Sunday 7th September 2014
There was a real buzz in the hall prior to the commencement of the morning meeting, the majority of those who had been on holiday having returned. Major Sheila Hunt, a former Corps Officer at Kettering who now soldiers at the Corps in her retirement was to lead the meeting. She admitted to being somewhat nervous at the beginning but there was no need to be as God had the whole meeting in His hands. It turned out to be a powerful and emotional service, full of special moments with something for everyone.
Two young men, Nathan Hunt and Alexander Miller, having grown up at the corps, decided some weeks ago that it was the right time for them to make a special commitment to God and begin the next stage of their service to God within the Salvation Army. During the singing of the well known song “Who is on the Lord’s side” they took their place on the platform and Major Sheila enrolled them as Senior Soldiers, reminding them of the promises they were making before they publicly signed their ‘Articles of Faith’. Supported by members of their families and the congregation, they were also joined on the platform by people who have played a part in their lives, bringing them to this special day. Nathans grandmother, Major Sheila spoke of the privilege that was hers to perform the ceremony and Alexander’s Grandfather, Bandsman Derek Miller prayed for them as they take this important step in an ever demanding and secular world. Bandsman Gary Rose held the Flag for the ceremony and Paul Marsh looked on proudly having been their youth leader for many years. Alexander gave his personal testimony expressing his determination to keep the promises he had made today. Major Paul Doust followed the enrolment and commissioned Nathan and Alexander as Bandsmen. Bandmaster Richard Phillips welcomed his newest bandsmen to the fellowship of Kettering Citadel Band and spoke of the opportunity the band has to touch peoples lives through the music they play on a weekly basis and what a privilege this was for each and every bandsman/bandswoman. God Bless you Nathan and Alexander, God doesn’t promise that the days ahead will be easy but He does promise to travel with you on your life journey and that it will be worth it if you trust Him to lead the way.
It was such a pleasure to have the Singing Company and YP Band back with us after the long school holidays. The Singing Company sang beautifully “All I have I give thee, though my powers are small, life and time and talents, Jesus take them all”. Reminding us all that we each have something to give no matter how insignificant we may feel.
The regular weekly focus on the Salvation Army’s theme for 2014 ‘Reaching Up and Reaching Out’ was brought to us by Songster Mandy Clarke. She spoke of the importance of Reaching up in prayer and reaching out with intercession, in other words, praying for others as well as ourselves. Giving her personal experience of how the prayers of others had helped her overcome the last year and her battle with cancer. Mandy spoke of how it was uplifting for her to know that others were praying for her as well as their love being shown in practical ways, The Songsters followed this with the song ‘Somebody prayed for Me’ and it was clear how this time had touched the hearts of many in the meeting as a number of folk moved forward to pray at the Mercy Seat.
These quiet moments were followed by the Senior Bands message, Leonard Ballantine’s arrangement, ‘I know Thou art mine’, which is the tune we associate with the words, My Jesus I love Thee and then Bandsman Gary Rose sang ‘To be like Jesus’ using one of his own backing arrangements.
To conclude the meeting, we sang, In Christ Alone, Nathan told the congregation that this was his favourite song and it was sung with conviction by those gathered, To say we had been given food for thought during the service is probably an understatement, the message was loud and clear and will no doubt stay in our memories for months to come. To God be the Glory!