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  • Beacon in 60 Seconds

    Owen is the Lead Pastor at Beacon and with the support of his fantastic wife Pauline, has led the church here for 8 years.

    Q. What is the biggest impact that Beacon has had on you?

    Pauline: I think I can answer this for both of us (I could be wrong) but I would say in our personal walk with God and our growth and development in Him.

    Owen: Yes, coming to Beacon has impacted our growth in faith more than anything else.

    Pauline: [mumbling] so you’ve just said what I said.

    Q. What would you love to see happen in the church this year?

    Pauline: Well I want to see more growth to be honest but I’ve wanted that for the last 8 years! I’ve seen the church grow spiritually and people have grown a lot personally, but I do still desire numerical growth. Not more than personal growth – I would still prefer a smaller church where people are growing personally than a larger church where they’re not - but I do want to have my cake and eat it, so I want both personal and numerical growth.

    Owen: My prayer is to see growth as well but I want to see all the new marriages growing, I want to see all the babies well and healthy and to see the youth group really establish itself.

    Q. So, you’re both big on marriage and you make a big deal of encouraging and supporting others in their marriages. To show how well you know each other, can you describe each other using one word?

    Pauline: Moody!

    Owen: Fun!

    Owen: That probably is true! So, Pauline’s fun, I’m moody and the combination of that is always interesting.

    Pauline: They say opposites attract, don’t they?!

    Pauline: Although the most honouring and honest answer would be ‘sacrificial’.

    Q. What was the highlight of the sabbatical period?

    Owen: There were a number of highlights – I loved spending time with Pauline, going to the badminton championships with Rhianna, going to the football with Yas, I loved our trip to the States…

    Pauline: There’s nothing spiritual in there dear. It was a sabbatical, not a jolly. You make it sound like you had a four-month holiday!

    Owen: Those were my highlights though! We did the marriage course again, I loved that. I enjoyed listening to an audio version of Pilgrims Progress with Pauline…

    Pauline: I wasn’t meant to have a sabbatical but ended up having one anyway after breaking my leg! I think my highlight was sharing Owen’s sabbatical! I loved being with him. I didn’t like all the pain but there’s always a silver lining!

    Q. What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think about God?

    Owen: Father. I could say other things but that’s the first thing that comes to mind.

    Pauline: Probably faithful. It sounds like a twee answer but I think of all the stories in the Bible where God was faithful in the good and the hard times.

    Q. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

    Owen: I can’t think of one piece of advice…

    Pauline: I can, I think it was from you!

    Owen: Oh, let’s hear this! Can I take my own advice?

    Pauline: I think it’s the order: when you say to put God first, your marriage second, then your kids, then the church. That encompasses an awful lot doesn’t it in that one sentence? When you think about the reality of life when you do that.

    Owen: I’ve been given lots of bits of advice over the years. For example – ‘don’t take yourself too seriously’ - and although I hear that, what helps me to do that is more Pauline than me.

    Pauline: [chuckle] I excel in that!

    Owen: I can’t remember who gave me this advice but ‘you can’t really do much alone’. So somewhere along the line I learned that you need other people.

    Q. What is the most daring activity you’ve ever done?

    Pauline: Swimming with crocodiles!

    Owen: Who swam with crocodiles?

    Pauline: That was you! Don’t you remember?

    Owen: Ohhhh! I jumped into crocodile infested water to save Daisy!

    Pauline: No you didn’t! You were in the water with the two girls when Daisy jumped in and nearly drowned!

    Owen: Oh, yeah, right. No, I didn’t do that. Sorry. But I did go into crocodile infested waters. There was a sign that said ‘crocodiles’.

    Pauline: We were near a stream or a lake or something in Australia and there were warnings about crocodiles and even though I’m a much better swimmer than Owen I made him get in with the girls! The current was really strong and when Daisy saw the other two in the water with Owen, she ran up and just jumped straight in!

    Owen: I was holding Rhianna and Yasmin in each arm…

    Pauline: He was juggling the girls and we watched horrified as Daisy jumped in and disappeared under the water. I was absolutely beside myself and even though he couldn’t see her through the darkness, Owen found her arm and scooped her up out of the water.

    Owen: But that’s not the daring bit. The daring bit is that I went into crocodile infested waters in the Northern Territory - which sounds really great. But I don’t do really dangerous things normally.

    Pauline: I don’t think I’ve done anything really dangerous, have I?

    Owen: What about the death slide? You hated that!

    Pauline: Yeah, but that wasn’t dangerous.

    Owen: But you were fearful…

    Pauline: That’s true, it was dangerous to me. I like to stay at theme parks until they close but the family all wanted to leave - so they said if I wanted to stay that I’d have to do the death slide. I was up there for about 40 minutes…

    Owen: Yeah, she was up there for ages! All she had to do was drop! It was a sheer 10 foot drop that then went into a slide.

    Pauline: But there was a tunnel as well that was really dark… Not quite as daring as going into water where there’s potential to be eaten by crocodiles!

    Q. What’s the most ridiculous thing you’ve ever bought?

    Owen: I buy lots of ridiculous things! Especially presents for Pauline! When I went to America…

    Pauline: [starts laughing]

    Owen: …I went to the biggest shopping mall in the world; the Mall of America, and I was looking for a gift for Pauline and I got her some Yankee candles only for Emma Arnold to tell me on my return ‘oh you can get them in TK Maxx’!

    Pauline: Every present he’s bought me! The candles were semi decent except for the fact they were green and purple and weird.

    Owen: And we could have bought them around the corner so they weren’t very American.

    Pauline: And when you went to South Africa you bought me that necklace with a tooth on it that men wear! And someone else we know had bought his wife this really nice beautiful necklace.

    Owen: I am absolutely rubbish! I also bought her a Jane MacDonald CD!

    Pauline: That went straight to the charity shop!

    Pauline: I don’t think I’ve ever bought anything ridiculous! They’re all worthwhile presents or things that I *need*.

    Q. Where would be the best place to take a family holiday?

    Owen: Anywhere where there is a beach, proper shopping and the sun – that’s all it takes to make my family happy. I might not do any of those things but as long as they’re happy.

    Pauline: What we have found from personal experience is that the best ones are where you do things together. Having an apartment or a place where you all stay together and do activities together is what really makes a holiday for us.

     

     

  • Beacon in 60 Seconds

    Jon Taylor is an integral part of Beacon – he manages Foodbank and CAP in Brixton and works in the church office one day a week. He’s joined here by his wonderful new wife Petra and together they serve on the Welcome Team on Sundays.

    Q. What is your most bizarre talent?

    Jon: Probably croquet! I’ve been playing croquet since the age of three! You know how you get people like Tiger Woods – their Dad gets them really early on and trains them to a professional standard? Well I’m not quite a pro but from the age of about three I had a croquet stick in my hand and I’m actually really, really good! I played at the age of eleven in an adult tournament and was runner up. I had a really easy shot and I missed it but I’d say croquet is definitely my most bizarre talent! We should have a Beacon croquet tournament!

    Petra: You’ve never taken me to play croquet, I’ve never heard that before. I question it, I’ll ask your parents. I think you were just trying to come up with a good answer!

    Jon: You ask my Dad!

    Petra: I can’t really think of anything. I can play the Alpine Horn, although I can’t play it professionally but I managed to play my uncle’s one. So that would be my Swiss side. And I was just reminded of an episode a couple of weeks back when Jon blocked one of our cupboards and we couldn’t open it any more. I think I’m a bit of a MacGyver (I keep saying that to him!) I can literally do anything with a safety pin or a pen or a bit of wire and I’ve recently discovered that I can break into things! So if anyone is without house keys I can come and help! But maybe that’s just being a woman…

    Jon: But if anyone gets their house broken into while they’re at church on Sunday…

    Petra: What then - it could be me?! [laughter]

    Q. What did you love most about the place you grew up in?

    Jon: I love the fact that we have the most amazing, incredible football team on the planet where I’m from which is Reading for those of you that didn’t know. So that’s one place but the other place I grew up in was a little village called Loose in Maidstone, Kent and if anyone was at the wedding they may have seen the beautiful stream and nice little country pub.

    Petra: Well I really wanted to say that I just loved growing up in the countryside next to the forest. I loved going into the forest, having campfires… I was probably a bit of a boy growing up and spent a lot of time in the woods. And thinking of the stereotypical aspects of growing up in Switzerland, it was great having unlimited access to chocolate and cheese.

    Jon: And you had all that nice fresh bread in the village, didn’t you?

    Petra: Yeah, good bread…

    Q. What’s your favourite game?

    Jon: My favourite game growing up was Risk. I loved the idea of world domination and I would spend hours strategizing. More lately it has to be Rummikub. Towards the end of our honeymoon there was absolutely torrential rain and we spent two or three afternoons drinking beer and playing Rummikub and I’m just about to take the series title.

    Petra: [outraged] not yet! You have refused to play more games because I’m still in the lead.

    Jon: It’s 9-8 to Petra but I’m on a roll and I’m sure I’ll swing the victory soon.

    Petra: To be honest give me a board game, any board game and I’m happy. I’m such a cheap date really - if you wanted to please me, just give me a board game! Generally, I don’t like strategic ones because I could lose – my expertise could fail me but I like the ones where risk is involved with the dice. I’m too competitive.

    Jon: That’s the definition of Risk! You want dice and risk, that’s what Risk is!

    Petra: Ok, let’s do it then!

    Jon: You were just about to give it away; it’s by the front door!

    Petra: I know! [laughter]

    Petra: But in Switzerland, our national game is a card game called Jassen and every family grows up with it, every child plays it. You play it at school and children learn to do their additions in Maths through playing it. My parents were addicted to playing it! We’d meet up with other families and you do it as tournaments and it comes on TV and everything so we’re card game fanatics as well. I’ve tried to teach Jon but the cards are different here.

    Q. Jon, you’ve been managing Foodbank for four years and Petra, it was your first session last month, what motivates you to do what you do?

    Jon: Foodbank is a funny one; it feels like it’s in my DNA. When I was growing up my parents would always invite people round who were marginalised and a bit on the edge of society so I was exposed to that environment from quite an early age. I remember chatting to homeless people when I was at University, I’d give them a jumper and chat to them. There’s definitely a God-given passion - to want to help people who are in need. So the opportunity to manage Foodbank was just incredible; I’d just been made redundant from my job in the media when this opportunity came up. We fed 8,000 people last year! People are outraged that so many are in need, but I love Foodbank because it’s the vehicle for the church to reach the lost and actually we should be thankful that it exists. The local church is the hope of the world and if we can be that hope for people at Foodbank then that’s all that matters. The Bible says that the poor will always be with us, which is why aiming to get rid of Foodbanks is not going to be achievable. We should try and offer them something better than food.

    Petra: My involvement with Foodbank has been born out of our decision to come to Beacon as a couple. We chose to come here because this is where Jon’s ministry is and I am coming alongside him to help and support him. One of the things that I love doing is serving, just rolling up my sleeves and getting involved. So that’s a massive motivation in itself. We’re going to see how we can make this whole machine run smoother and work faster. I’ve spent some time out the back sorting out the food but I’d like to meet some of the clients and maybe have people over for lunch and get that connection going and build relationships.

    Jon: It’s great, already Petra’s got ideas for how it can be better organised. I’m good with people but I’m not super organised and she’s got that skillset.

    Jon: Can I just make a cheeky plug – we still need volunteers on Saturdays so if anyone’s free and could help out that would be amazing!

    Q. Jon, you also manage CAP for Brixton and the surrounding areas, how did you get involved with that?

    Jon: I was already running the Foodbank and there was a discussion about running money courses at Beacon. I think it was clear from Foodbank that there were a lot of people coming who had issues with money and debt and although we offer additional help, there was still a big need there. It also came from the passion that CAP and the church has to reach the lost. When I found out that the CAP centre manager didn’t need to be someone with a head for figures and money but rather someone who is good with people and has a heart for the lost I knew straight away that it would be a good fit.

    Q. Is there a Bible character you’d like to know more about?

    Jon: I would love to meet Saul and see his transformation on the road to Damascus and when he became Paul. To see Saul before and the character transformation of Paul after. When someone meets Jesus later in life you do often see that incredible passion and his is such an amazing transformation.

    Petra: Ah, that’s a really good example! There’s no one I want to know more about but I’d love to hang out with David! I would just love to experience that life of celebration and worship for God. There’s so much joy and craziness and I would love to know how to do it that way. He just radiates joy and love.

     

  • Beacon in 60 Seconds

    Beacon’s youth team (l-r Dave, Abi, Becky & Val) are all round superstars. They’re relatively new as a team but as you can see there’s already a lot of love here.

    Q. If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

    Dave: Teleportation. Boom.

    Becky: Why teleportation?

    Dave: Because that whole idea of travelling – you know when you’ve got to get home from work and you just want to get there… Travel is a waste of time!

    Becky: I think I’d fly. Because you can miss all the traffic…

    Dave: Teleportation allows you to do all of that!

    Becky: Yeah but… Yeah…

    Dave: You can fly, I’ll just beat you there!

    Abi: I’d be like Flash – I’d be really strong and really quick.

    Dave: Is Flash strong?

    Abi: Yeah, he’s pretty strong!

    Dave: Val’s already strong!

    Val: Looks can be deceiving!

    Val: The thing that came to my mind is you know the movie ‘What Women Want’ by Mel Gibson? I like the idea of being able to tell what people are going through and what they’re thinking so that I can help them.

    Dave: Oh you’re so holy! I thought you were going to say ‘I want to be what women want’!

    Val: Ok plus that, but mainly to be able to discern where they’re at and what they’re going through so I can help people!

    Abi: And so you know what women want!

    Q. If you could be an Olympic athlete, what sport would you compete in?

    Abi: I’d definitely be Ussain Bolt!

    Becky: In and out.

    Dave: 100 meters.

    Abi: Yeah, 100, 200, 400. I’d do it all.

    Becky: I might go for someone like Steve Redgrave – rowing – he just won all those gold medals. I just want to win.

    Dave: For me it’s diving, I’ve got the body for it you know what I mean!

    [laughter]

    Dave: I’ll be pulling in the viewers!

    Abi: ‘He defies all odds’

    Dave: You get marks for not making a splash don’t you. I reckon I could dive from a great height and not make a splash!

    Becky: I think we’ve got a challenge here! Next youth meeting?!

    Val: I’d say football actually. And I’d be really good at it; my team isn’t doing so well at the moment. I support Arsenal, so I’d help them out. It hurts me to see them lose.

    Q. What is your favourite crisp flavour?

    Dave: Prawn cocktail.

    Becky: Salt and vinegar

    Dave: Prawn cocktail - there’s literally no comparison.

    Becky: Well no - salt and vinegar. And there are so many different varieties – you can get the posh ones, the not so posh ones… and the other day I found a £5 note in a packet of salt and vinegar crisps!

    Dave: I’d complain! I bought a packet of crisps and there’s money in there!

    Abi: Sensations sweet chilli

    All: Mmm, good choice!

    Val: I like smoked barbecue. Do Pringles count as crisps?

    Q. Do you have a favourite worship band or artist?

    Becky: I really like Brooke Fraser, she’s got a really nice voice.

    Dave: Never heard of her.

    Becky: It’s not your scene Dave!

    Becky: And Sam Cox who performs at Newday, he’s really good.

    Dave: I like Rend Collective because they do ye-ha songs and we don’t have enough ye-ha songs in our lives.

    Abi: My favourite Christian album is the White Album by Hillsong. It’s quite trance-y.

    Val: I like Worship Central, they’re really good, their music touches my soul.

    Q. What kind of phone did you first have?

    Becky: Nokia 3310

    Dave: I literally have no idea

    Abi: Mine was 52 face off! Oh no, it was a Motorola, my boyfriend at the time gave it to me and I had to hide it from my parents!

    Dave: I had my brothers old phone but I don’t remember what it was, it was absolute rubbish – it didn’t even have snake on it!

    Val: My first phone was a Samsung – one of the flip ones.

    Q. What made you want to be a youth leader?

    Dave: I didn’t want to be one!

    [laughter]

    Abi: My answer is so cheesy – it was Dave!

    Becky: Oh that’s beautiful!

    Dave: That’s nice. Do you want to elaborate on that?!

    Abi: Yeah, because I thought to myself ‘Dave’s quite individual’. With young people, sometimes you think ‘do they like me?’ ‘Do they think I’m a bit of a disciplinarian?’ ‘Should I be a bit of a chameleon?’ But Dave’s just himself. He knows he just has to worship the Lord and put the Lord out there and then they’ll come - and I realised: ‘Hey, I can put the Lord out there too!’ So, I went to Newday and now I’m doing this.

    Val: I made so many mistakes as a youth and that was because I didn’t have a good role model – someone a little older that could tell me the truth about how to live my life in a positive way. Because of the mistakes I made, and seeing the youth now, I think it’s important to be able to pass on the little I know. I’m not the best youth leader – I’m learning from Dave - but I think it’s an opportunity to help them to find the road that God has planned for them.

    Becky: I think it’s always been a sense that this is where God wants me to serve and be involved.

    Abi: Oh yeah, that too!

    Becky: Whenever I’ve done youth work it just feels right.

    Dave: For me it’s… I just love them! That’s pretty much it! I can’t describe how much I love them! So, I couldn’t do anything else.

    Val: Do you just love black youths?!

    Dave: I think over time I’ve realised that God has put Africa on my heart. I think that’s to do with the school I was in and the kids that I know. And I’ve just realised over time that when I keep talking about Jesus, God does stuff - so I keep talking about Jesus. But I just love them; they’re family. And it’s the whole idea of discipleship. I’ve seen so many people give their lives to Jesus and then they live what seems like an eternal life of struggle and they never get anywhere because they’re not discipled. It’s more fulfilling to see someone else grow, than you growing yourself.

    Dave: I just want to say as well that this team is amazing. Often, I get the plaudits – Dave and his boys etc. but Becky opened her house for a year so we could meet there. All three of them are so dedicated – I get time off work in the summer because I’m a teacher but they have to give up their annual leave to be at Newday. The kids feel so at home with you all. Well done!

     

  • Beacon in 60 Seconds

    Emma and Thierry are an integral part of Beacon, they do an awful lot to serve us; Emma serves on worship and leads the Communion Team while Thierry lends his strength to the Welcome Team on a regular basis. And as if that isn’t enough, together they lead the Wednesday Community Group.

    Q. How long have you been at Beacon?

    Emma: Summer 2011

    Thierry: Since moving here, which is coming up to 4 years – June 2013.

    Emma: So he married me, we did 9 months of long-distance marriage and then he came to join us. We did marriage prep with Owen and Pauline before that.

    Q. How do you primarily relate to God?

    Emma: Worship and praying. But mainly through worship.

    Thierry: I think I’m embracing the worship part now but it’s usually through prayer and actually also when I’m walking and looking at different things God has created.

    Q. What’s the best gift you’ve received from each other?

    Emma: I had to beg BEG Thierry for like two years for a wood burner because I’m always cold. It’s the best gift ever!

    Thierry: It’s my multifunction watch. I love it because I use it for different things.

    Emma: He likes to pretend he’s James Bond by answering his phone on there.

    Thierry: Or when you’re bored in a meeting and you’re checking your emails on your watch. That’s good.

    Q. Who is the most famous person you’ve ever met?

    Thierry: He’s a scientist, he may not be known by so many people but he was close to getting a Nobel prize but a guy he was working with got it instead. He’s been knighted and he’s been leading the UK policy on climate change for many years. He’s a great guy, he’s called Sir David King. A very down-to-earth guy - a nice chap.

    Emma: I’m all about the celebrity! I met Angelina and Brad! One of my clients was opening a hotel in Piccadilly in London and they were at the launch of the hotel.

    Q. Where’s the most beautiful place you’ve ever been?

    Emma: *looks at Thierry* In my arms! So corny! [laughter]

    Emma: Lake Kivu in Rwanda, it’s a stunning lake, completely unspoiled just one of the most beautiful places.

    Thierry: I think for me, Switzerland in the Alps, a place called Saasfee it’s stunning there and at the time it really challenged me; it brought me back to appreciating what God has really made. Climbing the mountain was hard work but I enjoyed it. It was fantastic!

    Emma: Basically he realised that his wife wasn’t as lazy as he thought; he forced me to walk like 15 miles in one day. He loved me a little bit more after that!

    Thierry: I loved it because she could actually keep up with me. And my mother-in-law did it with us. It was good.

    Q. What historical figure would you most like to have a conversation with?

    Thierry: This is a bit weird because I just thought about that question and there are a few people who impressed me in the past but I think the guy who in a way invented karate. His name is Gichin Funakoshi, he’s Japanese. I’d love to meet him for many reasons. Karate is a martial art; but it’s for self-defence and people who do it don’t really look aggressive. It builds not only the physical part of you but also the psychological and mental part so I’d love to meet him. He’s dead now though!

    Emma: I’d like to meet either Smith Wigglesworth or William Wilberforce.

    Thierry: And who are they?

    Emma: Smith Wigglesworth was amazing – raised people from the dead. Amazing guy. And William Wilberforce abolished the slave trade.

    Q. Your community group started as an Alpha group and it’s flourishing! What’s the secret to your success as Community Group leaders?

    Emma: Food! [Lol]

    Emma: We set it up really as a relational thing originally. We had people exploring the Christian faith joining at first and I think it was really building relationships that was the priority. People in the group have also always had a real desire to grow closer to God, so I think we just join in with that. We love to talk about God and eat good food and that way we deepen our relationships.

    Thierry: Also showing that we are interested in each other’s lives. During the meal we hear about things that are happening during people’s week – issues from the office and stuff like that. It’s just great getting to know people better and building the relationship. I wouldn’t say there’s a secret formula from us. I think it’s a sense of togetherness. We all feel compelled to contribute to the success of the group. It’s definitely a group effort.

  • Beacon in 60 Seconds

    Gidge and Garth (and their beautiful offspring, Ethan and Eiryn), have been part of Beacon since the beginning. Ten years of faithfully serving God’s church in Lambeth! Garth is one of our fine PA wizards and Gidge serves on hospitality. Together they lead the Sunday Community Group which meets after the service every other week.

    Q. What is your best Beacon memory?

    Gidge: I think my best would be a picnic we had when we first started, it was quite cold and we ended up sitting with tablecloths around us to keep warm in Brockwell Park. I do remember Kim Rackstraw very well from that!

    Garth: We did a boy’s day away and went fishing. Five or six of us went to Guildford, that was good fun.

    Q. What’s your favourite Bible verse?

    Gidge: Romans 8:38 - nothing can separate us from God basically in a nutshell!

    Garth: I don’t know the reference but it’s when Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego are being threatened to be thrown into the fire and they reply that ‘our God is able to save us from this but even if he doesn’t we won’t bow down and worship you.’

    Q. How was your transition from Zim to the UK?

    Gidge: Horrid. In a word! We’d just got married when we first came over. I had been working when we came over here, so I’d left family, left everything. And I wasn’t working when we got here so it was not a happy time. I was qualified as a teacher but I didn’t have police clearance or a CRB so I couldn’t teach here until I got that from Zimbabwe. I had to go to Scotland Yard to get my fingerprints done. That was fun!

    Garth: Yeah, it was a bit of a struggle. I was ok – I came over earlier and I was living on a site so I was fine roughing it – but when Gidge came over she struggled to find work.

    Gidge: And living with Garth, well…

    Garth: It’s what kept you going!

    Q. What do Ethan and Eiryn do to make you laugh?

    Garth: Not a lot! They do love to make us yell!

    Gidge: Singing, dancing, lots of jokes and pranks.

    Garth: Yeah, they’ve got a good sense of humour.

    Gidge: I think the best one is repeating what we’ve said to them but when it now applies to us!

    Garth: Do what I say, not what I do!

    Q. If you could spend one day in someone else’s shoes, who would it be and why?

    Gidge: Too tricky!

    Garth: I thought you’d say me and then you could spend the day doing nothing!

    Gidge: The thought did cross my mind! I think a bear and then I could spend the day hibernating. Or the Easter bunny delivering eggs. Animals are easier than humans; people’s jobs and things, it’s too stressful! Or maybe Pauline chilling on the couch!

    Garth: For me, maybe Robson Green spending the day filming an extreme fishing show!

    Q. What’s the best thing about each other?

    Garth: The best thing about Gidge is she’s very supportive, very encouraging, once she’s behind you…

    Gidge: she’ll kick [laughter]

    Garth: …she’s very reliable and solid. If she says she’ll get something done, she’ll get it done regardless of the pain and discomfort she has to endure to do it.

    Gidge: Gosh!

    Garth: No pressure!

    Gidge: I like that Garth likes cooking so I don’t have to; that way we all stay alive to tell the tale. Deep and meaningful!

    Q. What do you love about your group?

    Gidge: The people. I think often, we think ‘oh, it’s group again, quick organise it’ but then on the day I think everyone’s real with each other and encouraging.

    Garth: I think we’ve got a great blend of people. I love that everyone is genuine; it doesn’t matter what’s being discussed, everybody is genuine about it and nobody takes offence or gets upset, we all just deal with each other and help each other. We never prepare anything but there’s always great discussion.

    Gidge: And the fact that they like Garth’s fish so they can take them away!

     

  • Beacon in 60 Seconds

    Everyone, please meet Sere [She-ray], our talented Kids and Creche support worker. Sere works hard in the Beacon Office every Friday ensuring that there are enough craft and teaching supplies for all the small Beaconites.

    Q. When did you first join Beacon?

    Sere: I joined Beacon in October 2009. Gidge and Garth were my first small group leaders at Beacon.

    Q. What is the best thing about working with children?

    Sere: There are so many good things about working with children, it’s hard to choose just one! But I guess it’s the quirky things they say. When you’re having a bit of an off day and then they say something really funny or something that just makes you think. That’s really nice.

    Q. Are you a night owl or an early bird?

    Sere: Definitely a night owl.

    Q. What’s your pet peeve?

    Sere: The main one is when people lick their plate or lick the lid of yoghurt pots. I have to look away when people do it!

    Q. When you’re having a bad day, what do you do to make yourself feel better?

    Sere: Watch comedy! At the moment, my favourite show is The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, it always cheers me up.

    Q. What’s the most interesting thing you’ve read or seen this week?

    Sere: My mum was reading an article about food the other day which mentioned that soy and goji berries are some of the worst ‘superfoods’ you can eat… but I can’t remember why. Also wheatgrass is meant to be really bad for you. Something to do with the chlorophyll content.

    Q. What do you like to do on a rainy day?

    Sere: I like to sew or be creative. I write stories, I have a story in the making that I’ve been writing for the best part of 15 years! But when I have a day when I’m not going anywhere I love to add to the story. I also love to sing and chat with my Mum because we get on really well.

     

  • My Journey with Newday

    “Sir, what are you doing in the holidays?”

    It all started with this question from a 12 year old boy, four years ago. I was sitting in the form room at the secondary school where I taught. A million possible answers went through my head but I went for Newday. To my surprise, he responded, “Can I come?”

    To read the rest of Dave's blog about his Newday journey click here now. You will be inspired!

    For another chance to watch Dave and the boys share their story in the official newday promo - click here

  • Beacon in 60 Seconds

    Please give it up for our wonderful Kids Work leaders, Ellie and Chech! *woop* Both lawyers, Ellie and Chech have been part of Beacon for just over a year and have been leading our kids work since the beginning of 2017.

    Q. What is the biggest impact that Beacon has had on you?

    Ellie: I think it’s a sense of togetherness - which I know sounds a bit cheesy but the community’s great and the worship and teaching is amazing.

    Chech: And as part of that to some extent, accountability as well. Because Beacon is a God-filled small church, there’s no hiding. You’re there! Which is what we want.

    Ellie: And we need it!

    Q. Who is more likely to start a conversation with a stranger?

    Chech: That’s a hard one!

    Ellie: It depends what mood you’re in! I’m the introvert in the relationship but Chech might be a bit moody and not want to chat!

    Chech: Ellie’s by far the friendlier person. Do you mean at church?

    Ellie: Are you saying you have a different persona at church?!

    Chech: It’s not that, it depends on the mood…

    Ellie: I would say, catch you on a good day, you’re a charmer!

    Chech: I would say you’re more likely to start a conversation with a stranger!

    Ellie: Ok, I’ll take that!

    Q. Tell us something that no one in Beacon knows about you

    Ellie: This is really random but I like to have vinegar on baked beans!

    Chech: I once played football at Villa Park.

    Ellie: Mine’s better!

    Chech: Yeah it is really.

    Ellie: When I was younger I liked vinegar on many different things including toast and lots of other food groups, but now it’s just baked beans. I’ve been known to drink it from the bottle. It’s delicious!

    Q. If there’s one main thing you want the kids to learn each week what would it be?

    Ellie: That God loves them.

    Chech: I was going to say exactly the same thing – that God loves them and children matter to God. We’ve been learning about that recently – children aren’t secondary citizens – God calls people to be like children. He loves them.

    Ellie: Life throws so much at you and if you can ground yourself and be confident knowing that God loves you then that’s amazing.

    Q. What was the highlight of your last 12 months

    Ellie: We’ve done a lot in the last 12 months! We renovated the house! We were living upstairs with pretty much no back to the house, we had no shower at one point or hot water and we moved out when we lost the loo! The highlight was that being finished.

    Chech: The highlight was moving back to a house that functions and is how we want it.

    Q. What is the most daring thing you’ve ever done?

    Ellie: I’m a complete ‘wuss’ but ages ago I went to Thailand and I went white water rafting and the guy who was running the expedition was trying to convince the various people in the boat that the English or German’s for example were ‘wusses’. We got to a cliff by the side of the river and he convinced us that a five-year-old child had climbed to the top and jumped off a week earlier so my friend and I did it and it was awful.

    Chech: I don’t really do daring things…

    Ellie: You went ice climbing!

    Chech: Yeah, I went ice climbing in Peru but it wasn’t dangerous.

    Ellie: There was a lot of blood wasn’t there?

    Chech: Probably because we were inexperienced and we were dragging ourselves up it, I bled a lot onto the wall.

    Ellie: You just had picks, didn’t you?

    Chech: Yeah, so you’re climbing but you’re chiselling into the ice as you go. I think it was about 60/70 foot to the top. For me it doesn’t seem daring – I wasn’t concerned that I was going to die or anything, it was just an activity. I was going to say cycling to work every day!

    Q. Did you give anything up for lent this year?

    Ellie: No but I do know that a few members of the church gave up sugar for lent which must have been difficult! You would struggle with that Chech!

    Chech: I would struggle but I was going to say I don’t mind fasting. I don’t fast very often but I will do it one day.

    Q. If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?

    Chech: Languages. I’d love to be able to speak several languages. And instruments. Play them – not speak them! I’d like to learn those two new things.

    Ellie: To be able to sing beautifully would be a talent that I would show off a lot.

  • Beacon in 60 Seconds

    You see them up at the front every Sunday – Jon normally hosts our meetings and his wife, Sarah cheers him on from the front row but what do you really know about our wonderful Tuesday Community Group leaders?

    Q. What one word would you use to describe Beacon?

    Sarah: Community would be a good word to describe Beacon. We’re a growing family.

    Jon: Family/warm. Welcoming…

    Q. There are numerous accounts of people having their names changed in the Bible, if you were going to change your name, what would you change it to?

    Sarah: I think I’d go slightly hippie and call myself something like India and I’ve always really liked the smell of Jasmine… But I’ll stick with India.

    Jon: Probably something a bit stronger and more distinct like…

    Sarah: Tyson.

    Jon: No, not Tyson! Maybe Judah. Or just in fact The Lion of Judah.

    Q. Lord of the Rings or Narnia?

    Sarah: Narnia

    Jon: Narnia all day. It’s foundational to my faith!

    Sarah: We do like Lord of the Rings, it’s just a bit more involved I think.

    Jon: Aslan’s a good name!

    Sarah: Aslan Bryars! Lol!

    Q. What chore do you absolutely hate doing?

    Sarah: Hanging the washing out.

    Jon: Cleaning the bathroom.

    Sarah: By the way, can you do it today as I’ve done it for the last few weeks…

    Jon: I’m happy with the state of the bathroom…

    Q. Did you give anything up for lent this year?

    Sarah: No…

    Jon: Can I be controversial and say I don’t believe in lent?! I don’t see anywhere in the Bible that would suggest that we have to do lent.  I think the spiritual discipline of fasting is a good thing and I think it’s helpful for people to put it within a period of time, but I find it’s more helpful to discuss with people outside of church to discuss why I don’t follow lent as a Christian as opposed to why I would give something up so I purposefully don’t give stuff up for lent.

    Q. Use three words to sum up your Community Group.

    Jon: Food definitely! Authentic, normal very real people, down to earth.

    Sarah: That’s not three words!

    Jon: We’re not very good at this are we?!

    Sarah: I would say character-full or character-filled; we have a lot of great people who are different and unique in their own ways and we love them for that. I’d say very much alive, we have several people under the age of 18 in our group which we love! It brings a certain sense of life. And I’d echo what Jon said; they’re just quite real authentic people; people who have walked with Jesus for a while who know and love him but are real about the challenges that it brings.

  • Beacon in 60 Seconds

    Pete and Lucy lead our Thursday Community Group and are overseeing the community groups at Beacon. They are all round wonderful people. It’s a pleasure serving with them.

    Q. What would you love to see happen in the church this year?

    Lucy: The obvious answer would be growth but I’m not sure that’s really what I want…

    Pete: I’d like to see a miracle.

    Lucy: Yeah, I agree.

    Pete: I don’t want to define what the miracle should be but it would encourage my faith. I’d like to see God do something miraculous.

    Lucy: We’ve prayed for healing a lot lately and it would be amazing to see a miraculous answer to a healing prayer.

    Q. Where were you when you gave your life to Jesus?

    Lucy: I was really young when I first gave my life to Jesus so probably at home but I recommitted when I was in my 20’s, there was a time when I was living in Blackheath and I was reading my Bible after having a pretty horrible time but I had a bit of an encounter and realised God’s plans and ways are better than mine which seems pretty obvious but I had a moment.

    Pete: I was 13 and was away at a church youth group weekend away in Swanley on the South Coast. I’d grown up in church but it was at that weekend away that I was convicted of my sin and the need to repent and follow Jesus. It was great. I remember it really clearly.

    Lucy: And you had to go and apologise to all the girls you’d been mean to!

    Pete: I did! It was the first thing I did. They were really lovely about it and forgave me and were just really happy for me which was amazing because I was awful to them before then. I got on really well with them after that. I was once lost but now I’m found.

    Q. What are you reading at the moment?

    Lucy: It’s interesting that Pete just said that as I’m currently reading John Newton’s biography ‘From Disgrace to Amazing Grace’. Obviously, the hymn is really famous but I didn’t know the back story at all.

    Pete: Does it have to be a Christian book?! I’m sort of dipping in and out of a book by Alan Partridge called ‘Nomad, in the Footsteps of my Father’. It’s a really stupid book! We’ve got the audio version as well so sometimes we listen to it and sometimes we read it. But it’s fun. We’re also going through Revelation as a small group so we’ve got a couple of study guides so that’s the serious stuff.

    Lucy: Revelation and Partridge! What a combination! They go hand in hand I think!

    Q. What’s your best childhood memory?

    Pete: I don’t know if I have one but my favourite days when I was a child – between the ages of 10 and 13 - were Saturdays, playing 5 a side football tournaments all day in the sun. I’m sure it wasn’t always sunny but that’s how I remember it. All the nostalgia of being in a football team and all the fun.

    Lucy: I’m similar in that I can’t think of a particular occasion either but generally summers in Bournemouth on the beach – the whole family would go down; my parents would set up a little spot with windbreakers and we’d spend the day in the sea and make sand castles. The summers felt really long and hot. They were the best times.

    Q. What would you grab first in a fire?

    Pete: I’m not that sentimental, I don’t keep things, I don’t really print photos, I don’t have little keepsakes or pin things on the fridge… I just think I’d run out. I wouldn’t want to be weighed down by anything. I’d just run!

    Lucy: I’d probably take my phone.

    Q. Who wears the trousers in your relationship?

    Lucy: I’d say that we both wear the trousers for different things at different times.

    Pete: No, that’s too diplomatic.

    Lucy: But it’s true I think. There are some things that I take charge on more but some things that you do more.

    Pete: Yeah, that’s true.

    Q. Who was your favourite Spice Girl?

    Lucy: Geri. I don’t really know why. Maybe I thought she was the prettiest. Something as shallow as that!

    Pete: I didn’t really have a favourite, but I found Posh the most annoying! All that pouting. She didn’t do anything.

    Lucy: Sporty Spice was also quite annoying; she wasn’t really sporty, she just wore tracksuit bottoms and did some kicks.

    Pete: But she could actually sing!

    Q. What’s your favourite Bible story?

    Lucy: The prodigal son. I’ve been a bit of a prodigal myself, it’s not very original but I find it very relatable. The Fathers heart rushing towards him, it’s very encouraging.

    Pete: One thing that always makes me smile is the donkey who speaks; the prophetic donkey. I love that he’s in the Bible.

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