Visit of Boston Salvation Army Songsters
It was many months in the planning, but the preparations for the visit of Boston Salvation Army Songsters to Canterbury were well worth the effort! Much was packed into two days, with a concert, two Sunday meetings and an open-air and much great music, inspiring testimony and helpful prayer-times.
After a long journey and a welcome meal following the arrival of the choir, it was time for the Saturday evening festival. The Songsters kicked off with the upbeat ‘There’s Never Been a Mountain, before we moved into the more peaceful ‘I Lift My Hands’ and ‘My Simple Prayer.’
Other highlights of the evening included the pieces ‘The King’s Highway,’ ‘How Great Thou Art’ and ‘Under His Wings,’ plus a wonderful item from the Boston Timbrelists and some poetry. Canterbury’s own Young People’s Band played Dorothy Gates arrangement ‘Jesus Paid It All.’
Particularly good to hear were moments of personal testimony from Duncan and Tina, who both spoke of time spent away from God and from church. God still found ways to speak to them, however. Duncan talked about his experience going to the final festival at The Salvation Army summer camp his daughter had attended and feeling God speaking to him; Tina shared how God spoke to her and made her less cynical and got her involved in the Army once more.
Sunday morning arrived and members of the Songsters returned to our hall from their overnight hosts ready for a meeting themed around ‘Rest’ – indeed, this is the piece of music they opened with. Prayers were centred around the unknown worries of those around us.
More testimonies from the Songsters focussed on the need to make time for God, as those who spoke shared their experiences of how the day-to-day routines of life (work, hobbies, family) can get in the way of reflection, prayer and church.
Other musical highlights of the service included ‘In This Quiet Moment’ and ‘O Rest in the Lord’ (a vocal solo from Emma), whilst our Bible reading came from Luke 5.
Canterbury Salvation Army holds an open-air service most Sundays in the High Street, and our visiting musical group gave an opportunity for something a little different.
Our band’s music was added to by some vocal pieces from the Songsters and leader Wendy compared Christians to a packet of M&Ms! She pointed out the marking on each (Christians are marked as saved by God’s son), the variety of colours (we are all unique) and we all have something great on the inside (Jesus is with us)!
Lunch offered a chance to get to know each other a little better, as some of Canterbury Salvation Army stayed at the hall to help with the cooking and serving of a roast dinner to the visiting Songsters. Through conversation we discovered many more links between our two churches – family, friends, former leaders and more!
3.30pm saw the start of our final event of the weekend. Canterbury SA Band played the piece ‘Rejoice,’ and we all enjoyed a monologue from Sue entitled ‘If I Could Sing Like Katherine’! Sue used to be a member of Boston Salvation Army Songsters before moving to Canterbury recently. The Songsters featured music included ‘Everywhere’ and ‘The Wonder of his Grace,’ as well as ‘Jesus, What a Saviour.’
‘Total Praise’ was Boston’s final piece of the two days, reminding us that all of our efforts were for God. Canterbury Salvation Army is so grateful to Boston Songsters for their work in making the weekend happen – both logistical and in their preparations for our services and the Saturday concert. The theming was helpful and varied, and everybody got something from the two days.