Chief of the Staff and Commissioner Nancy Roberts lead Divisional Welcome and Sunday Worship at Sunderland Monkwearmouth
THE Chief of the Staff (Commissioner William Roberts) and Commissioner Nancy Roberts (World Secretary for Women's Ministries) brought words of challenge and encouragement during a weekend in the Northern Division and at Sunderland Monkwearmouth Corps (church), in the United Kingdom Territory with the Republic of Ireland.
The visit began with officers councils on Saturday afternoon, followed in the evening by the welcome meeting for officers newly appointed to the Northern Division. Commissioner Nancy Roberts – responding to the warm reception offered by Salvationists from across the division – shared her experience of God's goodness, often in unexpected places, and encouraged her listeners to keep their focus on Jesus. There was a similar theme – being aware of God's presence in challenging situations – running through powerful testimonies given by Captain Tracey Harrison, Captain Peter Renshaw and Major Amaro Pereira.
In his Bible message the Chief of the Staff spoke about the prophet Isaiah, reminding the congregation that Isaiah was positive in the face of discouragement. God does not give up on his people, he said, he transforms broken lives into something better.
Music was provided by Newcastle City Temple Band and Bedlington Songsters. The presence of the Deputy Mayor, Councillor Barry Curran, and Deputy Mayoress marked the esteem with which The Salvation Army is regarded in Sunderland.
On Sunday morning Commissioner Nancy Roberts encouraged the appreciation of quietness because 'in the stillness we will hear God's voice'. The Chief challenged those present to 'fan into flame the gift of God which is in you'. He told his listeners that all that they need has already been given to them, in the form of the Holy Spirit.
Music support throughout the day was provided by the corps music sections. In both Sunday meetings, prayer and testimonies by local Salvationists were integral to the worship.
In the evening meeting the Chief of the Staff thanked Salvationists for their financial support of The Salvation Army overseas. He particularly asked for prayers for the work in China, that the Army in that country will be free to serve openly.
Commissioner Nancy Roberts used the story of Jesus healing the crippled woman in opening up the Scriptures. She explained that people need to feel the love of Jesus through our ministry. The singing of words from Albert Orsborn's prayer chorus: 'Except I am moved with compassion,' became a powerful challenge to the congregation.
Report by Harold Robson