Bandmaster Carl Woodman informs us:
General Linda Bond was delighted to accept £50,000 from the United Kingdom Territory with the Republic of Ireland to support the continuing expansion of Salvation Army ministry in Africa. The money was raised through ISB120, a successful series of meetings held in London in 2011 to mark the 120th anniversary of the International Staff Band of The Salvation Army.
In a letter to the General, Territorial Commander Commissioner John Matear asked that the donation be used specifically to fund mission development in Africa. In addition to being our corps Bandmaster Carl Woodman is a long standing menber of the ISB.
On Sunday we continued with our theme of being ‘Fit for Life’. In the morning we began with song 22 from the Salvation Army Song Book and also used 917, 330 and 734 from the same book. Additionally songs 97 and 390 from Songs of Fellowship were chosen.
Time for the younger persons present centered around the value of time. Does it drag or isn’t there enough of it? Four people (2 young and 2 older) were asked to stand and remain silent for one minute. On of the ‘oldies’ failed after 3 seconds. One of the youngsters only succeeded by staring steadfastly at the floor thus avoiding any eye contact. A minute seemed a long time to them and numerous examples of time going fast or slow were outlined. Time is important, said Major Andrea, especially the time we spend with God. A reading from Ecclesiastes 3:1-18 put this into a scriptural context.
Musical items were brought by the Singing Company and Songsters with ‘He sought me’ and ‘It must be love’ respectively. Further scripture was chosen from Mark 1:29-39 preceding the message, entitled ‘Exercising my prayer life’, brought by Major Andrea who said:
Do you ever feel too tired or too busy to pray. For most of us the answer would be ‘yes’. A lot of our business is on God’s behalf engaging in his work but the more we do the more we need to pray. God’s logic is not always the same as ours and he wants our company as well as our service. Running an efficient home is not necessarily the same as raising a family and the same applies to our church and its family. We must be about God’s business and be ready to meet human need in Jesus’ name. This requires us to pray and the timing is not as important as the prayer itself. We need to fit our busy life around our prayer life and not vice versa. Jesus himself demonstrated a life of prayer surrounding everything he did with it. Without prayer our life for God has no real meaning. So we must ask ourselves when and how we can carve out the time and space for it . It should be a natural part of our everyday living so that we are continually aware that we are in the presence of a great God.
Verses 11-12 from Jeremiah 29 featured in a time of contemplation before the final song.
‘Worship as a 24/7 experience’ was the topic for the evening meeting which began with song 56 from the Salvation Army Song Book. Songs 480 and 43 from Songs of Fellowship were used during the meeting before reverting to the SA Song Book (184) to conclude. Scripture chosen was Romans 12:1-2 and the musical ministry was provided by the Band (‘Be Thou my vision’) and Songsters (He is exalted).
A period of personal testimony centered around the choruses ‘I want to sing it‘ and ‘I’m living my life for Jesus‘. Thoughts expressed evoked the need for prayer on the subject of outreach in many different areas.
Major Alec brought he message and said:
If you want to feel old speak to children! How things have changed in recent years amazes me. Particularly how technology has changed is remarkable. How did we survive as children with only 3 TV channels which were only available at certain times of the day? Today we can do everything 24/7, at any time of day or night. Our short reading defines our spiritual act of worship (‘keep your bodies a living sacrifice’) which is a 24/7 act. No translations of the scripture suggest this is in any way part time or related to specific circumstances. This would be a compromise.
So what does all this mean? It does not mean we have to be boring or lacking in fun. God did not create us to be miseries but to have life in all its fullness. In fact it means that we must always be aware that God is with us and we must live in that relationship so that he can be seen in us inn our everyday situations. Being like Jesus is not just for the times when we are on public view but for all times, 24/7, We will make mistakes but we can be ‘work in progress’ so that we work toward a life that is pleasing to him.
Today we take a further step towards ministering to our local community as we open our ‘drop-in’ centre for the new Medway Foodbank. Much prayer and preparation has gone into setting up this facility and many met last Wednesday for a special prayer gathering when we were given some insight into the early days of the Strood centre which opened just before Christmas.
Jean shares her experiences of the recently opened Strood Foodbank with those at the prayer meeting
We will report further on the development of this project in the weeks and months ahead. Meanwhile we ask our readers to support with prayer and, where possible, donations of food. Volunteers are always welcome and any interested persons should contact us.