Stop chiding, please!

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by Will PrattThere’s a wood pigeon in our road which believes the television aerial on top of our chimneystack was put there as a perch for him. He’s not a very intelligent wood pigeon. For one thing, he keeps calling me Sid. I tell him I’m called Will, a fine old English name dating back to Robin Hood’s Will Scarlet days. But he doesn’t listen.

Each time I stride into our garden, bent on some adventure, he calls out, “Whacko, Sid. Whacko, Sid.” I don’t mind being called Sid. It’s better than some of the things I’ve been called. Besides, he’s encouraging me, for I take it that his “Whacko, Sid,” when interpreted from bird talk, means “Bravo, Sid. Well done, Sid.” And I get down to my task with new zest.

He brings to mind my old friend Walt Jackson, of the Pasadena, Calif. corps. Walt was constantly urging me officially to commence an Encouragers Club. Members would wear a badge declaring, “I’m an encourager.” The only condition of membership was that each applicant would promise to encourage at least one person every day.

I told Walt it was a great idea and he had my full permission to start such a club. For I was a great believer in the priesthood of the laity, knew the value of delegation and already had more than enough work on my plate looking after the great Western Territory.

I thought of good old Walt again when I read in the UK Territory’s weekly Salvationist a heart cry from a songster leader. He wrote: “Please, corps officers, stop constantly chiding us in your meetings. We’re all working hard for the Lord. What we need is an hour of encouragement.” (Do I hear a chorus of “Hear hears”? My guess is most corps and social service officers would tell you they need several hours of encouragement themselves!)

Although it is 17 years since Kath and I farewelled from the Western Territory, one of our abiding memories is of the constant encouragement we received from everyone. All were automatically members of Walt Jackson’s Club.

So, Mr. Editor, can we beg a small space in a New Frontier approaching Christmas to say we haven’t forgotten the kindness lavished on us and to wish all your readers and our friends in the West a truly God-blessed Christmas and New Year. We love them all and thank them for every remembrance sent to us year by year.

Ed. note: With pleasure, Will!

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