Well, the morning was very different from normal as the road around the Hall was closed from 8 am onwards due to the military choosing to form up there for a Freedom of the Borough march through the town. So, we took our meeting to the High Street, determined to spread the gospel message. The band, singing company, songsters, timbrels were able to make their contributions. There were many contacts made.
gave a very clear message that the Salvation Army had been supporting the community for over 144 years and wanted people to know the saving love of Jesus. Here are some photos:
In the evening, the focus was on the Farewell of Major Karen Smith, Associate Officer, and her husband, Murray Smith, Corps Sergeant Major retired. Major Karen will be taking up her new appointment at Hastings North and there were many folk present who had come to say their farewells. The meeting commenced with some lively music by the band as, Major Ian said, we were gathered to salute two great people. He was delighted that a new adherent had been made at Strood Corps by Major Karen and she, Pam, was in the meeting this evening. It seems that others in the Corps want to follow Pam’s example and become adherents too.
For the past three weeks, Pam has been helping with the LIFE Project and been the main person doing the washing up. She is greatly appreciated – and is happy doing it.
We then sang SA Song 279 To God be the Glory followed by SA Song 389 Rejoice, rejoice. The prayer chorus was used ‘Blessing them now Saviour, Blessing them now. While we’re praying, Thou art blessing, Thou art blessing them now’ before Major Ian prayed.
The band’s message was ‘My Father’s World’ before Bandsman Bev Hudson was invited to speak some words of appreciation to Murray. Bev said that Murray had been one of the first people at the Corps to welcome him and his family when they moved into the area from Stockton and he had never forgotten how he had shown them around and given them information about Chatham. This meant that a friendship had developed and continued over the years. Bev recalled that Murray had fulfilled the roles of Band Secretary, Corps Organising Secretary, Red Shield Organiser for the area, all of which he had done successfully in addition to being Corps Sergeant Major. Murray was thanked for the excellent service he had given in Chatham. In responding, Murray said that it was 53 years ago when he and the family moved to Chatham from Wimbledon. He said it was reassuring to know that when God had enabled you to carry out a service it had been of value. He gave thanks to all who have helped him in so many ways and he valued the friendships made which he hoped would continue. He said that he and Karen felt that the future was a challenge for them both and is what God wants them to do. He will give his ‘total support for this wonderful officer’. Major Ian presented Murray with a Certificate of Appreciation on behalf of the Corps.
The Songsters expressed their thanks to both Murray and Karen and sang the song they had requested ‘They Need Christ’. Jean Jones then gave a word of thanks for Major Karen. She said she ‘had come, with that lovely smile, to define a role for herself in the Corps and with a burning desire to share the love of God.’ This she had done in many ways but now is the time to move on. She was leaving her footprints here at Chatham and who knows who will follow in them. Jean also thanked Murray for the other roles he had undertaken particularly in respect of being the Corps Webmaster for some twelve years, Press Officer and Alpha organiser. We want them both to begin their new adventure with happiness in their hearts.
Major Karen responded and reminded us of the Corporate Declarations we had all shared when she led the meetings. Some of these were: ‘God accepts and approves of you’, You are fearfully and wonderfully made. ‘The joy of the Lord is your strength’. She said that whilst at Chatham she had learned to trust God and that He never fails. God is reliable and always available.
We sang ‘Give thanks with a grateful heart’ and then Major Ian asked Major Karen and Murray to step forward and stand with the Leadership Team under the colours to receive a blessing and sending off prayer. They were then presented with the gift of a grape vine to plant in their garden.
The SA Song 861 ‘In Christ Alone’ brought the meeting to a close during which a seeker was prayed with at the mercy seat. Praise God.
Following the meeting all were invited to join in the farewell tea which had been provided.
Here are a few photos:
Thank you for logging onto our website. We hope that Kevin, our acting webmaster, will soon be fit and well again but in the meantime it has been my pleasure to produce this report of a busy day spent in the Lord’s service at Chatham.