2012 was a year of many changes at The Beacon, including moving from the church into the hall for our Sunday services. The last service in the church was on Easter Sunday, so it was an occasion of joy as we celebrated Christ's resurrection and sadness as we moved out of the church. The move has meant we have other changes to make too, including improvements to the hall to make it more suitable for worship.
One of the improvements was the installation of double-glazing. The original windows, installed when the hall was built and opened in 1961, had served us well, but the new double glazing will help with both sound and heat insulation. If these last as long as the previous ones, we will be very pleased. We are also gradually double glazing the windows in the rest of the rooms, as money permits.
And in December we had a new organ installed in the church hall, and this was used for the first time on Sunday 23 December when an act of dedication was held as part of our morning service. Our thanks to Viscount Organs of Bicester for helping us to chose the right one, installing it and preparing it for use. Our organists are very happy! In the evening we held our Service of Lessons and Carols which was well attended, and a very inspiring service.
Looking back to the other events of 2012 ...
We said farewell to our former Minister, the Rev Bruce Allinson, his wife Lisa and their family in April. The church hall was packed for the service as we gave thanks for Bruce and Lisa's ministry over the past seven years, and those present represented many of the organisations and activities with which they have been involved during that time. We pray for God's blessing in their new minister
at Pagham United Reformed and Selsey Methodist churches.
The welcome service for our new Minister, the Rev Gordon Newton and his wife Elaine, in November, was a great occasion. It was good to see the hall full with people not only from all the churches in the Dover and Deal Circuit, but from other churches in the area, too. We were pleased to have the Rev Martin Turner, Superintendent Minister at Westminster Central Hall, as our preacher, and his sermon was inspiring, giving us fresh insight into the role Ministers play in our lives and in the life of our church, and the part we all have to play. Of course Gordon and Elaine are not "new" to us as Gordon was our former Superintendent Minister. It's good to have them back with us again!
Sunday 8 July was Sea Sunday, and a Songs of Praise service was held at Dover Lifeboat Statiom. Unfortunately, because of the weather, it had to take place inside the lifeboat station rather than on the quayside. A number of people from our church attended, and the Beacon Music Group provided the accompaniment for the hymns.
We held our Harvest Festival on Sunday 30 September when the hall was beautifully decorated with flowers. Our children brought gifts of fruit and vegetables - which were taken afterwards to the St Martin's Emmaus Community in Dover - and the adults gave donations to the Methodist Relief and Development Fund. Our thanks to the Rev John Lines who conducted the service - and gave us "food for thought"!
Our Junior Church Anniversary on Sunday 18 November was a very full service with the youngsters receiving prizes for their attendance over the past year, and they brought toys, games and books which they no longer needed to be sent to children overseas via British Humanitarian Aid. We also brought our Love In A Box boxes for children in other parts of the world for Christmas. The prizes were presented by Margaret Tutthill who has just retired after 40 years as a Sunday School/Junior Church leader here at the Beacon, and previously at London Road and Tower Hamlets Methodist Churches. We made a presentation to her to thank her for all her work over the years, and she presented bookmarks she had made on the theme Jesus Bids Us Shine - one of the hymns she recalled from her own Sunday School days - to all the children.
One of our oldest and most loyal members, Doris Friend, died in March. She gave a lifetime of service to our church, helping in many departments including Sunday School, Church Choir and Women's Own. We remember Rodney and all the family in our prayers.
Phil Brockman, who also died in March, was treasurer of the Junior Church for many years, a member of the Men's Choir and wrote a booklet about the history of our Tower Hamlets Chapel. We remember Sue and the family in our prayers.