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Article of the week

From Salvationist 19 October 2019


Embracing the new rythms of life

Cadet Martyn Bellshaw reflects on his early experiences of William Booth College

IT has been a few weeks since the first year cadets arrived at William Booth College. On moving day it was 33C, just slightly warmer than when I left Glasgow. That’s one of the things I have to get used to while living in London – it seems to be warmer all the time, even when it rains.

My fellow cadets and I have experienced lots of other changes as we start our journey together as Messengers of Grace, from finding our way around a new city to living in a community. So far, so good!

There have been many highlights in this short space of time. One has been getting to know my session and spending time building relationships that will undoubtedly last a lifetime. Another was our London orientation. Getting to know a new city can be daunting, but when you do it with friends, it’s exciting. The greatest part of the day was our visit to IHQ where we were privileged to spend some time with General Brian Peddle. We also saw the youngest ‘member’ of our session, three-year-old Farrah, sitting in the Chief of the Staff’s chair. She looked very much at home.

The biggest changes, though, have been to the rhythms of day-to-day life. Speaking with some of my session mates this seems to be common for us all. Here are some of the rhythms that I am excited to see grow and develop:



Even before arriving at college I was surrounded in prayer and spent time praying regularly about my journey to officership. Here at college the rhythm of prayer is so important. We meet every morning for prayer, and our prayer room is a special place at the heart of the Hub. Alongside this is the Assembly Hall. The minute you walk into that space there is a real sense of God’s presence, and we have already spent time there praying and worshipping together.


We have just started our studies, but it is such a privilege to go deeper into God’s word in new ways. I enjoy the challenge of discovering new things, and all the tutors have helped me to make the most of this opportunity to learn. What is also great is the way that our session is supporting one another in our learning. There are many conversations and a lot of help when we need it from within our community.


It has been great to get to know each other over these past few weeks, but becoming a session began when we were accepted as candidates and became part of our sessional Facebook group. The fellowship has continued since, and I have really appreciated having people around me who care and who are journeying with me. The encouragement I have had as I’ve been getting into this new rhythm of togetherness has been amazing – particularly in holding me accountable to make sure I get to the gym!


My calling is what keeps me focused, particularly on days when that might be a struggle or on days when the assignments are coming thick and fast. What has been so encouraging for me, in all the interactions with the staff and my session mates, is the feeling that I am in the right place at the right time. My calling is unique to me but obedience to God’s calling unites us. Everything we learn here at college, as we are trained to be officers, is underpinned by the three integrated headings of Knowing, Being and Doing, and all the rhythms contribute to them; I have already seen how they are taking me deeper in my relationship with God.


Our sessional name is Messengers of Grace and, in these days of change, in leaving behind my ministry in Glasgow and starting a new ministry here at William Booth College, it is my prayer that I will remember Jesus’ invitation: ‘Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace’ (Matthew 11:29 The Message).

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