Local Churches

The latest church and benefice news.

church letter

Since moving to West Berkshire some seventeen years ago, I have often enjoyed exploring on foot the beautiful hills and villages which are home to you, rambling along the Wayfarer’s Walk and the Kennet and Avon canal. It never once crossed my mind that I would be joining you here at Walbury Beacon as curate, after my ordination at the end of June. But God is indeed a God of surprises, and this is a surprise that I am delighted to embrace!

By means of introduction…. I live in Thatcham with my husband Mike. My roots are in the Midlands, but I moved south in the 1980s to do a degree in Fine Art at the University of Reading. Fifteen years ago, I retrained as a counsellor, and since then have been counselling in a variety of settings including university, drug and alcohol services, and a family counselling service. I also have a private practice, which I will be continuing part time alongside my curacy. I have a real concern to see individuals – and their families and communities – flourish and grow into all that God has created and called them to be. There is much in life that can wound us, and get in the way of this, and yet Jesus’ intention is give us ‘life in its fulness’. Part of our faith journey, I believe, is working out what that might mean for each of us, and I count it a privilege to walk alongside others who are asking that question.

My own faith journey began in childhood, with some twists and turns along the way. I have worshipped in a variety of churches and traditions, and this has given me an appreciation of the richness of different expressions of prayer and worship, the differences which reflect, I believe, the creativity of God. As I have a love of the outdoors and often find it easier to pray outside and up in the hills, I find Celtic liturgy, such as that of the Northumbria Community, a particularly engaging way to worship. Over the years much of my involvement in the life of the church has focused around small groups, and building relationships that stimulate spiritual growth and emotional well-being. I have a particular passion for reading the Bible with others, chewing it over to see what it has to say to us, wondering about how God wants to speak through it, and how it might make a real difference to how we do life.

When I join you in the summer, I am really looking forward to getting to know you and your communities, your shared life of faith, and hearing about what makes you ‘tick’. Do expect that I will be hanging around wanting to hear your stories over a cuppa, or even taking a stroll with you!

To those of you I have already met, thank you for making me feel so welcome. Alison

Hidden God, you are known to me as absence more than presence
yet just occasionally the point of a needle breaks through the fabric of my life,
makes one perfect golden stitch and disappears again into the depths.
It’s not much, but enough to know that the thread is unbroken and for that I thank you.

Rachel Parkinson, District Chair, Wolverhampton and Shrewsbury District

Church Contacts

Benefice Administrator: Tamara Laing, part-time at the Benefice Office Email: wbboffice@gmail.com 07359 327072.

Inkpen: Charlotte Bampfylde (tel. 669285).
Combe: Tina Fiertz (tel. 668529), Katherine Astor (katherine@kirby-house.co.uk).

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.


It was hoped that by now the Revd. William McDowell would be in post as the Assistant Priest with special responsibility for us, Combe and West Woodhay. Sadly, his continuing ill health has determined that this is not to be - so the search continues. The good news is that to help Canon Annette with her workload in the Benefice Revd. Alison Dean will join her as a part-time non-stipendiary curate. As you will see from the pattern of services for the month given below, she will be joining us at her Welcome Service on the 30th of this month.

Services at St. Michael's for June are Parish Communion at 9.45 on the 2nd, Holy Communion following the Book of Common Prayer at 8.30 on the 9th, Compline led by Christopher Sears at 6pm on the 16th and as mentioned above the Welcome Service for Alison which will also take the form of a Parish Communion is at 10am on the 30th. Do come along to meet and welcome her.

Commemorate 80th Anniversary of D-Day
Combe Gibbet Car Park 11.15am 16th June

Combe is remembering the young men of 9th (Easter and Home Counties) Battalion, The Parachute Regiment, who conducted their final rehearsal for their D-Day attack on the Merville Battery, Normandy, France on the evening of 30th May 1944, in the valley below the Merville Battery Memorial, at Combe. 700 soldiers went through their final night assault in preparation for D-Day.

Combe Church will hold their Commemorative Sunday Service at the Merville Battery Memorial at Combe Gibbet Car Park at 11.15am, 16th June 2024. All are welcome to join us on this special occasion. It is hoped that a contingent of Parachute Troops will join the service. If it is very wet, we will move to Combe Church.

We are again appealing to the many people who have given generously in the past and to others who would like to support the upkeep of our church. If you would like to donate to St. Michael's Church Inkpen, please do so using the secure website www.parishgiving.org.uk.

Your donations are vital to the upkeep of our beautiful church which so many rely on for weddings, baptisms, funerals and memorials as well as regular services. Thank you.

church services FOR INKPEN, COMBE and West Woodhay

Other Services in the Benefice are on the Website which is www.walburybeaconbenefice.org.uk

Sunday 2nd June – Holy Communion at 9.45am
Sunday 9th June – Holy Communion at 8.30am
Sunday 16th June – Compline at 6pm
Sunday 30th June – Holy Communion at 10am

Sunday 16th June - Holy Communion at 11.15am (see page 4)

Sunday 9th June – Morning Prayer at 11.15am
Sunday 23rd June – Holy Communion at 11.15am
29th June Alison Dean's Ordination

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


A victorian view - now and then

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

© MHL - Inkpen Village 2023;
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