The Soldiers’ and Aviators’ Scripture Readers Association

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The Soldiers' & Airmen's Scripture Readers Association

Thank you for your support in 2023

Thank you for your support throughout 2023

As 2023 draws to a close, we want to thank all of our supporters for their invaluable prayers, generous giving and incredible volunteering over the year. We look back at some of the notable events.

We hosted our first base visit at the Infantry Training Centre (ITC) Catterick in February. Two church leaders were taken “behind the wire” to see and converse with the soldiers. Another base visit was hosted in the Spring at Hyde Park Barracks in London. The importance of the local church was highlighted, as it provides a place for soldiers to interact with the people they are serving and help them get more involved in the community.

ASR Josh Fortune with supporters during a Base Visit at Hyde Park Barracks. © SASRA

ASR Josh Fortune with supporters during a Base Visit at Hyde Park Barracks. © SASRA

March marked the start of the education Health Fairs across the military, including Aldershot Garrison, which had a stand manned by Scripture Readers Mike Blackstock and Steven Dougherty.

Scripture Reader Dave Hossack had the unexpected opportunity to visit a live firing exercise in Northumberland, offering the reservists copies of the Gospel of John.

ASR Gavin Dickson handed over the work at Edinburgh Garrison to ASR Paul Curd in April, who transferred to Scotland from Chepstow in Wales. At the end of April, we launched Xercise, our residential event for Christian young people who are considering a career in the British military.

ASR Tiaan de Klerk shared the successes of having a new coffee machine at the Chaplaincy Centre, as an invaluable tool in drawing soldiers in, striking up a conversation and sharing the good news of Christ Jesus. Tiaan was able to invite soldiers to a Faith or Fake course which he designed for both newer Christians and those who are curious about Christianity.

ASR Tiaan de Klerk at MOD Lyneham with soldiers and coffee

ASR Tiaan de Klerk at MOD Lyneham with soldiers and coffee. © SASRA

Josh Fortune, Scripture Reader at Hyde Park Barracks, spoke about the importance of spiritual health for Mental Health Awareness Week. Due to their own previous military experience, Scripture Readers are skilled in drawing alongside struggling soldiers; they provide counselling, a listening ear, and can give both practical and spiritual aid.

We held a Coronation Special Virtual Prayer Meeting and heard of life ‘behind the scenes’ from two serving Christians from the Household Cavalry and prayed for them and the 700 service personnel that supported the Coronation of King Charles III.

The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment ride out from Hyde Park Barracks. © SASRA

More than 300 service personnel from the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment and King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery supported the Coronation. © SASRA

In July, Dave Hossack joined the ITC Catterick team for their 161-mile cycle ride from Edinburgh to Catterick, building relationships with military personnel of different ranks.

Two of our newest Scripture Readers completed their training in the summer, enabling them to start full-time ministry in England and Northern Ireland.

We had a busy summer attending a mix of conferences spanning the length and breadth of the United Kingdom.

The SASRA Team once again offered support for the performers of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, with amazing conversations as 800 performers from around the world rehearsed at Redford Barracks.

ASR Chika Onugha and Andrew McMahon at the Elim Leaders' Summit 2023. © SASRA

ASR Chika Onugha and Andrew McMahon at the Elim Leaders’ Summit 2023. © SASRA

SASRA stand at Bangor Worldwide Convention 2023. © SASRA

SASRA stand at Bangor Worldwide Convention 2023. © SASRA

Swiss Army Band performers enjoy a break from rehearsals in the SASRA cafe. © SASRA

Swiss Army Band performers enjoy a break from rehearsals in the SASRA cafe. © SASRA

Our thanks goes out to all those who helped to raise funds for the mission this year. Be it a 10-mile endurance race in boots and a 35lb backpack, or a half marathon, or a mouth-watering bake sale, we appreciate all your efforts and generous donations.

Alice and Katrina with a selection of the items for sale. © A Longwe

SASRA supporter Alice put on a bake sale to raise funds. © A Longwe

In September, after seventeen years as a Scripture Reader, Roddy Macleod bid us farewell as he moved to work for a Christian organisation in the Outer Hebrides.

Two new members of the team joined this month: Patrick Steen as a Scripture Reader, and Rev Phil Parker as the new Ministry Director.

We met for ‘Our Day’ in Camberley, a highlight of which was hearing the stories of salvation of four Christian soldiers.

SASRA supporters had the opportunity to speak with serving Christian soldiers and hear how the Lord is using them within the Military © SASRA

SASRA supporters had the opportunity to speak with serving Christian soldiers and hear how the Lord is using them within the Military © SASRA

Throughout the year we held local Life “Behind the Wire” events in Keswick, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Derby and Harrogate, reporting on the work of our Scripture Readers.

Former Scripture Reader Barbara Moodie alongside current Scripture Readers. © SASRA

Former Scripture Reader Barbara Moodie alongside current Scripture Readers. © SASRA

November is a particularly poignant time of the year, where the nation commemorates the lives of those who had served and died for the country. We also remember those who are ready to make that same sacrifice if they were called to do so.

We hosted Remembrance Special Virtual Prayer Meetings to pray purposefully during this season, as well as offering Remembrance resources for churches. Our Scripture Readers had wonderful opportunities to participate in Remembrance Services, including at the Jackson Club café, and Gavin Dickson reflected on how he shares the words of the Bible with the soldiers he works alongside.

As military life puts much strain on marriages, ASR Gavin Dickson and the Chaplaincy team embarked on a joint project to help military couples reconnect.

We also held a Selection and Recruitment event at the end of December for potential Scripture Reader candidates.

The busyness and pressures of military life continue into 2024. Please partner with us in this vital gospel work over the coming year.

Receive our monthly email Newsletter, pray with us, give to the work, volunteer in your church.

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