Celebratory concert to mark Mirfield Corp's 100th birthday
published on 11 May 2023
A Salvation Army church is celebrating its centenary as it continues to serve the community across Mirfield.
Mirfield Salvation Army opened in May 1923 hosting meetings in the town hall and open air. It moved into its current building in Huddersfield Road in November 1998.
The church and charity continues to thrive, hosting Sunday worship as well as a food bank and a school uniform exchange to help people who are struggling with the cost of living.
To mark its 100th birthday, there will be a special concert on Saturday 20 May and worship on the Sunday.
Sheena Grills, Corps Mission Facilitator who leads the food bank and uniform exchange with a team of volunteers, said: “The Salvation Army has a long history of providing support to the people of Mirfield so we’re delighted to be able to mark our 100th birthday and hope the community will join us on this special weekend.
“As a church and charity, our ethos is to love God, love others and although much has changed over the past 100 years, we have continued to do that through our work in the community. In recent years this has been with a focus on providing food parcels and school uniforms, which have proved vital for people impacted by first the pandemic and now the rising cost of living, as well as friendship and spiritual support.”
Mirfield Salvation Army officially opened in May 1923 with the first officers Captain Lawson and Lt Wood holding meetings in homes and the open air. Mirfield town hall, which would many years later become the church’s permanent home, was hired for Sunday worship.
Its first building in Newgate was visited by General Bramwell Booth, son of The Salvation Army founders William and Catherine Booth, in July 1923 before opening officially that November. The band launched in 1924.
The corps continued to grow with outreach work, children’s work, street collections and worship services, moving to a new site in Nettleton Road in November 1930. In 1968 tragedy struck when the hall caught fire destroying furniture and musical instruments, but thanks to the fundraising efforts of the local community, it reopened later that year.
In 1991, Mirfield Salvation Army hosted General Eva Burrows, the thirteenth general of The Salvation Army. This was a time of increasing numbers of worshippers and the opening of The Bash, a drop-in centre for Mirfield teens, which was funded by the corps’ charity shop.
It was in 1998 that they moved into the former Panache nightclub, where worship had started in 1923 when it was the town hall, and where The Salvation Army is to this day.
Although the pandemic led to the temporary closure of the building, the congregation were still able to worship via Zoom with the corps running quiz nights and study groups throughout.
Major Andrea Still, who joined Mirfield Salvation Army as the new church leader in March, said: “The church reopened in 2021 with a renewed vision to serve the local community, with new initiatives and community partnerships to support families and older people. These plans continue to develop and we look forward to all the future may hold.”
To mark the centenary there will be a concert on Saturday 20 May at 6.30pm featuring The Salvation Army Youth Band and Choir. On Sunday 21 May at 10.30am morning worship will be led by Majors Martin and Michelle Wheeler, who were previously officers at Mirfield and oversaw the move to the current building. All are welcome.
Major Jane Cowell, Divisional Commander for Yorkshire and Humber, said: “I’m really looking forward to joining the team for this celebration weekend. The Corps is a real asset to The Salvation Army and with new church leader Major Andrea Still joining an already fantastic team I know the work they do in serving the community, motivated by faith in Jesus, will go from strength-to-strength.”
Major Alec Still, Assistant Divisional Commander for Yorkshire and Humber, added: “This church has a great heritage of 100 years as part of the community of Mirfield. But we can’t live in the past, we also celebrate that Mirfield Salvation Army continues to worship God and serve the local community with commitment and enthusiasm.”