As another year comes to an end, we want to thank all our supporters for their prayers, encouragements, donations and faithfulness over 2022. We look back at the notable events from the year.
Changes to staff began in March, with Tim Wright starting as the new Ministry Director following the departure of Warran Fawcett to start up a church plant in Catterick Garrison.
In April, the Jackson Club ran its first games night where ASR Mike Blackstock shared a devotional message. We partnered with the Benefact Trust in the recruitment, training and deployment of new Scripture Readers, and for the first time, we held two Selection & Recruitment events in July and September.
May and June was the season of Army Health Fairs and ASRs had the opportunity to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the Chaplains, explain the importance of spiritual and mental health, and give out literature, including Bibles. ASR Mike Blackstock was also appointed as the full-time ASR in residence at the Jackson Club, with his own office in the club.
While the nation focused on the Platinum Jubilee celebrations over the June bank holiday weekend, many months of planning and hard work went into this ceremonial display by the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment. ASR Josh Fortune got a glimpse of the activity behind the scenes and was able to support soldiers by running weekly prayer meetings and Bible studies.
The bustling Summer events season had us host a stall at the mission exhibition during the Keswick Convention and, for the first time in many years, all three weeks of the Convention had a SASRA presence. In August, the EMW Aberystwyth conference started up again after an absence of three years and it was good to renew contact with supporters from the past as well as make new contacts with churches and individuals.
The SASRA team once again offered refreshments during the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo rehearsal week at Redford Barracks. This year, over 900 performers from across the world took part, including New Zealand, the USA, Canada, Switzerland and Mexico. Hundreds of cups of tea and coffee and thousands of snacks were given out at the SASRA restroom, which was filled with tracts, testimony booklets and copies of the New Testament and Psalms. Following the Tattoo, ASR Roddy Macleod also spoke at the Scottish Northern Convention.
In Northern Ireland, ASRs Paul Somerville and Scott Witherick had stalls at New Horizon and Bangor Worldwide Missionary Convention, with the Christian public asking them questions from simply, “What do you do?” to, “What’s it like to be a Christian in the military?”.
Perhaps the greatest encouragement from the Summer was the opportunity for ASR Dave Hossack to assist the Padre in leading a field service for Ukrainian soldiers. They shared a gospel message and spoke with those who stayed behind for a private word.
Following the Jubilee celebrations, September was a time of national mourning for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, with the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment once again heavily involved in the State Funeral. In the week when Her Majesty died, it was poignant for the SASRA team and supporters to meet together for our first in-person Our Day since COVID. Our newest Scripture Reader, Steven Dougherty, was introduced, and he explained something of his background and his call to the work. Scripture Readers Josh Fortune and Mike Blackstock also gave a report on their first year with SASRA.
At the end of September, Lee McDade finished as a Scripture Reader with SASRA to start full-time ministry at Colchester Baptist Church. The changes to staff continued into October, with our Executive Director, Andrew Hill, entering full-time ministry at Hayes Town Chapel and ASR Jim and Shirley Henderson finishing to move back to be closer to their family.
To fill the vacancy at Colchester following Lee’s departure, ASR Gavin Dickson and family have moved down from Edinburgh, and ASR Paul Curd and his wife Karen will be moving from Chepstow to Edinburgh in January.