Methodist / United Reformed
The Beacon Church & Christian Centre, Dover
2003 at The Beacon Church and Christian Centre

The year 2003 was a very important one for The Beacon Church and Christian Centre - it was the year it was formed! Special services were held in September to celebrate our coming together.

The last Methodist service was held at London Road on 24 August 2003, and the last services were held at St Columba and Tower Hamlets on 31 August. These were occasions of mixed emotions - sadness at the end of an era, but excitement at what is to come.

Our first service together as The Beacon Church was a service of Holy Communion, led by the Rev. John Lines, who was then our Minister.

In the evening, we used the musical setting of Holy Communion, Breaking Bread, for a service which was also attended by members of the other Methodist Churches in the Dover and Deal Circuit.

Many of our meetings and activities were concerned with bringing our three churches together, and on Sunday, 21 September we held our first General Church Meeting to make some important appointments and decisions about our future.

Flowers from our Harvest Festival went to those who are ill or house-bound, and the gifts of fruit and vegetables brought by members of our Junior Church were taken to those living at the St. Martin's Emmaus community in Dover.

We held our Junior Church Prizegiving on Sunday 16 November when our service was conducted by the Rev. Michael Walling. The prizes were presented by Joy Philpott who has been involved in youth work at the United Reformed Church, and now The Beacon Church, for many years.

On Sunday, 30 November, we held our Toy Service when the children and young people from the Junior Church brought toys, books and games they no longer needed so that they could be sent to less fortunate children. This year, the gifts were handed over to British Humanitarian Aid who took them to children in Ukraine.

On each Sunday of Advent we lit candles on our Advent Ring in church, leading up to the lighting of the central candle - representing the birth of Jesus, the Light of the World - on Christmas Day itself.

On Sunday 21 December, we held a Family Service in the morning when members of our Junior Church took part. In the evening, our church was packed for our Candlelight Carol Service which was a really good service, with some excellent singing. It was the first time that the Beacon Singers had really taken part in a service.

We held our Christmas Day service on Christmas morning when we took time out from all the other celebrations to remember the real reason for Christmas.

On Christmas Day and Boxing Day, our church hall was used to provide meals and activities for homeless people in the area. This was organised by Christians from many Dover churches.

Some church family news. Evelyn and Leslie Tutthill - two of our longest-serving members at London Road - celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary and their 90th birthdays.

Other notable birthday celebrations included Margaret Haynes (92), Evelyn Fuller (99), Sonny Mills (94), and Gwen Bates (96).

We remember some of our members and friends who died during the year, including:

Doris Barker, a talented musician and a very special mum, whoshared her gifts and talents around Dover and London Road church for many years, especially her music. She had been a piano teacher and an organist.

Alan Sugden, who was described as "a dynamo for the Lord", and did so many things around Dover and the churches, always using his musical gifts and talents. A proud Yorkshire man, he was always ready to make suggestions and to share his faith. In everything he did, Alan sought to think of others before himself.

Vi Mills, who died soon after her 90th birthday, her son-in-law Peter Fish, who was a Professor at the University of Wales in Bangor, Olive Morris, our oldest member, who was 99, Margaret McKenzie and Olive Hudson.

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