14 September 2023

Bromley Temple: Bringing church to people

Majors Alison and Iain Hudson

A photo shows people in football uniforms gathered for a group photo on a pitch.
Football ministry

Majors Alison and Iain Hudson explain how The Salvation Army bringing people together in Bromley.

Indoors, outdoors, online

Our focus is on sharing our faith through whatever opportunities God presents to us. We have 150 to 200 people attend in-person worship on Sundays, and others regularly tune in online. We recently enrolled a soldier who watched our meetings online, then started to attend in person. Although we’re often at capacity in terms of physical space, church and ministry can happen wherever people are.

Not everyone is comfortable with meeting and exploring faith on a Sunday inside a church building – and they don’t have to. Our ministry takes place wherever our members are in their everyday lives, through sports groups, online, our weekly community programme, on the high street and in our café. We’re very blessed to have Alicia Begley, our community manager, and a team of volunteers to assist us.

Serving through sport

Our weekly couch to 5K running group and our walking group were started by Major Iain and Corps Mission Secretary Andy Yates. These are simultaneously held and led by husband-and-wife team, Bill and Dawn. We all meet and have a bit of warm-up, do some sharing, and then we’re off! About 45 minutes later we finish with a thought and prayer.

The corps also organises an evening of football, which is an opportunity to mix with people who don’t go to church anymore but are on the fringes. About 20 of them get together and have a kick around every fortnight. Again, they always conclude with a thought and a prayer. Some of the footballers used to come to church and we’ve expressed that this is their church; it’s serving that need. They are with their peers – the people they associate with and feel comfortable with.

Diversity in doing

As an alternative to YP prizegiving this spring, we held an Oscars night. Our young people, their families and others dressed up in dinner jackets and party dresses and had fun together. The children loved it!

We recently asked Captain Callum McKenna (William Booth College) to lead a Booth Cruise tour of London’s East End. He showed us places that formed part of the Army’s early heritage and told us all about the Army’s beginnings. We had IHQ officers from Australia, India and America join us; they’d never done a tour of the East End before and found it interesting.

Members together

Although we are a corps with a lot of officers from THQ and IHQ in attendance, we don’t focus on rank. Everyone is treated the same here and we refer to each other by our first names. As well as having a diverse congregation, we have a good mix between traditional and contemporary worship styles. Our varied music sections assist worship on different weeks so that everyone can receive as well as contribute to worship – that’s so important and valued.

Meeting people’s needs

Our café is a great ministry opportunity. People come in to talk or get help and then come back again to enjoy fellowship. Some have become volunteers and started attending worship. We hold a coffee morning for our Ukrainian community and English classes to help them integrate. Some also learn skills by volunteering in the café.

Please pray for our corps as we continue to seek God’s will in the physical and virtual spaces where our church happens. Our desire is to ensure that folk are being heard and responded to and that their needs are met in these places.

Discover more

Lieut-Colonel Drew McCombe explains why your voice is needed in the territory’s conversation about membership.

The Racial Inclusion Working Group concludes its work and introduces the territory’s Intercultural Mission Officers.

Vicky Hendry writes about the Sport, Faith, Life weekend.

Simon Hope finds out how mission and environmentalism is intertwining in the Forest of Dean.