A large crowd assembled for our first meeting in the newly developed Church Street premises.
A number of activities had taken place in the new facilities during the week but the time had mainly beed devoted to moving equipment back from the Emmaus Church Centre (and a number of private storage places such as garages, lofts, etc.). There seemed, not surprisingly, to be an air of joy and celebration as people gravitated towards their old familiar seating places (only to find, in some cases, a different seat layout!).
What other song could we have chosen to begin our worship than ‘To God be the Glory‘, followed immediately with a reading from Psalm 9 (WE have linked to NIV although ‘Psalms Now’ was used in the meeting). The music sections enjoyed the improved acoustic conditions from what they had become used to over the past eleven months and the Singing Company revelled in this with ‘A Great Downpour’.
Songs of Fellowship 182 preceded a time of prayer in which we thanked God for his goodness to us and scripture was taken from Jeremiah 17:5-8. Song 382 from the Salvation Army Song Book followed and the Songsters contributed ‘Holy Ground’ in vocal ministry.
‘I want to be a tree’ was the title given to Major Alec Still’s sermon. He said:
Where woud you find a perfect oak tree? No one seems to know the answer to that question but it is whilst it is still in the acorn because, at that point, it has never been subjected to the corrupting forces of the world.
Our scripture says that if we trust only in man we will be useless and achieve nothing for the Kingdom. But i don’t want to be negative this morning. If we trust in the Lord we will be blessed. There is a sense of relief this morning as we, once again, experience the presence of God here in our own building. We rejoice in this and God says we shall be like a tree planted by the water sending out its roots by the stream.
We must put our own roots down by the living water that flows from the Temple of God. We all have this potential and today is the day we can see all the possibilities for our future. We are already hearing about people who want to discover Jesus right here in our own community. We have a great potential for fruit bearing for God, bringing people to Christ. Today is the day we can start to realize this potential. It will take commitment from us all.
At this point Major Alec invited all who wished to add leaves to the tree (see above) by using paint and placing their thumbprints on the branches. This was to show our willingness to be involved in the future of the corps. A song of dedication (All that I am) allowed time for this to take place but the queue was so long that further music was required whilst the tree was covered in leaves. Even the children, who had been requested to stay in the meeting on this one occasion, joined enthusiastically in the commitment. It seemed that the whole congregation wanted to take part and those not present yesterday will be given the opportunity to add their thumbprints before the picture is framed and hung for all to see and be reminded of this first Sunday back home.
Song 820 (SA) completed the meeting.
The 6pm gathering took the form a an ‘Hot Potato’ event presented by Major Andrea on the subject of ‘The Salvation Army and the Sacraments’. Supper of baked potatoes preceded an extended talk by Andrea tracing the journey taken by The Salvation Army in relation to Holy Communion in particular which was practised in the Army in its early days (although the practice had largely died out by 1883 due to increasing practical difficulties). We hope to publish Andrea’s notes later in the week so watch this space. The congregation of more than 60 people were given the opportunity to ask questions or make comments.
For the Salvation Army’s positional statement on the sacraments click here.
We look forward to settling in to our new facilities over the next few weeks and would welcome any who wish to visit us. Here’s how to find us:
Click on the maps to enlarge