"Bringing Christ to People and People to Christ"

Songsters at Derby Central

Last week-end our Songsters visited Derby Central Corps for the purpose of leading the worship.

In concert

Debbie Abbott sends us this report of the visit:-

Debbie ‘sings and signs’ from her wheelchair

In Harmony with Each Other was the theme of the Chatham Songster weekend visit to Derby Central Corps. It was immediately obvious how incredibly appropriate this was! From the moment that we arrived at Derby there was a marked unity between the two Corps.

I understand that for some people this was the fourth exchange. So it really was the meeting of old friends. (Enough of the old I hear you cry). Four people were experiencing their first ‘away-weekend’ with us, so we arrived with excitement, some nervousness and high hopes for a good weekend. At the same time, however, we continually remembered Joan, Helen and Victoria in prayer during the weekend. Joan as a valued member of our Brigade, each of them our friends and important members of our corps community. (click here for an explanation)

The programme was wonderfully orchestrated by those involved in the planning, if you can say that about a band and songster programme. The Songsters opened Saturday night with Sing to Joy , giving us the opportunity to greet the congregation and direct the focus and praise to God. The first half appeared to be of a meditational nature, singing God Chose Us’, Look at The World , and the very well received A. Maycock song Our God . Thank you to Derby Band for completing the first half with The Liberator .

I believe everyone also thoroughly enjoyed the second half. I personally love the song In The Name of The Lord which Rachel sang beautifully. She reminded everyone powerfully of the Humanity yet Lordship and Hope that can be found in Jesus. David s frank testimony of how he came to deeper and more real commitment to God in spite of the difficulties of living within the tough military world was refreshing and stimulating. We sang When The Roll : Oh my goodness what can anyone say – It s just extreme and has to be heard to be believed, so hats off to Rachel, Carolynn and Sarah!

The evening concluded with the Irish Blessing. “May the road rise to meet you, may the wind be forever at your back, may the sun shine warm upon your face and rain fall soft upon your fields, and until we meet again, may God hold you ever in the palm of his hand”.

The Sunday morning meeting was led by Major Kathy Woodhouse who also provided a very thought provoking sermon. The Derby Young Peoples Band tunefully accompanied the congregational songs. The Singing Company s contribution of a contemporary setting of the old familiar words I m In His Hands was well received. The spiritual high point on Sunday morning resulted from the singing of Somebody Prayed For Me . Joan and the girls were strongly in all of our thoughts at that time. Two members of the congregation responded by kneeling at the mercy seat.

We all staggered back to the hall full of food (What a fantastic roast dinner I had!) for Sunday afternoon. The Brigade opened with A Jubilant Song , creating an atmosphere of praise. Derby Songsters brought to us the song We are Not Alone , a wonderful piece of clever music writing with an hypnotic ostinato reminding us that God is always there.

The Brigade soloists contributed greatly to the success of the weekend.

Brigade contributions included Breathe , and Arms of Love (which speak of the influence of the Holy Spirit and provide opportunity for congregational worship), and in contrast Dry Bones (the story of Ezekiel in the Valley of dry bones with a manic drum playing skeleton. Great fun with a reminder that God s spirit can breathe new life into the hardest heart and dreariest life).

Ruth, who is a Principal Probation Officer testified as to how her faith and her work complement one another and how she is only able to do her job by the grace of God. The congregation was stirred by the fact that she has on her office wall William Booth’s last sermon which speaks of the need for Christians to fight against all social evils and love people with a zeal that wins them for Christ.

Derby band played The Lord is Gracious .

Vesper provided a fitting choral Amen to the weekend at Derby Central. We set off home through snow, tired and thanking God for a happy, blessed weekend.

Thanks, Debbie, for an interesting account of the visit.