BEECH HILL METHODIST CHURCH385a Dunstable RoadLutonLU4 8BY
Our Mission StatementWe aim to be involved in the local community and offer ourselves and our premises as a local facility.We aim to continue working ecumenically and where appropriate with other faiths.We aim to offer worship to include participation across all ages and cultures.We promise to challenge, include and walk alongside all those worshipping with usWe hope to make people feel needed and valued.We aim to engender trust in God’s Kingdom values and God’s people.We will affirm the place of Jesus Christ in our multi-faith world.
The Church is OPEN as a WELCOME SPACEevery Tuesday between 1pm and 4pm.Hot drinks, squash, cakes and biscuits are available.Games to play and jigsaws to make.
Church and Circuit Calendar
6th December - Beech Hill/Bury Park Advent Afternoon at Holy Ghost10th December - Christmas Gift Service24th December - Carol Service25th December - Christmas Morning Service 10.30am31st December - News Year’s Eve Sunday Service at Oakdale at 10.45am
For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Past Church Events
Membership 32Sunday Service Time 10.30 amPlease contact our Worship Coordinator, Anne Croft with the hymns and any other requirements (readers etc.) on 07476 752829 or email@example.com by Wednesday if possible.Hymn Books:We usually project the words of the hymns. If you require a hymn or song that is not in Singing the Faith, Hymns & Psalms or the Complete Mission Praise, please send the words to Anne Croft, our Worship Coordinator, along with your other service details. Projected song words should all be covered by CCLI licencing.There is a limited supply of printed Singing the Faith books for those who require them as well as Hymns & Psalms andMission Praise to 798. (We can project higher number Mission Praise songs or other songs as required). The Methodist Worship Book is also available.If you would like a responsive reading or prayer shown on the screen please inform Anne Croft when you give her the hymns.PowerPoint slides & video can also be shown but must be loaded on the church computer prior to the service. Other computers cannot be connected to the screens. If PowerPoint slides, video or special liturgies are required, please let Anne know and she may ask you to contact Richard Ball to arrange.The availablity of screen projection is dependant on certain people being present. It is available most weeks, but If you wish to use something that is not in one of the available hymnbooks please check with Anne that projection will be available.Notices Given by a Steward at the start of the service.Offering Taken up by members of the congregation and brought to the front of the church. There is a salver on the communion table for the preacher to receive the offertory plates.Prayers of Intercession Led by the Preacher or occasionally by a member of the congregation.Average AttendanceAdults – 20: Parking Large car park at the rear of the church accessed from Dunstable Road
Local Preachers1908Douglas Tearl1925John Burrows1929Sydney Bolt1933Clifford Hawkins1937Horace Fountain1947Dorothy Chapman1975Anthony Brazier1985Jo Symons
Dr. J. H. Burgoyne C.B.E.David BallardHazel FrenchGeoffrey BallPhilip StanyonBrian GillionMalcolm Kirby
Members who have become ordained ministersNorman RichardsonAnthony TrevithickAnthony BrazierReynaldo Leao Neto
The Brick Laying Ceremony
History of Beech Hill
In 1908 a School Chapel opened in Beech Road. The Beecroft family gave the site for this Chapel, and it was from this Chapel that the Beech Hill Church evolved. Sir John Burgoyne played a prominent part in securing the site at Beech Hill. Both these families came originally from the smallest society in the circuit, Aley Green.On April 9th 1926 a site was secured for a new Church at Beech Hill. The Beech Road site was sold for a rather low price of £3750 in 1937. The first turf was cut on October 19th with a short service. The stone laying took place on November 29th 1933.The opening ceremony took place on 23rd May 1934. The architect was Mr G. Withers.The total cost of the premises was £9200, with another £5,000 paid for the site.
Beech Hill 1943
The church opened with a membership of 64 but within two years this had risen to 164. There were 450 Sunday school children compared with 157 before the church opened.In the first two years there were 51 Baptisms and 16 marriages. The Sunday school was so full that two rooms of Maidenhall school were used as well as the church hall.At first singing was accompanied by a piano but in 1935 on October 2nd the new organ costing £1,000 was opened with a recital.In 1936 Rev Pratt preached a sermon on 'The peril of petrification' reminding all that a church that stood still was doomed. A prophetic voice for the future!During the war years 'firewatchers' came on duty in the Church basement. Around 700 evacuees shared the premises as their wartime school. The church was full for both morning and evening services and played a full part in the town activities.
Inside Beech Hill
In 1934 Luton Circuit contained 37 churches and had a staff of 11. By 1964 there were two Luton circuits, South and North. With 6 churches and 2 staff in the Luton South Circuit by 1984.In 1950 Cardigan Street Methodist church closed and many members joined with Beech Hill.In 1968 the choirmaster Mr Geoffrey Ball instituted a Concert of Christmas music and carols with the bulk of the proceeds going to the Malcolm Sargent Cancer Fund for Children. This continued until the choir diminished in size in the late 1990s.In 1979 the church began offering hospitality to young people travelling to London for the MAYC weekends. These visits continued until the mid 1990s.
The Vestible, Harvest 1987
The Chancel decoratedfor a wedding 1987
The Chancel, Harvest 1987
Hazel French at the Organ
The Church Lending Library
A Short History
A New Church Building
In the late 1990s if became obvious that the church building was deteriorating and required a substantial amount of costly work. There were cracks apprearing in some of the walls, the heating and electrical systems needed replacing and there were no disabled or modern kitchen facilities. So a discussion began as to what the future of the church should be. Should we close or should we redevelop. If we were to redevelop, how would we finance the project.There were other considerations. The original church was built and commissioned in 1934. Since then the people of God at Beech Hill had been on many journeys of faith. Journeys that led into youth work with Girls and Boys Brigade and an overflowing Sunday School. Along the way we had: hosted evacuated WWII children who met on the premises for their schooling; ran successful women’s groups, enabled The Befrienders and the Mums and Tots groups; felt uplifted by the wonderful singing of the Operatic group who used the premises, delighted audiences each Christmas with a home grown Concert and a young peoples Christian Pantomime. But more recent times brought the challenge of the community around the church changing; becoming multi-faith and multi-cultural.Society no longer looked to the church to provide entertainment during the week. Rising aspirations and prices forced mothers out to work, whilst T.V. and video bought instant access to entertainment. People died, moved away or just failed to recognise their need for a church life. The congregation dwindled.Hence the beginning of another journey, an exploration of God’s will for Beech Hill.We talked – a lot. We asked other people their ideas and needs, we did a neighbourhood survey and decided to use what we had discovered as our Mission priorities. Taking just one of the Mission priorities ‘Health needs’, we started searching for a way to make things better for the church and the community.No one in the council seemed to be interested in our ideas – at first. Gradually however, the deprived area we form part of began to be involved in SRB funding, and folk began to have renewed hope that life could be better. Ears started to open to listen to our ideas, but it still seemed the work was up to us.We joined forces with a Christian Mission group called ‘Grassroots’ who gave us a Brazilian Mission partner called ‘Leao’, who stirred the congregation to start thinking differently. We joined a churches Commission on Mission programme called Building Bridges, which further expanded our understanding of what church could be, as we accepted faith and God were all around us, not just within the church or even Christianity.With our growing knowledge and understanding we felt ready to look at extreme measures. ‘What about demolishing the lot’, someone said. So that’s what we started to explore. How could we build a new church and some form of Health Centre? Where was the money coming from? What would we use the church for, once we had built it?Another journey began, looking for possible ways forward and some partners to accompany us on what turned out to be a long journey.Over the next few years we decided what we wanted from a church building. Priorities were:A place to worship on Sundays with a small chapel area for use in the week.Room for Junior church activities.Space for a coffee bar and a decent kitchen.Room to house those groups who whilst not part of the church, were very much part of our community.Space for other community groups.A dedicated church office.Possibility of putting on luncheon clubs and maybe some youth work.Make the whole area a facility for the use of all faiths and cultures.A place that all can identify with and feel part of.The ability to offer space/time for the Health Centre clients.The ability to ‘rent out’ the first floor for functions and business meetings.The building must ‘pay its way’.With all this in mind we eventually found a partner who would buy the land and build the Health Centre and the Church. Meanwhile the Primary Care Trust had decided to make the building of a new Health Centre for Dallow ward a priority. We were in business. Now all we had to do was convince the Circuit, District and Connexion that we had a viable scheme.God worked with us, encouraging, and guiding, and patiently uplifting us when things got tough, (as they often did). At times we nearly gave up, but God would send us a message through the arrival of new members, a better price for the land, sudden movement on a contentious point etc.None of this could have been achieved if we had not had a very good professional team of people around us. Architects, Surveyors, Project managers, Solicitors, all worked together to ensure God’s will was done.
Beech Hill Methodist ChurchBuilding in porogress 2006 - 2008
2nd November 2006
24th December 2006
14th January 2007
11th February 2007
25th February 2007
11th March 2007
10th June 2007
Interior pictures taken in June 2007
The pictures below show the completed Beech Hill building. It took almost two years from when we moved out of the old building to moving into the new. We actually moved in just in time to celebrate Christmas 2007. Our official opening service was in June 2008 when we were pleased to welcome Rev. Anne Brown, the Chair of the Methodist District, to lead our celebration worship.We thank our friends at All Saints Church in Shaftsbury Avenue who welcomed us and allowed us to share their premises during the building of our new church.
The new Beech Hill building completed in December 2007