Commissioners Clive and Marianne Adams, Territorial Leaders of The Salvation Army in the United Kingdom with Ireland were welcomed to the corps for the first time on Sept 6th 2015. They had come to Hadleigh to help celebrate the Big Day Out which was commemorating the Training Centre’s 25th Anniversary.
Commissioner Marianne commented that she and her husband have driven past the hall a number of times on the way to somewhere else and were pleased to finally have the opportunity to come in. In her opening remarks she said how, over the last twenty years, The Salvation Army in the UK had changed from being inward-looking to having a more outward focus — like in the early days of the movement. The announcements, given this week in the absence of the corps sergeant-major by Bandsman John Ashcroft, prompted Commissioner Clive to comment on how he saw evidence that Hadleigh Temple Corps was outward-looking.
Basing his thoughts on Acts chapters 6 and 8, Commissioner Clive directed his attention to Philip, emphasising that here was a man filled by the Spirit, having emptied himself of all else. His devotion meant that he went where the Spirit sent and did as the Spirit led. Having broken away from a group of disciples, he was being sent out to preach the gospel. He had a lot of success in Samaria, but the Spirit led him on to Gaza. On the way, he had the famous encounter with an African gentleman struggling to understand a passage from the Bible.
This story is perhaps a familiar one, but to bring it up to date, the Commissioner paraphrased the story using the words of John Gowans from the musical Spirit. He challenged the congregation: if we were on a train and somebody in the carriage was struggling to read the Bible and asked for help, would we be ready to explain a given Bible passage to a stranger?
Whilst praising the territory’s Fit for Mission programme, the TC pointed out it was a means to an end. To emulate Philip’s evangelistic service, we need more than management practice as that on its own will not extend God’s kingdom. The need is for passion. God’s people should thirst after passion, rather than procedure, programs or positions. Yes, we should embrace missional objectives but do so passionately.
Peter was also successful because of his devotion and willingness to obey. He had steeped himself in the Word of God and handed over his life to God. The secret of his power was living in the Spirit.
At the end of the meeting, a seeker came forward.
As is normal in such circumstances, the divisional leaders, Majors Norman and Margaret Ord, supported the TC.