4 December 2023

General opens new Territorial Headquarters

Major Julian Watchorn

A photo shows General Lyndon Buckingham speaking at a podium in front of an enormous Salvation Army flag.
Photos: Paul Harmer

Major Julian Watchorn reports on the opening ceremony of the new Territorial Headquarters building at Denmark Hill.

Looking down from the glass galleries of the atrium of their new home, staff members gathered with excitement for the opening ceremony and dedication of Territorial Headquarters in its new building at Denmark Hill.

Territorial Commander Commissioner Anthony Cotterill welcomed all present, including ecumenical partners, members of the Salvation Army Trustee Company (SATCO), and subsidiaries Salvation Army Trading Company Ltd (SATCoL), Salvation Army General Insurance Company (Sagic) and Salvation Army Housing Association (Saha), for whom the new building is their new home. It is also the home of London Divisional Headquarters.

The TC gave a special welcome to guests General Lyndon Buckingham and World President of Women’s Ministries Commissioner Bronwyn Buckingham, as well as to the deputy lieutenant for Southwark, Lynn Cooper, who was representing the Duke of Kent, who was unable to be present due to ill health.

Construction of the new THQ

Leaders from International Headquarters were also introduced, including Chief of the Staff Commissioner Edward Hill, World Secretary for Women’s Ministries Commissioner Shelley Hill and Europe zonal leaders Commissioners Johnny and Eva Kleman.

The congregation joined in singing the resounding hymn ‘Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of Creation’ (SASB 56), accompanied by a composite band of officers and staff members, before prayers were offered by long-serving staff members Omolara Ogunjinrin (Employment Services) and Michael Lawson (Financial Accounting).

Commissioner Anthony articulated that, ever since the groundbreaking ceremony and even before then, the building was intended to be a house of prayer, where God’s Spirit would be known. 

Referencing the huge flag that was the backdrop for the ceremony – which had been used at many Army events, including at the Royal Albert Hall – he spoke of the continuous connection through the years with what the blue, red and yellow colours represent: the purity of God, the blood of Christ and the fire of the Holy Spirit.

Referencing the importance of continued connection with the community, the TC explained how the Duke of Kent’s father, Prince George, had opened the International Training College next door in 1929. The deputy lieutenant then read a message from the duke. 

Secretary for Business Administration Lieut-Colonel Alan Read gave thanks and acknowledged the many partner companies and individuals who had contributed to the construction of the building before giving a financial statement of the overall cost.

Territorial Leader for Leader Development Commissioner Gill Cotterill then shared Scripture from 2 Corinthians 4:1–6 and Haggai 2:1–9, which are quoted on the plaque commemorating the opening of the building: ‘God said “Let light shine out of darkness” “and in this place I will bring peace”.’

The unveiling of the plaque was expertly undertaken by the General before Stephanie Lamplough (Music and Creative Arts) presented a poem, ‘Light, Hope and Peace’, which she had written especially for the occasion. 

The band played ‘Here I Am to Worship’ for the congregation to reflect upon.

In his address, the General gave thanks for the bricks and mortar that signalled an intent and commitment to the Army’s mission. He highlighted that this should be a place of light, peace and hope, and spoke of the message that was sent by this building: that the territory had the ability to adapt, celebrating the past but also facing forward, demonstrating a confidence that there are even greater things to come. 

He emphasised that all this is possible as long as God dwells in this place, as what brings the building to life is the people in it when they are filled with the presence of God. 

The General prayed that the clarity of mission and purpose would be understood and appreciated within these walls. He warned of the danger of mission drift – moving away from the Movement’s original purpose – and challenged everyone present to remain missionally true, with the motivation of continuing to share the gospel, the good news of Jesus – the light of the world who brings hope and reconciliation. 

A collage of photos: one of the audience standing and singing in the atrium of the new THQ, one of the international and territorial leaders standing by the plaque to mark the opening, and the final image of General Lyndon Buckingham looking around stalls featuring the work of Salvation Army teams such as Family Ministries
The new THQ atrium; General Lyndon Buckingham and Commissioner Bronwyn Buckingham (centre) with Commissioners Anthony and Gill Cotterill; The General speaks to THQ staff

He affirmed that the new THQ marked a new beginning, that Christ should be kept at the centre, and that God’s name would be glorified in this place. 

Chief Secretary Colonel Paul Main led the congregation in singing ‘Lord, for the Years Your Love Has Kept and Guided’ (SASB 816), before Territorial Secretary for Leader Development Colonel Jenine Main shared a prayer of dedication. 

She prayed that the new THQ would be a place that resources the territory and blessed those who work within it as they seek to be a blessing to God and to others. 

To conclude, Naar M’fundisi-Holloway (Research and Development) led the congregation in a sung benediction, encouraging all to pray over one another: ‘The Lord bless you and keep you.’

After the ceremony, guests toured the building before sharing in food and fellowship.

Written by

Photo of Julian Watchorn.

Major Julian Watchorn

Editor, Salvationist magazine

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