Worship and Witness
These were the two main aims of the weekend spent by the Chatham Citadel Band in Hastings, East Sussex, hosted by the Hastings Temple Corps.
The sound of the band, as it marched along part of the seafront on Saturday afternoon, attracted much attention. Even more interest was shown as it reached its destination at Butlers Gap, George Street, at centre of the famous Old Town, where it was to give an hour’s concert to the many passers-by, some of whom were in town ready to celebrate Pirate’s Day on Sunday.
Many of those who gathered stayed for long periods of time before moving on and consequently heard much about God’s love and how it could impact their lives. This also gave opportunity for Salvationists from the local Hastings Temple Corps to chat with the interested listeners and many positive conversations took place.
A rich variety of music was presented, mostly of a lighter nature, to allow easy listening whilst engaged in conversation. Starting the programme with a lively, ‘foot-tapping’ march the band soon presented one of the most popular items of the afternoon, the cornet and euphonium duet entitled ‘The Prayer’, sensitively played by Chris Boughton and Adrian Horwood and bringing rich blessing to the listeners.
Corps Sergeant Major Tim Scott provided information about the music, The Salvation Army, and, above all, the spiritual motive behind the concert itself being our love for God and our desire to serve Him.
Adrian showed his dexterity on the euphonium in the solo ‘Travelling Along’ which demands a great deal of skill in execution. We are grateful to God that Adrian’s talent, and that of all the musicians in the band, is dedicated to the service of God and not used simply as a hobby or a means of income.
Other music performed included ‘I vow to thee my country’, ‘He’s got the whole world in His hands’, the ‘Vicar of Dibley’ theme, ‘I’ll walk with God’ and a very moving arrangement of the hymn tune ‘Amazing Grace’. The programme concluded with ‘Sussex by the Sea’ and we understand from Hastings Councillor Heather Bishop that she could hear the sound of the band from her home on the West Hill and was delighted by the final item.
The evening concert given by the band in the Salvation Army hall in Ore was well attended with a full hall to welcome the band. Commencing with the march ‘Salvation’s Song’ the band quietened the audience with the beautiful cornet and euphonium duet already used at Butler’s Gap.
Adrian presented a further euphonium solo, this time based around the tune ‘Helmsley’ to which we sing the hymn ‘Lo, He comes with clouds descending’. Three of the younger members of the cornet section, Martin Davis, Louise Robinson and Rebecca Abbott, performed an ‘old favourite’ cornet trio, ‘The Veterans’. Encouraging young people is so important and it was good to see them display their talent. Other individual items included a flugel horn solo, ‘Seal Lullaby’ presented by Rosemary Steadman-Allen and ‘A time for peace’ by Ryan Cripps on the tenor horn. By way of contrast Martin Davis brought a beautifully sung item, ‘He’s always been faithful’, accompanied by his sister, Emma, at the piano.
Items for the full ensemble included ‘The Praising Heart’, ‘Exuberance’, ‘Songs of Salvation’, ‘A fantastic discovery’ and ‘Fill the world with glory’. This was a great evening with the choice items most suitable for the older audience here at Hastings Temple.
Sunday morning worship, led by Chris Boughton, was preceded by a prayer meeting in which prayers were offered for the success of the weekend ministry and for those far from well at the present time. Th worship itself began with the words of Psalm 95v1 ‘Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord…..’, followed by two worship songs, ‘Come, now is the time for worship’, followed by ‘The splendour of the King (How great is our God)’. A brief return to Psalm 95, this time to verse 6, ‘Come, let us bow down in worship’, led to the songs ‘God’s love is as high as the Heavens’, and some time for the younger members of the congregation who were given a lesson in trusting (which cup had the water in it?)
‘Have you ever stopped to think how God loves you (O it’s as high as the sky)’ was the song which introduced the testimony of Charlie Gouyet and scripture was read from John’s gospel, chapter14, verses 1-11. The choice of music used by the band to aid the worship was ‘In God’s presence’ featuring the song ‘Bow the knee’ and Rosemary Steadman-Allen preached the sermon on the subject of ‘how do we see God, what is he like?’
The songs ‘I believe in God the Father’ and ‘He giveth more grace as our burdens grow greater’ concluded the meeting which was one of great blessing and challenge.
The final event of this lovely weekend was the ‘Picnic in the park’ concert in Alexandra Park which attracted many people to the bandstand and café area. The picnic, which took place before the concert, was a great time for social interaction and proved to be a nice relaxing time for all (except the band, of course!). Much of the music used had already been featured at other times during the weekend but one notable exception to this was ‘Gabriel’s Oboe’
This very pleasant afternoon was, once again, a time for witnessing through the music and those listening showed more than a little interest. Once again we must thank Tim Scott for his helpful introductions to the music and the consequent witness to a faith which cannot be destroyed by ‘principalities and powers’!
We owe a great debt of thanks to the Chatham Band for everything that took place during the weekend, the music, the presentation of the gospel, the friendliness shown to the Hastings Temple congregation and above all the preparation over many weeks which brought such a high standard to the whole weekend. God bless Chatham Band!
Thank you to Murray Smith for this report of the weekend