2014 proved to be a busy and encouraging year for us at The Beacon.
After years of plans to redevelop our premises, we were pleased that Dover District Council granted planning permission for proposals for Footprints, on the London Road frontage to our buildings, to create more space to hold church and community events. The work, which made Footprints into one space, will also provide a new reception area, a guest room above, and a connecting way through to the church hall. We are also improving the kitchen facilities in the church hall.
Footprints has already been used for several activities, including a monthly prayer group and Holy Communion, fortnightly coffee mornings, weekly craft group, and the twice-weekly Foodbank. We also hold sessions to help people from other countries learn English and these are attended by between two and six people from various countries.
Our application for the demolition of our former church building and the construction of flats on the site was turned down by the council and will be the subject of a fresh application.
We hosted a series of "Cooking On A Budget" sessions which benefited those trying to feed their families on limited money. Another series is planned for 2015.
On Sunday, 23 March, we were pleased to welcome the Rev. Dr Philip Luscombe, assistant chair of the Methodist South East District, to lead our worship.
On Saturday 29 March the first ot two musical concerts was held held in our church hall in aid of Parkinsons UK.
On Maundy Thursday we held a very moving united Communion Service at The Beacon and on Good Friday, we welcomed children and families for a special time of activities and worship on the events of Good Friday, and what they mean to us today. It finished with refreshments and an Easter egg hunt.
A number of our members also took part in the Good Friday Procession of Witness through Dover town centre and up to Dover Castle, led by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
We celebrated Easter Sunday with a well-attended family service, including Holy Communion, at The Beacon.
We were delighted to welcome two new members at a confirmation service on Sunday 11 May, Anne Bertelsen and Emily Wheeler. And we also welcomed some more who transferred their membership from other churches: Grace Chipere, Joan Jarvis, Barbara Spicer, Linda Turner, Rosemary Wharmby and Betty Sweetman. An encouraging day for us all at The Beacon.
We celebrated two baptisms in the summer. Isla Grace Cattermole was baptised at our church on Sunday 29 June, and Noah James Nigel Burt was baptised on Sunday 13 July. It was good to see all their families and friends there to support them.
We are grateful to the Rev Dr Malcolm White who joined us on 5 and 6 July for a Healing and Wholeness weekend. He led a day conference on exploring the Christian healing ministry on Saturday, and then preached at our service on Sunday. We were very pleased to have him with us for this weekend.
The Beacon Music Group braved strong winds on the quayside at Dover Lifeboat Station on Sunday 13 July for the annual Sea Sunday service.
We were pleased to welcome Selena Goldsmith, from Action for Children, to our morning service on Sunday 24 August. She gave an interesting and inspirational talk (and showed a video) about the work of Action for Children. We are pleased that at least an additional 10 members of our church have asked to have a collecting box. This maintains a very long-running link between our church and Action for Children (National Children's Home).
The weekend of 30 and 31 August marked the end of the Dover and Deal Circuit. Monday 1 September was the start of our new "life" as we joined with the Canterbury and Coastal and Thanet circuits to make the Canterbury and East Kent Circuit. We had an exhibition of the history of the Dover and Deal Circuit at Trinity Church, Deal, culminating in our final Circuit Service.
We congratulate Ken Vincent and Frances Saunders on their marriage, which took place at The Beacon on Saturday 6 September. We wish them well for their future together. Theirs was the first wedding to be held at The Beacon since we moved out of the church and into the church hall.
We are delighted that our Minister, the Rev. Gordon Newton, and his wife Elaine, have agreed to extend the period of their ministry here with us by a further two years from September 2015 when it was due to end. This is very good news indeed.
In the run-up to Christmas, children in our Junior Church brought toys, games and clothes they no longer need to send to children in Ukraine, via British Humanitarian Aid. Well done to them all. The gifts were brought on the same day we held the Junior Church prizegiving for attendance during the previous year.
Our thanks to everyone who brought boxes for "Love In A Box". More than 70 were collected and sent to children in other countries.
It was good to see our church hall packed for our Carol Service on Sunday 21 December, with some readings and excellent music. Thanks to all those who took part, especially our soloists Glenys Jeff and Donald Beck.
We were saddened during the year by the deaths of Ken Nye, a life-long member of the Methodist Church here in Dover, former church steward, circuit steward and someone who welcomed people to the church with a warm handshake and a smile, Pam Barrett, widow of the late Rev Jim Barrett, Daphne Gretton and Phyl Gay - another two long-serving members of our church - and Daphne Vickery, mother of Anne Beck.