On the weekend of 7 – 8 September 2013, Captains Martin and Leanne Cordner visited the Coventry City Corps, leading the corps band in a retreat on Saturday and leading worship at the corps on Sunday.
Saturday, 7 September 2013
The venue for the band retreat on Saturday was the Nettle Hill Conference Centre situated in the countryside northeast of Coventry. The first session was a time of worship, with Leanne introducing the theme for the weekend, “Lord, I come to you”. Since the weekend was structured with two worship sessions on Saturday and two more on Sunday, the Cordners used Geoff Bullock’s song The Power of Your Love, which opens with those words, divided into equal parts: Lord, I come to you ... expectantly, examined, earnestly and empowered.
After this excellent start, the retreat continued with the first of three rehearsal sessions. This session was intended to prepare music for the Sunday worship meetings. For the morning meeting, items were Celebrate and Sing (Martin Cordner) and Dean Goffin’s The Light of the World. Pieces for Sunday afternoon included Fanfare & Flourishes, Júbilo, Júbilo! and Send the Fire (all by Martin Cordner), Guardian of My Soul (Darren Shaw) and Arthur Gullidge’s march Unconquered.
After a break for lunch, the band sight-read Fusion (Martin Cordner), freshly published, having arrived in the band’s library only one week before the retreat. The guest conductor noted that sight-reading is one of the band’s strengths, laying a good foundation which can be built on in future months.
In addition to the worship and rehearsal sessions, there were also some lighter moments to the day, allowing the band to relax and enjoy fellowship. One session was a quiz covering topics such as general knowledge and Salvation Army banding. The band was separated into sections (solo cornets, baritones/euphoniums, etc.). The bass section was the winner, bolstered by the guest composer (who was the answer to a couple of the questions). The “trophy” for winning the quiz was a nod to Leslie Condon – a box of Celebrations.
The retreat concluded with another worship session led by Leanne, with all given the opportunity to allow God to examine their lives. Members of the band were also invited to share written messages of encouragement with each other.
Sunday, 8 September 2013
Sunday morning worship was upbeat and varied. Two members of the band were honored as they were transferred to the band reserve. A presentation turned thoughts to the wider Salvation Army world as it showed the band’s efforts to support the Quarry Road Corps Band in Nairobi, Kenya, with festival tunics and other resources.
The Scripture for the morning was Revelation 3:20-22, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock ...”. This had special significance with the start of the annual door-to-door collection by the Salvation Army. It also tied in with the message behind The Light of the World, adding focus to a time of response and reflection.
The Sunday afternoon meeting was much more informal, with chairs and tables arranged in cafe-church style. The emphasis in this meeting was on being part of God’s family, recognizing that God can empower for everyday living those who have accepted Christ. Leanne Cordner sang two songs, The Battle Hymn, a Caribbean-style setting of “Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord”, and Marc Potter’s sensitive reflection on “Would you know why I love Jesus?”. Martin Cordner conducted the band in several of his own compositions and also Guardian of My Soul (Darren Shaw), a piece which is rapidly becoming a modern-day classic in the mold of Procession to Covenant (William Himes) and I Know Thou Art Mine (Leonard Ballantine).
After a few words of thanks, Martin Cordner again led the band in the final item, Unconquered (Arthur Gullidge).