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church letter

Dear Friends,

Black Lives Matter. Black lives matter. Black lives really do matter. Let me say it again in case you missed it: BLACK LIVES MATTER

Now, maybe you think I’m jumping on a political bandwagon here. Or maybe you think “Religion and Politics don’t mix” – the Church should stay out of Politics. (People really do still say that.)

Let me tell you a story about a friend of mine. I think I’ll call her . . . Mollie. In this diocese the training for Licensed Lay Ministry (my role) is not quite identical to the training for ordination to priesthood. Not quite – but close; we share most of the training modules. So, we get to know each other quite well. Mollie is training to be a priest; I first met her in Reading, over two years ago, both struggling through a module on “Christian Discipleship”.

Mollie is Caribbean. Her dad was a minister in Trinidad. Mollie told us once: “In Trinidad, family always eat together – but I can’t remember a single meal as a child when we were just family; my dad always had a waif or stray or homeless person or someone having bad luck or bad times who shared our family meals – and sometimes the family home. That was just how it was.” Mollie has never doubted her faith or her Christian vocation – “it’s just how it is.”

I’ve met her daughter, who regards her mother with exasperated affection – “it’s just how she is.” Mollie and I are again on a course together – studying the Book of Job in “The Old Testament” – an exploration of human suffering. Earlier in June, at the height of the BLM international protests, and the day before the funeral of George Floyd, Mollie and I, with one other, were in an online discussion group. I
forget what particular aspect we were supposed to be discussing, it didn’t really happen and the tutor had the sense to leave us alone and let us just get on with talking and listening.

“I rang Alan (the tutor) this week – and told him I can’t do this anymore, there’s no point in my coming, I can’t be a priest.”


“All that’s happening at the moment – you’re white, you just wouldn’t be able to understand – but you see, these are my people; it’s all happening to my people, and I can’t find it in my heart to forgive what’s being done to me and my people – and if I can’t forgive, then all that anger makes me feel that I shouldn’t become a priest.”

We went on talking until we were called back to the main group, supposedly to contribute to whatever was the subject of the week. That didn’t happen, but what did happen, for me, was a sudden elevation of understanding – from a generally sympathetic but, I suppose, rather detached interest in world events, to being right there, right alongside someone for whom it is a present and actual reality.

Oddly, and unexpectedly, it seems to have contributed quite a lot to my understanding of the Book of Job and its focus on justice and righteousness and suffering. It has also made me realise, I think for the first time that – no – if you’re white, with all the unspoken privilege that goes with that – you don’t, you can’t, understand.

Black lives – like all our lives – matter.


PS: Mollie’s last words on the subject: “Well OK, I’ll hang on in there – maybe God wants me to use all this anger – somehow.

Church Contacts

Priest-in-Charge: The Revd. Mark Wilson – Tel. 01488 491105; Mob: 07935550838; Email: markajwilson1@gmail.com.
Associate Priest: The Revd. Tim Wood – Tel. 01488 669261; Mob: 07927352847; Email: revtimothywood@gmail.com.
Benefice Administrator: Deborah Wilson, part-time (Tues & Wed) at the Benefice Office – Tel. 01635 226064; Email: wbboffice@gmail.com. Churchwardens:
Inkpen:Peter Bell (tel. 668395), Gerald Atkinson (tel. 668375).
Combe: David Russell (tel. 668229), Katherine Astor (tel. 668284).


Well, at last we are easing our way through to normality though what the new 'normal' will be, goodness only knows. But at least we can say that with effect from Wednesday 1st July we are allowed to open St. Michael's twice a week for personal prayer, meditation or just a moment of peace and quiet. The days of opening are Wednesday and Sunday, and the times are from 9am to 4pm.

All are welcome. You will find an information notice in the Porch as you enter which we trust will make your visit a safe one. For more than 800 years St. Michael's has been a place of worship and prayer at times of rejoicing, disquiet and sadness. So, if you feel moved to enter, don't deny it. Just come. Be still and let the presence of the Lord fill your heart.

catholic services

In line with Government instructions, Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Hungerford will be closed until further notice.  For further information, contact Paul Burrough 01488 668882, mobile 07836 292976 or email paul.burrough@talktalk.net.

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

A victorian view - now and then

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

Church Services

All Inkpen church services are suspended for the time being, in accordance with Government instructions.  But for us in the Benefice, weekly services are continuing on-line and if you would like to follow them live go to http://www.walburybeaconbenefice.org.uk/services/morning-prayer.php which then gives you a Zoom link.

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