Benefice Newsletter


You are the light of the world. (Matthew 5.14)

There cannot be many people today whose ancestors were not touched by World War One in some way. Despite the passage of 100 years, it’s a war many of us are familiar with. There are memorials in every village, town and city, acts of remembrance are followed every November to mark its conclusion, and its necessity or futility is still keenly debated.
While images of British Tommies fighting in the mud and trenches of the Western Front remain vivid, and hugely powerful, the First World War was fought on many other fronts which we may not know so well. It was fought across the continents, at sea and in the air. It was fought by servicemen from Asia, North America, the Caribbean, Australasia and Africa. It was also a war that gave rise to technological innovation and scientific discovery.
The centenary gives us an opportunity to explore and discover the unfamiliar stories about a war we think we know. Of the just over 1,000 people surveyed in the UK, more than half know that it was in Sarajevo that Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary was assassinated – the initial spark that led to the outbreak of war. Almost 70% know that at Christmas 1914 a spontaneous truce between British and German soldiers took place in the no man’s land between their trenches.
But the report highlighted how knowledge of the conflict is largely limited to the fighting on the Western Front in Europe. Less than half of the Britons asked are aware that North America and the Middle East played a part in the war, and less than a quarter know that Africa and Asia were involved. Yet more than 40% of the world’s population in 1914 lived in countries taking part in the war, and with one in five men serving, New Zealand had a higher proportion of men at arms than Britain, France or Germany.Almost three quarters of all the people surveyed, in Egypt, India and Turkey, as well as France, Germany, Britain and Russia, believe their country remains affected by the First World War. For 31%, it triggered more conflict; over a quarter see the war as contributing to their country’s identity, while 28% think the war and its outcomes have had a lasting effect on their country’s international relations, and the way it is viewed by people in other countries.
Reflecting now 100 years on, we will gather to remember all those who gave their lives and endeavour to take their courage and live our lives with conviction.           With every blessing, Mark.


As many of us do, I miss my friend Tony Atkins who has died after a short illness.  We first met at Inkpen Church leading worship together on the organ and from the pulpit.  Perhaps, the most refreshing aspect of worship with Tony was his sense of humour; the understanding that we were engaged in serious, indeed the most serious business, but that this neither precluded nor excluded laughter.  In fact, laughter was an essential counterpoint, adding depth to worship: a human delight in what was being said and done, appreciating that the serious celebrates goodness, wholeness and pleasure.

Tony was a musician, able to sight read and listen.  He might listen to and correct another player but was also aware that sometimes his own peregrinations along the keyboard were not always successful, when he improvised.  ‘Oh, there’s Tony trying out his twiddly bits,’ said Julie Ramsbottom one Sunday evening as a ‘twiddle’ on the theme of a hymn went disastrously wrong.  He was proudly Welsh.  Those of you at his funeral will have seen the picture of him on the service sheet with son Richard at a Welsh international match in Cardiff.  Also, recently, although already ill, a look of surprised delight lit up his face when he saw that Wales had slotted four goals past Ireland putting them atop their international table: above both England and Russia.

As an academic, he tried to explain to me his speciality, a failing professorial endeavour which was my failing entirely.  He was a professor who owed, he said, in part, his promotion to the grammar school education he was offered, allowing him to develop into the person he was.  His academic career took him to America and continued after retirement.  Tony was properly proud of his achievements and told a story of trying to rationalise the marking systems of Oxford and Cambridge universities finally leaving them to find a sensible rationalisation of their differing methods – sorry Tony, missed some of that too!

Then there’s Tony’s other passion too; Great Western Railways; called by him God's Wonderful Railway.  He published several books on the subject and was in despair at what had become of such an important transport artery in recent times.  I understand from Meg that his publications bring in modest royalties each year. 

And so, to the most important part of Tony’s life: his family and their home in the White House, Inkpen.  There are many stories that could be told about this essential part of Tony, the relationships made and sustaining them all.  Two, perhaps, stand out.  Firstly, Tony was not particularly interested in gardening but sharing tasks with Meg, being instructed by her what to do gave the two much pleasure: when she could persuade him not to find something more in the garage.    Then, his children and his grandchildren: his love and pleasure in them: so, the effort this summer, while already ill, to create an ‘Inkpen Stores’ for them to play in: his hopes for the future. 
And a personal note: when I read the email telling me that Tony had died I was sitting in a field.  As I read, I simultaneously watched a beautiful sparrow hawk sweep across the grass: a good man, Tony. 



Join us on Saturday 10th November, in St. Mary's, Kintbury, to mark the centenary of the Armisitice. Read about the land 'our boys' came home to, the poems that expressed their thought and memories. Hear their words. Light a candle of thanksgiving. What did they come home to? Remember the 53 Kintbury men that didn’t come home. Drop in when you can to spend a few minutes with us. The day will begin at 10.00am with prayer, end at 4.00pm with prayer and the playing of The Last Post




11.15am Combe – Rev S Webster

9.15am Enborne & Hamstead Marshall meeting at the Hamstead Park Stone

9.45am Enborne – Jenny Veasey

9.45am Hamstead Marshall – Rev S Webster

10.30am Inkpen – Home Team, Col Nick Freeman

10.45am Kintbury – Rev Mark Wilson

11.15am West Woodhay – Rev G Foulis Brown


In The Barn at

ENBORNE, Saturday 24th November 10-am -12 noon,




St Michael and All Angels’ Church, Enborne held a Harvest themed Flower Festival in the Church on Friday 5th October to Sunday 7th October.  Over 30 flower arrangements were on display, contributed by volunteers from Enborne Church, Newbury Floral Society, Highclere Arbor Flora and members of Shaw-cum-Donnington Church.  The Grand Opening took place on Friday afternoon, attended by pupils from Enborne School and members of the public.  The ribbon was cut by Gillian, Lady Howard De Walden.  Over 250 people visited the arrangements over the week-end, which also included collages prepared by the school on the theme of Van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’.  The Festival culminated in an Evensong on Sunday evening, led by the Bishop of Reading and Rev'd Mark Wilson.  The Bishop also dedicated the converted Barn which is now used as the benefice office and parish hall. Churchwarden, Julian Dickins, commented that “this was the first time Enborne Church had held a Flower Festival for many years.  We were delighted with the outcome, as there were many spectacular displays, beautifully lit on the Sunday by the sun’s rays streaming through the windows.  We are most grateful to Newbury Building Society and others for their kind sponsorship and to all our contributors and visitors over the weekend”.

SPEAKERS CORNER – St Mary’s Hamstead Marshall

A series of 6 speakers, one a month. They are all from the Benefice as we feel there are many living here who are interesting and entertaining. Topics range from biographies to Armenia and Cambodia. The first Speakers' Corner in October was a great success. Edgar Vincent gave a wonderful and intriguing talk on 'My Second Life as a Biographer' and entertained a very appreciative audience with how and why he has written two successful biographies on Nelson and AE Housman. A delightful and fascinating story.  The dates for the following Speakers' Corners are as follows: Friday, November 2nd, 7.30pm. Hallam and Katie Goad ‘Cambodia: from Khmer Rouge to Epic Arts’. Thursday, December 6th, 7.30pm. Jess Mallison and Jack Dunlop ‘Mud and Mangoes in Africa’.Thursday, January 10th 2019, 7.30pm. Atul Wahi and Jess Fanner ‘Tantalising India’.Tuesday, February 12th 2019, 7.30pm. Patrick Whitworth ‘Armenia, Proud Survivor of a Tempestuous Past’. Venue: St Mary's Church, Hamstead Marshall.Parking: By the church. Cost: £5 (which includes a glass of wine, soft drink and nibbles) Please email if you would like more details and information of the series.


Despite the somewhat inclement weather, St. Mary's, Kintbury had a healthy congregation to hear Patrick use vegetables to draw out our thoughts on the fruits of faith that we produce and prayers for the world and local community. Many thanks to Alison for the delicious brunch which must surely remind us to be truly grateful for our 'daily bread'.



Sunday 18th November 9.45am


Bring along your Bear, no matter how old or young you are, to all share in a picnic with Bread and Ribena - representing wine and other goodies.


Revd Mark will be taking the service and explaining about the food of life that Jesus provides for us.


The service will be followed by Brunch for all in St. Mary’s room including hot sausages in a roll, cheese scones, cake and other yummy items.




We are delighted to be able to offer 2 free community events in St Mary’s Room during November, thanks to the Corn Exchange, Sovereign Housing Association Limited and the British Red Cross. Everyday First Aid: Wednesday 21st November, 10:00 – 12:30 . Learn what to do in an emergency: falls, bleeding, choking, heart attack, stroke, loss of consciousness. Crafting for Over-55s: Monday 26th November, 10:00 – 12:00  Join us for craft, chat, cuppa card making, gift tags, boxes. To sign up for either of these, contact or sign up on the lists in St Mary’s Church or  the Corner Stores


Update: Walbury Beacon Benefice Pastoral Care!

Following on from the discussions held at the Benefice Conference Day in March this year, the Ministry Team have recently met to begin reviewing the way in which our churches  offer pastoral care, both to those within the churches and also to those in our village communities who wish to receive it.

Of course, there are many groups and organisations within our villages that already serve their communities well and meet the many needs of villagers. We do not want to re-invent the wheel! However, it is important that we evaluate from time to time the contribution the churches bring to their communities and, where we can, improve that contribution.

Accordingly, over the next few months, the Ministry Team are hoping to hear from those who are already offering ‘care in the community’. We will seek thoughts and comments about areas of care or ‘gaps’ where the churches might contribute more fully to the life of our village communities and we will report back to you all our findings.

In addition, we hope it won’t be long before we welcome a new House for Duty priest colleague to take over from Revd. Matthew Cookson. When the Ministry Team is at full strength again, we will seek to implement some of the ideas gleaned from this process.

If anyone has thoughts or ideas they would like to share, or if you or someone else needs pastoral care, please contact Revd Sue Webster on 07817408297 or at Thank you. Revd Sue


Free one-to-one computer help - Nov session.The Walbury Computer Group volunteers second of our three free autumn session is on 7 Nov. We can help with your laptop, tablet, phone or digital camera. Last session:  Wednesday 5 December. We  have bookings for both,  a few slots remaining. If you would like to book a 1-hour session at either 10:00 or 11:00 with one of our volunteers   please phone Patricia Poyton on 668901.


Contacts: Benefice: Priest-in-charge: Rev Mark Wilson,
'phone: (01488) 491105 or .

Office: email Deborah at for the Beacon by email

Items for The Beacon to Penny at ian_fletcher43@btinternet;
or Phil at or ‘phone (01488) 658767.