Tuesday, 26 February 2013

The Salvation Army Greenwith : The Mouse that Roared.

 
Last Sunday night I was a part of a joint experience that made me feel proud to be the Corps Officer (minister) of the Salvation Army Greenwith Corps. It was the welcome of our new state leaders and our music group was asked to  lead a segment of the worship time. You see word had got around that we had a group that was sounding great and we were prepared to live up to the reputation.
 
The Greenwith Salvation Army Corps (church) is a a very young congregation. It began nearly 20 years ago when the Golden Grove Salvation Army decided to plant a congregation in the new neighbouring development of Greenwith. Plans became realities, and soon a young and vibrant new expression of the international Salvation Army was starting to blossom amongst the recently cleared plots and rows of shiny new federation style houses. The first stage of their independence started with the arrival of the first set of officers, Lieutenants Peter and Heather Ellis. At first they met in a kindergarten and then a school library and eventually their own church building. Like most communities they've had their ups and downs and many people have come and gone from their number. However they have soldiered on, and in spite of some rough patches in the last few years, things are on the up. Several years ago they were averaging numbers in the the low twenties now it's in the mid thirties and growing. 50 regular attenders is the immediate goal, last Sunday we had 48. Our Sunday school is at the stage where we need to get a second teacher and financially things have improved. Greenwith Salvo's is starting to blossom again.......... and then came the invitation for the worship group to perform at the welcome of our new state leaders, Lieutenant Colonel's Ron and Robyn Clinch, the very people who instigated the planting of Greenwith Corps all those years ago. With out hesitation I said yes and then hoped like crazy that the musicians would be available. As it turned out they weren't, we had singers but our drummer and our keyboard/rock-band-in-a-box/all round sonic wizard weren't available. However soon schedules were cleared and we had one of our musos, our keyboard wizard, flying back in on the day and good to go.
 
Our rehearsals were hit and miss around every ones busy schedules but soon we had a solid vocal section and some killer harmonies. With six vocalists and one musician, things finally came together with the addition of what I call our touring band, to fellow officers, stationed elsewhere who've helped us out before on drums and bass.
 


Our new state leaders are installed.

Sunday was a crazy day of church, rehearsals, pickups and more rehearsals, but soon our moment came. As we took to the platform, I looked along the line of singers. A few years ago only half these people were at Greenwith. They were good faithful people who held the music group together faithfully when many others had moved on. Now we stood in front of hundreds of people, strong and confident and about to roar, Greenwith Salvos, the mouse, was about to roar. We knew people had to see our new God given confidence and we gave it the best we had. And it was good, very good. After wards I talked to some of the faithful, who'd been singing during the tough times and said, 'Did you ever think that you'd be singing here?' The answer was no, but here they were, having just sung with the Greenwith Worship Band in front of hundreds of people................. and they rocked!