Matthew is a member of Stoke Newington Salvation Army.
Mum Jacky says: "Matthew has a number of disabilities and has the understandings and capabilities of a young child. He loves attending Stoke Newington and when I was taking lessons to prepare me to become an adherent – but I then decided to become a soldier – he asked me what I was doing. I explained the lessons I was taking and Matthew decided he would like to become a member of The Salvation Army, too."
Adapting material used for junior soldier classes – those that children follow to become junior members of the church – the church leaders took Matthew through preparations to become a member of the church.
Once the lessons were completed, the leaders asked if Matthew would like to become a church member and he said yes.
Jacky says: ‘Matthew feels very welcomed in the church. He attends youth club with the other young people, enabling him to socialise as well as play pool and table tennis with the other children. He really enjoys joining in the church activities.
‘Since Matthew began attending he has become a happier child – his whole attitude has changed. He used to prefer to stay indoors and play on his computer, and would tell me: “Mummy I’m bored and I feel sad." Now he prefers to go to The Salvation Army with me and my husband – he will ask: “Mummy are we going out tomorrow? Are we going to the Army?” He can’t wait to get out!’