Salvation Army celebrates 141 years in Ripley

published on 7 Nov 2022

The Salvation Army in Ripley is marking 141 years in the town with a special event led by the Chief Secretary.  

The church has been on Heath Road in Ripley since 1911. To mark the occasion, a service of celebration and re-dedication of the building stones will take place on 20 November at 10.30am, led by The Salvation Army Chief Secretary, Colonel Paul Main, and Colonel Jenine Main.  

Corps Officer Major Vincent Wall said:  

“This event will be a wonderful opportunity for our church to thank God for the last 141 years of service we have given this community. It also gives us a chance to say thank you to the local community, churches and schools, which continue to be so supportive of our work.  

“We work in tandem with local agencies, Citizens Advice, school support officers, leaving care officers and social services as a reflection of the increasing need of support to vulnerable families in the town”. 

The original dedication stones displayed at the front of The Salvation Army church were removed and replaced with new Derbyshire sandstone, with the original words carved into the stone by a local stonemason.  

The condition of the original dedication stones

The lettering on the original stones had become so eroded that it was difficult to read the words and dates. The church worked with the local heritage society and the International Heritage Centre of The Salvation Army to identify the names of the people and organisations who supported the building and were involved in the 1911 opening.  

Colonel Richard Wilson, the Chief Secretary of The Salvation Army, was present at the dedication ceremony in 1911 and the current Chief Secretary Colonel Paul Main will lead the re-dedication on 20 November with the Mayor of Ripley, Councillor Nigel Weaving and vicar of the local parish church, Rev. John Wigram. 

Members of the local heritage society will also be involved. This group is a similar to the collective of people who gathered for the opening of the building.  

In the earlier days of the church Salvationists would have marched through the town, singing songs of worship and hymns with a band, proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ and salvation for all.  

New dedication stones inlaid October 2022

Nowadays, in addition to Sunday church services, there is a weekly fellowship group open to all, messy church (third Friday of month) and a monthly community café and drop-in (last Friday of the month) which runs in conjunction with the foodbank. The foodbank operates twice a week with the help of church members and community volunteers.  

The church also supports the Care in the Community group with regular food parcels and household goods supplied to young adults and families leaving or moving in and around the care system.  

The church Christmas Goodwill Campaign provides food and toys for vulnerable families and last year, 200 families and young adults received support. 

Please visit for more information. All are welcome to attend the special service on 20 November, please let the church know if you will be attending via email:  

Additional notes: 

The Salvation Army was founded in London’s East End in 1865 by William and Catherine Booth. Today this Christian church and registered charity is active in 132 countries worldwide. The church in Ripley was founded around 1881, with the first officer being a woman, Captain Hannah Griffiths, a 29-year- old widow from Monmouth. The Army challenged the idea of gender roles, with many early activists being women.  

The church wasn’t universally welcomed, with frequent assaults on members of the church. However, the Army was increasing in strength and reputation and in 1909 General Booth visited Ripley on one of his motor tours, greeted by members of Ripley Urban District Council. The dedication stones were laid on June 10, 1911 including one being dedicated by The Salvation Army Chief Secretary and officiate, Colonel Wilson with other local town dignitaries, council members and leaders from other churches also present.  

Messy church is a format that allows families to explore faith together in craft activities, hear bible stories, and enjoy a meal together.

The dedication stones completed in October 2022

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