General leads 150th anniversary celebration at oldest active Salvation Army corps
The music played throughout the weekend celebrated the Poplar Corps’ history and continued work.
By Major Richard Mingay, IHQ –
Celebrations began with a family fun day inviting members of the community to engage in crafts, games and table tennis. The Timbreltastic group from Hadleigh Temple gave out tambourines, and many adults and children enjoyed a timbrel lesson before playing together.
The General and Commissioner Cox led a march from the hall to the local Queen Victoria Seamen’s Rest. An exhibition of early Poplar Corps memorabilia was on display, including one of the earliest Salvation Army flags, still bloodstained from wounds inflicted by the “Skeleton Army,” a group that violently opposed the early Salvation Army.
The evening “From Music Hall to Lighthouse” program at the nearby Calvary Charismatic Baptist Church reflected the spirit of the early Salvation Army but within the context of the corps dynamic of today. As Corps Officers Majors David and Meshiel Brown welcomed the congregation they were interrupted by an apparently worse-for-wear “Champagne Charlie” (Jo Cass) whose rendition of the 19th-century music hall song morphed into “Bless His Name, He Sets me Free” led by vocal soloist Luke Cozens.
“This is where it all began. William Booth would be proud and pleased to see that The Salvation Army in Poplar is still fulfilling the mission of God; being present in the community, preaching the gospel message and meeting human need without discrimination,” General André Cox said. “We cannot disconnect the gospel message from meeting those in need” He admitted that being in such a historic location almost gave him goose bumps but warned, “We need to promote Christ and not The Salvation Army.”
Watch the video interview with the General here.