Salvation Army Poll

Childhood experiences led to a life of caring

WHEN Mitch Menagh was 11 years old and living in the Redheugh Salvation Army Boys’ Home in Kilbirnie, little did he imagine that one day he would return there as a key worker and then go on to become The Savation Army’s director for homelessness services in the UK and Republic of Ireland. But that’s what happened.

Before we talk about his 40 years of working for The Salvation Army, Mitch takes me back even further, to his childhood, where he grew up in ‘a very dysfunctional family’.

Record-breaker put faith first

 A MISSIONARY zeal and an intense talent for sport shaped the destiny of Eric Liddell, whose memorable athletic achievements are portrayed in the 1982 Oscar-winning film Chariots of Fire.

He was born in China to British mis­sionary parents, but in 1920 he went to Edinburgh University, where athletics and rugby played a large part in his life. Between 1921 and 1923 he won seven international caps and several Scottish athletic titles.

With insufficient time for both sports, he chose running but also remained committed to his faith.

There's no place like home

TOMORROW (28 January) is recognised as Homelessness Sunday in churches across the country. It is intended to be an opportunity for Christians to pray, reflect and plan practical action to support people experiencing homelessness.

The number of people needing such practical action and support is growing. According to the Commons public accounts committee, in England alone there are more than 78,000 households that are homeless and living in temporary accommodation, including 120,000 children.

Doctor on call returns to India

HER parents and grandparents were American medical missionaries in India, but Ida Scudder couldn’t wait to leave the country and head for the comforts of the US. As a young girl, she had fed children too weak to feed themselves and seen tiny corpses by the roadside. She wanted away.

More TV vicars

THE area, says the Rev Matthew Stafford, is beautiful. ‘I drive down the Corvedale from Much Wenlock towards my furthest parish at Stanton Long,’ he tells me, ‘I’m in the Shropshire Hills, and I feel blessed to be ministering in this wonderful part of God’s world.’

But as viewers who follow Matthew – and three other ministers – in BBC Two’s documentary series A Vicar’s Life can see, life as a country clergyman is no piece of escapism.

When social media is unsociable

DESPITE not being released until December, Star Wars: The Last Jedi was the UK’s highest-grossing film of 2017. One of the stars of the film, Daisy Ridley, who plays Rey, made headlines when she decided to quit social media. Explaining her decision, she cited the negative impact that the use of social media sites can have on the mental health of teenagers and young adults.

Missionary dressed to impress

MOTIVATED by his faith, James Hudson Taylor founded the China Inland Mission, now known as OMF International, one of the largest Christian movements in the world.

The son of a pharmacist and lay preacher, he grew up in Barnsley. Despite poor health, he believed that God wanted him to be a mis­sionary in China, and he studied medicine at a London hospital. Hudson Taylor was certain that God would never fail those who trusted him, and he believed in the power of prayer.

Jermain raises his voice

THE revolving chairs are back, with Olly Murs joining, Jennifer Hudson and Sir Tom Jones on the coaching panel of The Voice UK. Last Saturday (6 January) the first contestants to appear on the new series of the ITV competition took to the stage. Facing the backs of the chairs, they sang their audition pieces and hoped that their vocal talent would be enough to convince at least one coach to turn round and choose them. Up for grabs for the series winner is a recording contract.