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February 2013

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Ickenham Church News - February 2013

URC Daytime Services
Sunday Mornings 11.00am

  • inc Junior Church most Sundays
  • Children’s space available during all services
Holy Communion,1st Sunday of month

Sunday Evening Services
The two churches join together on Sunday evenings as follows:

  • 2nd Sun – Choral Evensong at St Giles’ (6.30pm)
  • Occasional Holy Communion Services at URC when announced

St Giles’ Daytime Services
Sunday Mornings

  • 8.00am Holy Communion
  • 9.45am Holy Communion (with Junior Church
     and Crèche) – (1st Sunday: Family Service)
  • 11.30am Matins with Holy Communion
    (1st Sunday of month)


  • 10.00am Holy Communion


On 27th November, the Leader of Hillingdon Council, Ray Puddifoot, and his fellow Ickenham councillor, John Hensley, planted Ickenham’s new ‘Gospel Oak’. 

The Gospel Oak tradition in Britain goes back to medieval days; every year the boundaries of hamlets were re-affirmed through the ‘beating of the bounds’ and prayers would be said by the local priest beneath an oak tree, situated on or near the boundary.  He would pray, among other things, for God’s blessing on the forthcoming crops, so essential for the community’s well-being. 

This tradition has long been commemorated in Ickenham, which was of course, initially a farming community.  The original Gospel Oak was situated at the junction of Swakeleys Road and Woodstock Drive.  As Mr Puddifoot reminded us, the remains of this oak had to be removed at the turn of this century when it had died.  Despite two attempts to plant a sapling as replacement in 2003 and 2004, neither thrived.  In 2008, a decision was made to adopt another more substantial oak already existing on the site as our ‘Gospel Oak’ – it was most probably a descendent of the original tree - but this too died in 2011, when it succumbed to the effects of honey fungus disease.  With its roots weakened, it was a danger to buildings and vehicles and had to be removed completely.  (See ICN April 2011.)

Jon Gurr, one of the Council’s Tree Officers, assured us that considerable care has been taken to guard against the same fate befalling this newly-planted tree.  “It is an English Oak”, he said, “of Nature Stock – not imported - and the surrounding soil has been extensively treated with a chemical resistant to honey fungus.  The tree has also been guyed underground with cables and rods, which will provide excellent support and should have the effect of making it more streamlined”. 

After Councillors Puddifoot and Hensley had completed the planting, URC minister Bernie Collins led those present in a prayer for the new Gospel Oak, and for the community in which it now stands - hopefully for generations to come. 

Our congratulations to Ray Puddifoot, (featured above) who received an MBE in the New Year’s Honours List.  We look forward to hearing about your day at the Palace, Ray!


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