The funeral of Doug Minter took place at Canterbury on Friday.
On Sunday morning we recognised Junior Soldiers Day of Renewal, the meeting beginning with the entry of the Olympic Torch (to the music from ‘Chariots of Fire’) and the introduction of the theme for the congregation to become ‘torchbearers’. A period of worship and prayer (Chloe) followed. The Singing Company brought ‘Stay on Track’ and the children took part in an Olympics quiz, organised by Jamie and Joe. Divisional Leader Lt. Col. Gill Cotterill presented Junior Soldier awards to Erin (bronze) and Jamie, Joe, Joe and Fiona (silver).
The Young People’s Band brought ‘God id good’ and ‘Allelujah’ and a Bible Reading mime was presented on Psalm 139. The rest of the meeting focussed on Olympic activities including three races around the hall for father’s and their offspring (much competition here!!) This time also included a talk by Elsa on ‘what it means to be a Christian’, a dance performed by the Junior Soldiers and a period of challenge led by Major Andrea Still during which the young people renewed their promises to God. Andrea spoke briefly about what it means to ‘stay on track’, ‘carry the flag’ and renew promises encouraging all to go our in God’s name with the promise that he is with us.
Throughout the meeting the Olympic Torch was passed around the congregation so that, by the end, almost evertybody had held it at some point.
For the past eight years Divisional Leaders Lt. Cols. Anthony and Gill Cotterill have been soldiers of our corps and have worshipped with us whenever official duties allowed. They are moving to take up appointments at William Booth College and it was a sad but privileged moment when we said goodbye to them. Major Alec Still conducted a brief ‘sending out’ ceremony in which, surrounded by the Junior Soldiers, he presented the Colonels with the Torch and asked them to ‘carry the flame’ to their new appointment in order to release the potential in all those passing through the College on the way to becoming officers in The Salvation Army. Anthony and Gill, friends as well as leaders, left the hall in the company of the young people to be hugged by all of them. Thank you, Anthony and Gill for all you have done for us!
Our evening meeting, at the Emmaus Church Centre, was led by Major Alec Still. Songs chosen were 698, 696 and 814 from the Salvation Army Song Book together with 129 and 895 from Songs of Fellowship. Scripture chosen was from 2 Timothy 4:1-5 and John 15:18-21 and the musical ministry was provided by the Band and Songsters with ‘Northern New England’ and ‘God loves you’ respectively.
Major Alec’s sermon, on the subject of ‘God’s enduring word’, can be summarised as saying:
Do you wonder at the marvellous God we have, that he made us because he wanted the pleasure of knowing us individually (line from Songsters’ song)? God loves you! This is the message for us in our war against sin. He sent his son Jesus into the world so that we can learn what this love is. He gives peace, love strength and much more but not everybody will accept this. Jesus says that we must remember what he has taught us until it is ingrained within us so that we can serve all people because our ministry to others is a ministry to God.
Jesus also says that it will be a struggle at times. no wonder then that find ir hard to come to faith because the consequences are not always easy. So why do it? A good question. because we have experienced Jesus and know him. he indwells us and there is nothing in the world lovelier than that.
Next week-end our young people will be away on a retreat. Youth Leader Ruth Hardy has made the following request:
You may know that next weekend the YP and Youth are going on retreat for the weekend and I wondered if you could remember us all in your prayers. There will be some combined activities and some separate but your prayers would be greatly appreciated as I’m sure it will be a weekend of faith as well as fun. The YP have the theme of ‘Get Set’ and will be using the Olympics in sharing and developing in faith. The Youth are considering 1 Corinthians 12 again with Get Set as an overall banner. We will be looking at ‘Encouragement; Empowerment and Embracing: each other; our gifts and our mission’.
Please honour Ruth’s request with your prayers.
We hope to be able to bring you a report on the week-end in due course.