Salvation Army

Church and Community Centre

The Month of  December

A busy month for Carol Playing

Please click on the thumbnail to reveal a kaleidoscope of activities of the season.

20th December

Singing Company ‘At Home’

The Singing Company gave a programme of Christmas and other music to a hall full of eager listeners.  A beautiful image of a stained glass window depicting the Nativity was used to highlight the message of the songs.  During the programme Major Peter Clark gave tribute to the 41 years that Singing Company Leader Ian Soulsby had led the group with the support of Linda, his wife, as Sergeant for much of that time.

Sunday Afternoon 8th  December

Civic Carol Service

This annual event took on a slightly innovative tone this year.  There were of course the singing of traditional carols and the manger scene pageant albeit with a slightly different flavour. Graham Caffull opened the meeting with prayer and Jason Wearmouth read from the scriptures.  One of the highlights of the evening was a presentation by dancers from The Hunter Arts Theatre. The young children held the congregation mesmerised by their skill and energy.  The senior band, songster brigade, junior band and junior singing group gave their items.  Councillor. Cath Nisbet, mayor of  Blyth gave thanks for the invitation and spoke well of the work of the Salvation Army in the community.  She was accompanied by Councillor Bob Parker and the mayor of Bedlington Councillor Paul Hedley.  Following the last congregation carol the platform was vacated to allow a presentation by those who attend the Messy Church. As the children and adults entered and took their place on the platform there were peals of laughter at the outrageous costumes all wee wearing, except the traditional mary with baby Jesus.  David Wearmouth, the Sunday School leader brought the evening to a conclusion with some thoughts about this special time of year before Major Peter Clark pronounced the benediction.

Sunday Morning 1st December

The Grumpy Animals Nativity

Some 40 or more members of the toddlers group gave a presentation with a difference. Called ‘The Grumpy Animals Nativity’ they were all dressed in various costumes and marched (ambled) round the hall to suitable songs, some representing the shepherds, some the kings and others the animals.

Saturday 30th November

Christmas Music by Richard Phillips

Richard is a hugely talented Pianist, Composer, Conductor and very humble Salvationist.  With the assistance of his wife, Lynn in charge of supporting multimedia, he presented an evening of Christmas music.  His helpful knowledge of so many aspects of Christmas music in The Salvation Army enabled the congregation to enjoy the items so much the more.  The quiz, ‘Whch were the carols from 1 onwards in the Green Carol Book’ was very popular.  The videos below will hopefully be a pleasant reminder of a great evening for those who attended and a glimpse of the wonderful programme for those unable to be there.


Part 1               Part 2

Wednesday 27th November

Christmas Pantomime

As usual this year’s pantomime was a sell out weeks before the event.

Sunday 24th November

Enrolment of Arthur Biggs

This is Arthur’s moving testimony

It feels like I have been on a long and torrid journey. The only spirit I knew for 25 year was at the bottom of a bottle of alcohol. I demanded God’s intervention but God was not listening --- or so I thought!!

My life was unmanageable and no human power could relieve my alcoholism. Neither doctors, psychiatrists, nor clergymen. I was alone. Or so I thought!!!! -- I died once from the illness – Gut god was having none of it – he refused to let me go!

After 15 years of deprivation and pain, especially for all around me who had begged me to stop, I had a spiritual experience. I can only put this down to a God given moment. Four friends approached me and told me they were tired of my behaviour, but they did it with kindness and care. I was confronted with a dilemma for which there was only one answer. I had to surrender, give up, let go of this insanity. I had a full bottle of vodka which I opened and poured it over the ground. From that moment onward I felt different. Something inside me had changed. I believe I was then in the hands of God. I read a passage from the bible which makes a lot of sense to me now. It was about the paralysed man and his four friends who place him at the feet of Jesus. Pick up your bed and walk was the message. Mark 2, 1-12

It was then that I realized that God could and would do for me that which I could not do for myself. My behaviour began to change from devious, manipulative and dishonest, to fair, reasonable, polite and honest. All brought about by a spiritual program. The 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, which has led me to writing this today. I began to cherish each day and form honest loving and caring relationships. The St Francis prayer sums up the changes more succinctly. I believe I have learned compassion and how my experience can benefit others. My God given AA sponsor Bill once said to me ‘there is only one thing you need to change Arthur’ --- ‘everything’. I’m a work in progress. However, sometimes there is only one set of footprints in the sand as God carries me through times in my life when the pain is just too great. I love my God as he loves me, like I love my two daughters, my son and my grandchildren. I have a life beyond my wildest dreams and that is why I wanted to wear the uniform as a symbol of my gratitude. I see it as my act of faith and a proud moment. Finally, when I walked in the doors of the Salvation Army building six months ago, I was shown unconditional acceptance, love and understanding and that is why I wanted to come back and be a part of this wonderful fellowship. Today, I am humbly ask God to guide me. To use me as a channel, and an instrument of his grace and peace. To go out from here to do his will, not mine. Without the pain and deprivation, without the God given 12 steps of AA, without the love of the fellowships, I would not have found salvation. Without the love of God and my family and friends I would not be here today. So thanks to God for choosing me to be a Soldier in the Salvation Army.

Weekend 19th/20th October

Harvest of Talents

Lieut/Col Bob MacIntyre led harvest weekend meetings and gave closing thoughts at the end of the Saturday evening meeting which took the form of a harvest of talents.

Sunday 6th October

Culmination of a week’s study - Give to Grow

The week’s study commenced last Sunday, when the aims and objectives of the ‘Give to Grow’ programme were outlined. Readings from Malachi were studied, concentrating on Biblical instruction regarding tithing. Every evening during the week bible studies around this subject were well attended. This Sunday the usual morning service took on a very different form during which the congregation was invited to place their commitments for giving in the next three years on the bible at the alter. Following the benediction the whole congregation was invited to participate in a thanksgiving lunch that was excellently organised and helped to create a wonderful environment for continued fellowship. The brief slide show below illustrates this fact.

Sunday 4th August

Children of the second Summer Club demonstrate the results of a very enjoyable week.

As usual at these Summer Clubs there was plenty of opportunity for Bible Study, Crafts, Dance, Singing, Cookery, Games and T-shirt design. The slide show below should give a good impression of the fun had by all.

Following the service there was tea, coffee and cakes to enable a relaxed atmosphere in which to express what a great evening it had been. While the ‘grownups’ enjoyed the refreshments the children enjoyed playing on the bouncy castle on the grass outside.

Week Starting 29th July

Second Summer Club

A week of adventure thanks to the generous financial support of Bedlington Town Council. Highlights were the visit to Beamish Museum and a morning of swimming at the Bedlington swimming pool.

Sunday 23rd July

The Ugly Bug Ball

The evening meeting took the form of a presentation by the Summer Club children of the activities they had taken part in during the week, with special emphasis on Bible Study. It was difficult to believe that all this had taken place in one week three hours each day. Special mention should be given to the many volunteers who helped to teach and keep order. Click the link below to see a short slide show.

Week Starting 22nd July

First Summer Club

Some fifty children attended this year’s first Summer Club where a team o volunteers taught Bible Study, Dance, Crafts, Cookery and Singing There were also ample games to play where new friendships were formed. The slide show illustrates how much fun was had.

Sundays of 16th and 23rd June

Enrolment of Junior Soldiers

Zachary Elliott was enrolled as a junior soldier by his grandfather, Major Peter Clark. Major Clark also enrolled Christopher Binns as a Junior Soldier.

Weekend 8th/9th June

Corps Retreat

Consett Youth village was the venue for Bedlington's first ever Corps retreat. We used the text from Jeremiah 29:11. "For I know the plans I have for you...."

Majors Rik and Chris Pears helped us to journey through the weekend as we sought to find out what God's plan is for our Corps so that we could join in His mission.

Weekend 1st/2nd June

Young Peoples’ Anniversary

Major Denise Cooper from Territorial Headquarters led the weekend meetings. On Saturday night Denise compered a programme given by the Young Peoples Band, Singing Company and Worship Group. All items were of a very high standard and enjoyed by the large congregation. Special mention should be made of Cory Tweddle, who due to unfortunate circumstances, was the only 1st cornet player for the whole weekend. Well done Cory!

The ministry of Denise on the Sunday was inspirational, but the abiding memory of the weekend will be the testimonies of a number of the young people. They amazed many by their eloquence and expression of firm beliefs

Sunday 26th May

Commissioning of Band Local Officers and presentation of banners

A little over one year since the tragic promotion to glory of Bandmaster Ian Burn, three new band commissions were presented. Bandmaster Brian Storey, Deputy Bandmaster Neil Lightley and Band Secretary Colin Lightley received their commissions from Major Peter Clark.

During the evening new stand banners were presented to each bandsman in memory of Bandmaster Ian Burn. Garry Burn reminded the congregation that these new banners were to replace banners presented many years ago by a previous bandsman. Some forty-four years ago Ted Turnbull, a cornet player in the band, left Bedlington to marry a young Salvationist from Edinburgh Stockbridge Corps but in spirit he never left his beloved Bedlington. The stand banners used by the band until this evening, were presented by Ted. Such was his love for Bedlington that each Tuesday night, after band practise, he would telephone the late Bandmaster, Ian, to ask how things went, who was there and what pieces were rehearsed. This continued until Ted’s promotion to Glory. Gary went on to tell how his Dad continually reminded him to ,' Remember who you are and who you represent’. It was fitting that the new banners dedicated tonight in memory of his Dad will replace those given by Ted so many years ago. It is our hope and prayer that the new banners will continue to fly the flag and bear witness to the message and service the band of the future will seek to make.

Weekend 18th/19th May

Corps 135th Anniversary - Visit of Lt. Colonels Kathy and Eddie Hopgood

On a damp, cold, Saturday Summer’s evening a full hall waited for the evening programme to commence. In his welcome Major Peter Clark warned us to expect ‘something completely different’. He never spoke a truer word. Lt. Colonel Eddie Hopgood entered the hall in bright red costume as he portrayed the legendary ‘Joe the Turk’ who took the Army in its early days in America by storm. Eddie is a wonderful actor, singer and story teller. He captivated the audience with a suitable mix of humour and pathos.

On Sunday morning the emphasis was on the celebration of Pentecost. During this time Eddie dressed up as Samuel Logan Brengle and gave a very moving presentation of the great man’s journey from theology student to the great preacher of Holiness he became in the Salvation Army, overturning his initial rejection by William Booth.

During the afternoon meeting Eddie portrayed the story of David and Goliath using a variety of headgear to add some extra interest and humour to the story.

Saturday 27th April

Health and Community Fayre

This year’s event seemed bigger and better attended than ever, thanks to the hard work of many people’ particularly Richard and Rachel The weather, although cold, was at least dry and enabled people to take part in a large range of outdoor activities, whilst inside there were stalls to suit every taste.

Sunday 21st April

Dedication of Finn Johnson

The afternoon/evening service saw a very large congregation witness the dedication of the infant son of Paul and Catherine Johnson. (Grandson of Corps Treasurer Keith and Corps Recruiting Sergeant Olive Lightley).


Archived News for 2013

Click on the pictures to reveal a slide show.