing this on a grey, cool, mid-August day – for September publication. Perhaps we shall be enjoying an Indian summer as you read this. Or perhaps not.

When I was writing the Ministry Letter for July, mid-June – it was all to play for, all to strive for, in the football, Wimbledon, the Olympics and various Test matches.

And now? There will be many post-mortems taking place in top level sport for months to come. Scrutiny of film footage, review of tactics, thoughts around training, team selection, track and equipment technology etc. We’ve shared moments of hope, moments of glory, moments of despair and anguish with our teams and sporting representatives. And perhaps some moments of shame also, over what we have seen on our news screens of crowd behaviour, online trolling and abuse of individual players and athletes.

We’ve seen youngsters earning their places in the history books – and best of all – in the words of Emma Raducanu, at 18 the youngest British woman to reach the last 16 of The Championships, “having such a blast, just being here . . . I feel like I’m on holiday.” Before the tournament, her parents had said to her: “Aren’t you packing too many sets of match kit?” Well, she wasn’t . . . “I think I’m going to do some laundry tonight!”

Who didn’t warm to the combination of total rapt focus and sheer exuberance on 13-year-old Sky Brown’s face on that final run? Her dream? “I have so many dreams,” she says, “but my main one now is to go to underprivileged places and teach kids to skate, because I feel like skateboarding – and other sports – helps people who are struggling.” We’ve seen Olympic officials making tough moral and political decisions over the forced return of an athlete to a totalitarian state.

We’ve seen high jumpers Tambero from Italy and Barshim from Qatar reach a split-second, almost wordless decision to share gold rather than continue a jump-off – with these heart-felt words from Barshim afterwards: “Humanity solidarity, unity . . . it’s just like peace coming all together. This is beyond sport, this is a true message.”

And all being played out against a background of record heatwaves and temperatures across the world; some of the worst wildfires ever seen; devasting floods, earthquakes and mudslides – all of which have claimed lives, homes, livelihoods and whole communities. The pandemic continues to wane and wax and evolve its own vaccine-evading strategies in different areas around the globe – sometimes making headlines, sometimes not – and always with governments and scientists in hot pursuit.

And meantime, inexorably it seems, the Taliban continue to advance in Afghanistan, stripping away the hard-won advances towards democracy made in the last twenty years by the government there.**

** I paused my writing on that mid-August day – leaving it to be completed in time for the deadline. And just over a week later, coming back to finish it off – what can I say? What can I say? The commentary on events in Afghanistan is pouring out on screen, in print, in parliaments – and will continue to do so, until everything has been said and re-said over and over again.

I met a neighbour – both out walking with our dogs – who said, “I suppose you’re praying about Afghanistan?” Well, yes. What else, at the moment, can we do?


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.
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.


Plenty on this month as we return, at last, to near normal.

On Friday 17th we host the Newcomers Welcome Evening from 7pm onwards. If you have come to the village over the last two years or so you are most welcome to this very informal evening when, with a welcome drink, you can meet and mingle both with others and with leaders of some of the village activities. You will be given a Welcome Pack containing contact details and then at 8.30pm we see the film 'Black Legend' which is written up in more detail on Page 5. We will also show the most delightful, entertaining and unique conversation between Jon Snow and Robert Hardy who when he was an undergraduate at Oxford in 1948 makes his first recorded appearance.

All in all, this offers the opportunity of a useful and entertaining evening. We need to know how many intend to come and we hope to have given personal invitations to those we know of by 13th September. But if you haven't heard from us by then or you would like to book your place now please contact me at geraldelsa@gmail.com. There is no charge but if you decide to stay on for the showing we ask for £5 for each ticket.

Then on Friday 24th September Christopher Sears, who is a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists, will give a short demonstration and recital on our recently refurbished and enhanced organ. This is now a fine instrument for a village church the size of ours. The informal evening which we are calling 'A Musical Aperitif' starts at 6pm and will last for about an hour. There is no charge but there will be a 'plate at the door'. All are very welcome.

Next, we are holding our Harvest Festival Service on the 26th at 9.45. This is very much for the whole family and includes the moment when the children bring to the altar the gifts of produce which are either brought to the Service or to the Church when it is open for decoration from 10.30 on Saturday morning. Revd. Tim Wood will lead the Service to which all are most welcome. The produce is then taken to the Newbury Food Bank.

Finally, it is good to be able to report that from the 1st of the month the Church returns to opening seven days a week from 9.30am to 4pm.

Gerald Atkinson. Churchwarden.

church services

Sunday 5th : Traditional Holy Communion at 8.30am
Sunday 12th : Parish Communion at 9.45am
Sunday 19th : An Evening Service based on Compline but enhanced with additional hymns, prayers and music at 4pm
Sunday 26th : Harvest Festival at 9.45am

Sunday 19th : Holy Communion at 11.15am Other Services in the Benefice are on the Website which is www.walburybeaconbenefice.org.uk

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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