The General and Commissioner Silvia Cox Lead Divisional Celebrations in Norwich, UK
THE Spirit of God dwelt richly among his people through both indoor worship and 'church on the street' during the visit of General André Cox and Commissioner Silvia Cox (World President of Women's Ministries) to Norwich, in the United Kingdom.
The weekend began with the flags of each corps (church) and centre of the Anglia Division being marched in and acknowledged by the General. Divisional Prayer Coordinator Val Chaplin offered prayer for all who had made commitments to serve under these flags.
To the delight of the congregation, Commissioner Cox revealed that although she and the General had visited 17 territories since becoming the Army’s international leaders last August, this was the first event of its kind they had led in the United Kingdom Territory with the Republic of Ireland. Thanking Norwich Citadel Band and the Anglia Divisional Youth Chorus for their contributions, she said: ‘Music in the Army is something special – all kinds of it, all around the world, all praising God.’
In his Bible message, the General warned against corps becoming ‘closed clubs’. He emphasised the need to ‘reach up’ to God in order to reach out.
Sunday morning worship featured a thoughtful prayer time by the Ozanne family from Felixstowe, and music from Norwich Citadel Songsters and Felixstowe Band and Worship Group. Presenting a retirement certificate to Felixstowe Bandmaster John Ranner, the General led the congregation in applause and recognition for the music leader’s 46 years of service, adding that he owed much to men like John who had guided him in the right paths as a young Christian.
In her Bible message Commissioner Cox urged those present to ‘focus on God’s approval’ when making decisions about the direction of their lives.
Following the meeting the congregation was invited to join the local corps in its regular ‘church on the street’ town centre ministry.
During their visit the international leaders met with retired officers and shared a discussion on prayer with young people, after which a divisional ‘Change4Change’ youth project was launched to provide a new roof and water supply for Larteh School in Ghana.
Christiane Winterbourne (Sheringham), Tom Carr (Norwich Citadel) and Lieutenant Ben Selfe (Great Yarmouth) each testified to everyday struggles, challenges and victories in the development of their Christian experience and as they share the gospel.
The recognition of new senior and junior soldiers and adherent members enrolled during the past year was a particular highlight of Sunday evening worship, which included music from Cambridge Citadel Band and Peterborough Songsters and Worship Group.
In his final message, General Cox gave a salutary reminder of the need for credibility in Christian living. ‘The world’s values may have changed, but God and his Word have not,’ he said.
As in all meetings, a call to prayer brought the renewal of commitments and the making of new ones – a fitting end to a busy and enriching weekend.
Report by Major Rosemary Dawson