Benefice Newsletter - September 2020



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


A farewell to Walbury Beacon Benefice

Since it’s airing 37 years ago in February 1983, the series finale of the award-winning show M*A*S*H entitled “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen”, remains the single most watched episode and TV event of all time with more than 125 million viewers.  Set during the Korean War, M*A*S*H followed the daily exploits of the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital unit located 3 miles from the front lines of the war zone. Amid the horrors of war-wounded soldiers, sniper bullets, bombs and incompetent Army guidelines-the doctors and nurses relied on humour, hijinks and hearts of compassion to keep sane.  And through their common experience, the members of the 4007th became a close-knit family and community.

In the episode “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen,” the community finally receives some long- awaited good news-war is over and they can return home to their families and friends!  It is a cause for joyful celebration and sad goodbyes. The doctors and nurses soon realize that “going home” means their current relationships will end as they depart for various destinations in the States. 

And who can blame them for feeling and acting this way?  Many of us, me included, can identify with their anxiety, pain, sadness and reluctance toward saying the two words that acknowledge the end of a particular relationship in a certain setting. Saying “good-bye” to a friend or mentor, or to a Benefice can be extremely difficult-once the words are spoken, a person then has to learn how to live without the other in their daily midst. That type of dramatic change can be scary.

The twelve disciples likely experienced some fear and anxiety when Jesus announced a huge change while having dinner with them in an upper room.  I imagine there were some shocked faces, a few tears and twittering hands among the disciples as they listened to their teacher talk of betrayal, arrest and crucifixion.  Jesus doesn’t let them dwell long in their fear of what will happen to them and he assures the disciples that they will not be abandoned:

“When the Spirit of truth comes, (says Jesus) the Spirit will guide you into all the truth; for the Spirit will not speak on its own, but will speak whatever it hears, and the Spirit will declare to you the things that are to come.”

While Jesus’ words of assurance and promise of the coming Spirit may not make a departure less difficult, the words do give hope in the midst of change. Jesus’ words lift the heavy weight of finality that is often felt when someone says “good-bye.”And the presence of the Spirit allows time for both parties who depart from one another to reflect on the sacredness of that moment of change.

Remember also a similar parting message by the Apostle Paul to the church in Thessalonica:

“we appeal to you, brothers and sisters,* to respect those who labour among you, and have charge of you in the Lord and admonish you; esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you, beloved, to admonish the idlers, encourage the faint-hearted, help the weak, be patient with all of them. See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 

These are my final words to you all.

May God Bless you and Farewell.



BENEFICE ADMINISTRATOR REQUIRED.                                                           
Walbury Beacon Benefice is looking for someone with good communication and IT skills, to co-ordinate the work of the ministry team and manage the Benefice finances;
also to support our internet communication with the Benefice and wider community. 16 hours per week@ £9 per hour with some flexibility on hours. Might this be you?
If so, please contact : Rev'd Tim Wood 01488 669 261  or Jenny Veasey   01488 657 911:



1. Four months on                          2.   Sort and care          3. Take control

     And I find                                           Memories                            Of each nook

   I can be strong                          Precious to share                 On cat patrol

  Where I was blind                            Hoping to please                   And really look


4. Not so wild                                  5.   I don't need                      6. Take my time

     What is that?                                     To go 'out'                              Not the bus

    Blooms undefiled                             Just yet I plead                    Find peace sublime

    The bees attract                                 While there is doubt          Instead of fuss


7.  More patient                               8.   Accepting                         9.  Thank you Lord

        Hopefully                                        Who they are                        For your care

     And tolerant                                     Maybe guiding                     Living your Word

    With family                                       Them from afar                  Help us to share.


M J.G. August 2020


Poetry and prayer spring from one source in our hearts

soul-seed that is Love (Sister Michaela.C.S.CL)



This month from Pauline Pettitt and Judith Wilson


Praise to thee O Lord for all creation, Give us thankful hearts that we may see, All the gifts we share and every blessing, All things come of thee (Look at the World' by John Rutter)


They are the kindest Birds, Though somehow are senseless'

Nassy Fesharaki (Poem entitled 'Of Pigeons')



I decided to re read my library and started with the Palliser novels of Trollope. It would seem that  humanity has not changed that much from Victorian times. The books abound with adventurers, fortune seekers, money lending, investors, risk takers and of course politics - which does not seem to have changed at all!!  I then turned to John Cowper Powys, having read Weymouth Sands as a young teenager - thank goodness I didn't get to Glastonbury Romance until years later! For relief am re reading one of my three biographies of Prince Rupert!

So what treasures are being read in the rest of the benefice? Share your favourites.




Those of us who knew him are saddened to hear of the death of Chris. We have many happy memories of his and Annie's time in KIntbury. Their open house in the Old Vicarage for any church activity, study groups, social gatherings, childrens' plays and bonfire parties to name a few were a source of fun and fellowship. The Rev'd Martin Gillham sends this tribute.

Chris and Annie Nicholl moved into the Old Vicarage from West London with their two children in 1983. Their Christian faith was immediately apparent, and the congregation of Saint Mary’s welcomed them. Within a short time Chris began training to be a reader in the diocese of Oxford, and when licensed had a good ministry in the Church. Later he became a Churchwarden. He gave support to Pat in her selection for ordination as a priest for which she continues to be grateful. I would call Chris a fine Christian gentleman, kind and thoughtful, and full of integrity. Annie supported him wholeheartedly. Both Pat and I counted them as good friends, and were saddened to hear some time ago of Chris’s illness,                    (Parkinson's) and then recently of his death. May he rest in peace and rise in glory.              Revd Martin Gillham (Vicar 1983-94)

Before he left the Benefice Matthew regularly visited Chris in Brendoncare. 

 I first met Chris when he was attached to Great Bedwyn Church. It was at an Alpha meeting and he ended the meeting with an apology because he had not realised that I was a Reader. We saw each other latterly and I visited him when he went into care. He, like many of us in illness and difficulty, questioned his faith and vocation but was always happy to discuss it. He fully participated in the Home Communion A kind, gentle and thoughtful man. (Matthew)


  V.J. DAY

Sadly we were unable to arrange a commemoration of the 75th anniversary. A British Legion  member has laid a wreath on the Kintbury war memorial.  We remind ourselves of the words of the Kohima Epitaph:


'When You Go Home, Tell Them Of Us And Say,
For Your Tomorrow, We Gave Our Today.'


Two of our Benefice Patronal Festivals take place in September. At St. Mary, KIntbury and St. Mary Hamstead Marshall; St. Michael Enborne and St. Michael, Inkpen. 

The two churches dedicated to St. Michael were consecrated on the same day.  Most churches dedicated to the Archangel are situated on a hill and ours are no different. Michael fought the devil..and perhaps a suitable patron for Enborne standing on a battlefield. Whilst Inkpen is truly a church for All Angels, with its many representations and beautiful situation.


Hamstead Marshall was originally a field church under Kintbury until it was granted it's own priest. In Kintbury a Statue of the Virgin was mentioned in pre reformation wills when   money was left to burn candles before it.  It was the 20th century before a statue was again placed in St. Mary's. The original was vandalised and the present one  a generous gift from Peter and Anne Hutley, comes from the marian shrine in Medjugorje

                   Rublev icon of St. Michael                                 Statue of St. Mary


On 4th September we commemorate Birinus - Founder our Diocese. In the 7th  century     Birinus was consecrated bishop in Milan and sent to Britain to continue converting Anglo-Saxons to Christianity.  The original plan was to penetrate well into the interior of the country  But Bede records that ‘on arriving in Britain and coming to the nation of the West Saxons, he found all to be confirmed pagans and thought it more useful to preach the word there.' In AD 635  the Christian Oswald of Northumbria, wanted to marry the daughter of Cynegils, King of the West Saxons, and came to Dorchester to visit him. He found Cynegils receiving instruction in the Christian faith from Birinus. Birinus baptised Cynegils ( probably in the nearby River Thame), with Oswald standing as godfather. The two kings then granted land to Birinus in Dorchester for the establishment of his episcopal see and cathedral church. Birinus thus became the first Bishop of the West Saxons. He died about  AD 650, buried in Dorchester and canonised soon after. The Abbey became a pilgrimage centre.

                                           IT’S ALL GREEK TO ME . . . . PART 1

In my sermon on 9th August in Inkpen, I described how I had read and re-read the Gospel, Matthew’s version of Jesus walking on the water, with a continual feeling that I was missing the point.  And that I had eventually applied some of the literary/linguistic learning from my training – and then felt that I was very much closer to grasping the point of Matthew’s story.  I didn’t go into the detail of my approach, as I wanted rather, to share the understanding I felt I had achieved – surely the point both of all that training – and of preaching a sermon.

I thought some of you might be interested -  (and most of you probably won’t!).

Chiasm – or chiastic structure – is a literary format much used in the ancient near-eastern world,  which spilled over into classical and New Testament Greek.  It is frequently found in the Old Testament, usually for emphasis – but as we rarely use it, we generally don’t recognise it – and so we often, quite literally, miss the point.

Chi is Greek for the sound represented by the letter ›‹. 
A chiasm is writing that is structured like one half of an X - › - and the most important point to which the writer wishes to draw attention – will be found at the point › in the middle.  It may be the climax of an argument, or its turning point.  The words, phrases or sentences which lead to the point and away from it again will in some way form a balance with each other: perhaps through repetition or opposition of a noun or adjective; perhaps through ideas which repeat, reflect, oppose or in some way connect with each other – making a pattern – at its simplest, a b › b’ a’. 

Thus “The Sabbath was made for Man › not Man for the Sabbath.

[a] The Sabbath was made
          [b] for Man
           [b’] not Man
[a’] for the Sabbath

In this well-known and clear example, the centre › forms the turning point of Jesus’ statement. As I read the Gospel for that day, its chiastic structure suddenly leapt off the page at me – and I could suddenly see the point.  Here’s the reading – I’ll leave it with you this month to play with for yourself – and analyse it chiastically next month.  And we’ll see if you agree with me!                                                                    

                                                      Matthew 14. 22-33
22. Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24. but by this time the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land,[d] for the wind was against them. 25. And early in the morning he came walking toward them on the sea. 26. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear.  27.But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.” 28. Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 29. He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus. 30. But when he noticed the strong wind,[e] he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31. Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32. When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33. and those in the boat worshipped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”




On August 23rd the Benefice Service was held once again at Enborne ,our first Service for 5 months It was a most occasion shared by Parishioners from all Parishes in the Benefice and our own Parishioners. The Service had something of the ALPHA and OMEGA about it .It was Mark's final Service at Enborne. He led the worship in the way we have become accustomed ,that is to say with Reverence lightened by a sense of humour. The Sermon was Richard's first, hopefully the first of many. Richard preached with eloquence and a sense of authority explaining the Readings one of which had been given by his wife of Six weeks. Holy Communion was celebrated by Tim in a way which impressed us all. After the Service it was a pleasure to chat with old friends some of which had not been seen for almost 6 months. The Zoom congregation too appreciated the recording and our grateful for that provision.Roger Pope was delighted with the Service and for those who had so lovingly cleaned the Chuch so that the Service could take place  John King



'Thou visitest the earth and waterest it.

 Thou greatly enrichest it with the river of God which is full of water.'

NOTICES                                                                                                                                     CHURCH SERVICES IN SEPTEMBER

 6th September              8.30am                 Holy Communion            Inkpen                                                                         10.30am                  Holy Communion           West Woodhay                                                                                                   6.30pm                 Compline                        Inkpen                 

13th September          10.30am                  Holy Communion            Inkpen                                                                           6.30pm                   Evensong                      Enborne

20th September         10.30am                   Holy Communion            Kintbury

27th September          8.00am                    Holy Communion            Kintbury                                                                       10.30am                    HolyCommunion            Combe       



 For parish matters please contact your churchwarden in the first instance                   

Combe:       Mrs Katharine Astor: 01488 668284 & Mr David Russell: 01488 668229 
Enborne:          Roger Pope: 01635 253122
Hamstead Marshall: John Stevenson: 07775 521704. E
Inkpen:       Gerald Atkinson T.01488. 668375  Bruce Armstrong: 01488 669007. E.
Kintbury:     Mrs. Pauline Pettitt: 01488 658246            E.
West Woodhay:       Harry Henderson: 01488 668233. E   Andy Fox-Boudewijn )1635 253768. E andy,

Rev.d Tim Wood: 01488 669261               E.

Jenny Veasey: 01488 657911                    E.


Honey in the mouth

won't help bitterness in the heart

(Yiddish: taken from Garden Proverbs: Terry Berger)

Items please to:   Penny at ian_fletcher43@btinternet