26 March 2018

GENERAL André Cox returned to a city and Salvation Army corps (church) of his childhood when he and Commissioner Silvia Cox (World President of Women’s Ministries) led a weekend of praise and testimony at Canterbury Corps (church) in the United Kingdom Territory with the Republic of Ireland. The visitors enjoyed sharing indoors and outdoors, and in both formal and informal gatherings.

The General in Canterbury

On Saturday evening Salvationists and friends gathered at the corps hall for a festival which commenced with pre-meeting music by Canterbury Band and Songsters. Canterbury Community Coordinator Claire Greenway shared her testimony based around the theme 'This Is My Story'. She spoke about how God never gave up on her, even in her darkest days, until she accepted him and the healing he provides after a dramatic revelation on a trip to South Africa.

South-East Divisional Leader for Leader Development, Major Linda Herbert, introduced the Women's Ministries Helping Hand Appeal for 2018, 'Waves of Transformation', with a collection taken for the work of the project to help transform lives around the world by providing life-giving water. 

Obedient faith

Commissioner Cox gave her testimony, sharing about her life of travel and service to God. She emphasised the need to continue trusting in God, no matter what happens.

In his Bible thoughts, the General encouraged Salvationists and friends not to be ashamed of their religion, but instead to remain determined and committed to spreading the good news to the world.

He also shared something of his family's history, explaining that his great-grandfather had reportedly been a 'local drunk' who was saved and stopped drinking after coming into contact with members of Canterbury Corps. He reflected that, without the obedient faith of the people his ancestor came into contact with, he wouldn't be where he is today.

The following day, the General led morning worship. The beginners' brass group, the First Things First Ensemble, played 'Thank You, Father!', with many members staying for the remainder of the meeting, some for the first time. The General told the players that he had played his first notes on a brass instrument 'in this very hall'.

Major David Williamson (Private Secretary to the General) shared his testimony, enthusiastically speaking on his journey of faith, and how following God is always an adventure. Following this, Canterbury Salvation Army Band and Songsters provided music, with 'Grace Alone' and 'In the Strength of the King' respectively.

The General addressed the congregation with passion and conviction on the theme 'Be Strong in the Lord'. In response, seekers knelt at the mercy seat in scenes of prayer and commitment.

Spiritual freedom

Despite the unexpectedly wintry weather that had affected most of the UK, the international leaders went out onto the High Street to reach the local community. participating in a short service of familiar hymns and music before the General shared a thought with people who had stopped to listen, encouraging his listeners to be aware of God's message in the music they heard.

Once a month, members of the corps and the local community join together on a Sunday for Table Talk, a time of discussion and conversation over a shared meal. The visit of the international leaders didn't stop this happening, and the General and Commissioner Cox enjoyed the opportunity to talk with people in a more informal setting.

Corps officer Major Mandy Sands opened proceedings by introducing the international leaders to the gathered congregation, many of whom have come into contact with The Salvation Army through The Annexe drop-in centre which is linked with the corps. Commissioner Cox spoke on the promise in John 8 of the spiritual freedom that can be found by accepting Jesus. 

Report by Keziah Cawkwell

  • Photos from the weekend can be downloaded from the IHQ Flickr stream: sar.my/gencby
Tags: Europe, The General