The first Sunday that the corps was unofficered, plans were announced for the management of the corps until a new commanding officer is appointed. Greetings from the divisional commander were sent via the CSM to wish the corps well at this time.
Morning worship was led by a recently retired officer, Major Geoff Ashdown, who announced that the DC had asked him to take on the responsibility of Pastoral Support Officer for Hadleigh Temple- a role he likened to that of a chaplain. He was at pains to point out that he is not a stand-in commanding officer and will take no part in the running of the corps. He said: “If I can be used to bring comfort, healing or the Word of God then I will be happy to do so.”
Major Geoff will be seen around the corps having agreed to give 10 hours a week to his role. He will also attend at least one meeting every Sunday, though not necessarily leading the meetings. Confirming several times that the fellowship had not been forgotten, he added:
“Although I am not the CO, we are not rudderless, but guided by the Lord.”
Maintaining the nautical feel, he referred to his time as a chaplain to sea cadets and asked for “permission to come aboard” which was greeted with warm applause.
Major Geoff is a widower with two daughters and lives with his dog in Rayleigh. All his field service has been in the East London/London North East Division including his initial appointment at Benfleet Corps; so he has links with Hadleigh Temple going back many years.
Corps Sergeant-Major Carl Carter said that since the announcement of Major & Mrs Dicker’s farewell, a lot of work has been undertaken by senior local officers and DHQ to ensure the continued smooth running of the corps. He paid tribute to efforts put in by local officers and others. He made special mention of Corps Secretary Wayne Johnson who, in addition to duties as part of the interim leadership team, is the champion for the corps’ Natural Church Development programme.
A key issue in managing the corps is communication and so extra effort will be put into this with a communications plan being issued on the back of the weekly announcements sheet.
DHQ will take an active interest in the running of the corps, providing leaders for twos Sundays each month. They will also manage the Corps Council which is to meet monthly rather than quarterly during the interregnum. All Sundays until the welcome weekend have been covered for meeting leadership and the corps should know who its new COs are next March when the appointments are made known. Outreach has been planned until April and the remaining months’ plans will be completed in the New Year.
Under DHQ, the corps has three management groups:
- Corps Council
- Pastoral Care Council
- Business Board
The names of those who make up these groups will be made known.
There are three individuals who are accepting responsibility for the leadership of the corps during the unofficered period. They are:
- Major Geoff Ashdown – Pastoral
- CSM Carl Carter – Programme
- CS Wayne Johnson – Operations
Carl finished by reiterating the words of Major Stuart Dicker: “This is not about putting anybody on a pedestal, but bringing glory to God.”
Dec 5 2010
Anyone needing to contact Major Geoff can reach him on 01268 786152