Our Corps Anniversary meetings yesterday were led by Captains Andrew and Alison Stone (10am) and Major Alec Still (6pm). Alison is Major Alec’s sister and the corps officer at Stotfold corps. Andrew is the new editor of Salvationist.
‘Come, now is the time to worship’ was the song which commenced the day followed immediately by ‘Praise, my soul, the king of heaven’ before a time of introduction set out the theme of the morning. Gaby and Rebecca performed a dance to a song using the words ‘Give me Jesus’ as an introduction to prayer time and the Singing Company brought ‘All I know’ as its contribution.
Captain Alison conducted the enrolment of her nephew, Tom Still, as a soldier. In his testimony Tom spoke about the influence of family and friends in his decision to become a soldier. He also paid tribute to the support of leaders including Youth Secretary Ruth Hardy and Divisional Youth Band leader Jeremy Davis. His confirmation of commitment came at Territorial Music School when he finally knew what God wanted from him.
Major Andrea Still, Tom’s mother, sang ‘The Potter’s Hand’ whilst he signed his commitment at the Mercy Seat surrounded by many members of the congregation in prayerful support.
In his message Captain Andrew said (summarized)
My thoughts this morning are relevant to us all but especially to Tom. My point is that going to a church should be like going to Weight-watchers or Slimming World. When there you are with a group of people who want to change. There is a lot of encouragement and celebration at the success achieved. A corps is just the same, or should be.
Most corps are not made up of perfect people. The members know they can change and have more by following Jesus. In tough times we can support. In good times we can celebrate and the Bible tells us how. If we ignore its teaching there will be no benefit at all no matter how much we hear on Sundays. We need to follow God’s instructions the whole time to have a purposeful and fulfilled life.
God speaks to us when we have already listened to him. Here Jesus was talking about those (us) who have listened, not those who have never heard his teaching. So, are we going to put this teaching into practice? There are so many ways we can do this but above all we can be caring and put Jesus first.
You will have already learnt what it means to be a Christian but you must put it into practice. You will then have the foundation on which to stand firm and do what God wants you to do.
The rousing song ‘I’ll go in the strength of the Lord’ concluded the meeting.
Major Alec was back on the bridge in the evening and began with scripture from Jeremiah 17:19-22. Two songs followed, ‘In your heart of hearts’ and ‘Jesus Christ, I think upon your sacrifice’, leading to a time of prayer. The contribution from the Songsters was ‘Go out with joy’ and the song ‘O my heart is full of music and of gladness’ invited testimonies on the question ‘Who invited you to climb the golden stair?’
Scripture was from 1 Chronicles 29:10-18 and the song ‘I will offer up my life’ preceded the sermon (Remember to move forward) in which Major Alec said:
As we reflected earlier it is good to acknowledge those whom have been key to us in the past. Our anniversary gives us the opportunity recognize those of this corps who have such a place in our hearts. In our corps history there have been many spirit filled times and also times of struggle. We praise God for his continued faithfulness to us.
What a wonderful prayer was found in our scripture tonight, truly praising God. We endorse this prayer regarding our own corps and The Salvation Army at large.
God is everything and everything is his in all creation. But who am I?, says the prophet. We are God;s children, that’s who we are, loved, redeemed and forgiven. But, further, who are we that we can give to all God’s works. We are those who have been endowed with good things so that we can give back to God generously.
Whilst reflecting on the history we must also consider the present. Our tow would be the poorer if it were not for the ministries that go out from this place. We must not be complacent about this because that is an invitation to the devil. We must ask God to keep the desire in our hearts and help us to focus on being set apart to do his work, thanking him for his faithfulness over many years. Let’s rest in the presence of God and be kept ever loyal to him.
A contribution from the Band (All that I am) led to prayer and the final song of the day, ‘We’re in God’s Army’
Finally this week we would wish every success to NChant, the senior choir of the Rochester Grammar School under the leadership of our own Carolynn Woodman as it features in ‘Christmas with The Salvation Army’ at the Royal Albert Hall in London this coming Thursday. This is a very fine school choir, one of the best in the UK, and we know it will bring blessing to what we believe is a sell our crowd in one of Britain’s premier concert halls. Go for it girls, we know you will ‘wow’ the audience.
NChant of 2014, finalists in the BBC Songs of Praise School Choir competition
And finally finally just a reminder to those in Songsters and Singing Company that your rehearsals this week are this evening (Songsters) and Wednesday (Singing Company), not the usual night.