'Boundless 2015' Begins!
AFTER years of planning, months of work and surrounded by prayer, The Salvation Army's 150th anniversary international congress is under way at The O2 in London – just a short distance from the movement's East End birthplace. The event, Boundless – The Whole World Redeeming, draws together more than 15,000 Salvationists and friends from the 126 countries in which the church and charity currently works.
Welcoming delegates to the congress, which runs until Sunday 5 July, General André Cox wrote: 'Boundless ... is a great word; it reminds us that our God has no limits – his love is boundless, his grace is boundless, his forgiveness is boundless, his power is boundless! ... May we each experience this Boundless God in a new way as we meet together.'
The Salvation Army began on 2 July 1865, when former Methodist preacher William Booth began a ministry in the rough, poverty-ridden streets of east London. He told his wife, Catherine, that he had found his 'destiny'. The Booths worked in partnership, and their ministry to an underclass of people who were forgotten by the Church and ignored by polite society brought about a movement that sought to improve the quality of earthly lives while also leading people to Christ.
The history of The Salvation Army is recognised and commemorated at the congress, but equal importance is given to celebrating God's work today and considering ways in which innovation will ensure that the Army continues to be effective over the next 150 years – and beyond.
Worship, prayer and fellowship are vital facets of the congress. Music also plays an important part, with groups and soloists representing every inhabited continent. A large group of volunteers is on hand to look after everything, from giving directions and help in The O2 to 'Boundless Buddies' who ensure that overseas delegates feel completely at home. Billboard posters and other large-scale design elements bring colour and vibrancy while also presenting information in a bright and easy-to-take-in style. A daily newspaper about all things congress, Boundless Today, will be available at The O2 and online at sar.my/boundlesstoday.
The Salvation Army has come a long way since its birth in 1865. From a small, dark corner of the British capital its influence has spread around the world. This week, more than 15,000 people in London – joined online by many thousands more – will witness that, working together and being faithful to their God-given calling, the possibilities for the future are boundless.
The latest 'Boundless 2015' news and information – including live-streaming of main sessions – is available at www.boundless2015.org. Follow events as they happen through social media: Twitter (@Boundless2015), Instagram (Boundless_2015) and Facebook (Boundless 2015). Share prayers for the congress, and reports and experiences from The O2 using the hashtag #Boundless2015.
Report by Kevin Sims