From Salvationist 25 May 2019
USING WORDS WELL
LAST week we heard the news that ITV had cancelled The Jeremy Kyle Show permanently after one of the guests took his own life. Many commentators welcomed the decision, not only in light of that tragic incident but also because of the general nature of the programme in which guests, along with the host, have often been confrontational and verbally abusive towards one another. It demonstrates that words – as well as sticks and stones – can hurt.
But words can also heal, build bridges and communicate good news. This week’s Salvationist features a project that will encourage people to share words – written words – that do just that. It’s the Herald Challenge, which, as Major Andrew Stone explains on pages 12 and 13, is an opportunity for corps members to take the War Cry and Kids Alive! onto the streets for four weeks in July. This is the War Cry’s 140th year, so the aim is to recruit 140 new heralds. Andrew is convinced of the value of this ministry and shows how people’s lives have been changed because of the words they’ve read in the Army papers.
Page 14 has a fascinating article by Bill Hamilton about the railway station that was once used by the Army’s Campfield Press to dispatch the printed word far and wide in the form of periodicals, books and Bibles.
St Francis of Assisi is supposed to have said, ‘Preach the gospel at all times; use words if necessary.’ It’s not certain he actually said this, but whoever did, the point was not that words are unimportant; it was that we need to communicate the gospel with actions as well as words. The two work together: words make sense of our actions, and actions put our words into practice. And, of course, actions often speak louder than words.
The gospel in practice is evident in an article in the ‘We are The Salvation Army’ series on page 9, where Major Mike Lloyd-Jones highlights the ministry of Croydon Citadel, with its ‘warmth of welcome, heart for social action and sense of belonging’.
Loving service and practical action can speak volumes. Another example of this is the Turkana project in Kenya, featured on pages 10 and 11. It’s a network of savings groups where women contribute towards a communal fund, then take loans to start or grow a business. What does this kind of project say to women experiencing ‘cultural limitations and ecological challenges’? It says: You’re not helpless, you’re not worthless; you have the means to support one another and overcome the obstacles you’re facing.
Words spoken, written or enacted have the power to make a difference – for good or ill. May we always use them well.
Finally, I have words for someone who’s retiring from the Publishing Department after 26 years. Stephen Pearson is Managing Editor of Salvationist and Production Editor of the War Cry and must have edited and proofread many hundreds of thousands of words over the years. He’s also written some, including the expressive and moving poems on our front covers at Christmas, Easter and Remembrance. So Stephen, my words for you are: ‘Thank you for all you’ve done and enjoy your retirement!’
From the Editor,
LIEUT-COLONEL JONATHAN ROBERTS
Check out our Article of the Week here.
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