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February 2007

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Ickenham Church News - February 2007



The Revd. Adrian Guthrie, Rector of St Giles’ Church welcomes the Revd. Bernie Collins, URC Minister, to Ickenham

On Saturday 6th January  (Epiphany) Ickenham United Reformed Church welcomed its new Minister, the Revd. Bernie Collins. The Church was packed out and graced by the Mayor of Hillingdon Cllr. David Routledge who welcomed Bernie to the London Borough of Hillingdon.

URC Moderator for the North Thames Synod, the Revd. Roberta Rominger presided over the Induction Ceremony that featured many eminent URC clergy including Interim Moderator the Revd. Tony Haws and the Revd. Elizabeth Kemp, who is President of the URC West London District.

Many others participated including Ickenham URC Elders Roddy Monroe, Pat Smith, Jeremy Day, Wendy Williams and Celia Miller. The Revd. Adrian Guthrie, rector of St Giles’ Church, also played a part in the proceedings. Elizabeth and Helen Boyes, along with Ruth Piper, provided a special reading while the Revd. Roy Lowes, who is URC Secretary for Training, gave an outstanding sermon. 

Members of several other Christian denominations were present reflecting the ecumenical nature of one of the posts that Bernie now holds. In addition to being URC Minister in Ickenham he is also Ecumenical Officer, Churches Together North Thames.

The impressive choir sang, wonderfully, several superb anthems under the direction of their Choirmaster and Organist Peter J Williams.

After the Service guests were invited into the URC Church Hall for excellent refreshment.

The afternoon was very exciting and Ickenham is thrilled to welcome its newest Christian spiritual leader. We wish him, and his family, great happiness and may God bless him and his ministry amongst us.

Sunday 7th January was, once more, a very exciting day for Bernie because his wife, the Revd. Dr. Gwen Collins, was inducted into High Wycombe URC as its new Minister.




What a wonderful weekend of welcome we had on 6th and 7th January!  Gwen and I are very grateful for all who took part in the special worship events as we made our commitments to these new spheres of work.

So I have now begun my responsibilities as Minister of Ickenham United Reformed Church, and as Ecumenical Officer of Churches Together North Thames. I’m looking forward to getting to know many people in Ickenham, your hopes and plans and your experiences of God’s care and guidance.  And I believe there will be mutual benefit through being part of both the close working relationship between St Giles’ Church and the URC in Ickenham, and the new grouping of churches across the eight London Boroughs in the North Thames area.

 Gwen has become Minister of Trinity United Reformed Church, High Wycombe.  So we will live there, but most days I will be based at my office in Ickenham URC, Swakeleys Road, for my work around Ickenham and North London.  I can be contacted there in person, or on the church ‘phone 01895 634280, or at my new email address Revbcollins@aol.com 

The Editor has asked for a photo to introduce our family and us.  So here is one taken at our son’s wedding last August. 

  • Tom married Helen, and they are living in New Malden, Surrey, where Tom is a trainee medical engineer, and Helen a school assistant.  They met through being in the same college and Christian Union at university. 
  • On Tom’s left in the photograph are his sister Meg and her husband Chris with their son Toby, our first grandchild, born in October 2005.  Meg and Chris met through the youth group at Winton United Reformed Church, Bournemouth, where I was Minister 1991-2000.  Chris is now a Minister at West Cliff Baptist Church, Bournemouth, with special responsibility for mission outreach.  Meg has recently resigned from primary school teaching to concentrate on Toby, on church activities, and on her own role as an artist. 
  • On my right is our elder daughter Jo with her husband Peter and their daughter, Amy, born about 6 weeks after Toby.  Jo, too, was a primary teacher and Pete works for IBM in software development.  They met through world mission conferences and a youth exchange with the Church of Bangladesh.  Their home now is in Winchester where they are active in the United Church, but they are about to spend some months in Canberra, Australia, on an IBM assignment. 
  • Where did Gwen and I meet?  On a boat in the Mediterranean on the way to Corsica for a geography field trip!  We both studied geography at Oxford; then I went on to town planning at University College London and lived in a hall of residence near Camden Town Hall, while Gwen was a Child Care Officer in Dagenham and lived in Forest Gate.  We married in 1971, at a Methodist Church in Guernsey where she had grown up, and then did further studies in Birmingham before going to work in Papua New Guinea for 16 years, where our children had their early years.  My childhood was in Birkenhead, Merseyside, but we used to visit relatives in Amersham, Chesham and Watford, one of whom was able to be at the service in Ickenham on 6th January.

The welcome at Ickenham and High Wycombe was so warm that it feels like we are now part of an extended family here.

Blessings, Bernie

DROP-IN FOR THE BEREAVED. Third Monday of each month. St Giles’ Church Hall, 2 p.m. to 3.30 p.m. A friendly, informal opportunity for a chat, over a cup of tea, with other bereaved people and pastoral visitors.  The next meeting is Monday 19th February (also Monday 19th March). Just come along, or ring the Rectory (622970), if you would like to talk to someone first.

ICKENHAM GOOD NEIGHBOUR SCHEME exists to serve the whole of Ickenham. We’re here to assist in an emergency. If you need help, the daytime contact numbers are: 01895 633020 or 01895 235061.

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