Local Churches

The latest church and benefice news.

church letter

As I write, the rain is sweeping across and both the ground and the sheep are very soggy indeed. It hardly seems possible that in just two weeks and indeed when you read this, December will be upon us and we will enter the season of Advent.

Just what are we to make of it all this year? The time of waiting and indeed preparing takes on a whole additional layer as we wait on announcements from the Government which will shape our Christmas time.

Covid cannot stop Christmas, with its message of the birth of Jesus, in the manger, at Bethlehem. It will seek to make it different in any number of ways; from dealing with illness or mourning the loss of someone you love at one end of the scale, to letters already being written to Father Christmas at Reindeerland at the other end. Christmas means different things to different people, at different points in their lives and actually, it will be just so this year too.

The arrival of dark evenings, with which lockdown 2 simultaneously arrived, has encouraged people to seek brightness and light through Christmas decoration and preparation. Many have started decorating their home early. As you read this, you may have already opened the first windows on your Advent calendar, as days toward Christmas, count their way down.

It may feel harder than usual to reflect on the God of Advent. Puzzling, mysterious, awesome, beyond our comprehension. God, who is healer and deliverer. God who is as ever, love, in this seasonal time, where words such as expectancy, hope, wonder and mystery form part of our thinking, reading and prayer.

There has been many an Advent and many a Christmas when thoughts have been mixed. You will know very well the type of human action which can make it so. The Churches were there in those times and they remain here for us today.

With God’s blessing, we will have the opportunity to share, to hear God’s message to us this Christmas time. Things will be different in our Churches; we may celebrate Christmas with a service outside, with limited numbers and wearing masks inside. Whatever happens, the message will be the same today as it has always been whether in times of difficulty or not.

As we travel through December and beyond, the opportunity will be there to journey with the shepherds, to share in their joy of the Christ child lying in the manger - Christ the light of the world was born, right there, right then.

We cannot know what lies ahead. Like the wise men who followed the star, we do not know where we will end up, or how things may look when we get there. But God does know and wherever our path may lead there will be the opportunity to serve God, Church and equally important, one another along the way.

As the unfolding events of Advent lead us ever closer to Christmas, I hope and pray that however we may celebrate this year, that we may catch a glimpse of that first Christmas and that the words ‘O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel’, will dwell in our hearts over this season and into the New Year beyond.

I wish you and your families a peaceful and much blessed Christmas and New Year.

Rev’d Tim

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).


Christmas Joy. We certainly need a bit of it. As far as Church Services are concerned, we will do as much as the Covid restrictions will allow. So, while it is impossible to give the details, this is what we plan. Rather than have the normal Christingle for the youngsters we will on Sunday 13th have a Crib Service at 4.30pm in which they can play a part. And yes, the Church and the tree will be decorated and the candles lit. Now things get a bit more complicated. For the service at 6.30pm on Sunday 20th if we are allowed to sing it will be the usual service of Carols and Readings. But since singing is unlikely, we will listen on our excellent sound system to some of the old favourites and hear the Christmas readings.

On Wednesday 23rd at 6.30pm, if we are allowed to sing but only outside, we will meet where we did for Remembrance Sunday for a good old fashioned ‘Carols in the Churchyard’. Please bring torches or lanterns and wrap up well and perhaps a hip flask might come in handy.

For Christmas Day we will have our usual two-part Service commencing at 9.45 and led, as last year, by Revd. Patrick Whitworth. This starts with the Family Service which is then followed a short break and then Holy Communion.

I hope all this isn’t too confusing and nearer the time when we know what we can and cannot offer we will use emails, Facebook, personal contact etc. to say precisely what each service will be. But one thing is certain. We will have to observe the social distancing rules. So, for all services in the church we are going to ask you to book your place(s) in advance. Bookings will be accepted on a first come first served basis and can only be made by contacting Christopher Sears preferably by email at csears53@gmail.com or by phone on 07890 838704. So, here’s hoping we can, in this way at least, Celebrate Christmas.

Remembrance Sunday. For the first time we held our Remembrance Service outside. It was led as always with respect and dignity by Colonel Freeman who movingly spoke of The Tomb of the Unknown Warrior and of all that led up to it and the sacrifice it represents. Over 60 of us were present and we were able to give the collection of £630 to the Royal British Legion Poppy Fund.

The Church Gift Appeal. Very many thanks indeed to all who have given to the Appeal which currently stands at £4,761. It is much appreciated.

Despite or perhaps because of everything, a very Happy Christmas to All.

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
Proposed Christmas Mass Times Christmas Eve – Mass at 6.00pm, and Christmas Day – Mass at 9am

Owing to Covid restrictions on numbers, people wishing to attend Mass must book a seat. Please either add your name to the list in the church or contact Paul Burrough, below, as soon as possible.

For further information contact Paul Burrough 01488 668882 Mobile 07836 292976 Email paul.burrough@talktalk.net

Inkpen graveyards on-line

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A victorian view - now and then

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