Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Reputation

I have been at yet another new ladies meeting today to talk about "The Salvation Army it's Beginnings and Symbols". They love The Salvation Army! One after the other say either one of their parents or their grandparents were members of TSA, or they say things like "My Dad told me never to pass a Salvation Army person by without giving them money".

All very humbling especially when they say "You do such good work" "You are the only Church who really get out there amongst the people"!

Deep inside me I want to shout - but WE DON'T..... we are riding on the reputation of those gone before and those in the Social Services who work their guts out to help the needy.

I know we are in a funny place at the moment, not in our own premises etc etc..... but my struggle with belonging to the Church side of our beloved Salvation Army, is that it is easy to ride on the same reputation The Salvation Army has because of it's social work.

I go to great lengths to say that Richard and I work within the Church side of the movement and that I actually know very little about the social work within the Territory - but I can get you the number of someone who does know more and can give an up-to-date talk!

Today highlighted for me again that yes...I want people to know we are just as much a Church as the Methodists, Baptists, CofE etc etc.....but I want to be a Church that bases its whole being on "With Heart to God and Hand to Man".

When my Grandchildren are giving talks about The Salvation Army to ladies groups.... I wonder what legacy my generation will have left them to talk about? Will it still be World War I and the Doughnut Girls in France or World War II with cups of tea in the trenches? or will it be Crest Cafe 2008 serving Breakfast to the needy while the Gospel Message is being preached? (William Booth would approve of this I am sure!) Will it be Romford congregation getting their hands dirty as they wash a tramps feet?

Sorry to go on a bit - but I just wanted to share the question going around in my head just now, whose reputation are we riding on? and for whose sake?

Oh and BTW..... I was persuaded to show them some moves with the tambourine ! How very very embarrasing.... that is one reputation I think needs to be squashed - TSA is not about bonnets, tambourines and bands playing on street corners....is it?

4 comments:

Liz said...

Timbrel and drum, banners and bonnets - the tools of our trade! Maybe we should get some new songs written?

Sharing your frustration X

Kirst said...

My biggest problem with all this is that from what I know, SO MANY of us would agree with all that you wrote here. Most of my peers in the Salvation Army recognise and understand that this happens and want to change it. But its so easy to get frustrated about and so hard to know how to change it. If so many of us feel this way, why does nothing change? Is it because we know how it should be and what we should be doing, but don't know how to actually get on with the busniess of doing it?

Ann said...

Reflecting a few days later.... I think one of the things we need to keep in our heads is that we are "just" a Church and not a Social Services Centre - from which the work that the public remember and think The Salvation Army is, comes from.
The challenge for us is that when we do encounter the real needy we try hard to meet their need whatever that may be....again another thing to remember is that in a Church setting we are not all gifted in "social care" whereas those working within the Social Services side of TSA do so because they are gifted in that type of care! SO what I think I am trying to say, is that we mustn't be too hard on ourselves....I am listening to myself too :-)
Having had last 24 hours being reminded I am not meeting some people's expectations...I have to remind myself that I have to do what only I can do some times !

Liz said...

Oh BLEUGH to those people! Did you know what their expectations were or were you supposed to have read their minds?? You can only do what YOU can do all the time - God will do the rest, and I'm not being cheesy there.

What you said in your last comment is VERY helpful so thank you.