Past and present members of The Salvation Army Glenfield Corps in Auckland gathered over three days (10–12 February) to celebrate the corps’ 50th anniversary.
The corps citadel was opened on 10 February 1973 by then Territorial Commander Colonel Ernest Elliot. According to a War Cry report of the time, it was a beautiful sunny afternoon with a large crowd gathered to witness the event. Colonel Elliot cut the ribbon and pronounced the building opened, ‘To the Glory of God and the Salvation of the People’.
Skipping forward 50 years and although the weather was more uncertain with Cyclone Gabrielle lurking in the wings, the anniversary was enthusiastically celebrated. Events included a Praise and Prayer meeting; a ‘Let’s Celebrate People’ concert and dinner; and a Sunday service with the overall theme of, ‘Let’s Celebrate: God’s Plan’.
Territorial Commander Commissioner Mark Campbell presented certificates of appreciation at the Saturday event:
- Jack and Jennifer Reid, for opening their home to begin the Sunday school which eventually became the corps.
- Major Jack Harris, for his service and long years of officership.
- Katherine Kidd, for the longest serving staff member of Community Ministries (28 years).
- Maureen Harrington, for long service in local officership.
At the Sunday service, Commissioner Campbell spoke to about 90 people, focusing on Te Ope Whakaora, The Army That Brings Life. He noted that The Salvation Army’s Territorial Strategic Framework, He Waka Eke Noa, helps us fulfil our mission of caring for people, transforming lives and reforming society by God’s power.
‘Our passion is to see greater mission impact and better mission connection across all our centres,’ said Commissioner Campbell. ‘We want to see our frontline ministry flourishing and being at its best with great support from headquarters.’
Commissioner Campbell said a further aim was for everyone who connects with The Salvation Army anywhere to experience fullness of life in Jesus.
The Auckland Fellowship Band provided music throughout the service, while the five-member Butterfly Timbrel Brigade performed a musical piece. Participants came together for a light lunch, sharing stories and fellowship.
According to historical documents on display at the corps, the vision for a Salvation Army presence in Glenfield had come from Salvationists at the nearby Devonport Corps. In due course, The Salvation Army bought a double section property on a prime main road site in Glenfield in 1968.
‘Salvationists in the area were contacted and a number agreed to share in the project,’ says Jennifer Reid, one of the original corps members and daughter of Salvation Army officers.
Jennifer and husband Jack started a home Sunday school on Mother’s Day 1971, with 30 children plus leaders attending the first meeting. Jack was also the first corps sergeant major and bandmaster.
Captains Raymond and Fay Cross were appointed as the first corps officers in 1972.
‘Holiness meetings were started in a classroom at Glenfield College, while salvation meetings were conducted in the local Methodist Church. These arrangements continued during 1972 until the completion of our own premises in February 1973,’ says Jennifer.
According to a historical report, fundraising activities for the new corps included the mammoth undertaking of enveloping, labelling and licking nearly 500,000 mail-outs for the city’s largest department store.
Long-serving Local Officer Maureen Harrington joined Glenfield Corps in 1974 after moving to a new house in the area. Having attended The Salvation Army while living in Australia, Maureen came along to the newly opened Glenfield Corps.
‘I remember that first Sunday (at Glenfield Corps) well, because I arrived half an hour late and had to come and sit in the front row. But I knew I had come home to where God wanted me to worship and be in fellowship,’ says Maureen.
Major David Bennett, who along with wife Major Judith Bennett were corps officers at Glenfield between 1977–1981, recalled running a Friday night club where children learned hobbies and skills, including woodwork. Cabinet makers donated wood off-cuts which were used in the club to make objects such as toy vehicles.
Major Bennett says that another initiative at that time were popular family camps, where corps members went away for a weekend at the former Salvation Army youth camp at Snells Beach.