Benefice Newsletter - August 2020

 

THE BEACON

AUGUST 2020

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

TO THE PARISHIONERS OF WALBURY BEACON BENEFICE

As most of you will be aware I celebrated forty years of ordination on the 6th July. This was a milestone in my life as a priest. Although the past eighteen months have not been easy for me with various issues within the Benefice and of course latterly Covid 19 and the lockdown, it remained my goal to work towards a cohesive Benefice and we have made some progress along that road.

However, after 40 years in Ministry an opportunity has arisen for me to take early retirement, and in consultation with Bishop Olivia I have decided to pursue this, and so I will be leaving Walbury Beacon Benefice on 26th September 2020.

Deborah and I have come to regard West Berkshire as our ‘Special place’ and indeed we will continue to live just outside the Benefice boundary at Stockcross. More importantly we have made many friends in the Benefice over the past three years and we will continue to have a great interest in the life of the Benefice as you move on to the next phase of your Christian Pilgrimage.

I leave you in the hands of a very capable Ministry Team and Bishop Olivia has assured me that both Deanery and Diocese will continue to support you as you move forward.

There is little more for me to say. Except this. Life after the current crisis will probably never be as it was before or perhaps as most would want it to be. The world has changed, our country has changed, our communities have changed and we as individuals have changed. From a Parish perspective I would ask all of you to be open to new ways of doing things, new ways of being disciples of Christ, new ways of being and of bringing the Good News of Jesus Christ to our communities and to the wider world. The heart of the Gospel for me has always been LOVE. Please continue to find fresh ways to express that love to each other.

May the love and joy and peace of the Risen Christ be with you all.

With thanks and God’s richest Blessing to you all.

Mark

TWO NAMES FROM THE PAST AND THE BENEFICE

 In 2003 the Church of England was riven by a major controversy,this time over homosexuality and the Episcopate which led to Canon Jeffrey John declining to accept his nomination as Bishop of Reading because of the immense opposition to his nomination. The C of E and the church in Berkshire particularly were bitterly divided. A Canon from Peterborough was chosen instead. Canon Stephen Cottrell was little known here at this time but it soon became apparent that he was a most gifted and unusual Bishop. Firstly he had been educated at a Southend on Sea Secondary Modern school not a Public school, secondly, he took the Church into the secular environment confronting the non church community in places like Reading Station and thirdly he was a dynamic Leader. Sadly for us he was appointed Bishop of Chelmsford in 2010. This June he became ARCHBISHOP of YORK that is the number 2 in the hierarchy of the Anglican Church. The Bishopric of Berkshire has had some distinguished clerics but none has risen near to this position. I remember Bishop Stephen well,I recall being most impressed and I have followed his career with interest and was delighted when he was promoted to York. I hope many in the Benefice will have memories of his inspiring leadership.I would like to share just 3 with you. Firstly, he enjoyed his visit to the West Woodhay Show preaching at the Service in West Woodhay House  Garden meeting and impressing numerous people. Secondly, a total contrast I remember his Consecration of the new Churchyard at Enbone. There were only a few of us present but The Bishop gave it his full attention with reverence perambulating the whole area and blessing different parts of the plot. Thirdly, I shall never forget his sermon in Kintbury Church just after the completion of the Benefice. The process had not been handled well. Kintbury had been treated with a lack of sensitivity and there was much hurt about. Bishop Stephen came to Kintbury to preach to us and   in a most inspirational Sermon told us all,  particularly the Church wardens what our Christian responsibilities were. I am sure he will be an outstanding Archbishop. SECONDLY,  I would like to remind the Benefice of the Rev Charles Neill. The Parishes had endured not just the tragedy of the Christopher Coney years but a long interegnum as well. Charles had been a school Chaplain but he was an outstanding Country Priest. He knit together the separate Parishes more firmly than ever, he introduced new Services but above all he showed how the Christian life should be lived and inspired us all, despite the growing crisis in the Anglican Church, to face the future with confidence. By John King.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT by ROGER POPE

 I am still trying to reconcile in my own mind that those in Authority should think it necessary that all Parish Church Buildings should be locked with immediate effect at the start of Lockdown and that they remain out of bounds for some 14 weeks.  I appreciate that  for the Town and City places of Worship where large numbers congregate this might have been the simplest option to safeguard the public as a whole. Most of the Church members at Enborne are categorized as vulnerable or at risk. This,I suspect,applies to a good number of small  Parish Churches.It is most doubtful many of the faithful will return whilst the provision for private Prayer is in place. Like me you may be aware of many who have not adhered to all of the Government's guidance requests. On occasions it is best if we  do what our own instincts tell us otherwise we could totally lose all consciousness of independence and individuality.  It may be this virus has travelled more rapidly and more widely compared to others throughout history; the reasons for this need to be accounted for and lessons learnt.

 

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Natasha, our first post-lockdown bride in the benefice – arriving by horseback for a short, simple, joyful and moving ceremony in Kintbury Church.

The Ministry Team has been delighted recently to welcome the groom, Richard Pascall, as a newly authorised preacher to the benefice.  We look forward to working with Richard as his ministry develops over the coming months and years. 

An exciting time for both of them!

Jenny

                

As we welcome Richard to the Ministry Team, we give thanks for the ministry of Tim, Jenny and in Kintbury, Pauline and Bridin for their tireless care of us - especially those of us who are  classed as 'vulnerable'. We thank  all the volunteers who have delivered prescriptions and Jay and Anita in the Kintbury shop. In addition to the benefice Jenny also arranged care for the boat people stranded on the canal. We have been very blessed and I am sure that there are many  other  members of the benefice who deserve our thanks.

Creator of light,scatter the darkness before us

that we may walk as children of light.

VIEW FROM MY WINDOW DURING LOCKDOWN

Pictures from our windows during 'lockdown' with a quotation, biblical or otherwise. The editorial team kick off but please let us have your 'picture from a window' in your part of the Benefice. Perhaps after a few months we can make a collage for each church as a reminder that we are a benefice, we care for each other, we share our joys and sadnesses even when we cannot meet physically.

 

 

Matthew 25:35-36  I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink. I was a stranger and you invited me in.

Luke 1: 78: By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us to give light to those  who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.(I did have to lean out of the window and twist)

 

BENEFICE SCHOOLS

The summer term at Enborne Primary School was a term like none other either they, or all Schools in England, had previously experienced. The classroom became whatever space was available at home with parents and carers becoming classroom assistants as lessons came down through the internet.

Modern technology thankfully meant that so much could be provided to help children during the lockdown period. As a Church we stayed in touch both with weekly assemblies which were put on line and outdoor conversations with the Headmaster.

Although some of the children had returned, the challenge of course continued at the end of term. Within the context of social distancing and classroom bubbles, the School sought to make it a special time for Year Six pupils as they prepared to move on to new schools. Picnics and mini sports events on the new playing field helped a lot and whereas there would normally have been a leaving service at St Michael's , this also had to be on line.

Each class prepared songs and poems. Year Six gathered  memories of their time at Enborne and I provided a video recording of reflection, prayer and blessing to conclude the online service. In addition, each one of the children was given a book of memories compiled by the school, a treasure trove of memories.

Our thanks must surely go to the teachers and all those in support who made the term both safe and special for the children at Enborne, in some very trying circumstances. Rev'd Tim

 

 Good morning everyone

We light the candle to remind ourselves that

“Jesus is the Light of the World”
and greet each other:

The Lord be with you

And also with you

 

This has been the opening for “Lockdown School Worship” each week.  After all schools were so speedily closed during the Spring Term, the headteachers of our two Church Schools expressed concern about the children’s spiritual welfare during this time.  So Reverend Tim and I alternately produced a weekly, shared “Assembly” for Enborne and Kintbury Schools.  These covered widely diverse subjects, starting with an imaginative exploration by Tim of how Jesus’ ministry might look today – “THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE AROUND THE WORLD,  LOG ONTO JESUS’ WEBSITE.” “JESUS’ ROCK BAND MAKES SUCCESSFUL WORLDWIDE TOUR!” and including Pentecost, Trinity, Church colours, being different etc.  At the end – the symbolic candle was extinguished for the week.

“Go in peace to love and serve the Lord”

In the name of Christ  … Amen

 

I was fortunate enough to attend the Leavers’ Final Assembly at Kintbury St Mary’s School, where I had the pleasure of presenting a Youth Bible to each of the Year 6 children; these were purchased through generous donations from our congregation – I and the school thank you all so much.  We shared reading from Mark’s Gospel about blind Bartimaeus – a man who made a decision that changed his life and sent him out in a new direction following Jesus – it seemed appropriate for those children.  The assembly was delightful – celebratory, forward- and backward-looking, with the appropriate tinge of sadness of farewell and a slideshow of photographs which produced many gasps of “Oh, I remember that!” Jenny

 

AN AUGUST COMMEMORATION

Saint Clare

 Commemorated on 11th August: When Clare was 18, Francis of Assisi came to preach in the church of San Giorgio at Assisi. Inspired by his words, Clare asked Francis to help her in dedicating her life to God, and he vowed to do so. The following year (1211), Clare's parents chose a wealthy young man for Clare to marry, but she pointedly refused, fleeing soon after for the Portiuncola Chapel, where Francis received her. She took vows dedicating her life to God, and that moment, occurring on March 20, 1212, marked the beginning of the Second Order of Saint Francis. Clare’s special calling was to the building of a new type of radical religious women’s community. The outcome of her vision was that the community although enclosed, was in fact open to the widest influences of its time, since the brothers who came to preach and seek spiritual guidance and retreat with Clare and her sisters were working in far-flung places – in Africa, the Middle east, even China. In this Diocese the Anglican Community of St. Clare is at Freeland, near Witney. The guest house  is a wonderful place of peace and refreshment. The community supplies altar breads to many churches and has a wonderful selection of original cards.

Clare teaches us to bring our messiness to God.

We are always looking for solutions. God teaches us what we need to know,

we cannot remove or take away all the pain that we witness.

Each of us carries in our hearts people and situations that need our prayers

(Third Order member)

Guest House, Freeland

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In last month's Beacon, Jenny spoke about her experience of racial discrimination. Perhaps a time to consider the life of St. Martin of Porres.

He was born in Lima, Peru on December 9, 1579, the illegitimate son of a  Spanish gentlemen and a freed slave from Panama, of African or possibly Native American descent. The father later abandoned the family.  Martin grew up in deep poverty and  after spending just two years in primary school, he was  placed with a barber/surgeon where he would learn to cut hair and the medical arts. As he grew older, he experienced a great deal of ridicule for being of mixed-race. In Peru, by law, all descendants of African or Indians were not allowed to become full members of religious orders.

 Martin, who spent long hours in prayer, found his only way into the community he longed to join, was to ask the Dominicans of Holy Rosary Priory in Lima to accept him as a volunteer who performed the most menial tasks in the monastery. In return, he would be allowed to wear the habit and live within the religious community. When he was 15, he asked for admission into the Dominican Convent of the Rosary in Lima and was received as a servant boy  eventually becoming up to the church officer in charge of distributing money to deserving poor. At the age of 34 he was assigned to the infirmary where he would remain in charge until his death. He became known for   his carefull  and patient care for the sick, even in the most difficult situations.

Martin was praised for his unconditional care of all people, regardless of race or wealth. He took care of everyone from the Spanish nobles to the African slaves. He didn't care if the person was diseased or dirty,  He has become the patron saint of people of mixed race, innkeepers, barbers, public health workers and more. His feast day is November 3. He was credited with the abilty to communicate with animals. A talent also shared with St. Cuthbert and St Francis.

  END THOUGHT

Adam was a gardener, and God, who made him, sees that half of all good gardening is done upon the knees. (Rudyard Kipling)

Contacts: Priest-in-charge: Rev Mark Wilson, 'phone: (01488) 491105; email:markajwilson1@gmail.com.
Office: Deborah at wbboffice@gmail.com & for Beacon by email.
Beacon items please to:   Penny at ian_fletcher43@btinternet; or Phil at pji@crestednewtcomputing.co.uk.
(Thanks to Penny for producing this edition at short notice in my place. Phil.)