Boston Songsters in Canterbury
Written by Olive Foggin
Photos by Joseph Halliday, Canterbury Salvation Army
The 24 and 25 October was the most wonderful weekend for Boston Salvation Army Songster Brigade. It will remain in the memory of several people both in Boston Songsters and those we ministered to.
Let me start at the beginning. Once we had boarded Dickinson’s Coach (our driver was Dave Ellis), Major Mark Price placed the whole weekend in the hands of the Lord for both Boston and Canterbury corps, and asked for travelling mercies for everyone in the coach (especially for Dave). At 11am we started the long journey eventually having a comfort stop at Birchanger Services on the M11.
Approaching the hall in Canterbury, it was interesting to see the very old buildings and to glimpse Canterbury Cathedral. The streets were very narrow, so much so it was impossible for the coach to negotiate near the hall, resulting in everyone having to carry their luggage, music folders and other things. To me it seemed like a long walk, but I think to those carrying luggage it must have been twice as long.
What a wonderful reception we received. Immediately, cups of tea or coffee were readily available to say nothing of the pleasure of the Canterbury staff. Once the luggage had been taken downstairs into the YP hall, tables were laid and we enjoyed our tea which was jacket potato with a selection of fillings, followed by a selection of different gateaux. It was interesting on this occasion to sing the Grace before our meal. Immediately after tea the Songsters took their places on the tiered platform for a quick sound rehearsal.
Prior to the commencement of the meeting, it was such a joy to see all the different folk we knew – Sue and Phil, Adam and Gemma, Ronald and Hannah, Keziah, Mr & Mrs Mehrabian, and others that were known through SAFE Music School. It had been arranged by Wendy that the Songsters would have a social talk with people, and when Alex started playing the beautiful grand piano with the introduction to the first song: “There’s Never Been a Mountain that the Lord Could not Move it”, the conversations would cease and wherever anyone stood they could look at Wendy and start singing that piece. Following on from that, the Songsters took their places on the platform. After some introductions the Songster’s sang “My Simple Prayer” and Major Ann opened in prayer – personally I felt from that moment we were in the place God wished us to be and that our service would be used to honour our Heavenly Father.
It was a demanding Songster programme with each piece being produced excellently. There were other items, too – Denise and Wendy recited “I wish I could sing soprano”, Emma and Wendy sang “Pie Jesu”, Colin Ward gave the thought, and the programme concluded with the song “It is Well with My Soul”. The Songsters also sang: “I Lift My Hands”, “The King’s Highway”, “How Great Thou Art”, “Under His Wings”, “Let Me Fly with You”, “Power in the Blood”, “Cross for a Crown”.
Sunday morning commenced with the Brigade singing “Rest”. Les led the prayer time, Canterbury Singing Company sand and Carol followed with the spot for the Young People with a talk and short video. Emma sang beautifully “O Rest in the Lord”, followed by the announcements and offering and Canterbury Band’s message. Prior to the bible reading by Corrine, a short video clip and thoughtful message by James, the Songsters sang “In This Quiet Moment”. The meeting concluded with the congregational song “I Know Thee Who Thou Art”.
The Canterbury band with a few Boston Band members and the Songsters then had an open air service. This was encouraging for all who attended.
After a dinner of beef and the usual trimmings, followed by apple pie and custard, there was time for a well-earned short rest prior to the evening meeting. The Songsters opened with singing “God of My Praise” and concluded with the item “Total Praise”. It was such a joy that Sue was able to join in the programme with “If I Could Sing Like Katherine”, although we have heard it previously it was lovely to see Sue smiling. The Songsters also sang: “Jesus, What a Saviour”, “Everywhere”, “I’ve Been Changed”, “In His Presence”, “Wonder of His Grace” and “To God Be the Glory”.
In all three services there were some thought provoking testimonies given; Duncan, Tina, Diane, Paul, Celia and Malcolm all spoke well. In the evening Denise did the bible reading and Mel gave the message.
A drink was provided before we boarded the bus to come home. Canterbury corps had prepared a goodie bag with sandwiches and other treats for our journey home, which was very thoughtful. We arrived back at the hall at around 10pm.
Before concluding this report of our weekend, it would be very remiss of me not to say a sincere thank you to Wendy, all the Songster locals in Boston and Canterbury, and to Alex for the hard work. Barbara and I would also like to thank everyone for their loving care to use over the weekend, we greatly appreciate such kindness.
And now to conclude, we could not have gone without the knowledge that Boston Corps was in the capable hands of Major Sarah Price and Major David Radford, and all those who stepped in while others were away.
Sincerely I pray God Bless, Guide, Guard and may He keep you in the centre of his will. Olive.