Benefice Newsletter

                     THE BEACON
                 (Matthew 5:14: you are the light of the world)
                   February 2018


Frowned upon as superstition after the reformation, it was often the practice to bring bunches of snowdrops indoors to purify the house at Candlemas



                                         Saturday February 17th 2018, in aid of Enborne Church Funds.  


Holy Communion Service in St. Mary’s Kintbury at 7.00pm


To bow the head in sackcloth and in ashes, or rend the soul,

Such grief is not Lent’s goal; but to be led to where God’s glory flashes,

His beauty to come nigh, to fly, to fly, To fly where truth and beauty do lie

 (Percy Dearmer)



Please call or email host concerned to confirm you will be there,

 Friday 16th February – Hamstead Marshall: Katie Wallis - 1 Elm Farm Cottage, Hamstead Marshall, Newbury RG20 0HR - children invited! Tel: 07879 884491

Friday 23rd February – Enborne: Roger Pope -The Barn Enborne   01635 255200

Friday 2nd March – Combe: Katherine Astor - Kirby House – Tel: 01488 668284

Friday 9th March – Inkpen: Meg & Tony Atkins – White House, Heads Lane, Inkpen, RG17 9QS Tel: 01488 668375

Friday 16th March – Kintbury: Rev Mark Wilson – The Vicarage, 3 Elizabeth Gardens, Kintbury, Hungerford, RG17 9TB Tel: 01488 491105

Friday 23rd March – West Woodhay: Anna Bradstock – The Old Rectory,
West Woodhay

The 14th is also, of course, St Valentine’s Day. Geoffrey Chaucer often took liberties with history and romance was not connected with Valentine, until he linked the two in a poem referring to the 14th as the day when birds come together in pairs. Tradition says Valentine was martyred for helping Christian couples wed. He is also patron of beekeepers and epilepsy.


THE ALL AGE SERVICE AT HAMSTEAD was led by Mark and the 40+ congregation were treated to coffee, sherry and doughnuts. (I like it –Ed)



We studied and discussed the Transfiguration as described by Mark. (Gospel-writer not the vicar.)  Many interesting points emerged: what made the three disciples think it was Moses and Elijah? Why did Jesus give an obscure answer to their question? Above all the impact the experience made upon them as Peter recalled in his second letter…. . “we have been eyewitnesses of His majesty.” The Lent Faith Group meets on
27th February, 6th,13th, 20th March: 7:30 – 9:00pm in St. Mary’s Room, Kintbury.
For Holy Week observations please see March edition of The Beacon.


Leila Cox writes:  Our speaker at January’s Filling Station in Kintbury was young mum Katherine Gantlett, who spoke powerfully and emotively on the topic of ‘getting up while it’s still dark’ – a talk inspired by the line in Proverbs 31:15.  The talk came from her heart, backed with thought, considerable research and many biblical verses, borne out of her own long 7 year walk through the darkness, on her journey through 4 successive miscarriages and the tragic death of her first daughter, stillborn at full term.  Katherine led us through the stages of that hard walk and the way through her pain, grief and even anger at God, beginning with the initial need to ‘learn to lament.’ The importance and the releasing power of ‘being real’ and honest with God – i.e. bringing our difficulties, disappointments and even resentment towards him to him in prayer.  She shared the revelation that lament is actually still worship – but ‘worship in a minor key’.  Her talk touched many on the night and gave us encouragement, hope and practical strategies for the dark times in our lives – you can read more in her blog: . Please note that there will not be a Meeting in February; we resume our monthly evening meetings at the Coronation Hall from Wed 13th March 7.30-9pm. Please get in touch if you’re interested and be assured a warm welcome if you’d like to give it a try!  More info at  



The Swing Riots affected the whole of the Benefice. Men from West Woodhay and Inkpen met at the Blue Ball and persuaded the men of Kintbury to assemble the next day.  However, William was the only one who paid the ultimate penalty for the ensuing protest. Twenty people from the Benefice, Museum of Rural Life, and the Trades Union, gathered by his grave to hear an account of his death. A minute’s silence was observed at mid-day and poems read to reflect the times and emotions of the period.



We welcome into the Church through Baptism

 4th February         Jake Tyler Hutchins                 Kintbury

We thank God for the life of

24th January         Rev’d Charles Pakenham        Funeral service at Inkpen

 2nd February        Mrs. Elizabeth Blitz                  Enborne



 Tribute to Charles Pakenham From Canon Julie Ramsbottom

  Charles and I shared ministry together in the West Woodhay (latterly the Walbury Beacon) Benefice from 1997 – 2011. He was simply the best priest and colleague that I have ever had the privilege to work alongside.  

  Charles was a devoted parish priest, always ‘giving’ of himself in every way, and always prepared to go the extra mile. Even in his late eighties he was prepared to take at least two services on a Sunday, and would make the quick dash from Hamstead Marshall to Combe with terrifying speed. Once there, even after puffing up the hill, he would deliver the service in his arresting voice with total authority and lead the singing. His sermons, delivered without notes; were very well prepared – short, sharp and to the point; and often controversial. His prayers were also well prepared and focused.  

 Married for 61 years Charles had met Pauline shortly before he went out to engage in missionary work in Nigeria in 1944.  When he returned to the UK in 1949 they were married in Christ Church, Swindon. To me they were the model couple – each pursuing their own interests but sharing so much in common, trusting one another completely, and intent on enjoying their time together to the full. They moved first to Cheltenham where Charles served as curate of St Mary’s, and thence to Liverpool where he became Vicar of Christ Church from 1952 - 1984, before retiring to Aldbourne. Charles could never truly ‘retire’ from the priesthood however, and from the early 1990s took up ‘PTO’ – ‘permission to officiate’ – in the West Woodhay Benefice, even becoming priest-in-charge for a short period. Ever supportive of Charles’ ministry Pauline accompanied him to every service, and shared his Christian faith, loyalty and commitment in every possible way. When she died in June 2010, after three years during which Charles cared for her as her health declined, he was heart-broken.


Charles and Pauline were also renowned for their hospitality. Charles loved shooting and fishing, and then creating excellent dishes from the fruits of his labours. Although we were all quite relieved, he was very reluctant to give up his shooting in his late 80s; but took solace from the fact that he could still enjoy his fishing. He was a great cook, and on so many occasions our family enjoyed an excellent meal at Cook Rd, accompanied by well-chosen wine – which Charles also loved! Indeed going down to the local with his friends was one of the highlights of his week, and not to be missed.


Perhaps though what I will miss the most with Charles’ passing will be his ‘wicked’ sense of humour. When we shared services, there was always the inevitable usually ‘loud’ stage whisper – the odd joke about something that amused him – it meant that none of the team were ever in danger of taking ourselves too seriously. It was a total joy and delight to share ministry with him.  

Charles – you will be much missed but always remembered with love and affection –  reunited with your beloved Pauline may you rest in peace and rise in glory. Amen


Walbury Beacon Benefice Meetings

Please note the ones that are taking place in your Parish.

Combe:                  Saturday 3rd February.    10:30. Combe Manor.

Enborne & Hamstead Marshall. Saturday 3rd March. 11.00-12.30.  Enborne Rectory.

Inkpen:                  Tuesday 6th February.     19.30. Parish Room.

Inkpen & Combe:  Saturday 24th February.   10.30 Parish Room.

Kintbury.               Tuesday 6th February.     19.00 St. Mary's Room.

Kintbury & WW     Tuesday 13th February.   19.00 St. Mary's Room.

West Woodhay.    Date to be confirmed.

These meetings present us all with an opportunity to have a real input into the future of our Benefice. I do hope that all of us will make an effort to attend. It is our hope that this process will give all of us an opportunity to look at our Benefice and to begin to plan a way forward. We want all of you to be part of this process.
We believe that this can be a turning point for WBB and that with all of us working together we can achieve great things. Please pray for the Benefice as this process begins and continues over the next few months. We believe if we open ourselves to the influence of God’s Spirit then all things become possible. (Mark)


Hamstead Marshall Barn Dance and Ceilidh at Elm Farm: Friday 9th March, 7.30pm

The Beacon is a Benefice Newsletter. The team is based in Kintbury. Phil and Penny take monthly turns to edit. We are looking for a third editor from one of the other parishes to join us. If interested please let Phil, Penny or Jenny know. Items please to:  Penny: ian_fletcher43@btinternet; Phil:

Copy via email: Leila at