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Aussie officers around the world - United Kingdom with the Republic of Ireland Territory

Aussie officers around the world - United Kingdom with the Republic of Ireland Territory

Aussie officers around the world - United Kingdom with the Republic of Ireland Territory

Majors Mal and Tracey Davies have been serving in the United Kingdom Territory with the Republic of Ireland since January 2020. 

Compiled by Simone Worthing

In Global Focus this year, Others Magazine is profiling the work of Australian officers and personnel serving around the world. This month, we look at the United Kingdom Territory with the Republic of Ireland, where Majors Mal and Tracey Davies have been serving respectively in communications and officer development since January 2020. Mal and Tracey share their journey so far.

Mal

Tracey and I moved to London in January 2020 to take up new appointments. Both the location and the nature of the appointments are very different from our previous roles as corps officers at South Barwon Corps in Geelong, Victoria.

I’m based at Territorial Headquarters, and the United Kingdom with the Republic of Ireland Territory covers England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Ireland. While the territory is not geographically big, we have 630 corps as well as social programs, so it’s a big Army to manage and coordinate.

My appointment has three parts to it: as Editor-in-Chief I look after the magazine publishing, as Publishing Secretary I guide our book publishing, and as Assistant Secretary for Communications (internal) I assist the Secretary for Communications, Lieut- Colonel Dean Pallant, with how we communicate across the territory to officers, employees and volunteers.

Part of my remit is to oversight the development of a new website similar to others.org.au where we can have articles, resources and video clips for Salvationists. At the moment, we only have the territorial website, which is aimed more at the general public.

For 10 years, I worked in Army magazine and book publishing in Australia, including six years as editor-in-chief, so a large part of this appointment is very much in my comfort zone. Having said that, we produce three weekly magazines here (Salvationist, War Cry, Kids Alive!), which amounts to 56 pages of content every week, so it’s a bit busier than what I’ve known previously.

I’m enjoying my role and we love London, having holidayed here previously. While The Salvation Army is, in many ways, more traditional here than in Australia, so is the culture generally! I hope I can do my part to help the mission here.

Please pray especially for our evangelistic magazines, War Cry and Kids Alive!, that they will continue to introduce people to Christ. Pray also for our family – Hannah and Ben and his fiancée Ashlea continue to soldier at South Barwon – as we keep in touch online.

Tracey

As Mal said, we arrived in January and found ourselves in a freezing winter having flown in from an Australian summer! Luckily our house is nice and warm, although the walk to the train station each morning was sometimes a challenge. I’m based at William Booth College in Denmark Hill and work as part of the SISTAD team (School for In-Service Training and Development). My appointment is Learning and Development Officer for Officer Programs, which is supporting and helping officers on their ministry journey. I support the personnel department in doing Officer Development Reviews.

While I’ve had a lot to learn about systems and procedures and protocols here, officers are officers all around the world and many are feeling overworked or stressed or just plain tired. It’s a privilege to be able to support and encourage them in all aspects of their growth, which includes caring for themselves and strengthening their relationship with God.

Just as I was settling in and getting my head around the key parts of my role, the COVID-19 pandemic came along and everything changed. Normally, part of my role is assisting officers to complete their VDPs (Vocational Development Pathway), which involves a 360-degree profile report and a three-day retreat/ workshop, where they go to reflect on their feedback and what their develop- ment will look like for the next part of their journey. Suddenly, all events were cancelled and we were housebound, so the VDP program had to be modified to retain its essence and be accessible virtually.

Even one-on-one chats changed to Zoom calls online! This can bring technical problems, but the key element of sharing is still there, and the sessions have still worked well.

It’s good to still be able to talk to officers because the pandemic brought with it a whole list of logistical and ministry problems. I’m glad I can support them in the challenges they face and how they engage with ministry. It is really encouraging to hear about how they are going to use this situation as a jumping-off point to new things and new ways of engaging with people.

So Mal and I each do what we’ve been called to do at this time. We’re blessed to have meaningful appointments, a comfortable house, good health and a strong internet connection that allows us to talk to our family regularly. Please pray for me as I share in intimate and deeply spiritual moments with many officers and seek to support them as best I can.

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