Bethel – House of God

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Jacob had deceived his brother Esau, taking his birth-right and blessing. He ran away, fleeing for his life. Esau was going to kill him! Exhausted, Jacob slept and had a dream… seeing an earth-to-heaven ladder, angels and God.

Jacob woke up and said: ’Surely the Lord is in this place and I was not aware of it.’ He named the place Bethel, meaning ‘House of God’…

In 1850 a congregation for Sailors and Fishermen was established in the Lowestoft. In 1863 they built a chapel on Commercial Road, calling it ‘Bethel’, House of God.

In 1899 a new, larger ‘Bethel’, designed to accommodate 900 Fishermen, was built (costing £4,000!) on Battery Green Road.

In 2008 the British International Sailors Society announced that, due to low weekly attendances, Bethel would be sold. It was bought by ‘The Lowestoft Players’ who transformed it into a theatre.

Musing… Bethel… Jacob’s reality-check… Fishermen’s church … Players’ theatre… House of God…

Jacobs…

Escaping their mistakes and failures, facing up to life as it really is, Jacobs come to Bethel, House of God. They are fearful and think they are alone, but here they know that they have their God with them.

Sailors…

Knowing what it is to live a tough, hard life, surviving dangers and storms, Sailors come to Bethel, House of God. They know that hardship won’t go away, but here they find a harbour of peace and security.

Players…

Learning their lines, putting on their costume and make up, acting a part, Players come to Bethel, House of God. Used to hiding behind the mask of unreality here they find a stage where they can play themselves.

Congregations and Audiences…

Coming together, away from their ordinary lives, sharing an enjoyable experience, Congregations and Audiences come to Bethel, House of God. Escaping from their everyday lives they find a new narrative, a new life-changing world… that they will tell their friends about.

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