Religions and Spirituality

'Celebration' of the Long Life of the Basking Ridge White Oak Set for Nov. 6

The white oak tree in the churchyard at the Basking Ridge Presbyterian already has been trimmed back for safety reasons. Credits: By Linda Sadlouskos
Local residents took it for granted each spring that the centuries-old oak tree outside of the Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church would bear leaves again. Credits: By Linda Sadlouskos
By the end of the summer of 2016, the long life of the Basking Ridge oak tree had come to an end. Credits: By Linda Sadlouskos

BERNARDS TWP., NJ - The Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church is inviting all in the community to a ceremony commemorating the centuries-old White Oak Tree that was the township's most renowned landmark before it died at the end of the summer. The event is scheduled for 3 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 6.

"We invite you to put this date on your calendar and plan to join with others in our community as we express thanksgiving to God for the life of our oak tree," according to the invitation from the Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church, located at 1 East Oak St. in downtown Basking Ridge.

There will be a reception in Westminster Hall after the service with refreshments and activities for children.

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"The entire community has been invited," said Jon Klippel, who serves on the church's planning council.

There will be more details to follow, according to the church.

The tree, believed to be about 600 years old, produced few leaves this past spring. Despite extensive research and attention by experts and a number of arborists, the tree was leafless by September, when church leaders concluded it had died.

For safety's sake, trimming of some of the overhanging dead branches took place Oct. 12.

The church's Board of Trustees and other church leaders have seek up a joint Oak Tree Task force to look ahead to planning and managing the removal of the tree.

The task force has the goal of honoring and preserving the history of the tree, addressing its needs and other components "of the journey that lies ahead."

"Many hands and many minds will be required to fulfill our goals," said a church brochure earlier this month.

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