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15 June 2007

Luton Salvation Army

Promised a further blog on the last weekend. This is specifically about our Sunday spent with the Youth Chorus at Luton Salvation Army. Seeing the hall late on Saturday night, I was really impressed. I know we shouldnt be about building great empires and having really flashy buildings, but if we do, and we use all of it for the glory of God and to the benefit of all His people, then I don't have a problem with it. I believe Luton is doing the best it can just now to fulfill this mission.
Their hall is about 4 years old, having been built after a merger of two previous Corps in Luton. It has a great worship hall where a couple of things really struck me. Firstly, I loved the fact that there was just a small platform. Room for the lectern and 4, maybe 6, chairs. I like this style of hall as it means that there is no-one behind you when you preach. Secondly, my designer eye loved the fact that the lectern (which was huge - couldn't find enough stuff to put on it!), the mercy seat, and the cross on the rear wall, were all made from the same style of wood and all had a similar look. This continuity was really great and actually was a help to my worship. So well done to whoever designed this. Also, modern technology has dictated that a big screen comes down and covers the cross - but to avoid upsetting anyone by covering up the cross, if there is nothing else on the screen at the time, a photo of the cross is projected onto the screen so it looks like the screen isn't there - very clever and again, very helpful.
The entrance area is very welcoming and leads to a reception desk in the middle and a dining/cafe area to the other side. This also (much to Chris's dismay) hosts a small internet cafe area with 4 computers on a raised bar area. The kitchen is huge! They only manage to open the cafe three days a week but have a huge facility to use. I hope and pray they can get more staff/volunteers to allow them to do more as Christian/Community Cafe's are a real passion of mine. Other facilities were well thought out including a little enclosed outdoor area with play equipment and decking - great for Corps BBQ's and safe play for all ages!
Anyway, to the Sunday Worship. The hall is regularly full which means about 150-200 people. They have a modest band including some young musicians; a songster group (senior choir) which we didn't get to hear; and a singing company (junior choir) who sang fantastically. It was the task of myself and Carol-Anne to plan and lead the worship which would include loads of stuff including the Youth Chorus singing 5 times. But we managed to put together a varied worship service which went very well indeed. Check the meeting plan here. The Youth Chorus sang really well and, whilst recordings were made, i can't share copies through the blog due to copyright restrictions. However, Youth Chorus members who are reading this will soon get an email from Janet with a link to a secure site where recordings of 4 of the songs are. Time flew by but there was plenty of time to share the word of God with them. A recording will appear on iTunes via Council of War in due course, but you can read the original text for yourselves here. The text was Isaiah 40:25-31 which speaks, amongst other things, of God raising us up on wings like eagles when we put our trust in Him. The theme - wait, hope and trust - reads like a nice three part sermon but infact, the three words come from the same root in Hebrew (or so I'm told). Really enjoyed bringing this word to the folk at Luton and thank God for the opportunity. I pray for Luton corps in their continuing development. Read their website to see more about them. I hope, as do my fellow Youth Chorus members, for a return invite!

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