WELCOME TO MAJORS ALEC AND ANDREA STILL together with their family, Tom, Amy and Simon
Yesterday saw the welcome meetings for our new Commanding Officers.
Sunday morning worship included the installation ceremony for Majors Alec and Andrea Still, conducted by Divisional Leader Lt.Col. Gillian Cotterill.
Songs 769 (Salvation Army Song Book) and 894 (Songs of Fellowship) preceded a musical welcome from the Singing Company (‘God is my refuge’). Words of welcome were brought by our newest Soldier, Eric Slater, and Major Andrea responded saying ‘we are a special family as all families are and we like to encourage each other and be adventurous for God. He knows the plans he has for us and we will trust him, loving and supporting each other’. Song 742 from Songs of Fellowship preceded the Songsters who brought ‘He is exalted’. The Salvation Army flag was brought to the platform for the installation ceremony which began with song 786 (SASB) and continued with scripture from Ephesians 4:1-7 and 11-16. Tomorrow we shall publish fuller details of the ceremony and we hope that readers not familiar with Salvation Army procedures will find this interesting.
Majors Alec & Andrea Still are installed as Commanding Officers of Chatham Corps
Following the ceremony Major Alec gave the message and said:
We are pleased to be here and very grateful for your good wishes and welcome. At times like this we all have expectations and have arrived this morning with those in our minds. But we are not perfect officers, just as you would acknowledge that you are not a perfect corps. expectations can lead to disappointment but we want to reassure you all that we wish to carry on where Drew and Beverley left off. We want the corps to move in the same direction as they set for it, living out the vision it already has (see Ezekiel 47:1-12). God’s controlling influence will be the key to all we shall seek to do (Hebrews 2:12). We will all face distractions that will take our eyes from Jesus, both outside in the town and even here in our corps situation. Let us glorify God at all times because he is the author of our faith. We feel privileged to be your leaders and know that God will direct us forward, together, perfecting us in our faith. I am excited by the past and the present but also about the future. So let’s focus on Jesus, committing ourselves to him.
Song 1404 from Songs of Fellowship was used as an appeal song during which Majors Alec and Andrea themselves both knelt at the Mercy Seat seeking God’s anointing on their ministry. Many members of the congregation joined them, kneeling in re-dedication and commitment during this very moving part of the meeting. Songs of Fellowship 480 concluded the meeting
Major Alec was our leader for the evening meeting and suggested we should relax and enjoy it after the formality of the morning, choosing songs 25, 604 and 48 from the Salvation Army Song Book together with 1067 from Songs of Fellowship. A further group of songs comprising 755, 553 from Songs of Fellowship and 14 from Happiness and Harmony were chosen to form a period ‘Singing the Psalms’ which also included personal testimony (SoF 553 was not actually used due to the large number of voluntary testimonies given) . The scripture used was Psalm 139 and musical ministry was brought by the Band and Songsters with ‘The Old Rugged Cross – Flugel Horn Solo’ and ‘Sing and be not Silent’ respectively.
Major Andrea brought the message using ‘Reflecting on God’s love’ as her subject. She said:
I collect fridge magnets and they often become a topic of conversation. What I like about them is that they are often grounded in everyday things. They seem to show that there are things which get in the way of what we want to do, sometimes even what God wants us to do. Psalm 139 is also based on the realities of life but, despite the struggles, we see God. The Psalms generally provide a guide to prayer, praise and comfort which we can turn to as we struggle with some of the more difficult aspects of life. We are entitled to ask ‘How can I soar like eagles when I am managed by turkeys?’ None of the power and passion of the Psalms is lost as we see in them the greatness of God. They show us God’s kingdom, how he lovingly creates and plans our lives for us, and demonstrate his beauty in so many different ways. They help us with answers to questions and tell us how to articulate our praise of God. We are able to see things through God’s eyes and have an image of him as guide and comforter, enabling us to receive that comfort and hope even though our own understanding is weak
We should ask ourselves if we have lost the challenge of living right and not water down the gospel. When we encounter the reality of God why would we not want to love him? In these summer days, when we are not quite so busy with ‘Army’ activities, let us relax and enjoy God’s presence and learn how we can reach our potential for him.
It seems unfortunate that welcome Sunday occurs at a time in the calendar when many are on holiday. Nevertheless a good attendance was achieved and those present were happy to receive our new leaders. The days, weeks, months and years ahead will be exciting ones we feel sure. Majors Alec and Andrea were well and truly welcomed and we look forward with anticipation to their leadership. This is a busy corps with plenty to challenge it and your editor very much liked the comment of the famous Spanish tenor, Placido Domingo, when asked on TV this week why he still performed at over 70 years of age. He answered ‘if I rest I rust’! Well, we can perhaps afford to rest for a week or two (as Major Andrea suggests) but we don’t want to get rusty so we will be ready when the holiday season is over to continue to minister to the people of our town and give our wholehearted support to Majors Alec and Andrea. We shall be publishing a profile and an introductory blog soon so watch this space.
God bless you all. Have a restful week (if you can) and visit us again soon, either through his website or personally. Our Sunday meetings are at 10am and 6pm and here’s how to find us:
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