Thanks to everyone who took part in, or attended, the concert of Music To Brighten A Winter's Afternoon in our church hall on Sunday 29 January. The programme included singing, dancing, organ, piano, trumpet and clarinet music, as well as drama, followed by tea, coffee and scones. We raised more than £500 for the Kelly Turner Appeal. An excellent afternoon's entertainment ... and an excellent result!
And we are also grateful to all those who supported the March charity coffee morning in aid of the Kelly Turner Appeal, the April charity coffee morning which raised more than £250 for the Aching Arms baby bereavement charity, and the special coffee morning and light lunches on Easter Saturday in aid of the East Africa Famine Appeal which raised more than £300.
Our Good Friday Family Activity Afternoon was well-supported and the children and their families found it interesting and inspiring. Activities included the Good Friday story, Easter craft activities, Easter biscuit decorating, pinning the tale on the bunny, and an Easter Egg hunt. Our thanks to all those who organised it and helped to run it.
On Easter Sunday, following our morning service, we dedicated a mural which has been created by church member Glenys Jeff in the new reception area of Footprints.
We raised £80 at a coffee morning in aid of Action for Children in Footprints on Saturday 8 July and we are grateful for everyone's support. Sunday 9 July was Action For Children Sunday when we were especially thinking about the work of the charity in our service. During this year we have raised more than £750 for Action for Children. Our church has a long connection with Action For Children (formerly the National Children's Home) and we are pleased to support their work. That Sunday was also a Songs of Praise service when we sang some of our members' favourite hymns.
Following the success of our first ART COMPETITION, we organised another one this summer. Our thanks to the Deputy Mayor, Cllr Roger Walkden for presenting the prizes and to Morrisons for providing the buffet for the prizegiving.
We launched a new project - Creative Church - this year, designed for children. It meets in Footprints @ The Beacon on the second Sunday of each month from 10.25am, at the same time as our church service is taking place in the main hall. Come and join us!
On Sunday 30 July we said an emotional "farewell" to our previous Minister, the Rev Gordon Newton, and his wife Elaine, who have been with us during a difficult but exciting time in our journey. Gordon led our morning service and in the evening friends from throughout the Canterbury and East Kent Circuit gathered at the Beacon for the farewell service where many tributes were paid. It is difficult to put into words how much we appreciate what Gordon has done for us during his years as our Minister, and we wish him well in his retirement.
On Monday 4 September we held a special service to welcome the Rev Miriam Moul as our new Minister and Deacon Michelle Legumi and her husband Dave.
Sunday, 24 September, was our Harvest Festival when we gave thanks for all the gifts which God gives to us. Our Minister, the Rev Miriam Moul, led our worship, and we brought gifts of produce, which were then taken to the Emmaus Community in Dover. Our gifts of money are going to "All We Can", the international development and emergency relief organisation, which has its roots in the Methodist Church. "All We Can" works to find solutions to poverty by engaging with local people and organisations in some of the world's poorest communities to end the suffering caused by inequality and injustice. We were pleased to welcome the Rev Geoff Boxer, Superintendent Minister of the Canterbury and East Kent Methodist Circuit, to lead our worship on Sunday 17 September, when forgiveness was at the centre of our thinking.
We were pleased to welcome so many people to our various Christmas services and events. On Sunday 17 December our service included an excellent children's nativity which had been written by one of our members, Glenys Jeff. The children all performed brilliantly!
The Christmas Eve Carol Service, which included Holy Communion, also took a new look at some of the events that happened at the time of Jesus's birth and gave us plenty to think about. The service was led by Rev Miriam Moul and Deacon Michelle Legumi.
Deacon Michelle led our Christmas Day celebration and also led us in a time of looking back and forward at our service on New Year's Eve.
A good number of people came together for Boxing Day @ The Beacon for a time of food, games, fun and friendship, arranged by Michelle and Dave.
Sadly, we lost a number of long-serving members and friends during the year.
Keith Tutthill, a life-long member of our church, died on 4 January aged 71. Keith followed his parents, grandparents and great-grandparents as a faithful member of the church, serving as organist for more than 55 years and treasurer for 40 years. He ran the youth club for several years, sang in the church choir and men's choir, and set up the London Road Methodist Girls' Choir in the 1960s. He worked for the AA for five years before going into partnership at Cherry Tree Garage in Cherry Tree Avenue, which he ran for 48 years.
In 2016 he was diagnosed with an incurable brain tumour and underwent surgery and intensive radio therapy. With the support of his family and many friends in Team Tutthill, he achieved many of the things he wanted to do.
More than 250 people attended the funeral service on Saturday 21 January.
We remember Margaret, Veronica and all his family in our prayers.
We were very sorry to hear of the sad death of Kelly Turner, at just 17 years of age. She was such a talented, inspirational girl, who, with her parents Martin and Linda, fought so hard to find treatment for the particular type of cancer from which she was suffering. We give thanks for Kelly's life, and continue to support Martin and Linda with our love and prayers.
June Lee and Linda Bradley have both passed away this year. June was connected with us at London Road Methodist Church and then the Beacon for many years, and was still attending our Women's and Men's Own meetings each Monday up to the time that she died. Linda Bradley was a member of St Columba URC and then the Beacon and was a keen pianist and organist. We remember their families in our prayers.