A few of us were privileged to hear Major Fred Rainer speak quietly and confidently in appreciation for all that has happened to him in recent months. He kindly agreed that his testimony could be shared more widely.

We listened quietly to an International Staff Songster recording of the Len Ballantine song: Let The Morning Bring 

 “Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,

for I have put my trust in you.

Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life”

(Psalm 143 v 8)

A side-officer at the Training College once quoted: “One in the eye is better than two in the ear.”  Two scars on my left leg are a visual reminder of what might have been an amputation.

This makes me so thankful - to the many people who were praying for me and of how God has kindly answered those prayers.

I have no memory of being so ill for almost 10 weeks at St Thomas’ Hospital – that time is a blank from the end of December until March.  The consultants and staff looking after me at that time were exceptional.

The follow-up two weeks ago, at the Princess Royal University Hospital, seeing a new cardiologist, for the first time - a woman specialising in the treatment of heart valves, on looking at my heart scan, said: “They did a good job at St Thomas’. Your heart function has improved from 30%  to 49%  -  I am going to refer back to see if they will now do the procedure on your heart that they couldn’t do at that time.  Your good recovery may allow this.”

I am now encouraged by these reports and trust the improvement will continue.  I am encouraged by their affirmation. These people gave me worth and never made me feel, now that I’m nearly 88 yrs old, that life can’t still be good for me. They put a new spirit in me.

Although I still can’t do much, it’s good to be alive!

I have a good appetite – I enjoy my food!

I appreciate being able to read – thank you for what you send my way.

I couldn’t do without my lovely wife, the family and the extended corps family

I have my faith –

“Let each morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for to you I entrust my life”

Major Fred Rainer

July 2018



Majors Iain and Alison Hudson -- Bromley Temple Corps Leaders from July 2018

Both born in the North-East of England, they have known each other from an early age. Prior to entering William Booth College, they had careers in banking, both working in the City of London for NatWest Bank in the late 1980s.  Iain and Alison were members of the Messengers of Hope session (1993-95). Prior to 1993, both worshipped at Bromley Temple and served as Corps Youth Secretaries. 

Commissioned at the Royal Albert Hall on 26 May 1995, they received their first appointment to Perth in the East Scotland Division. In their nine years there their children were born: Amy (1997) and William (1999). In 2004, they were appointed to Edinburgh Gorgie in the same division before being appointed to Reading Central in Central South Division in 2009.  During this time, both Amy and William completed their senior schooling, with Amy going on to Princeton University in New Jersey, USA , to study Economics (graduating in 2019) and William to Nottingham University to study Law (graduating in 2020). 

In addition to being corps officers, both have been chaplains in various capacities: Iain in a resettlement unit (in Perth) and prison (in Edinburgh) and both have served in an inner city school (in Edinburgh).  Iain is ecumenically-minded, serving as a street pastor for seven years and governor of a Catholic comprehensive school for 8 years (in Reading). Alison has served in a voluntary capacity, counselling and supporting those affected by infertility or baby loss during pregnancy or soon after birth (in Reading).

2016 saw a transfer to Divisional Headquarters in Central South Division in the new role of Divisional Mission Enablers. 

Iain and Alison are corps officers by conviction, and are pleased to return to this area of ministry.  They count it a privilege to be appointed to Bromley Temple Corps (July 2018), and they value the opportunity of working with both the corps family and wider community. 

In their free time, they enjoy walking in the mountains of Scotland, running (Iain), music, gardening and spending time with their family.

May 2018


They Deserve Our Support

From its beginnings in 1865, financing the mission of The Salvation Army has been a challenge.

Self-financing, such as is achieved through Salvationist giving at Bromley Temple has always been the goal. In reality, apart from the giving of its own members, the Army has had to settle for a combination of funding sources; the state, the commercial sector and the general public.

The annual Big Collection is one way in which The Salvation Army appeals to the British public to support its community, social development and institutional social work.

The 'door-knock' provides Bromley Salvationists the opportunity to share in this support by participating in the appeal and being ready to explain why the money is needed.  It's more than just giving money!

One of those programmes to benefit from central Salvation Army funding is The Family Tracing Service.

Bromley Salvationist, Kay Martin, joined the staff in 2017. Describing her work she explains:

·        Over 120 new cases are accepted every month

·        We currently have over 1,000 ongoing cases

·        We have a 90% success rate in the past year of reconnecting people with their family.

·        Searches can take from as little as a few days to over two years with our dedicated caseworkers trying every route possible to find the missing family member.

Clients wishing to track their family pay a registration fee of up to £45 according to their means.   The Big Collection is an essential way of funding the service so we can continue this important part of  the Army's mission started over 130 years ago.

God was in Christ to make reconciliation with the world. The Family Tracing Service has this very same unique ministry of reconciliation.

Click here to see videos prepared for The Big Collection 2017 - 

August 2017 


A Global Community with Local Impact

Three Generals Speak About Their Corps – Bromley Temple


As The Salvation Army’s international leaders present and past, Generals John Larsson, Shaw Clifton and André Cox have a wide global view. Yet all are soldiers of the Bromley Temple Corps, to which they have returned in later years. We asked them to reflect on aspects of their corps as The Salvation Army adopts the international theme: The Whole World Mobilising. We posed the questions and have selected extracts from their answers. They give interesting perspectives on the past, the present and for the future.

First Connections with Bromley 

Just a teenager at the time, André Cox was the first to connect with the corps. That was in 1968, Majors John and Gisele Gowans the officers. This was while his parents were serving on IHQ. His corps officers, a couple of years later, were the Larssons. 

John recalls the time:

‘It was thrilling to be the leaders of such an active corps. The hall at that time could seat 300 and if you wanted to get a seat on Sunday mornings you had to get there early. During the week the corps hummed with activity, as it still does today, with programmes for the young, for the elderly, for women, for Bible students and for the disadvantaged, in addition to the music rehearsals’

Shaw and Helen Clifton were the corps officers, for three and a half years from 1989. 

Shaw writes:

‘We spent three very happy and productive years in the appointments. Our three children benefitted from their involvement with the corps community.’

Highlights from the past

And then recalling a highlight of their stay, Shaw writes:

‘I can recall many happy moments. One of the most satisfying was when our plans to tear down the old hall and replace it with a modernised, albeit no larger, one actually got started in 1992.  I will always be grateful to the Reverend Alan Vousden of St Mark's Anglican Church for readily agreeing that the Bromley Salvationists could freely share his church while our new hall was under construction. Those months together proved the truth of Christian fellowship across denominational boundaries.’ 

The early 70s was the era of the Army musicals, and the corps gave repeated performances of ‘Hosea’ in Bromley and other locations, and also premiered the musical ‘Jesus Folk’ at the Fairfield Halls, Croydon. An especially memorable moment for John was when the corps presented ‘Jesus Folk’ in the Westminster Central Hall in London. 

‘To hold a corps event in this large venue was quite a step of faith. But thanks to the promotion of the event by the tireless corps organising secretary, Ernest Adnams, the hall was filled to the rafters on the day.’

One of the teenagers participating in those musicals was none other than – André Cox.

A Priority for Youth

André writes about his teenage years in the corps:

‘Bromley was a wonderful place for young people and I am grateful that the better part of my teenage years was spent there. I remember with thanksgiving the many dedicated people who would devote time and energy for the young people. They had a great impact and influence upon my life though that may not always have been evident at the time. I felt that the young people were both loved and accepted "warts and all." Certainly the fact that I remained in The Salvation Army is in significant part due to the nurturing, support and training that I received through the Corps.’

John recalls special commitment to youth by one couple:

‘The corps in the early 70s teemed with teenagers and young adults and a fellowship for them was held every Sunday evening in the house of Chris and Beryl Riches. As the numbers attending kept increasing – sometimes reaching 50 or 60 – the Riches moved into a larger house better suited for such numbers. The influence of those fellowships was incalculable.’

Serving the Borough of Bromley

All three Generals acknowledge that Bromley Temple Corps has contributed practically to the Borough of Bromley over the years by a variety of forms of Christian ministry and community service.

Shaw writes:

‘The corps reinforces a Christian presence in the community and offers a warm hand of fellowship and help to folk from every class and of every circumstance. ‘

John remembers the Busy Bee Club of the 70s. This provided teaching and support for mothers who were finding it difficult to cope. On the community service front it was Ken Banham who took the lead in the 70s. Among his many initiatives to help people practically was an arrangement he made with the Fire Brigade in Bromley by which they would call him – day or night – whenever there was a major fire. In later years, the addition of the café ‘The Light’ to the Army’s property in Ethelbert Road has opened up further possibilities. Salvationists are available as ‘listening ears’ whenever the café is open. He writes:

‘Salvationist volunteer, Dawn Derham, gives a splendid lead to the practical service rendered by the corps to groups of people and individuals. These include the annual appeal for tinned food at Harvest time and appeal for toys at Christmas and their distribution to recipients. ‘

The Bromley Temple Band also supports civic occasions in the borough, and is a much appreciated presence on the High Street on Sunday mornings. Some people even time their shopping so that they can listen to the band.

André adds his observation:

‘One of the things that I like about the Corps is that it has never been totally self obsessed and inward looking. There is a genuine warmth and welcome for all, and it is pleasing to see the Corps effectively maintain the twofold mission of The Salvation Army - to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human need in his name without discrimination.’

Hopes for the Future

‘My hopes are that the corps will keep on reaching out, both with the good news of Jesus Christ and with a helping hand to those in need, and that the corps will always be a welcoming and supportive fellowship for all who come through its doors.’  (John Larsson)

‘The future lies with the younger Salvationists, some of whom will move on into full time Army ministry while others will serve Christ as salt and light in secular settings.’ (Shaw Clifton)

‘I hope that the Corps will build on the strong tradition of caring and nurturing our children and young people.’ (André Cox)


The final question to the respondents:

What would you like to see happen in Bromley during this year themed as 'The Whole World Mobilising'? 

‘The concept of an Army mobilised for God takes us right back to our roots. A corps is not a flock fed by a pastor, but a fighting force led by a captain. The picture of the whole Army around the world being mobilised into even greater action for God than at present is a mighty one. And I would like to see Bromley Temple being part of that.’ (John Larsson)

‘Bromley is not the whole world, but for some it is the centre of their world. The Salvation Army in Bromley is already mobilised, as are most corps around the world. I am proud of my hard working, fellow believers in the Bromley corps and in every land where God has placed the Army.’ (Shaw Clifton)

‘I hope that the Corps will continue to expand the programmes and activities that look outwards into the needs of the community. While it is a great place to come and worship on a Sunday we are not called to gather for our own pleasure but to be equipped, energised and sent out to be living examples of God's love and grace in the world.’ (André Cox) 

February 2017

There’s plenty of interest and information at: The Whole World Mobilising



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 well-being.

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?

                                                                                               Mary Elvin

'Help (however you can) Please.

Watercolour painting: by Maung Maung Tinn, Burma/Myanmar, inspired by a photo by Sassu.


More Articles ...

  1. More Room in the Inn
  2. He Comes to Us Now
  3. He Has Come – He Will Come Again
  4. Stillness in the Run-up to Christmas
  5. Wait For It
  6. Bromley Band in the Open Air
  7. Major George Whittingham
  8. Enjoy the Moment
  9. Bromley Engages in Prayer with the Christians of Ukraine
  10. A Lamp to My Feet
  11. The Day that George and Maurice Met Pink Floyd
  12. Forty Days with Jesus
  13. A Salvationist President
  14. Social Justice is Central to the Gospel
  15. Another Leap of Faith
  16. Come the Light
  17. A Thought for Christmas Day
  18. Advent Meditation (3)
  19. The Light Shines on in the Darkness
  20. Thoughts for Advent (1)
  21. Clear and Plain -- Professional Writing Skills for Social Workers
  22. From Bromley to North Scotland.
  23. Another Chief of Staff at Bromley
  24. Mandy's Story
  25. Behind the Trombones
  26. Mending Broken Lives
  27. My Motivation
  28. A Little Light - A Little Flower
  29. Pardoned and Accepted
  30. Lifehouse Journey
  31. Sixty Years a Songster
  32. Communicating with Hands and a Smile
  33. Visible and Available
  34. Messy Church – A Step of Faith
  35. Return to Dusseldorf
  36. The Bandmaster’s Testimony
  37. Known and Made Known Through Scripture
  38. A Journey of Faith
  39. Officership Resumed, Commitment Confirmed
  40. I Found Jesus in Scotland
  41. Prayer with Drums
  42. Prayer in the Garden
  43. A Manager Speaks
  44. Keeping Time and Keeping Up with the Times
  45. Making Christ Known at a Surrey School
  46. Finding the Strength to Carry On
  47. The Chief Secretary's Dream
  48. Poem for a Prince
  49. Saved on the West End
  50. Coming Home
  51. A Memorable Christmas
  52. An Audience of One
  53. Journeying Together
  54. Learning to Rely on God
  55. From Fear to Grace
  56. Another Direct Encounter with God
  57. It Became a Sacramental Moment
  58. Someone Comes to Mind
  59. Celebrating Officership