Black Lives Matter. Black lives matter. Black lives really do
matter. Let me say it again in case you missed it: BLACK LIVES
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
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
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
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
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,
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.
Priest-in-Charge: The Revd. Mark Wilson – Tel. 01488 491105; Mob:
07935550838; Email: email@example.com.
Associate Priest: The Revd. Tim Wood – Tel. 01488 669261; Mob:
07927352847; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Benefice Administrator: Deborah Wilson, part-time (Tues &
Wed) at the Benefice Office – Tel. 01635 226064; Email:
Inkpen:Peter Bell (tel. 668395), Gerald Atkinson (tel. 668375).
Combe: David Russell (tel. 668229), Katherine Astor (tel. 668284).
NEWS FROM ST. MICHAEL'S
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.
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 email@example.com.
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
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.