Started in 2009, The Bridge is a project-based initiative that connects Bromley Corps to the wider world.
Just as a bridge links locations so The Bridge provides links between members of the corps with each other, the local community and churches and the global ministry of The Salvation Army.
We use the idea of working together to offer support and raise funding mainly for other ministries. Key to this has been to raise awareness of need and accepting the possibility of making a difference to given situations.
We started with a very simple idea of inviting people to take a box which we call the One-to-Fifty box. The idea is to use the box to collect coins to the value of 1p to 50p. Twice a year, there is an ingathering of boxes. This has proved to be the backbone of our personal giving.
This simple scheme means that anyone – from the youngest to the eldest – can support our on-going project, and, by so doing, connect with the idea of working together. Boxes are available for this purpose. It is also possible to make contributions online.
The Bridge Card
We introduced the card as a way of linking as many people to the overall purpose of The Bridge programme.
The credit-card-sized Bridge card is designed to fit into a wallet or purse. The card has a simple bridge design on the front and gives explanatory wording on the back, as to its purpose.
The card is a way of inviting people to identify with the overall objectives of The Bridge.
The intention is that we each carry the card as a link with the support network, which connects us to each other, and to those we will be ultimately supporting.
As we create a growing number of card-carriers it will strengthen our resolve, and act as an encouragement and incentive to make progress.
We would be delighted to supply you with your own card and additional information. Please contact us.
We have looked at different ways of working together, while also encouraging those loosely affiliated to the corps to join in. These have included an organised walk of the London bridges. On this occasion, photographs of the bridges were then used to produce a desk calendar, which was sold for the then current project.
We held a week-long arts and crafts exhibition, using contributions made and displayed by members of the corps. Some 900 people attended the exhibition and many made use of a dedicated prayer room. Some of those visitors have since linked up with the corps.
Quiz nights have given opportunities to invite friends to come to a relaxed fellowship evening. Groups have decorated the hall for harvest celebration evenings. Our young people worked together on car cleaning. Plant and book sales – and other individual sales –in the hall and on the internet have added to our financial support for others. We have also received generous donations. Most recently, the songsters put on a festival for the Papua New Guinea project.
Support has also come from other churches in the Bromley area, and from anonymous sources
What and Where?
So what have we supported?
International Salvation Army projects have included:
- providing Bush Ambulances for use in remote districts
- an anti-trafficking centre for children in Malawi,
- a street-children’s programme in New Delhi
- the MacRobert Eye Clinic in Dhariwal, India
- a micro-credit scheme.
Our latest project is the funding for clean-water tanks and to help with equipment in a secondary school in Papua New Guinea.
Local projects have included our local St Christopher’s Hospice and the Burgess Autistic Trust.
We held a one-day Arts and Crafts Fair and Exhibition on Saturday 10 May 2014. This encouraged participation from within the corps and from the community.
Later in the year, during the time of The Big Collection, we took a market stall in Bromley High Street. Through this we publicised the ministry of The Salvation Army and sold additional craft items towards The Big Collection.
The motivation for supporting international development projects:
‘Meeting on Common Ground’
It is a sobering experience to stare into the face of poverty.
The eyes of the poor do not judge me, but leave me to judge myself.
Neither do they seemingly make any demands that are by themselves an intrusion into my own wellbeing.
Instead, it is rather like looking at a carefully-worded invitation to meet with them on their ground, in their world.
The eyes of the poor tell the full story of life today.
Daring to look at such poverty is facing up to reality.
Who, then, is worthy to look?