AFTER nine years as Rugby’s rector Rev Dr Mark Beach bid a fond farewell last Sunday as he led his final service at St Andrew’s.
Rev Beach arrived at St Andrew’s in September 2003 but has now been appointed Dean of Rochester Cathedral. Over the past nine years he’s played a crucial part in a knife amnesty in Rugby and was also involved with countless other community projects with voluntary organisations in Rugby.
He said: “There’s lots of fond memories that I’ll take away from my time in Rugby. Since I’ve been here people in the town have achieved so much. Rugby now has its own food bank, street pastors and homeless charity that are making a big difference to the lives of everyone whether they are Christian or not.
“I think that says all you need to know about the people here. People can be quite negative about the town but people love living here, and I think sometimes it takes someone from the outside to see the pluses.”
Dr Beach said his most memorable moments included St Andrew’s Magnificat community project, 2004’s Let’s Make Love at St Andrew’s project and the church’s role in Rugby’s knife amnesty following the stabbing of Kevin Wright outside the church in 2008.
He added: “I’ll never forget the number of knives that people handed in at St Andrew’s. The police had about 20 but the bin at the church was half full. It made me glad that the church could have an important role in those sorts of projects.”
Brian Coleman, member of Rugby Baptist Church for nearly 50 years and co-founder of Hope 4 Rugby in 2004 said his work will be missed.
“Mark Beach has put a new face on the church in Rugby. He has helped churches, the community and council to cooperate on appropriate social action, he has promoted a Christian witness to Rugby’s weekend night time social life, and has been a great supporter of HOPE 4 (Rugby) and the Rugby churches Revive movement where churches across the town and district are working together on many levels.”
Mark Pawsey MP, who attended Mr Beach’s final service on Sunday, said: “It was a pleasure to attend Rev Mark Beach’s leaving service on Sunday evening.
“In the nine years he has been with us in Rugby, he has had a big impact and he took a leading role in many of our voluntary organisations.”