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From the editor

From Salvationist 25 January 2020

GETTING TO KNOW YOU

JUST over 18 months ago we revised the back page of Salvationist and introduced a feature called ‘The Salvation Army and me’. It was not a completely new idea – a similar series called ‘The questionnaire’ started in October 1997 and ran for a year.

The two series aren’t exactly the same, however. The original one had different questions, including ‘What is your best characteristic?’ and ‘How long should a sermon be?’ It also asked people to tell a joke.

The people taking part back then were mainly officers from headquarters, but ‘The Salvation Army and me’ includes a wide variety of people: officers, soldiers, adherent members, employees and volunteers; people of different ages, backgrounds, ethnicities and experiences; and people from all across the territory. I’m grateful to the 76 people who have responded so far. Getting to know them has helped us understand the territory a little better.

A new monthly series beginning this week is designed to help us get to know the Army beyond our borders. ‘In the zone’ will give insights into other territories and commands in the Europe Zone. France was the first continental European country in which the Army began, so we start the series with the France and Belgium Territory on pages 12 and 13. As in many other parts of the zone, The Salvation Army in that territory faces significant challenges but is carrying out its mission faithfully, and with energy and enthusiasm.

On pages 10 and 11 Phil Ball tells us about The All Terrain Podcast, which is a recent initiative from the Youth and Children’s Ministries Unit. Each month a guest on the programme answers four questions: How do you face change? How do you move through suffering? How do you receive joy? How do you mature in service?

Phil states that the podcast ‘enables people to hear the stories and wisdom of others in the wider Church, listening for significant personal moments and wondering how God may be leading them as they move through their journey of discipleship’. In other words, by getting to know others we can get to know ourselves and what God has in mind for us.

A new book, reviewed on page 15, can also help us benefit from insights into other people’s lives. Twelve Ordinary Men by David Vandebeulque is about Jesus’ first disciples. In his review, Major Iain Hudson suggests that as we understand the disciples better we may recognise some of their traits in ourselves, which can help us in our own discipleship.

Page 15 also has a preview of Contentment, an audio download in which Commissioner Keith Banks reads some of his own poetry. ‘Those poems of a devotional nature emerge from my own spiritual quest and God’s presence in my life, while others relate to some deeply tender experiences,’ he writes, adding: ‘There are some lighter insights too!’

Human beings are made to relate to one another. John Donne wrote: ‘No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.’ Our relationships can help us grow, but that won’t happen if we close ourselves off from other individuals, social groups or nations. By learning about them we learn from them – and in doing that we can better understand how to live for God and for others.

From the Editor

LIEUT-COLONEL JONATHAN ROBERTS 

 

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Salvationist is a weekly 24-page magazine for members and friends of The Salvation Army - with news, features, Bible studies and much more