And so – that was 2020. In fact, of course, as I write this, it is
still 2020 and we are waiting to hear what may – or may not – be
permissible during the Christmas “easing”. And then to decide to
what extent we may or may not wish to take advantage of the
relaxation of the rules. But by the time you are reading this, that
will all be past history – the almost final page in the
extraordinary annals of our very own 21st Century Year of the
There is so much to say about 2020 that my mind and my typing
fingers have no idea where to start. And yet, for so many of us, for
so much of the year, nothing much happened. We didn’t go anywhere;
we didn’t meet anyone. The skies were quiet, the birds sang, the
butterflies fluttered and the roads were almost empty except for
unaccustomed family outings by bicycle – clearly enjoyed more by
some members of the various parties than by others. The sun shone
day after day – it really did although it seems hard to remember
now. Shopping for necessities became an expedition – fraught with
peril and queues outside shops and confusing arrows and one-way
systems inside and hand sanitiser and trolley wipes – and empty
shelves. Word whizzed around the village if there was pasta in stock
– or even more excitingly, flour. Or, whisper the words – toilet
We stopped in the street and along the footpaths and chatted – at a
safe distance – to neighbours whom we might previously have seen in
glimpses, dashing off to work at dawn and returning at dusk, but who
now had time and to spare, to talk. Volunteers appeared out of
nowhere to do what they could to help friends, neighbours and
strangers. Solitude became loneliness for many. People were
furloughed and peoples’ jobs disappeared. People died and people
recovered. And schools were closed and children enjoyed the freedom
– and children were bored and drove their parents to distraction.
And we all tuned in to the daily briefings and we all learned to
read graphs – better sometimes, it seemed, than those presenting
them. And churches were closed and meetings were cancelled and to
our amazement we all (well, nearly all) learned to Zoom. And then to
The possibility of a vaccine maybe, just maybe, by the summer of
2021 was like the elusive pot of gold at the rainbow’s end. And
where are we now – and what have we learned? What have we forgotten
that once we knew?
If you are anything like me, you are still processing 2020 and its
twists and turns and peaks and troughs – different experiences and
different responses for each of us. What will life be like –
post-Covid? Who knows? What will happen to those new friendships –
and those new puppies and bicycles if it comes to that? What about
those old relationships with people we haven’t seen for nearly a
year? What will be the same? What will be different? What have we
lost? What have we gained? 2,000 or so years ago, St Paul wrote –
“And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love”. We need them
all now, just as much as he needed them then . . . so may they be
ours to take with us into the year ahead – into 2021, whatever that
Rev’d Tim Wood
Associate Priest: The Revd. Tim Wood – Tel. 01488 669261; Mob:
07927352847; Email: email@example.com.
Benefice Administrator: Alex King, part-time at the Benefice Office
– Tel. 01635 226 064; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Churchwardens:
Inkpen: Gerald Atkinson (tel. 668375).
Combe: David Russell (tel. 668229), Katherine Astor (tel. 668284).
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.
NEWS FROM ST. MICHAEL'S
A Christmas Like No Other. This year Christingle was replaced by
the Crib Service when, as the story was told, the children with
their parents brought up the figures to create the nativity scene.
It was much enjoyed and was a great success. In addition, the
collection in aid of The Children's Society amounted to £200 - a
figure which far exceeded the normal.
But no singing! So instead, on the evening of the Sunday before
Christmas we listened in the candlelit and beautifully decorated
church to some of the readings and music that make Christmas so
special. However later in the week - Carol Singing - as more than
20 of us assembled on the evening of the 23rd in the Churchyard in
some pretty miserable weather and we gave it our all!
Christmas Morning was exceptional. So that we could sing we met
once more in the Churchyard - but this time over 100 of us. The
temperature remained at around freezing but we welcomed the birth
of Jesus as we should - with reverence and enthusiasm. Thanks to
Services in January. For the Parish Communion on the 10th which
will be led by Revd. Patrick Whitworth, we are breaking with the
tradition of the Twelve Days of Christmas by leaving the Christmas
decorations in place. We thought, because of the Tier 4
restrictions and so few had been able to enjoy them, we would give
ourselves a final opportunity. We will celebrate Epiphany on the
6th at the same service. All are very welcome whether they take
Communion or not. The quiet and reflective service of Compline
which is on the 24th will be led by Christopher Sears and the
Parish Communion on the 31st will be led by Revd. Tim Wood. There
is no need to book for any of these services.
But for each of these three the obvious caveat is that Government
dictum might change and clearly, we would be bound by that. And
the same applies for the regular opening for personal prayer and
meditation which at the moment is every Wednesday and Sunday (when
there isn't a Service) from 10am to 4pm.
Gerald Atkinson. Churchwarden and Hon. Treasurer.
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. For further
information contact Paul Burrough 01488 668882 Mobile 07836 292976
A victorian view - now and then
The images of St. Michael's past and present are shown here