Captain Kathryn Stowers talks to Major Jo Moir (THQ) about celebrating 150 years of mission and ministry in Wales.
Wednesday 15 November marks the start of a year celebrating the 150th anniversary of The Salvation Army in Wales. The theme for the year of prayer, worship and evangelism is Dyma Gariad, which translates as ‘here is love’. It is taken from the hymn written by William Rees and traditionally set to the tune of ‘Lowry’, which reminds us of the vastness of God’s love, mercy, justice and kindness. As the division and the wider territory join to remember God’s faithfulness throughout the years in Wales, Divisional Ecumenical Officer Captain Kathryn Stowers (Newport Citadel) shares some of the vision for the year.
How has the division been preparing for this anniversary?
We felt it was vital that our celebrations were rooted in prayer. Over the last year the Dyma Gariad prayer box has been travelling around the division, giving opportunities for corps and communities to reflect, share stories and seek God’s voice. Collecting the various prayers and stories of God’s faithfulness has been truly inspiring. We have seen huge blessings and outpourings of the Holy Spirit.
We believe that this time of celebration will also be a time of blessing to our communities. For example, when the prayer box landed in Newtown, the corps used seed cards to write prayers for their community. They also gathered at Costa Coffee in Welshpool, using the resources from the prayer box to cover that community with prayer.
The tagline for the year is ‘God’s story, our story, your story’. What does this mean to you?
We want to celebrate God’s faithfulness first and foremost, his vast love and grace towards us. Within that we want to celebrate the mission of The Salvation Army in Wales over the past 150 years, to thank God for the faithful servants who have shared the gospel and reached out to their communities. But we don’t only want to celebrate our heritage, we also want to thank God for where we are now and look to the future, trusting him for what’s to come. We would love to inspire and encourage people to see their place in the future of the story of our Movement. We look back and celebrate, yes, but we also look ahead with hope and excitement.
What’s being planned for the year?
Some of the focus over the year will be on collective celebration; worship events, concerts, a presence at Welsh festivals (eisteddfodau) and the first ever commissioning in Wales as part of Together 2024, which will be held in Newport in July.
There will also be gatherings and prayer events in the smaller regions (cynefins) with something for everyone to get involved in. A craft display is planned for the 2024 Royal Welsh Show in July. It will be made from knitting and other crafts, and will depict the Christian journey in Wales.
We are really encouraging each corps and centre around the nation to reach out to their community in a way that will best connect in their area, sharing the good news of the transforming power of Christ. This special year is a wonderful opportunity not just to gather internally but also to share ‘God’s story, our story and your story’ with communities in innovative ways, from fun days in parks to community songs of praise (cymanfa ganu) at bandstands. We also encourage connecting with other Christians in the community for joint outreach activities.
How can we get involved as a territory?
Pray with us and pray for us. Ask that God will open doors of opportunity and that we will have courage and grace as we share this anniversary with our neighbours and our communities.
You can join us, come and support us at one of our events or book your place at Together 2024 – watch this space for more details in the new year.
Be part of this celebration and this move of the Spirit in our nation.
Major Jo Moir
Territorial Communications Officer
The Salvation Army celebrates 150 years in Wales.
Find out more about The Salvation Army in the UK and Ireland.
A range of Welsh resources, lessons and activities to introduce primary school children to the beliefs, history and work of The Salvation Army.
Commissioning, Congress and Symphony Sounds.