2014 Winter Assignment Highlights – Cadet Kath Walker
I arrived at my winter assignment in Spryfield, Nova Scotia, not knowing what to expect. I was excited about traveling to the East coast for the first time. I wondered about, culturally, life and The Salvation Army (“the Army”) compared to the West coast, where I have spent the majority of my years in Canada. While I knew in advance my schedule and some of the activities I would be doing, I had awareness that each corps and setting is different. So while I’d been involved with many similar activities at Christmas time in the Army I knew it would not be the same old thing, and I would have opportunity to learn something new. However in all my pondering before arriving in Spryfield, what I didn’t think about were the people I would work, minister and worship alongside. What an unexpected joy it was to come in and be so welcomed, included and encouraged by the people of Spryfield.
It started with a warm reception by the officers (pastors) and their children, and I feel so blessed to have been able to not only work alongside these servants of God, but to share life with them for two weeks. It is hard to put into words all that I am taking away. I learned from them some very practical “how to” lessons but also gleaned from them wisdom that comes from their vast years of ministry experience.
However, the hospitality did not end there. Spryfield has a local Corps (church) involved in its local community. The Corps is blessed to have members involved in outreach and mission and I was blessed to work alongside them. What stood out to me was the hospitality that the members of the Corps offered to their community; welcoming people, sharing life, getting to really know people and be known. The hot community breakfast that they served was not just a matter of feeding the hungry, but provided a space to connect to people, to follow up, to offer hope or a listening ear. It was a privilege to witness the real connection and care, which accounted for a holistic, intergraded mission-focused ministry.
The sense of community and mission was also seen in the dedication of the many Kettle (The Salvation Army bubble that is prominent for fundraising during Christmas) volunteers. The campaign gave an opportunity for the Corps to be visible in the community, witnessing and connecting with others. So much so, a business owner even approached the corps to get a Kettle in his store, and started conversations of how the store can support the work of the Corps throughout the year. I saw and experienced the joy of being able to stand and talk to people in the community, and to see corps members committed to serving. What a blessing!
Being a person who likes variety, I was blessed in my time at Spryfield. I was able to move from administrative tasks, to sitting and chatting with people who came for breakfast. I was involved in pastoral visitation, assisting with Kettles, preparing and leading Junior Church and the Candlelight Service, as well as unloading toys and setting up and working with a team to distribute Christmas assistance. All of these experiences will assist me greatly in future ministry.
My time in Spryfield went all to quickly and it was with some sadness that I left. However I know I will always be welcomed back, and now have a home on the East coast!