We started our year with the annual Covenant Service which is always a very meaningful and important service for Christians.
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity took place in January with special services, an Agape meal and a series of coffee mornings organised by the various churches in Dover. It was organised by Christians Together in Dover.
The Beacon is one of the churches in Dover which welcomed people who had nowhere to live or sleep during the winter months. The Night Shelter project, organised by Dover Outreach Centre, has become vital for those who would otherwise be faced with very cold conditions outside. One night a week, they were able to  come and have a hot meal and a warm night in our church, followed by breakfast, and the same facilities were provided at other churches in Dover throughout the week to ensure there was somewhere to stay seven nights a week from December to February. Last year around 30 people a night were accommodated at the night shelter. We are grateful to the volunteers who gave up their time to run this project.
We were delighted to welcome the Rev Dr David Hinchliffe, chair of the Methodist South East District, to lead our worship on Sunday 23 February. He spoke to us about the transfiguration, and urged us to listen to God talking to us, and to respond to what He has to say.

At our Café Church service in January we explored what light means to us and how we need it in our lives, in our community and in the world. We remembered that Jesus is the Light of the World and provides enough light for all of us to live in. We made lighthouses, and other items that reminded us of light, including torches and the sun. In February we took Growth as the theme, looking at both personal growth and spiritual growth.



And then came the coronavirus and lockdown ...


We had to close our premises in line with government guidelines and restrictions.


Representatives from the Beacon were outside our local supermarket, just before the first lockdown - and again for the second lockdown - urging people to only buy the items they need and spreading the message that there is enough for everyone if we share.


Deacon Michelle Legumi and Cross-Links youth worker Rebecca Meredith were also asking people to donate items for the Dover Foodbank - and they were delighted with the response they received (see photos below).


Thank you to everyone who supported this appeal. Your donations made life a little easier for those who were most in need.


































Thanks to Fred Olsen Cruise Lines who donated LOTS of tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, green beans, mushrooms and aubergines (pictured above) which we were then able to give away to people in Dover who could use them.


The Together4Dover work continued throughout the lockdowns.


This was another excellent example of how we can all work together to help each other during this crisis.


Children from Creative Church created their own Good Friday and Easter scenes from items they had in their homes. Here's one of Easter morning. You can see some of the others on the Creative Church page. 

During Lent we used Finding a Voice, an original course by Hilary Brand, for our series of study sessions.Taking the film The King’s Speech as a starting point, the course explored the ways in which fear holds us back, and examines how we, like King George VI, can face and overcome our fears and begin to find our authentic voice. Each session included an extract from the film, group discussion, questions and a meditation. 



Our former Minister, the Rev Miriam Moul, moved to the Oxford circuit where she is the Minister at one of the churches as well as chaplain at Oxford Brookes University. We were sorry not to have been able to hear her last sermon here in person, but we were pleased to be able to share with many others in watching and listening online instead.


Some of us were also able to join in her welcome service in Oxford online.




On Sunday 13 September we were pleased to officially welcome our new Minister, the Rev Catherine Wagstaff, at a service which was held at St Peter's Methodist Church in Canterbury, but which was streamed on You Tube so that we could all feel a part of it.


Catherine, who has come to us from the Teignbridge Methodist Circuit,  trained for ministry after serving as a lay preacher in West Devon and working as a primary school special educational needs co-ordinator. She was ordained at the Methodist Conference in Westminster in 2016.


At the service, Catherine said she was looking forward to living and working here with us. "We didn't expect to be moving, we didn't expect to be here but it is good that we are here. It is so left field that it has to be God, and God's hand is upon it," she said.


"I will work with you and I will  pray for you and I look forward to working and praying with you as we seek to serve God in this place." 


Our Deacon Michelle Legumi (pictured right) read one of the Bible passages.


Among those who welcomed Catherine - via a video link - was Dover Mayor Cllr Gordon Cowan. He said: "I am delighted to welcome Catherine and Philip to Dover. I hope you will settle in and have time for some lovely walks on the Downs around the town.


"Dover is known for the warmth and friendliness of its people. There are many challenges to be faced and partnerships between community leaders and organisations of all kinds in the town have proved to be the key to finding solutions.


"As Mayor of Dover I am very happy to be able to work in partnership with Catherine to make the village of River and the town of Dover the best it can possibly be.


"God bless you both and I hope you have many years of happiness here."


It was also the welcome service for the Rev Wes Hampton, who is the new Minister at Margate.


You can watch the service here 



Congratulations Cessy!


Congratulations to our former London Road Methodist Girls' Choir member Cessy Crascall on being chosen as the ITV Meridian east region winner of the Pride of Britain awards for her amazing fund-raising achievements for the Demelza House children's hospice.


Cessy has raised £134,000 over the past 20 years. 


She was judged to be the winner by Jordan Banjo and Perri Kiely from the dance troupe Diversity.




For Halloween we supported the Dover Light Party as an alternative and more positive way of celebrating this event.


Remembering that Jesus is the Light of the World, this initiative was promoted by Christians Together in Dover, and included an activity pack with a quiz and things to make, including a lighthouse.


Sadly, we were not able to meet to celebrate Christmas as we would normally do, but we were able to celebrate in our homes and on-line, and we are grateful to all those who enabled us to do this.