A FAREWELL FROM BERNIE
Three Ickenham Festivals, six Holiday Club weeks – these have been major highlights during my time in Ickenham. Christmas Festive Evenings, Good Friday Walks of Witness, the commitment of church people and others throughout the year in leadership of Guiding, Scouting, sporting, musical, horticultural and other cultural societies… These and other memories of the churches active in the community, and the records and pictures in ICN, will be treasures I take with me into retirement.
Thank you so much for all we have been able to share; and thank you too for kind expressions of appreciation. I would particularly like to mention three gifts for what they signify.
One is the rhododendron given by the people of St. Giles’. Jesus spoke of Himself as a vine and we are the branches. As Gwen and I see the rhododendron grow from large pot plant to spreading bush, I’ll reflect on the branches of the church – individuals, denominations and groups – which can only come to brilliant flower, fruit bearing and further development if well joined to each other in Christ.
Another is a photographic collage of the distinctive frontage of the United Reformed Church building seen from Swakeleys Road, surrounded by the smiling faces of its people. Each time I see it, memories will be prompted, as well as thanks to God who drew us together here.
The third is related to the heritage of Ickenham: three great volumes of a study Bible, published in 1811, inscribed by the owner Joseph Tizard in December 1829. Although he lived in other parts of the country, I’m told that his descendant, Sir Peter Tizard, bought Ickenham Manor in 1961, and then discovered he was also descended from the Shordiches who had been lords of the manor of Ickenham from the mid-fourteenth century until 1819. This Bible was recently donated to Ickenham URC, and was generously rebound and presented to me at my retirement party. Printed beneath the verses on each page are the study notes of the compiler, from a time in British history when more people were exploring God’s Word, when householders gained the vote (1832), and when a house church started in Ickenham (1831) which soon built Ickenham Independent Chapel, the predecessor of Ickenham URC.
Part of the URC statement of faith says, “The highest authority for what we believe and do is God’s Word in the Bible, alive for His people today through the help of the Spirit. We respond to this Word, whose servants we are, with all God’s people through the years.” Many thanks for our years together and God bless your future.