Methodist / United Reformed
The Beacon Church & Christian Centre, Dover
2010 at The Beacon Church and Christian Centre

One of the highlights of 2010 was the setting up of our Our Beacon Toddler Group which has been a great success.

A good number of toddlers - with their parents or carers, of course - have been coming along each week to the Thursday afternoon sessions. There's always room for more, so do come and join us. The group meets during term-time on Thursdays from 12.30 to 2.30 p.m. and is for children up to the age of five and their carers. A donation of £1 per family would be appreciated.

One of the first events of the New Year was Fairtrade Fortnight in February which we marked with a tea and coffee morning as part of the Big Brew initiative, trying to encourage people to swap at least one item of their normal shopping for its Fairtrade equivalent. We also had a gift stall. The Fairtrade Stall operates each month, usually on the second Sunday of the month, after the morning service, in the Church Hall.

On Maundy Thursday we held a service of Holy Communion which included the traditional washing of feet by our Minister (the recipient this year was his wife, Lisa), and on Good Friday we met for the passion readings in the Church.

The Procession of Witness took place in Dover, also on Good Friday.

On Easter Sunday we were up early for our first Easter Communion Service at 8 a.m. which was followed by an Easter Breakfast in the Church Hall. The morning service at 10.30 a.m. also included Holy Communion and was well attended.

We were pleased to welcome the Rev. Debbie Hodgson from Faversham to lead our service on the Sunday after Easter. We had an inspiring time of worship, and she certainly gave us some food for thought as we considered our response to Christ's resurrection.

The London Road Methodist Girls' Choir held a reunion on 1 May with a concert in our church hall. The choir, under the musical direction of Keith Tutthill, performed at a large number of concerts and services in the 1960s and 1970s. A re-union was held 10 years ago, and this one was just as enjoyable. The hall was packed for the concert and more than £500 was raised for The Beacon Building Fund. CDs and DVDs of the weekend are now available.

Dover has a very busy cruise terminal and passengers from the Disney cruise ship, Disney Magic, met up with our Minister during their stop-over at the port on Saturday 12 June. It was the first time any of the Disney cruise liners had called at Dover. They asked to be remembered in our prayers at our service the next day, and that's exactly what we did. So greetings to any of those visitors who showed an interest in The Beacon and all we do here.

On Sea Sunday, 11 July, our music group played for the singing at a special service at Dover Lifeboat Station.

We held our Harvest Festival on Sunday 26 September when the church was beautifully decorated with flowers, fruit and vegetables. We also took a collection for the World Church. After the service the flowers were taken to members and friends of our church who are unwell or housebound, and the food items were taken to the St Martin's Emmaus Community at Archcliffe Fort.

It was good to see so many people celebrating Advent and Christmas with us. Despite the wintry weather we had a good number of people at our Nativity Play and the Candlelight Carol Service, and everyone appreciated the singing - including the soloists and the Beacon Singers - the readings and the prayers.

The carol service was a rather special occasion for one of the people involved. It marked 50 years of Keith Tutthill being an organist at our church – yes he was just 15 when he played for his first service back in 1960. So 2010 marks quite an achievement, and we are all grateful for such a long record of service.

We were sorry to record the deaths of several of our members and friends during the year.

Ena Johnson attended our church, Barbara Ruffell was a member of our church for many years and Colin Thompson worshipped with us when his health allowed.

Evelyn Tutthill, aged 96, was a life-long member of our church. The funeral service was held on Wednesday 12 May and it was, as she had asked, a Service of Thanksgiving. It was well attended and we gave thanks for a long and happy life of faithful service.

Edna Tutt, who was 99, had been a member of London Road Methodist Church for many years during her time in Dover. She will be remembered by hundreds of people as a teacher at Shatterlocks Infants School. In more recent years she had been living at the Methodist Home for the Aged in Bexhill.

Phyllis Galley, who was 95, had been a life-long member of the Methodist Church, and worshipped with us here for many years. She also enjoyed old tyme dancing.

Fred Piddock had also worshipped with us for a long time, but had moved last year to the Isle of Skye to live with his son. He was just a few weeks short of his 97th birthday when he died. A service to celebrate his life was held at The Beacon when family and friends joined together to give thanks for him.

Dorothy MacFarlane had been a member of St Columba United Reformed Church, and had then worshipped at Whitfield URC.

Myra Strelow had been part of the London Road church family while living at a residential home in the town.

Eileen Tolhurst had been a member of London Road, and the Beacon, over many years and was a former Sunday School teacher

Miriam Ross had worshipped with us for several years, using the church mini-bus to attend our Sunday services.

We have also been remembering retired fire-fighter Ken Reynaert whose wife Joyce used to be a member of our Keep Fit group, and one of his daughters and grand-daughters attended our previous Mother and Toddler Group. We were also sorry to hear of the passing of Iorwerth Jones, widower of Jean Jones, and Cliff Abbott, brother of Shirley Dowle.

We express our sympathy to the families and friends of all these people.

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