How we started

Beacon Church Whitchurch 

“Touching heaven, changing earth.” 

The birth of Beacon Church could possibly be traced back to the moment at Barnabas Church Shrewsbury, when John Matthias had a vision for a church plant in Whitchurch, which when shared with Martin Charlesworth and they began to pray.  In April 2004 Andrew Pattison began to prepare the Snelling family and the Muir family to launch a midweek group in Whitchurch.  
In September 2004 we had our first midweek meeting in Whitchurch.   In January 2005 we received a letter from the leadership of Whitchurch Christian Fellowship (WCF) informing us that “the fellowship are looking into handing over leadership to New Frontiers.”  
Then followed years of ground work, prayer and preparation including running a joint Alpha course with WCF in 2006 before our first Sunday meeting on Easter Sunday 2008 and our official launch on 27th April 2008, with Jamie and Joanne Muir and John and Ali Snelling from Barnabas, and Ken and Ann Holland from WCF forming the initial leadership team.

Over the last twelve years it has been quite incredible to have witnessed God’s absurd grace though the various stages of Beacon’s existence.  Over the years we have faced some challenges, but there is the great news: we all are unified by the overwhelming desire to see the “biggest move of the Holy Spirit that the nation, and indeed, the world has ever seen.”


Testimonies of grace:

So from this unique place, what have we been up to over the past years? Well some of the highlights that shine out: 

  • In our opening year – on Sunday 27th June 2008 God healed a lady in her 90’s of blindness – incredibly this hit the local press with articles in the Whitchurch Herald and Shropshire Star. 
  • We have seen three young men converted and now working in Cambodia and China and India. Jonathan who first went to Cambodia was followed by his parents, then his sister and brother-in-law.  
  • We have seen young men and women raised up and sent out to become vicars at HTB church plants, join the “Worship Central” team, work in London with XLP, others are now training to write worship music and others serving God in lively churches across the nation.  Something about the Pioneering nature of a church plant seems to have bred an ensuing generation of Pioneers. 
  • We have seen our local school go from being a ‘failing school’ which shunned Christian groups to becoming a success story with exceptional A level results and now with a Christian Union lead by one of our Beacon Youth group. During the last week of the Winter term 2019, 500 pupils attended the “G-sus Live” presentation at SJT, with glowing reports from students and staff. 
  • We have seen a Churches Together Foodbank project launched in 2013 grow from tenuous beginnings to become a dominant influence in the culture of our town with 40 volunteers receiving over 70 tonnes of food and reaching 5200 individuals with much needed food in that six year period. 
  • We have seen a steady influx of souls through our twice-yearly Alpha courses. 
  • Year by year we have seen hundreds come to our Christmas “Saltmine” production and our family fun day - “Easter Extravaganza”.  We also have an annual “Service in the Park” and this year have the Whitchurch Town band playing at our Carol Service with 150 people in attendance.  
  • Through “Churches Together” we have linked arms with other churches in Whitchurch and worked with them on projects as diverse as the Memorial Day celebrations, Easter March of Witness, Party in the Park, and the town’s autumn “Blackberry Fair” festival. 
  • Bit by bit we have seen Whitchurch changed from a rather dilapidated and forgotten place, to being a place of hope, growth and blessing.
  • We have left out great swathes of our story, some good and some plain discouraging. Yes it has been a roller–coaster.  Church planting is not for the faint hearted or the easily discouraged.  Persistence, a thick skin, patience and forbearance are essential pre-requisites.  But we have a quiet inner assurance that the rain of the Spirit is on it’s way, the “Ruach” breath of God is coming and our God who answers by fire, has been hearing our prayers and is answering in a myriad of ways which will only be seen in the light of eternity. 

December 2019