Our Beacon Toddler Group is going from strength to strength. Set up in 2010, it has attracted a large number of toddlers, with their parents and carers, and we have been pleased to welcome them into the family of The Beacon. There's always room for more of course, 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.
During Holy Week and Easter we had a number of special services, starting with our Palm Sunday family service in which our young people took part. On Maundy Thursday we celebrated Holy Communion and on Good Friday we had a Reading of the Passion of St. John. We also gathered with other Christians in Dover for the Good Friday Procession of Witness through the town.
Easter Sunday began early at 5.15 a.m. with the ecumenical Sunrise Service at Dover Castle and we had two services of Holy Communion at The Beacon.
We were pleased to welcome Jayden and Imogen Gaffney into our church family on Sunday 28 August at their Baptism service. We support them and their parents, Ross and Leianne, with our prayers. We were also pleased to welcome Ruby Mae Mayes at her baptism on 30 January and Archie Underwood at his baptism on 19 June.
We sent our best wishes to Mark and Amy Gammon following their wedding in Australia, and to Arlo Booth and his parents, Andrew and Elspeth, following his baptism in London.
On Sunday 4 September, we held a Vision Day when our service in the morning was based around the Methodist Covenant Service, and we then continued with discussions about what our church was currently doing, what we would like to do, how we saw our mission and discipleship, and how we might achieve that. The afternoon finished with the end of the Covenant Service and Holy Communion. It was an interesting and encouraging day, and we are grateful to those who led the day for us and who provided the lunch (and did the washing up!!) We look forward to pursuing some of the objectives which we set.
The Street Pastors scheme was launched in Dover on 17 September,
offering help to young people who may be trying to make their
way home on Saturday nights after, perhaps, having
had too much to drink. The scheme was launched
with a service and prayer at Dover Town Hall before the volunteers head out onto the streets for the first time.
Our thanks to everyone who came and joined us for our Harvest Festival celebration, which was also Back to Church Sunday. We were pleased to see some new faces with us that day, and also some "old" ones we hadn't seen for a while. But you don't have to wait until the next Back to Church Sunday to join us at The Beacon - there's a warm welcome waiting for you every week!
We held our Junior Church Anniversary and Prizegiving on Sunday 20 November, when the youngsters received books for their attendance last year. And they brought toys, books and games which they no longer need so they can be sent to children in other parts of the world via British Humanitarian Aid this Christmas.
On Sunday 27 November we held a memorial service to give thanks for the life of Wendy Cole (formerly Wendy Dunster), who was a former Captain with our company of the Girls' Brigade.
Thanks to everyone who joined us for our Advent and Christmas services, including the Candlelight Carol Service and the family service on Christmas Day.
We were saddened by the passing of Jack Ash, who, for more than 50 years, was our church caretaker - and continued taking care of our premises and the people who met here long after he had officially "retired". Jack will be remembered by many people for the way he greeted them as they arrived at the church, and for the unlimited amount of time he devoted to making sure the premises were ready for services and meetings. He died, in his flat, on Wednesday 22 June aged 95. .
Harry Smith, who, with his wife Rae, had been a part of the life and witness of The Beacon for many years, was 96 when he died earlier this year. He served at the church in several ways, and we miss him.