Edwardses, Clausen Return Army to Guben
Granats Expand Army Work Near Polish Border
by Major Evelin Binsch –
Major Christine Schollmeier –
Commissioners David and Doreen Edwards, Western Territorial leaders, recently traveled to the former East Germany, where they visited Salvation Army social institutions and corps in the new federal states (formerly German Democratic Republic).
The highlight of the Commissioners’ visit was the reopening of Guben corps on the Polish border, which is now under the leadership of Western officers A/Captains Patrick and Kitty Granat.
“In 1953, The Salvation Army was banned throughout the German Democratic Republic and ordered to cease operations. Along with 24 other cities, Guben lost the presence of the Army,” stated Edwards. “Commissioner Doreen and I feel very privileged to be invited to participate in the events associated with the reopening of our work in this historic city.”
An open-air concert by the German Staff Band (Bandmaster H. Schmidt) in Gubin, the part of the city where the Army had commenced its work in 1901, started the day’s events. That part of the town is now in Poland, with the Neisse River separating the two cities.
During the concert, Germany Territorial Commander Colonel Siegfried Clausen went with the Commissioners and other officers to the spot where the old corps hall once stood and gave a brief account of the corps then. The field secretary gave thanks in prayer for the past and asked God’s blessing on the future.
In the afternoon, an open-air meeting with the staff band was also held in the part of the town where The Salvation Army has its center today. The meeting had been publicized in the newspapers and it was astonishing how many people had come to greet The Salvation Army and how receptive they were to the message.
The re-opening ceremony was held in a tent especially erected for the occasion and full to overflowing. In a short introduction, Edwards said: “This is a historic moment, and we are grateful to be here. We can commence the work of The Salvation Army in Guben today, although in fact the work has already started. One of the reasons why we are particularly happy to be here is because A/Captains Granat come from our territory. Their last appointment was in San Francisco, where they successfully led a corps and established a ‘bridge-building program’ for drug addicts.”
Clausen presented the new corps with its flag and the staff band played the old chorus: “I’ll be true, true to the colors, yellow, red and blue.” The property secretary spoke of the DM 400,000 already spent on the project, but that was not nearly enough. The Chief Secretary, Lt. Colonel Brian Taylor, spoke the prayer of dedication, offering the officers into God’s caring and asking his blessing on the work in Guben.
A representative of the town’s authorities brought greetings and mentioned the Army’s history in the state of Brandenburg. When the Army first approached the civic administration, they had never heard of “Die Heilsarmee.”
A/Captain Kitty Granat testified and thanked God for saving her and calling her to service in The Salvation Army. In her testimony she also called on the neighbors to help, so that children, young people, the unemployed, lonely and old might find help at the center. A/ Captain Patrick Granat said he wished for the Kingdom of God to become visible in Guben through the work of The Salvation Army. His plans include a center for young people, a café for pensioners and a workshop for the unemployed. But the proclamation of the Word of God is to be the center of everything.
The divisional commander of the East Division, Captain Reinhold Walz, thanked in particular Captain Rolf Günther and his coworkers, who had come from Munich to help with the renovation of the house. Günther presented a check to defray further expenses. The new Guben Corps introduced itself with a group of young people, who sang: “Jesus, you’re my best friend in this world.” After the first collection at the corps–at which over DM 1000,- was given–Edwards spoke in his Bible message about the commission of The Salvation Army. “We are a people called to serve Christ,” he said, “an Army called to fight against evil; our foundation is the Bible.”
While in Germany the Edwardses also spoke at meetings at the Dreseden Corps and at a joint meeting of the three Berlin corps, held at the Berlin-Friedenau Corps.