Wellingborough Salvation Army starts 145th anniversary year with visit from international leader

published on 29 Nov 2017

General André Cox, international leader of The Salvation Army, visited Wellingborough Salvation Army this weekend (25-26 November) to start a year of celebrations marking the church and community centre’s 145th anniversary.

The church held an anniversary concert on Saturday at the United Reformed Church with special guests including Kettering Citadel Salvation Army brass band, Nottingham William Booth Memorial Halls Salvation Army choir and vocal soloist Hazel Launn from Bedford Congress Hall Salvation Army. General Cox led Sunday services at The Salvation Army on Salem Lane.

Church leader Major Michelle Woodhouse said: 

“It was a huge privilege to host our international leader General André Cox. The weekend was a wonderful start to our 145th anniversary year.”

Over the weekend, the church took the opportunity to thank God for the last 144 years and also to thank the local community who continue to be so supportive of The Salvation Army’s work.

The Salvation Army was founded in London’s East End in 1865 by William and Catherine Booth.

Wellingborough was one of the first towns outside of London where early Salvation Army pioneers were sent to begin the work of the now international church and charity which is active in 128 countries around the world.

In 2017, The Salvation Army’s work across the UK and Ireland includes more than 800 community churches and social centres offering compassionate support, a listening ear and practical help.

In addition to Sunday services and faith-based activities for all ages, Wellingborough Salvation Army runs social activities for older people, a camera club, parent and toddlers, coffee mornings, children’s clubs and youth work. The church also has brass bands and choirs for young people and adults.

Every month, the church runs Messy Church – a family-focused exploration of bible stories with craft, music, games and food.

Major Michelle added: “Sunday 10 December at 4pm will be Messy Christmas – a festive themed Messy Church. The whole family is invited and we’d love to see you all dressed up as characters from the nativity. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to be Mary or Joseph? This is your chance!”

The Salvation Army on Salem Lane is also inviting the community to its carol service on 17 December at 4pm and a candlelit carol service on Christmas Eve at 4pm.

History of Wellingborough Salvation Army

When Francis and Elizabeth Ireson moved from London to Wellingborough in 1872 to form Wellingborough Salvation Army, the movement was still known as ‘The Christian Mission’ and was only renamed ‘The Salvation Army’ in 1878. It was from its base in Wellingborough that the work of The Salvation Army spread throughout Northamptonshire.

Since its early days social action has been central to The Salvation Army’s Christian mission. William and Catherine Booth’s foundation of a new denomination was a response to their disillusion with the established church in Victorian England – they found people in need and experiencing homelessness and poverty where often unwelcome at traditional church services. Their vision was to create a church that welcomed everyone and fought for social justice.

In 1885 The Salvation Army successfully campaigned for the age of consent to be raised from 13 to 16 and in 1890 the church and charity opened the UK’s first labour exchange.

Wellingborough Salvation Army moved to the site of its current church and community centre in 1874. In 1878 Catherine Booth visited the town and officially recognised Wellingborough Salvation Army as the thirteenth Salvation Army church.

William Booth, always eager to make use of new technology, undertook a series of motor tours in the 1900s, travelling from Land's End to Aberdeen and arriving in Wellingborough in 1907. During his visit he also preached in Wellingborough United Reformed Church.

For more information about Wellingborough Salvation Army, please email michelle.woodhouse@salvationarmy.org.uk, visit salvationarmy.org.uk/wellingborough or find Wellingborough Salvation Army on Facebook.