The year 2004 was the first full year of The Beacon Church,
and we held our first Baptism and first wedding services,
as well as welcoming new members. We also invited a new Minister
for September 2005, and we are pleased to say he accepted!
The year began with our Covenant Service
on the first Sunday, 4 January.
The theme for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity,
was My Peace I Give To You, and the week started with an ecumenical
service which was held at The Beacon on Sunday evening, 18
January. The preacher was the Rev Canon Ralph Godsall, Precenter
of Rochester Cathedral, who stressed the need for Christians
to build bridges between each other and with all sections
of the community.
Our church was packed for the service which involved representatives
from churches of different denominations throughout the area.
In his sermon, Canon Godsall said nothing was more important
today than that the church should be numbered among the bridge
builders. "Jesus Christ built a bridge between God and
man, heaven and earth, giving a human face and an understanding
of the divine,” he said. “We are called, as Christians,
to build bridges between ourselves, for divisions between
Christians have always cost lives and damaged the gospel.
“Our true Christian vocation is to be builders of peace.
Jesus was at home with all manner of women and men, and he
was particularly comfortable in the presence of children.”
Jesus was a friend of all nationalities and sections of the
community, and hostile to barriers that separated people from
their neighbours. “The church should be a signal to
the world of God’s new age, a bridge to new hope and
vitality, and freedom for all.”
Canon Godsall spoke of the importance of small beginnings
and small opportunities to grow together in new ways and the
need to be more open and adventurous in Christian living.
“We are each called to build these small and seemingly
impossible bridges into the future and to work together not
only for Christian unity, but for the healing and peace of
On Sunday 7 March, the first new members were welcomed to
The Beacon Church. Kira Bramley, Colin Hadden, Colin Thompson
and Ron Sutton all joined us by transfer.
On Mothering Sunday, we were pleased to welcome Sally Russell
to lead our family service, which included our young people
taking part in dance, drama and readings. Flowers were presented
to all mothers attending the service.
We don't usually have evening services these days, but we
have planned some special evening times of worship during
the coming six months. The first one was on Sunday, 28 March,
when we sang some of our favourite hymns, old and new. They
included What A Friend We Have In Jesus, Be Still, The Lord's
My Shepherd (sung to the tune of Amazing Grace), Dear Lord
and Father of Mankind, and Summer Suns are Glowing. We also
sang When I Needed A Neighbour, as a tribute to hymn writer
Sydney Carter who died in March.
We congratulate our members who took part in the Finals of
the Methodist District Festival at Maidstone in April, and
won their various classes. Of the 16 finalists from The Beacon,
eight were winners, returning with five trophies.On Good Friday,
members of our church joined with Christians from other churches
in Dover for the annual Procession of Witness through the
town centre, culminating with three crosses being placed on
the Western Heights, high above the town.
On Easter Sunday, 11 April, a Sunrise Service was held at
on the hills overlooking the harbour and the English Channel.
The Easter services at our church were well attended and
Peter Booth passed his Local Preacher exams and his service
of accreditation was held at The Beacon on Wednesday 5 May
when the preacher was the chairman of the London South-East
District, the Rev. Harvey Richardson. Long service certificates
were also presented to two of our other local preachers, John
Bates for 51 years' service and Rae Smith for 24 years. Stephen
Robinson has been awarded a certificate for 31 years' service,
but was unable to be with us at this service.
On Sunday, 23 May, a service took place to celebrate the
covenant between the Anglican and Methodist churches.
We held our first Baptism at The Beacon on Sunday 6 June,
when we welcomed Nathan Neary into the church family.
At our service on Sunday 13 June, we were delighted to welcome
our former Methodist Minister, the Rev. Sid Robbins and his
wife Jayne, and their sons Henry and Stirling, who were visiting
from America. And we were very pleased when Jayne sang a solo,
Hymn of Promise, at the start of the service. It was good
to see them all again.
The Rev. Jeremy Dare conducted our service on Sunday, 27
June, for Guild Sunday when we celebrated the life and work
of the Wesley Guild.
Beacon Amateur Dramatics performed two one-act comedies,
"Blue Suede Shows" and "World Premiere",
It was Port Sunday on Sunday 11 July is Port Sunday in Dover,
and a special open-air service as held outside Dover Lifeboat
Station at which some of our members attended and our Music
Group led the singing.
We were pleased to welcome a group of young Germans to our
church on Sunday, 18 July. They were staying in Dover before
heading north to Manchester and the Peak District, and then
across to North Wales and finally London.
We also held a Favourite Hymns service on Sunday evening,
18 July, when we sang a wide range of hymns and songs, from
Abba Father to Great Is Thy Faithfulness, and Now Thank We
All Our God to I'll Go In The Strength Of The Lord. Members
of the congregation explained why these hymns were special
On Sunday 26 September we held our annual meeting at which
we appointed the stewards for the coming year, and heard about
various plans for the future.
We held our first Junior Church Anniversary as The Beacon
Church on Sunday 19 September. The theme for the morning service
was Living Water, and the service was conducted by members
of the Junior Church, with songs, poems, prayers, readings
and a drama. Our Minister gave a series of short talks on
the theme. The service was well attended, and we were pleased
to welcome some visitors to the church for this anniversary.
We celebrated our Harvest Festival on Sunday 3 October when
we welcomed the Rev. Bruce Allinson, from London, to conduct
our service. The church was decorated with many flowers which
have since been distributed to our members and friends who
are unwell at the moment. The young people of the church brought
gifts of food and fruit which were taken to the St. Martin's
Emmaus Community in Dover after the service. Adults brought
gifts of money to give thanks for the harvest, and these donations
will be going to charity.
On Sunday 7 November, our Junior Church Prizegiving was included
in the service, when Maureen MacDonald presented books to
the children and young people in recognition of their attendance
at Junior Church between September 2003 and August 2004.
We were delighted to welcome the Rev. Father Peter Sherred,
a non-stipendiary minister in the Church of England, to The
Beacon on Sunday 12 December to lead our worship. We are grateful
to him for the message he brought us. In the afternoon, we
held our Christingle Service.
In the run-up to Christmas, it is important that we remember
others who are less fortunate than ourselves, and on Sunday
5 December, the young people of our church brought toys, books
and games which they no longer need so that they can be sent
to children in Chernobyl. The items have been handed over
to the British Humanitarian Aid charity who will take them
to those children.
Our church was packed for the Candlelight Carol Service on
Sunday 19 December when favourite carols were interspersed
with readings, solos, a duet and two songs by The Beacon Singers.
We held a Midnight Communion service on Christmas Eve, and
a family service on Christmas Day. Both services were well
attended. Our Church Hall was used to provide shelter and
food for the homeless on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
During the year, we lost a number of our members and friends.
Brian Jacobs, Betty O'Connell, Mary Page, Molly and Ossie
Hodgson, Annie Taylor, Gwen Bates, Eileen Rolls, May Lancaster,
Rose Croucher and Ron Pascall all died.
Brian had been a member of our church for many years, was
secretary of our Guild, had been a church steward, and sang
in the choir, of which he was treasurer.
Betty (and her husband Vic, who died a few years ago), had
also been a member of our church for several years.
Gwen was another long-standing member of our church who maintained
her interest in what was going on here, despite having to
move to a residential home.
Mary, who was born in Brighton, came to Dover at the start
of the First World War, and had been a member of our Tower
Hamlets Church for many years.
Ossie was a long-serving member of our church who, with his
wife Molly, moved away from Dover in April to be nearer their
son in Devon. Sadly, Ossie died a couple of months later,
in July, and Molly died on Christmas Day.
We remember their families and friends in our prayers.