THANKS KEN, AND GOD BLESS!
After 17 years in our midst, the Revd Ken Tombs has retired as Honorary Curate at St Giles’; during this time he has endeared himself to many Ickenham residents from both churches and the local community.
Ken was born and raised in Southall, and has lived there ever since. He trained as a Physics teacher, and taught at Twyford High School in Acton for 33 years, retiring as Deputy Head in 1997. Despite having been a choirboy, he had little to do with religion until, at the age of 35, a friend invited him to her church in Hounslow. This encounter led to him becoming a Christian. At St Mary’s Church in Hanwell he joined the choir and eventually became a lay reader. Then he felt called to enter the priesthood and in 1992, while still teaching, he started training at Salisbury Theological College.
On becoming a Deacon in 1995, he was attached to St Giles’, (when Phillip Robinson was Priest-in-Charge), and a year later he was ordained as a Priest. Here on a non-stipendiary basis ever since, he has contributed greatly. Ken is a wonderful story teller (ask all those Holiday Club participants over the years) and he has written many thought provoking articles for ICN. His support for the Covenant has been unstinting, and along with the rest of St Giles’ clergy he has been a tower of strength to the URC especially when that church has been ‘between ministers’. In recent years he has also been heavily involved in the CLICK Rukiga project, linking our community through fundraising and prayers with that of Rukiga in Uganda.
He has enjoyed his time and duties among us. “St Giles’”, he said, “is a wonderful church and I have been very happy here. There’s always lots going on and Adrian and I have worked well together. I have particularly found funerals very fulfilling, probably because I am needed to form close relationships and provide comfort to the bereaved. On a brighter note, it was very special for me to conduct my niece’s wedding here in St Giles’.”
Ken preached at his final St Giles’ services on 15th July, after which there followed a farewell reception, attended by a huge congregation of well-wishers from both churches. Naomi Webb, Adrian and Phillip all spoke warmly of Ken and the outstanding contribution he has made during his ministry with us. A cheque was presented, which Ken informed us would be spent mainly on a new super-lens for his camera. Photography, at which he has already enjoyed much success, is one of the activities Ken plans to pursue in his retirement, along with more foreign travel and cooking (and eating) good food.
But retired clergy never really get to put away their sermon notes: it seems Ken is already fully booked every Sunday until Christmas! And he is bound to revisit our community from time to time. Meanwhile we thank him for these 17 years of service and friendship and wish him God’s blessing for the next stage of his life.
FROM ST GILES’ CLERGY
Like many people, I found the Olympics grew on me as the games progressed, and not just because of Team GB’s impressive medal tally. There was such a positive atmosphere to it all, facilitated by the fantastic army of good-humoured volunteers. Juliette and I attended Women’s Table Tennis at the Excel Centre. It didn’t feature Team GB, but the crowd, mainly comprising GB supporters, nevertheless cheered on Japan and Singapore with great enthusiasm. I was very impressed with the organisation, the amazing sportsmen and women, volunteers and spectators, which together made a highly successful Olympics.
I suspect that June’s Jubilee celebrations contributed to the success of London 2012, because they warmed us up for community activities. This was kept alive by the torch relay events up and down the country, and the turnout to see the torch carriers throughout Hillingdon was impressive. Will it give our nation a greater interest in attending community events in the future? I’m hoping for as much interest in the Paralympics, and a continuation of that same community spirit.
As a church, worshipping God together is a priority, but building community is also very important. This month we hold our Fun Afternoon and BBQ on Saturday 15th September as part of that process. Please contact our church office for information about tickets.
Of course, the downside of all this activity over the summer is it might seem a bit empty when it’s all over. What happens next? Much has been talked about the nature and shape of the London 2012 legacy in terms of buildings, inspiring a generation and sports provision in the UK, and it seems to me that the legacy of better communities is also very important. Ultimately, I think a community needs a focus on God as well as a focus on each other if it is going to function well.
The Alpha Course (see page 4 article) explores the meaning to life that faith in Christ can bring, giving an eternal solution to a sense of emptiness and need to belong to community. I look forward to welcoming people from the Ickenham community to this course when it begins on 26th September.
DROP-IN FOR THE BEREAVED. Third Monday of each month. St Giles’ Church Hall, 2pm to 3.30pm. A friendly, informal opportunity for a chat, over a cup of tea, with other bereaved people and bereavement visitors. The next meeting is on Monday 17th September (then Monday 15th October). Just come along, or ring the Rectory (622970) if you would like to talk to someone first.