Majors Alec & Andrea Still took over the leadership of the Chatham Citadel Salvation Army Corps in July 2011. Here, in their own words, is a brief profile.
Alec: Born as one of five children, to a self employed cobbler and his wife, I spent the first twenty years of my life on a council estate in Shoreham-by-Sea. On my mother’s side, I’m a third generation Salvationist, on my father’s I’m a second generation footballer. Raised in a loving environment, personal choice was always encouraged, and as a consequence my life revolved around sport for much of my teenage years. When not on a football pitch, I would be found at work as an engineer, or tinkering with old cars. In 1987 I met the love of my life, who brought culture, finesse, common sense and most importantly, God back into my life. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Andrea: An Officer’s child, so of no fixed abode! I lived in Birmingham, Hastings and Liverpool as a child. Part of my teenage years was spent in a Savation Army hostel where my parents were the assistant managers. This context instilled in me a heart for the poor and disadvantaged, and exposed me to the spiritual poverty of those who had lost hope and believed God had abandoned them. Prior to entering the Salvation Army Training College I was a P.A. to one of the managers in a Computer Graphics company making Aircraft Simulators.
God very definitely brought us together, and opened the way for us to get married when many things stood in the way. An important part of this time was the calling to be officers together. We now have 3 children, twins Amy and Tom, and Simon.
Our officership has been an exciting journey of trusting God and trying wacky things, of miracles despite our inadequacies, and the joy of lives transformed. We were commissioned in 1992 to a new church plant at Bolton South. After 3½ years we moved to a temporary appointment in Manchester City Centre where work included ministering to people living in the squats of Hulme, now demolished, and a homelessness research project which took us to the an amazing inner city corps in Paris. From there went to a more traditional setting in Tyldesley, and then to Oldham which was again pioneering/development work trying to discover what kind of S.A. expression was appropriate for a deprived, multi-ethnic area. We ended up with a smallish church with a huge community programme, run in partnership with other agencies. Church was very much woven through everything we did. We were also drawn to Fitton Hill with a heart for its people that would not go away. Faithful prayer and networking by the corps led to the start of a youth church. For the past 6 years we have lead the fairly traditional setting of Bellshill corps through a time of transition, now having a far more solid focus on mission and ministries rather than running programmes.
What can I bring to Chatham corps?
Alec: I bring a passion for God, and a desire to see Him glorified in this part of the church that we call The Salvation Army. I believe the best days of the Army must still be to come, otherwise our ministry does not honour Him, and becomes meaningless. I bring a sense of fun into what I do (which at times has got me into trouble) but believe that God created us for laughter and joy, not to be a bunch of miseries. I bring an experience of God that has shown me, time after time, that He can do all things if we honour Him with obedient lives.
Andrea: I bring myself with the desire firstly to be a follower of Jesus, along with the various gifts and skills God has given me to equip me for ministry. From my experiences of corps officership, I hope to bring an understanding of the issues and challenges faced by many of you. Most significantly, I hope to bring my passion for people to reach their potential in Christ, and my conviction that the church should be a community of God’s people who worship him together, and who are engaged in mission, helping people to recognise that God is already at work in their situations.
Readers requiring further information or wishing to talk to either of our officers should CONTACT US or better still join us in one of our activities and meet them personally.