11 January 2017 - 11:31am
The world leader of the Salvation Army will touch down in Glasgow this weekend (January 14 and 15) to mark the church and charity’s mission work in the west of Scotland. General André Cox, who is the head of the 1.5 million-strong organisation, and his wife Commissioner Silvia Cox will embark on a whistle-stop tour of Salvation Army churches and social centres from Cambuslang to Greenock.
The General's visit will come just two days after he launches the Salvation Army’s international initiative for 2017 called The Whole World Mobilising, which aims to encourage every Salvationist, officer, employee and volunteer to be more active in spreading the Gospel and helping people in need. A new website and mobile app will be launched tomorrow to provide practical tips, inspirational testimonies and regular challenges to get more people involved in the charity’s frontline work.
Lieutenant Ian and Hattie Arthur are set to welcome the General to Port Glasgow
General Cox said: "Commissioner Silvia and I are looking forward to visiting The Salvation Army in West Scotland. This will be an opportunity for us to visit some Salvation Army programmes to see the frontline work where needs are being met, support is being given to people and the transforming Gospel of Jesus Christ is being communicated. We will also join with Salvationists in worship and celebration.
"Throughout 2017 we are encouraging everyone involved with the Salvation Army to be mobilised so that The Salvation Army remains an active force for good and for change in the 128 countries around the world where we are at work."
The Salvation Army is celebrating its 138th year in Scotland, having established its first base of operations in Anderston, Glasgow in 1879. The Salvation Army now runs 30 community churches and seven social centres across its West Scotland division alone.
To recognise the work of his officers, staff and volunteers, General Cox and Commissioner Cox will spend Saturday and Sunday seeing first-hand the work being done to help vulnerable people.
In between visits, the General will lead a civic reception for 600 Salvationists, supporters and friends of the Salvation Army at Port Glasgow Town Hall on Saturday night. There will be testimonies from people whose lives have been transformed by the Salvation Army, as well as performances from its Ayr Community Gospel Choir and divisional youth band. Such is the popularity of General Cox that demand for tickets has exceeded the town hall’s capacity.
The General’s tour gets underway on Saturday morning with a trip to meet men and women overcoming homelessness at the Salvation Army’s Rodney Street Lifehouse (residential centre) in the north of Glasgow.
From there General Cox will spend time with residents at William Hunter Lifehouse in the city centre before visiting the Eva Burrows Day Care Centre in Cambuslang, which offers support older people with dementia as well as respite care to family and carers.
The General will spend the rest of the afternoon meeting officers and staff at the Salvation Army in Greenock, which includes a community church and a floating support service to help people maintain their tenancies.
Following the civic reception in Port Glasgow on Saturday night, the General will spend Sunday with the local Salvation Army team before attending an evening meal in Glasgow to recognise the sacrifices his officers make in taking the mission of the Salvation Army to the heart of communities.
The General will sign off his visit by meeting personnel and staff from at Glasgow International Airport where The Salvation Army provides a chaplaincy service.
Major Raelton Gibbs, Divisional Commander of the Salvation Army in the west of Scotland Division, said: “We are excited to welcome the General. The Salvation Army is committed to being at the heart of communities and supporting some of the most vulnerable people in society. It’s a great testament to the work of our officers, members, staff and volunteers that General Cox has chosen to visit our division. His presence and vision for 2017 will be an inspiration to everyone involved with the Salvation Army.”
Lieutenant Hattie Arthur said: "It's and honour that the General would want to come to Port Glasgow, especially as we are new lieutenants. It's going to be great for the corps and the community.
"For the big celebration on Saturday, seeing all the different expressions of the Salvation Army and different expressions of worship coming together will be really exciting and a real boost to the corps and the division. And on Sunday it will be great to hear what the word is that General has for this corps and community as it seeks to grow."
The Salvation Army’s community churches and social centres in the west of Scotland help vulnerable and disadvantaged people by running a range of initiatives, including drug and alcohol drop-ins, emergency food provisions, befriending services and children’s ministry.