Popular Beccles clergyman prepares to leave town for pastures new
- Credit: Nick Butcher
A significant figurehead in Beccles is leaving for pastures new after 17 years at the centre of town life.
The Rev Canon John Beauchamp, who has been both vicar and rector at two churches is to move to a new post in Islington, north London in February.
Mr Beauchamp and his wife Natalie moved to Beccles in 1997 when he became team vicar at St Luke's Church Centre in Rigbourne Hill.
In 2004 he was made Priest-in-Charge of St Michael's and St Luke's and in 2007 rector of the parish.
He is particularly known around the town for the constant companionship of his guide dogs, Trevor, Alfie and now Nelson.
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Mr Beauchamp said: 'It will be sad for us to leave Beccles where we have felt very at home for the past 17 years. It has been a great privilege to work in the town and to support many Beccles people through some of the most significant moments in their lives, both happy and sad.
'However, after 17 years, we feel it is right to take on a new challenge for the remaining years of our ministry and Canonbury offers us the opportunity to explore the particular challenges of inner city ministry in a parish that has both some of the capitals wealthiest and poorest residents.
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'We would like to thank you for the support and encouragement you have shared with us over our years in Beccles and hope that what we have been able to share with you of God's unconditional love shown to us in Jesus Christ has had a positive impact both on the lives of individuals and the life of the town.'
Phil Filer, churchwarden at St Michael's said: 'The Rev John Beauchamp has made a huge contribution to the lives of the people of Beccles and to the congregation of St Michael's. He has served this community with great love, compassion and imagination. Under his leadership the Beccles Music Festival brought the most wonderful music to the people of this town and he has been completely engaged with every aspect of the life and work of Beccles.
'He will be greatly missed by both the church and the town but I am sure that this move to Islington will be greatly beneficial to his new parish and to John, Natalie and Nelson.'
Pippa Bridges and Roger Tuthill, wardens at St Luke's, said: 'It has been a remarkable 17 years here under John's ministry. He has always been very caring and ready to listen to others. John displays a wonderful sense of humour and he possesses many spiritual, creative and musical talents. His clear sermons have been an inspiration to us all and we will miss him greatly. We wish both John and Natalie every blessing in their new parish.'
The couple's last Sunday in Beccles will be Sunday, February 8, and the Rev Beauchamp will be installed in his new parish on Saturday, March 7, at 3pm by The Rt Rev Adrian Newman, Bishop of Stepney.
There will be a farewell service on Sunday, February 8, at 3pm at St Michael's to which all are invited.