General leads West Scotland rally
General André and Commissioner Silvia Cox, World President of Women’s Ministries, traveled to Port Glasgow, Scotland, in mid-January for a West Scotland divisional rally at the Port Glasgow Town Hall.
At a pre-rally reception, the international leaders met Maurice Golden, a member of the Scottish Parliament and adherent at Govan Corps, local councillors, church ministers and other distinguished guests. They were later joined by the Lord-Lieutenant of Renfrewshire, Guy Clark.
The rally was titled “Celebrate – Now is the Time,” and drew a capacity congregation. To kick things off, the Coxes were “piped in” in true Scottish style as a procession of corps flags demonstrated the potential of The Salvation Army in West Scotland.
The people enthusiastically celebrated with music from the divisional youth band and the 110-member Ayr Salvation Army Community Choir.
A representative group of new soldiers and adherents were welcomed, and two individuals gave testimonies. Charlie Gorman (Easterhouse) spoke of his deliverance from gambling and alcoholism, and how a chat with his corps leader in a burger bar eventually led to him coming to faith.
After contributions from the worship band and drama group, Silvia Cox reminded attendees that when people are obedient to the leading of the Lord, he equips them for each given task.
In his message, the General said that rallies were intended to energize and empower. He challenged delegates to exemplify quality worship and service, emphasizing that worshipping communities must also be serving communities. A reflective singing of “Make Me a Channel of Your Peace” followed.
On Sunday morning, the Coxes led worship at Port Glasgow Corps, the home of the General’s private secretary, Captain David Williamson.
Emphasizing The Whole World Mobilising theme, the General stressed that an army only makes sense when mobilized and that, for The Salvation Army, mobilization comes from the Holy Spirit.
Later that day the General met with the division’s officers to share a meal and ministry.
On Monday morning, the General attended a reception by the chief executive officer of Glasgow Airport, Amanda McMillan OBE, with other invited employees. Introduced by Commissioner Keith Banks, Glasgow Airport Chaplain, the General expressed his appreciation for the reception and his thanks to airport staff for the time and effort given to collecting donations of items to support the Army’s community outreach programs in local corps.
Ahead of the visit, divisional leaders Majors Raelton and Lynn Gibbs worked closely with the public relations and communications office to create a high-profile media campaign, including an exclusive interview with the Sunday Herald. There was also positive media coverage in the Evening Times, Greenock Telegraph, Rutherglen Reformer and Paisley Daily Express, reaching roughly 200,000 people throughout Scotland.
The General told the Sunday Herald that The Salvation Army was marching into the 21st century with a new Mobilising website to boost frontline work.