Archive for October, 2013


SCB in Risca

Bandsman Oliver Ridley shares his take on the weekend’s events in Risca:

The weekend’s Welsh campaign took place in different places: one half of the band, conducted by Deputy Bandmaster Roland Spencer leading the meetings at Abertillery whilst Bandmaster Keith Wileman led the other half of the band at Risca Corps.

Sheffield Citadel’s CSM, Glyn Evans, led the morning meeting at Risca with the theme “Made in the likeness of God.”  Although the band was few in number, the holy spirit’s presence was evident throughout as they played to a thoroughly receptive congregation.

The meeting started with a “get to know the band” time.  Each member of the band stood up and gave a fact about themselves.  The highlight was Greg Waters whose admission that he was “the best looking man in the band” was greeted with much laughter and jeers from his fellow bandsmen. Greg  had spent 4 years at Risca when his parents were officers at the Corps until moving to Felixstowe last year.

ISB Bandsman Paul Sharman has built up an exciting reputation through his compositions and his array of differing styles has quickly made him one of the Salvation Army’s favourite composers in the modern era.  On Sunday morning the band played one of his most recognised pieces: “Blessing and Honour” which uses the words “Your kingdom shall reign over all the earth.”  The triumphant words are given a modern, zesty twist and turned into a jazzy arrangement.  The band also played “Here is love” –  a more reflective work that uses the words “Here is love vast as the ocean, loving  kindess of the flood.”

After the meeting drew to a close, the band went to witness in the open air at a local supermarket where they used the opportunity to play light-hearted pieces to onlookers from a non-Salvationist background.

After an amazing dinner put on by the Risca dinnerladies, the band had had enough time to recharge their batteries before presenting a festival of music.  Andrew Mackereth’s “Dance Like David” and Erik Leidzen’s quick march “Manhattan” were played by the band as the congregation in South Wales were treated to an afternoon of celebration.  However, Victoria Lewis who gave the sermon, depicted a message of hope to a world that seems to have forgotten about religion and has been filled with untruth and sinful hatred.  Victoria’s message was plain and simple: “If you read the bible, everything in it is true.  Anything besides that message is false.  If we live our lives by the will of God then we will live eternally.”

As the meeting and weekend concluded, the general consensus was that the band had delivered a message that didn’t just challenge people’s minds but also offered a way to enhance the congregation’s spiritual points of view through the medium of the Holy Spirit.  We pray that the impact Sheffield Citadel made in Wales will last for many years to come.


SCB at Abertillery

Bandsman Ryan Wileman shares his thoughts on our visit to Abertillery:

From the minute we were introduced to our billets on Saturday evening, until the moment we left on Sunday afternoon, it was clear that those of us privileged to be in the ‘Abertillery Band’ undoubtedly got the better half of the deal – and we like to think that the Corps did too!

As soon as we arrived we were made to feel very welcome and were embraced into the unique and intimate fellowship that is Abertillery Corps.  It was great to catch up with Captains Dave & Bev Womersley and their two children Nathan and Megan, who are both a lot bigger and considerably more Welsh than the last time we saw them! 🙂

Our morning worship set the tone for the rest of the day.  Expertly led by Alistair Mann, there was a lovely mix of moods throughout the morning.  We had some great banter with the congregation, where the Welsh sense of humour (and competitive spirit!) really came to the fore.  But there were also some very reverent and thoughtful moments.  Alistair shared a clear and empowering message from Isaiah 43 v1-7 that ‘we’re worth it’ to God and that there’s nothing that we can do to change this.  The contributions of the Band and Abertillery  Songsters fitted in perfectly with the theme of the meeting.

This was followed by an afternoon meeting which was a nice mix of light-hearted and relaxed music with some practical bible teaching by Roger Coates, along with powerful, honest testimonies from members of the Band.  The music presented was almost a whole new repertoire for the Band and playing in a smaller ensemble was a different experience for many but very enjoyable all the same.  There was more good banter when it was made abundantly clear by Captain Bev at the start of the meeting that we weren’t to step on the wood at the front of the platform – we never really did find out why but I’m sure there was a good reason!

A thoroughly enjoyable and spirit filled day ended when we were sent home with a powerful and hearty rendition of Bread of Heaven, that could only have been delivered from the heart of the Welsh Valleys, ringing in our ears.  We were also forced to stay and eat cake to celebrate the 70th birthday of one of Abertillery’s bandsmen before we were allowed to leave – it was a real hardship!

I am sure I speak for other members of Band in saying that it was an absolute privilege to share in ministry with Abertillery Corps and it was a day and weekend that will live long in the memory.

Here’s a video of our “sending off” from Abertillery on Sunday afternoon.
Great singing from our Welsh friends, wonderful Christian people.

Abertillery Video (this video will open up in a Facebook window)

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October 2013
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