Monday, 25 May 2015

Heart & Soul

 Last Sunday afternoon The Salvation Army took part, for the first time, in the Church of Scotland's Heart and Soul Festival. This is an annual event held in Edinburgh during the week of the Church's General Assembly. Thousands of people from all over the country - and further afield - descended on Princes Street Gardens for the event.

Many of the visitors came to our stand, including one from Germany and one from Spain. We gave away 100 copies of the War Cry (our weekly newspaper) and 100 copies of Kids Alive (our weekly children's comic) - and we could have handed out many, many more. We also provided information leaflets about our work in Scotland, handed out the 2014 Annual Review for the SA in the UK and Ireland, and gave away balloons, pens, badges, stickers and sweets. It was a popular stand!

Govan Citadel Band played music at the fountain and by the main stage before marching down the central avenue. All in all we made our presence felt and helped to highlight the part the Army plays on the lives of people and communities up and down Scotland.

At our stand we also gave out quiz sheets to see how much people know about the Army. The questions are below. Have a go and see how you do. We'll put the answers on the blog next week.

Heart & Soul 2015


1. Who started The Salvation Army (TSA)?

          William Tell            William Booth                    William Wilberforce

2. In which year did the TSA begin?

          1865                      1870                      1875

3. Where did the SA begin?

          Nottingham             London                              Bristol

4. What was it called before it became The SA?

          The Salvation Mission                The Christian Army        The Christian Mission

5. In which year did The Salvation Army come to Scotland?

          1877                      1879                      1883

6. In how many countries is the TSA at work?

          87                         101                        126

7. Which of these countries does the TSA not work in?

          Cameroon                Greenland                Bangladesh

8. Who is the international leader (the General) of the TSA?

          AndrĂ© Cox               Frank Booth             Carol Bailey

9. What is the name of the TSA's weekly newspaper?

          The Good News        The Watchtower       The War Cry

10. What does the TSA call its hostels for homeless people?

          Elevators                 Lifehouses               Arks

11. What does the TSA call its churches?

          Chapels                   Meeting houses        Corps

12. How many churches does the TSA have in Scotland?

          58                          76                          89

3. How many primary schools does the TSA run worldwide?

          985                        1,092                      1,241 

14. How many maternity hospitals does the TSA run worldwide?

          26                          35                          42

15. Where is the TSA's International Social Justice Commission based?

          London                             Geneva                   New York     

Monday, 18 May 2015

Reflex Actions

According to scientists the hayfever season is arriving earlier and earlier in the wake of global warming. This is not good news for Britain's 12 million hayfever sufferers. Anyone who suffers from it has my sympathies.

Recently I heard of a different kind of sneezing problem that affects about 25% of people. Their sneezing is set off when they look at bright light. A scientist with a sense of humour called it Autosomal dominant Compelling Helio-Ophthalmic Outburst syndrome (ACHOO for short!). It’s also known as the photic sneeze reflex. Why does it happen? It’s thought that some people have an association between the nerve that causes sneezing and the optic nerve that transmits visual impulses to the brain. Overstimulation of the optic nerve triggers the ‘sneezing’ nerve, and this causes the photic sneeze reflex – ACHOO!

This is just one of many kinds of reflex actions of which the body is capable. Another is the ‘knee jerk’ reaction, which happens when we’re knocked just below the knee cap and a nerve signal travels to the spine and triggers the muscle response. Reflex actions like this don’t involve the brain – they are involuntary and instant.

Sometimes our responses to people, situations or ideas are like reflex actions. They are instant and unthinking. I listed a few words or ideas that might elicit such a response. How about these? Health & Safety, worship bands, DHQ, Post Modernism, taxes, political correctness, marmite, mission statements, Annual Appeal.... Now you don’t see all those in the same sentence every day! 

Our unthinking responses are often prompted by previous experiences, prejudices or personality clashes. Sometimes they are a defensive reaction to criticism. In most cases the response is instant. How easy it is to put our mouth into motion before our brain has got into gear, or to shoot off an email in hasty response to something that has got under our collar.  Now I’m not saying that such responses are always wrong or that we shouldn’t get emotional about things. Simply that it pays to think things over – to reflect before we react.

Jesus’ cleansing of the Temple is sometimes thought to be an emotional ‘gut reaction’ to the corruption he saw going on in there. Mark, though, records that when Jesus went to the temple ‘he looked around at everything’, then went off to Bethany and came back the next morning to turn over the tables of the money changers and drive out the dealers. His initial response may well have been an angry one, but then he literally slept on it. He took time to reflect before acting – it was a self-controlled, albeit a dramatic, response.   Paul mentions ‘self-control’ when he speaks of the fruit of the Holy Spirit. It might not seem like one of the most attractive qualities compared with love, joy, peace, etc, but it is just as important. Spirit-prompted self-control can prevent damaging responses. A controlled, thoughtful, balanced reaction is what’s most needed. It’s certainly not to be sneezed at!

Lieut-Colonel Jonathan Roberts
Assistant to the Secretary for Scotland

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Help for Homelessness

Diners at an Edinburgh restaurant have raised money to help tackle homelessness in the city.

The Hard Rock Cafe on George Street presented a cheque for £1660 to staff and service users from The Salvation Army.

The money was raised through the restaurant’s Take Time To Be Kind campaign, which saw all proceeds from the sale of its £1 wristbands go to the church and charity.

Iain Wilson, service manager at the Pleasance Lifehouse (centre for homeless people), said: "We are honoured that the Hard Rock Cafe has decided to support our work in this way.

“It will help us to continue offering compassionate support, a listening ear and practical help to many of the city’s homeless men and women.

Our lifehouses offer people more than just a bed for the night. They provide a safe space for them to take control of their lives and make positive choices.

"We have a great relationship with the Hard Rock Cafe and the staff there. I’d like to thank them for all their help over the past few years and I hope we can continue to count on their help for many more years to come."

Lesley Ross, sales and Marketing manager at the Hard Rock Cafe in Edinburgh, said: "We're delighted to continue supporting the homelessness work of The Salvation Army here in Edinburgh.

"Our relationship with The Salvation Army goes back a few years, with our staff having donated a lot of their time to help out at the Pleasance Lifehouse.

"As a result, the perception of homelessness among my colleagues and I has changed greatly. We have come to realise that homelessness is not just about people living on the street but also about vulnerable people who have fallen on hard times and who need a bit of extra support.

We are delighted to be supporting The Salvation Army as it celebrates its landmark 150th year."

Friday, 1 May 2015

Pause for thought

To conclude our posts about Greenock, Lynn the Salvation Army Officer at Greenock brings us a pause for thought.

..Lynn, Salvation Army Officer, Greenock

I have just completed an insurance renewal form that asked me to confirm the value of my most important possessions and those that were to be put on the all-risk category.  It got me thinking about Value and Security

What are  your most valuable possessions – a mobile phone, your TV, your home?
Yet, are not our most valuable things in life often what money cannot buy – friendship, family,  being part of community life at the Salvation Army, the love and respect of those who know us well, the inner satisfaction of a day well lived?

For me personally it is also the real assurance within my heart that through Jesus Christ I have the unfading hope of everlasting life.

No circumstances can take God and His love away from me – they are not at risk! 
If you are a Christian, in Him is security now and forever.

Do you have this “blessed assurance”?

John 1:3 says, “We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us.  And our fellowship is with the Father and with his son, Jesus Christ.”  Want to know more? Then contact us.