The nuts and bolts

The lack of blogs on this front are simply due to my internet providers inability to complete a simple task such as switching my broadband to a different number and my Scottish reluctance to spend loads of money on dial-up connection. Occassionaly I can bag some free wifi…anyway…

Pretty much had the whole corps in our living room the other evening…not a difficult task at the moment. However, just so totally refreshed by the attitude to mission here. These folks are willing to try just about anything to win their community. They are willing to take on anything that will advance the war and jettison anything that doesn’t. Thats good Salvationist spirit. The amount of times I’ve heard them say ‘we’re in this together’ is just another blessing. They own the mission of this corps 110%. In many places half the battle is getting people to do that.

On the whole, we are about 12 of us at the moment…12 (that includes the 4 Clarks) who constitute the remnant at Torry here. Nice biblical number, I hear you say.

So, from our wee discussion the other evening, we distilled the elements of our ministry here…its obvious and plain and we’re all pretty stoked up about it.

1. Build a faith community that is representative of Torry, being as inclusive as we can.

2. Making a difference in the lives of children and youth. Our only local officer, Grace, is the YPSM and she has a big heart for children. She is a gift, a beautiful person. We’re blessed too to have teenagers finding faith and working out what its all about.

3. Remembering the poor (remembering in the sense of refusing to forget that we exist for them). Call it what you like: last, lost, least, marginalised, worse off, financially challenged. None of them are great titles, but then the situations that people find themselves in is often far from great. We are going to have to be creative in reaching out in a culture that is not always fast to seek help and support.

So…this is the hymnsheet (or powerpoint slide for the techically advanced) that we are all singing from.

Yes…I was made for this. Have you ever though about the statement that William Booth made that evening he went home to his beloved Catherine and declared “Darling, I have found my destiny!”? What was it? It wasn’t just preaching…he’d been doing that. It wasn’t just evangelising…he’d already been doing that. He was declaring that his destiny was to preach good news, evangelise, win, rescue and help the poor…indeed: the last, lost and least. He set about his life to do this one thing, starting a movement to help him do the same.

Its our birthright, its our reason d’etre (or however you spell that) and The Salvation Army moves in its annointing, calling and purpose so long as it is loving, serving and winning the poor.

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A Torry Snapshot

I want to try and paint a verbal picture.

I am sitting in my car in a narrow street of four storey grey granite buildings on each side. Police are trying to gain access to a flat, succeed, then an ambulance car appears. He comes out very fast – looks like he is too late.

Next to the flat there is a large granite church building. It has a picture of a clown above the door with a bold “KOKO” on the sign board where the ministers name used to be. KOKOs is closed too.

Across the street, there is a massive red stone episcopal church. Closer inspection shows that this building is now living accomodation. A sign points to a small meeting hall at the back, where is appears that the remnant episcopalians meet.

The people who walk past are old. No, actually they just look older than they are. Some of these folks have hard life etched on their faces. As for the young people, many faces have the drug induced death-mask giving them a distant look.

The rest of the passers by can be identified as Eastern European by their dress and language. They appear much healthier and you can pick up a sense of community with them.

Here, no-one says hello. People walk with their faces to the ground.

The predominant question in my mind is “what does the Kingdom of God look like here?”

Fit like?

Well hello! Things are still pretty hectic on this front. We’re not quite moved into our quarters yet, which still means a daily commute! Still…come Tuesday (maybe even Monday) we’ll be residents of our flat above the hall in Torry.

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Had another great wee meeting tonight. Our folks really get themselves involved in the sermon…did I say sermon? I mean’t to say biblical discussion with community application. So good to have everyone chipping in. Is the way to go.

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We introduced a new feature to the meeting tonight, entitled ‘Fit Like?!’ Now, to understand what that is, you have to be au fait with the Aberdeen dialict. ‘Fit like?!’ basically means ‘how’s it going?’ or ‘how are you?’ The regular and typical answer to the question is ‘Nae bad’ (not bad), but we’re hoping that with an opportunity for us to put community into action and to share our burdens and concerns with each other, we’ll soon be able to report better response than ‘nae bad.’!

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We’re looking forward to the visit of the General to Aberdeen in September to open the new citadel about a mile away from our place. Its a great new facility and we’re delighted to be working alongside the folks at the citadel on a few projects. Corps just can’t afford to be islands. Sure, they are a different ‘flavour’ to us (the songters were fab this morning and the band was nearly note perfect) but we’re an Army together. Some youth from the Citadel head up a youth drop-in in Torry with us. Great.

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Stay tuned for more developments on the Torry front…blogging should get more regular from this week where we’ll be back to broadband and a permanant place to live!

Plumbed in!

So, we were ‘plumbed in’ at Torry this evening (mornings just don’t happen for the vast majority of people in our community). I was so happy I thought I could burst. If you want to worship with a group of open, honest, maybe even raw kinda salt-of-the-earth types, Torry is the place to come. Stripped away from Torry is all the formality that easily comes with religion…instead, just a community of people coming together to share life and worship God. There is a remarkable warmth and family feel about the place.

It was good to have in the assembled group two young people who were attending worship for the first time. One of those and one other who has attended more regularly, have professed faith in Jesus over the last two weeks and have embarked on their journey as baby disciples! Praise God. The great thing is that there are more young people in Torry that there are ‘mature’ people. Through the wonders of hair dye and just the sheer youthfulness of the majority of the congregation, grey hair doesn’t have a look in at Torry.

We’re still not in our quarters (above the hall) yet and I’m still using dial-up interenet, but just wanted to chip in a snapshot of our installation! Hopefully, but the time we get moved in at the end of this week, our broadband will be all set.

God is good.

First Epistle from Torry

…well, not quite Torry! We haven’t yet been able to move into our quarters above the hall because its being decorated and all sorts, but we have indeed arrived in Aberdeen. We’ve living in a very nice location in the posh bit of town but hopefully we’ll be moving in to Torry in the next week or so. Also…have had to resort to dial-up connection so I’m enjoying the nostalgia of the dial-up tones!

What can I say about Torry so far? All I can say is that for the first time in many many years, I feel completely out of my depth. And actually, it feels quite invigorating!

On Sunday, our small congregation of about 6 plus a few visitors for the occassion will meet to ‘install’ us. Let the adventure begin!