Aussie officers around the world â Canada and Bermuda Territory
Aussie officers around the world – Canada and Bermuda Territory
Time has absolutely flown and we find ourselves eight months into our time in Canada. Chilliwack is a growing town of about 100,000 people, about an hour west of Vancouver.
It is surrounded by mountains and is in a fairly mild part of the country, although as I type our car park is covered in snow. There are a lot of churches in town, but there are also a lot of problems, mainly homelessness and drug abuse.
Our appointment as the Corps Officers in Chilliwack means we oversee not only the corps, which has a congregation of about 120, but also a large community ministry unit.
We have the Care and Share centre, where we provide food parcels and other assistance for clients. The Care and Share also operates a large food bank and a Monday to Friday lunch program. We also have a 68-bed shelter, an outreach team, Fireside Counselling services, and a thrift shop.
Our ministries are spread over three locations and we have about 70 employees and countless volunteers. We are blessed to have members of the corps employed in management positions and this helps keep us all focused on our common goal of seeing lives transformed in Jesus’ name.
Since our arrival we have seen a few souls saved. Some of these are employees from our shelter and outreach programs, which has been really exciting. We arrived here at the beginning of (the northern) summer, which meant the beginning of nine weeks of school holidays.
Not long after we arrived, the corps held its annual vacation Bible school called Kids Games. We were delighted to see around 50 kids, mostly from our community, involved in the week-long program. The corps donated enough money to enable us to present every child with a Bible.
At least one family has been regularly attending the corps as a result of this program. Regular programming at the corps includes seniors ministries, Bible studies, Ready to Serve (Junior Soldiers), youth Bible study and youth group. We have around 50 teenagers attending youth group, most of them not connected with the corps in any other way.
As a family, we have been thankful to see our extended family a lot more. All of our immediate family live in either Canada or across the United States border in Seattle, just a three-hour drive away. This has been the biggest blessing of our move here. How nice it is to have grandparents living half an hour away!
Our older children, Samuel and Mackenzie, are still finding their place in their new school. We must admit, the vast differences in schooling were something we had not anticipated. This has been the most challenging aspect of our move. Our youngest, Eli, is fairly settled in his pre-school/day care and attends three days a week.
One adjustment we’re making as a family is living in the ‘country’. Farm smells frequently invade Chilliwack, especially during the summer and autumn. We’re all eagerly anticipating spring and summer after experiencing a long winter. As I mentioned earlier, we are surrounded by mountains.
It was our third Sunday here when in the morning I read, as part of my devotions, Psalm 121:1-2: “I lift my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” That same morning in worship we sang ‘Hear our Praises’. It includes the line, “From the mountains to the valleys, hear our praises rise to you”. Later that day, as I was driving, I was suddenly struck by how much more meaning those words had now that we were living in the valley, with such beautiful mountains all around. What an unexpected blessing that God really spoke to me in this way.
If you would like to pray for our corps, can you please pray for souls to be saved, for people to grow spiritually, to see our community transformed by Jesus and, for us, mostly that our children will feel at home!
History of the territory
There are newspaper reports of Salvation Army activity starting in Toronto, Ontario, in January 1882. Five months later, the Army was reported holding meetings in London, Ontario. On 15 July the same year, Major Thomas Moore was sent from USA Headquarters to establish official operations in Canada.
In 1884, Canada became a separate command. An Act to incorporate the Governing Council of The Salvation Army in Canada received Royal Assent on 19 May 1909. Salvation Army work in Newfoundland started on 1 February 1886 under the leadership of Divisional Officer Arthur Young. On 12 January 1896, Adjutant [later Colonel] Lutie Desbrisay and two assistant officers unfurled the flag in Bermuda, a British overseas territory in the North Atlantic Ocean.
Five Australian officers currently serve in this territory: Major Alison Cowling is the Assistant Chief Secretary based in Toronto, Major Sharon Dannock and Captain Jason Dannock are the Corps and Community Officers at Temiskaming Community Church in New Liskeard, Ontario, and Captains Fiona and Matthew Kean are the Corps Officers at Chilliwack Corps, 100km south-west of Vancouver.