14 July 2023

Live updates from Friday at Together 2023

Bethany Gibson

The Together 2023 logo featuring a Salvation Army red shield

Updates from Croydon, South London, on the first day of Together 2023.

10pm

Applause filled Ashford Theatre at Fairfield Halls as the curtain went down on the first public performance of Belongings.

Territorial Leader for Leader Development Commissioner Gill Cotterill thanked the cast, crew and creative team behind the new musical, as well as all those who work or volunteer in Salvation Army charity shops.

‘These stories are all based on people’s lives and that’s why we’re all here tonight – we’re part of the Kingdom of God and can make a difference in people’s lives.’

‘This is a great start to Together 2023,’ she concluded. ‘And even it does rain this weekend, we hope there will be showers of blessing. May we have a good time and God be glorified in all we do.’

You can read more about the music and message of Belongings in this week’s Salvationist magazine with behind the scenes interviews with the cast and crew.

A photo of the cast of Belongings taking a bow and Commissioner Gill Cotterill thanking them
Commissioner Gill Cotterill with the cast and crew of ‘Belongings’

That's it for today. Join us in the morning for a full day of activity. Take a look at what's in store: Saturday at Together 2023.

Good night!

7.45pm

The first full performance of Belongings, a new musical by Stephanie Lamplough and Paul Sharman (Music and Creative Arts), is now under way. It’s a full house!

A photo of two woman sitting at a welcome desk with a sign that reads 'Together 2023: Here to help'
Volunteers Joy and Deirdre are on the Here to Help desk, ready to welcome in tonight's audience for ‘Belongings’
A photo of a large crowd in a concert hall foyer
Lots of waves and hellos in the foyer, as the audience wait for the doors to open for tonight's performance – there is a buzz of excitement!
A photo of clothes on rails
The musical is set in a Salvation Army charity shop and our trading company has brought a pop-up charity shop to Fairfield Halls
A photo of the stage of Belongings before the performance starts - the scene is a charity shop
The stage is set!
A photo of the band in the band pit of a theatre
Composer and musical director Paul Sharman is ready for curtains up!

6.30pm

It's a rainy day here in London, but that didn't stop two groups completing a prayer walk from Croydon Citadel to Fairfield Halls.

Prayers focused on:

  • The community of Croydon and the ministry of The Salvation Army in South London – that people would know the love of God.
  • People engaging with Together 2023 in person and online – that there would be a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
  • Cadets preparing to be commissioned and their families – that God would bless them as they dedicate their lives to serving God.
A photo of a group gathered under a tree praying, taking shelter from the rain. A London bus is driving down the road next to the tree.
A holy huddle praying under a tree en route
A photo of a large group gathering outside an old building in Croydon, praying in the rain. People are standing under umbrellas.
Praying in the rain (you sang that, didn't you?!)
A photo of Fairfield Halls, a large concert hall. The photo is taken on a rainy day, looking at the building from the other side of a busy road with cards and a red London bus.
Fairfield Halls: our venue for the weekend – praying this will indeed be holy ground!

5.15pm

Welcome to live updates from Together 2023.

I’m Beth and I’m the editor of salvationist.org.uk.

If you haven’t already, download the event guide and spend some time praying for the weekend.

The front cover of the Together 2023 event guide, featuring a drawing of people standing together

Event guide

download

The theme is Wholly Holy and the key text for our weekend is 1 Peter 1: 5 and 16: 

  • ‘But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy’ (New Living Translation). 

Let’s pray that we will experience the holiness of God this weekend and that we will be ready to reflect this holiness within our families, friendship groups, corps and communities.

As we pray online, people have been praying at Croydon Citadel and have started a prayer walk to Fairfield Halls, the venue for the weekend.

Someone sitting at a table with a prayer display featuring a cross and printed Bible verses
Prayer stations at Croydon Citadel
A man speaks to a group sitting in a Salvation Army hall
Captain Gary Lacey, Territorial Prayer Network Co-ordinator, speaks to the group gathered at Croydon Citadel

For now, I’ll leave you with these words in the event guide from territorial leaders Commissioners Anthony and Gillian Cotterill:

‘It is our earnest hope and prayer that as we gather together, every one of us would know for certain the experience of the promise of Christ that even when two or three are gathered, he will be present.

‘Our prayer is that our holy awesome God will be pleased as we his people make ourselves wholly available to him, exploring his goodness and love in so many different expressions over this exciting and uplifting weekend.’

Updates by

Bethany Gibson

Bethany Gibson

Online Content Editor

A group photo of people wearing Salvation Army branded running clothes in a park

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