news

  • CAP Hampers Feedback

    Before Christmas Beacon Church and donors from the community distributed 40 hampers to CAP clients in poverty. Here are some of their responses. Thank you to all those who donated so generously.  

     "Just a short note to say Thank you very much, For your kind thoughts . I was pleasantly, Actually, surprised to receive those gifts. Call me old fashioned but, I look forward to opening them on Christmas day. Merry Christmas."  

    "I would like to pass on my thanks to you and CAP for the totally unexpected Christmas hamper. When I got home last night and saw the bag outside my door I was a bit uncertain about why it was there. But when I got it inside and read the cards and saw the gifts I was completely side swipe with shock. Thank you very much for your generosity and thoughtfulness. I really appreciate the practicality of the items, the children and I really appreciate it; it will come in handy over the Christmas season. Thanks once again."

    "Thank you so much for Christmas hamper. Our God is awesome, I was talking with my mum earlier and going over our Christmas shopping list knowing it will be difficult to get all. But I didn't let mum know. Then a knock at the door and it was your rep. I am so grateful. The items enclosed were items on list. can't stop praising and thanking God and you. God bless you"🙏

    "Marry Christmas to you John and closeset to you. Thank you very much for the presents I have received. It was very unexpected wonderful surprise. Many thanks to Alex & Edoly, Yourself John & CAP Brixton. May the presence of the Lord overshadow you All this Christmas & every day of 2016 & New Year 2017. Blessings".

    For more on the work of Christians Aganist Poverty in Brixton click here

  • Beacon Update

    20th Dec 2016

    The power of true prayer

    Hezekiah’s illness

    ​"In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to him and said, ‘This is what the Lord says: put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover.’ ​ Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, ‘Remember, Lord, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.’ And Hezekiah wept bitterly. Then the word of the Lord came to Isaiah: ‘Go and tell Hezekiah, “This is what the Lord, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will add fifteen years to your life. And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria. I will defend this city." Isaiah 38:1-6

    Hezekiah is told by the prophet that he should prepare himself for death. The words appear final and complete, but as often in prophecy there is an opportunity. By warning him of his future God gave Hezekiah the opportunity to pray for a different outcome - for his life. Hezekiah neither prays specifically for healing nor for another fifteen years, but rather he asks that God would remember him and his walk. He had indeed been faithful and devoted although not as completely as it sounds. To us this prayer can appear a bit selfish, yet God answers. He grants extended life and the promise of deliverance from Israel’s enemies to Hezekiah. Prayer does not always follow a logical or methodological pattern. Understand that and we will see more prayers answered when we make personal appeals to God.

    Last week​ - it was a busy one as we lead up to Christmas and my sabbatical. Last Thursday a few of us did the Christmas Hamper deliveries for some of the CAP clients and others around the church. This was a wonderful opportunity to show love and support in a practical way to people in and around our community.  Kate Berry, who organised the hampers for the CAP clients, has a message for those that contributed:

    "Huge thank you to Beaconites for their amazing generosity and enthusiasm for everything they have done to fill and distribute the CAP hampers.  People have been so overwhelmingly kind."

    On Friday the office team had their Christmas lunch at the Prince Regent, we had a lovely afternoon together. I do really appreciate the time, effort and commitment shown by Jen, Jon, Sere and Phil. I will miss them when I am away.

    Carol Service ​- Sunday we had our carol service in the evening. What a great evening we had with so many visitors both from the school and friends of people in the church. The school choir did a fantastic job, on one carol they sang in both Spanish and Portuguese! The children of Beacon produced a wonderful piece of artwork, based on John 1:5, which went on display during the evening.


    Thanks​ - I want to thank the Headteacher Nadia Mcintosh for allowing the choir to come and sing and also her support over this last term to Beacon. Also thanks to Shauna Sharkey the choir director who prepared them so brilliantly. From the Beacon end I would like to thank the following people who attended early to help set up and make it all work so well. Bill, Jen, Elisha, Matt, Josh, Ruth, Pauline, Phil, Andy, Sinmi and Ibi. Thanks to everyone else who chipped in.

    Sabbatical - This is my last week until after Easter.  I am so grateful to God for all he has done at Beacon.  He has truly kept the promise made so early on; 'I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.'  Over the years God has truly been a Father to the church; protecting, providing and being present with us.  He is the one we continue to look to for the fulfillment of all that he has promised and purposed for the church.

    Hylton Update - Yasmin comes home today and Rhianna will be home by Saturday.  We are all looking forward to a family Christmas together with our wider family.  Pauline and I remain so grateful to God for his kindness and grace towards us.  His blessing upon both our marriage and our family.  We remain committed to following his path for our lives no matter what!

    I will continue to pray for the church, that God will continue to guide and direct its steps and those that lead it.

    Updates will return...

    Much blessing on you all.

    Dates -

    22nd December - office closes

    4th January - office reopens

    8th January - first service of 2017 (There will be no services on either 25th December or 1st January)

    18th April - my first day back in the office

  • Beacon Update

    13th Dec 2016

    One of our biggest challenges

    "Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, who rely on horses, who trust in the multitude of their chariots and in the great strength of their horsemen, but do not look to the Holy One of Israel, or seek help from the Lord. Yet he too is wise and can bring disaster; he does not take back his words. He will rise up against that wicked nation, against those who help evildoers. But the Egyptians are mere mortals and not God; their horses are flesh and not spirit. When the Lord stretches out his hand, those who help will stumble, those who are helped will fall; all will perish together." Isaiah 31:1-3

    I read these sobering verses this morning. On more than one occasion and specifically in 2 Kings 18, the people of Israel and Judah were guilty of looking to other people for help rather than God himself. This was a grave sin in God’s eyes that his people would trust in mere mortal man for their deliverance over himself, part of the judgment upon them was because of this sin. We can easily miss the point here because we certainly don’t trust in chariots and horsemen for our deliverance. However, how many times do we trust in ourselves and our own abilities and resources or in others that we know, rather than the Lord himself. Sometimes our prayers are said not in faith that we believe God will answer but because we think we ought. This passage is clear, people are not God and our resources are not his Spirit. When you trust in people both those you trust in and you who trust will fail. Learn to put your complete trust in God, he will never let you down!



    Last week​ - I had a number of meetings, with a view to sorting things and putting things in place for my sabbatical. I have had a couple of encouraging meetings around the foodbank. On Sunday the church prayed for Pauline and I. It feels very much that God has led us to this point, preparing the church and us for this break. There was a particular word that God would use Pauline to help strengthen my faith. This seemed very relevant to us, as we have very much felt the sabbatical is to be a shared experience, even though Pauline will obviously have to work. It was also interesting that the person who brought this word had received it some months ago whilst at Newday and had just not had an opportunity to share it.

    Sabbatical​ - So what will I be doing whilst I am away? Nothing has yet been set in stone but these are some of the things that we are considering:

    - A trip to Israel to visit my brother.

    - A trip to the States to the Pastors conference at Bethlehem Baptist.

    - Visits to numerous churches in and around the UK and in particular London.

    - I have two preaching engagements and one wedding.

    - The opportunity to collect many of my thoughts around the issue of diversity and marriage.

    Hylton update ​- During the time I am away, Pauline and I celebrate our 50th birthdays, Rhianna is 21 in March and Daisy is 18 in April. It should be great to be off during these times of family celebrations. In other family news Yasmin has interviewed and accepted a job as a Data Manager at a secondary school in Blackpool. We are thanking God for his provision of this job for her. We are very much looking forward to have Yas and Rhianna back for Christmas and have lots of fun things planned for our family day on 24th Dec.

    Dates

    18th Dec​ - Christmas Carol Service 5pm featuring the Richard Atkins Primary School Choir

    22nd Dec​ - office close

    4th Jan​ 2017​ - office reopens

    8th Jan 2017 ​- first service in 2017. There will be no services on either 25th Dec or 1st Jan.

  • Beacon Update

    6th Dec 2016

    Living in the light of eternity - Part 4

    "For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done." Matthew 16:27

    The disciples lived everyday in the light of this truth. Jesus is coming back! They were convinced by his own words as in this passage. ‘The Son of Man is going to come’ and also in the words of the angels, who said to them. ‘This same Jesus...will come back.’ Such belief shaped their actions, attitudes and prayers. Their resilience against opposition was stronger because they believed Jesus is coming back. Their determination to build well and on the rock was shaped by their belief that when he returned he would reward each person. Salvation was not the reward, that was the grace gift given to all who trusted in the name of Jesus. The reward was to do with how they lived and what they did.

    Do you live with eternity in view? Or do you subconsciously or even consciously live as though this is it? Your resilience, your motivation are not strengthened by an eternal perspective? Can I encourage you to gain such a view?  It will help you as you face opposition and the many temptations the world has to offer.

    Last week​ - We have moved the update from Monday’s to Tuesdays. This now allows me to write on what has happened over the last week or so including the last weekend. Apologies for there being no update last week.

    Plans for my sabbatical are taking shape; for the last few weeks I have been meeting and chatting to various leaders in the church and asking them to step up, some into completely new roles. I have been so encouraged by the positive response of the church. I have also been in discussion around my roles in Foodbank and Newday, these conversations have also been very fruitful.

    Last Sunday we were privileged to have Rev Ben Goodyear with us, he leads the churches together group in Brixton and he and I have been praying together regularly for the last 4 years. Ben and his family then came and joined us for lunch, which was really nice. I also went out to join the youth group during the service and shared a little of my story and our plans for youth in the future. Dave and Becky have done an amazing job over the last 18 months or so with that group.

    Sabbatical​ - As part of talking about my sabbatical next term, on Sunday I shared with the church four key values and four convictions that have been very much at the heart of Beacon. A couple of people said they found them helpful, so I have repeated them here:

    Beacon key values:

    A church that is...

    Grace-filled (attitude)

    Christ-centred (unity)

    Spirit-led (approach)

    God-honouring (motivation)

    Our key convictions...

    Eph 2 - peace through the gospel

    Eph 3 - it's through the church

    Eph 4 - apostles and prophets for the building up of the body

    Eph 5 - husbands and wives (God's design for marriage)

    Hylton update ​- Pauline and I have been doing bits of Christmas shopping. She also went to Bath (yes Bath) on Saturday to the Christmas Market there with a couple of friends. Yasmin continues to have bits of work, but has also got a couple of interviews lined up over the next week or so. Please pray she gets a job for the new year. We are still working out the personal plans for my sabbatical, now we have got things in place for the church. I will outline these over the next couple of weeks.

    Dates

    13th Dec​ - Foodbank Carol Service 1pm St Paul’s Ferndale Rd

    18th Dec​ - Christmas Carol Service 5pm featuring the Richard Atkins Primary School Choir

    8th Jan 2017 ​- first service in 2017. [There will be no services on either 25th Dec or 1st Jan.]

  • Foodbank Christmas Carol Service

    Foodbank Christmas Carol Service

    You are invited to join our foodbank staff and clients for a Christmas Carol Service on Tuesday, 13th December. There will be Christmas food and drinks from 12.30pm, followed by carols and a Christmas message at 1pm. We'd love to see you there.

  • Beacon Update

    21st Nov 2016

    Living in the light of eternity - Part 3

    ​"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out ​ for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy that was set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." Hebrews 12:1-3

    One of the reasons Jesus went forward as resolutely as he did and endured the scorn and shame of the cross alongside the pain of separation from his Father was this: for the joy set before him, Jesus saw the other side of the shame and pain to the joy! Sometimes we struggle to endure because we don’t understand why, yet Jesus was not given a reason in Gethsemane as to why the cross. He faced its reality, not always clear as to 'why this way?' But he knew his obedience and sacrifice would lead to glory and joy.

    Can I encourage you not to get stuck behind 'why?' Rather focus on the joy to come. We are encouraged to consider Jesus as a way of keeping us from not growing weary and losing heart ie not giving up or giving in. Will you consider him and allow his example to keep you going?

    Last week​ - our community groups didn’t meet as we came together to pray for the baptisms we had on Sunday and also our Christmas Carol Service. Four people (Petra, Mark, Junior and Hannah), were baptised yesterday and we had lots of friends and family join us. It was a wonderful occasion for the church. I also caught up with Stu Gibbs last week; my friend who leads Emmanuel Church, Greenwich. We also borrowed their baptism pool. Stuart and Livy are just about to start fostering and are waiting for their first placement child.

    Sabbatical​ - next Sunday I am hoping to announce how we plan to set things up during the time I am away. My going really does leave space for others to rise and I am trusting God that he will bring people through. My last planned working day will be 23rd Dec.

    Hylton update ​- Happy birthday Yasmin! Yas is 23 today. We are so very proud and encouraged by her life and faith. We continue to pray God’s blessing and favour upon her as she seeks to make a new life for herself in Blackpool. Rhianna is learning some great leadership lessons as she captains her uni badminton team. Pauline has been ill this last week, this included a few days off sick. Daisy has been busy, going to her tutoring workshop and picking up Leah from nursery. In case you didn’t know we have had to scrap our car the Citroen Synergie. It packed up on Pauline a couple of weeks ago and the garage we have been using for the last few years suggested we scrap it! That car has done some miles, 140,000+ and brings back many memories!

    Dates

    4th Dec ​- Guest Speaker Rev Ben Goodyear

    18th Dec​ - Christmas Carol Service 5pm featuring the Richard Atkins Primary School Choir

  • Beacon Update

    14th Nov 2016

    Living in the light of eternity - Part 2

    "But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." Matthew 6:16-18


    Whilst God is a God of light and truth, he is also the God of the secret and the hidden places. In fact more often than we realise, God’s public affirmation and response to a child of his or a people, is partly dependent upon how it is in the secret and hidden place. God is not a hypocrite, he is not one thing in public and another in private. He is the same in every place, though you may see a different side of him. The point is this: God rewards secret obedience, hidden prayer and fasting openly. This is an encouragement to keep pressing on, even when on the outside you see no change; remind yourself that God rewards your secret faithfulness.

    Last week -​ I met up with Andy Tilsley one of the leaders of Christchurch London, we had a warm and fruitful conversation, catching up with what has been going on in and around our churches. We talked about exploring ways in which Beacon might work with the Christchurch South site which is based in Stockwell. The week before last we hosted a small group from the Candle Factory as they look for a new place to call home after their church closed last month. We pray God leads them to the right place.

    Sabbatical​ - I announced at church a week or so ago that I would be going on sabbatical for four months from January 2017. As elders we have been talking about this idea for a number of years now, it only now seems to be the right time to act on it. There are four main reasons for taking the sabbatical:

    1 to create space for me to hear God and be rested and refreshed
    2 to leave space for people in the church to rise and use their gifts and talents
    3 to also give Pauline a break and do some marriage stuff.
    4 to explore the possibility of writing again.

    Phil will lead the team in my absence. Tope will continue to oversee us, Dave Nunn will take a more hands on role with church. We have arranged for him to come and preach a couple of times during my absence. The plan is for me to return after the Easter holidays.

    Hylton update ​- Daisy has decided to do a gap year next year and we are looking at various options for her. Yasmin is continuing to enjoy her time in Blackpool, please pray she finds a full time job. Rhianna remains busy with her various activities in Cambridge. My Dad was 83 last week. Pauline was ill last Friday and was off work, a very unusual occurrence for her. Last weekend had been particularly busy, but this weekend was a lot quieter.

    Dates

    20th Nov​ - Baptism

  • Beacon Update

    7th Nov 2016

    Living in the light of eternity - Part 2



    ​‘At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. ​ Five of them were foolish and five were wise. ​ The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. ​ The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.  ‘At midnight the cry rang out: “Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!” ​‘Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. ​ The foolish ones said to the wise, “Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.” ​ ‘“No,” they replied, “there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.” ​ ‘But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. ​ 11 ‘Later the others also came. “Lord, Lord,” they said, “open the door for us!” ​ ‘But he replied, “Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.” ​ ‘Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.' Matthew 25:1-13

    I want to make a confession; as a Christian I have given very little focus to eternity and the life to come. The sad thing about that as a pastor is that I haven’t helped my people as much as I might have done.  I could have pointed them to future reward and joy to encourage them as they patiently endure the trials of today. We are a now people who like things to be instant and immediate. Over the next few weeks in my update we will look at these issues.

    The above passage shows us that whilst things are not always done in our time, in God’s timing things will always get done. The question and challenge is will we be ready when the bridegroom arrives, or will we in our desire for instant and immediate gratification, not prepare ourselves properly for his coming and so miss out? That was the way of the foolish virgins. On the face of it, nothing major separated the two groups, however, some prepared themselves ahead of time others did not. It was only in that moment that it became obvious who was and who was not ready. Yet they would have all had the same opportunity to prepare themselves. It is not a secret or mysterious thing to do that only some of us see, it is partly a choice and definitely influenced by our ability to resist the pull of the immediate and instant. Which group are you in?

    Last week -​ The week before last was half term and we were away for the week. You may not know but I went and spoke at City Church Cambridge on 23rd Oct, we had a really encouraging time there. Last week I met up with Phill Gray who leads the Newday team. Pauline and I have begun our short season of marriage preparation with a couple of couples within the church. We are fitting in three sessions with each couple before Christmas. It was great to welcome back Bill Wilson the vicar of St Stephen’s in Stockwell to our churches together prayer morning on Wed.

    Hylton update ​- Over half term, we had the privilege of going to Eurodisney, through an amazing gift someone gave us. We took the girls and had a great time. Initially we were a little concerned that the girls might feel too old, but nothing could have been further from the truth. They loved it and so did we, although I no longer do anything other than family kind of rides and even one of those was a little hair raising for me! I would highly recommend Eurodisney for people with older kids or even 20 somethings, it is well worth it.

    Dates -

    20th Nov​ - Baptism (so far two people have said they want to be baptised).

    4th Dec​ - visiting speaker Rev Ben Goodyear

    13th Dec​ - Food for the Soul Carol Service with mince pies and refreshments

    18th Dec​ - Beacon Christmas Carol Service by candlelight followed by mince pies and mulled wine.

  • Beacon Update

    17th Oct 2016

    Wisdom does not necessarily come with age

    Better a poor but wise youth than an old but foolish king. Who no longer knows how to take warning. Eccl 4:13

    Wisdom does not automatically come with age or experience. Sometimes old people can be foolish and young people can be wise. This passage indicates that the ability to take a warning or heed advice makes one wise and the inability to do so makes one foolish. Learn to listen and heed advice and so grow wise.

    Last week  - Gavin Peacock was staying with me. It has been a couple of years since we spent time together and so we had a lot of catching up to do. It was great spending time sharing and chatting together. Gavin is very much aware of Beacon and has always been, encouraging and supportive. This time he met with our elders and elders plus group. He also took a couple of school assemblies, played football and shared his testimony at a youth project. He unfortunately hurt his leg and had to come off early. Finally he shared at foodbank a wonderful message of encouragement. All the places I took Gavin he was well received and proved to be a blessing. Hopefully we can arrange another visit for next year. Jon Taylor also arranged a couple of assemblies at Richard Atkins school. These he did with Maureen and Sere.

    Hylton update â€‹ - We had Pauline’s niece Lucy staying with us last week. She is working as an intern for an NGO in Brussels and had come back to the UK for some training. Rhianna is busy as the badminton captain and she has joined a local band, still working in Sports Direct and apparently keeping up with her studies. Yasmin continues to look for work in Blackpool and also learning to drive. Pauline’s work seems to be crazy busy, she now leaves home 7am everyday. Daisy has been attending a Maths tutor workshop. We finally gave in and turned the heating on.

    Other news - Dedication Sunday. We had a great Sunday, the one before last, with lots of children being dedicated and lots of visitors and food. The church really stepped up in making Sunday work really well.

    Dates

    16th October​ - study in faith and baptism course started

    5th Nov â€‹- Firework night at the Hylton’s

    20th Nov​ - Baptism

  • Beacon Update

    10th Oct 2016

    Looking to Jesus

    Looking away (from all that will distract) to Jesus... Heb 12:2

    In the second of the Lord of the Ring stories, 'The Two Towers', there is a moment when Gandalf forewarns Aragorn that he will be coming back to help with the battle at Helm's Deep.  Gandalf's words are "Look to my coming, at first light, on the fifth day.  At dawn, look to the East."  Aragorn is caught in the midst of the battle for Helm's Deep, a battle he appears to be losing and which takes all the energy and focus of him and his army.  Then, at first light on the fifth day he looks and sees hope and help in the form of Gandalf and an army of men.  In Hebrews 12 we have a similar hope;  as we run the race amidst all the distractions of life, we need to look away, away from the daily distractions, away from the heat of the battle, and look toward Jesus.  He is coming as our hope and help and he is the reason ultimately that we will be victorious.


    Last week -​ I had a Foodbank trustees meeting. We celebrated 5 years of the Norwood and Brixton Foodbank. Here is a summary of the stats for the last 5 years:

    31,811 people fed

    13,404 were children

    224 tonnes donated

    209 tonnes given out (not the final figure)

    14,000 foodbank vouchers issued

    We have much to thank God for in relation to the work of Foodbank, one means by which we serve the community. Proverbs 29:7 says, ‘the righteous care about justice for the poor.’

    This week ​- we have Gavin Peacock around. He will be doing a couple of school assemblies, a youth project, visiting Foodbank, speaking at Food For The Soul and meeting with our elders plus group. We are taking part in assemblies for both Infants and Juniors at Richard Atkins School as part of their Harvest Festival. Please pray for Jon and the Foodbank team.

    Hylton update ​- Daisy has been a bit unwell this week. Whilst our house is much warmer because of our new double glazing, the temperature has dropped and so we are a little chillier than before. We are at the moment resisting the temptation to put on the central heating, a battle I think I am losing. We have the remains of a dead pigeon in our garden, neither Pauline or I do too well with that kind of thing! Last night Gavin Peacock and a friend had come to stay along with Pauline’s niece Lucy, so we have a house full for a few days. Please continue to pray for Yasmin as she job hunts in Blackpool and learns to drive.

    Other news

    There has been amazing progress for Mark and Cecilia; she is out of hospital, the expected baby is ok and she started her new job with the Girl Guides last Tuesday! Please continue to pray for them as a family.

    Dates

    16th October​ - Study in Faith and Baptism course starts

    5th November - Fireworks at Owen and Paulines from 6pm.  Food will be provided.

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