ARC Ministry Weekend for Eastern Territory Staff Songsters

The Eastern Territory Staff Songsters (Songster Leader Gavin Whitehouse) conducted a campaign 4 – 7 October 2018, ministering at three Adult Rehabilitation Centers (ARCs) – Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Paterson.

Amidst the glitz and glamour of midtown Manhattan, the quiet grey thoroughfares of Paterson, New Jersey, and the bustling, eclectic streets of Brooklyn, stand three buildings. Most people likely pass them by, with their bricked, non-descript façades and metal doors. But to the people who live inside these buildings, they are a safe haven – a refuge of hope in an unfriendly world. The Adult Rehabilitation Centers are among the most cherished of ministries within the Salvation Army. They represent ideals present at the founding of the organization: places where both the physical and spiritual needs of people are met.

It was the Staff Songsters’ privilege to minister to the residents of the Manhattan, Paterson, and Brooklyn ARCs during their ARC Ministry Weekend. The songsters gathered for a day and a half of rehearsals at Territorial Headquarters in West Nyack, New York, It was especially wonderful for them to rehearse in the newly renovated bandroom of the New York Staff Band and to enjoy fellowship with one another as they learned some new songs and refreshed their memories on some of the more familiar pieces in their repertoire. They then set off to their three destinations, excited to share the gift of music with the ARC residents and staff.

Performances were lively, heartfelt, and most importantly, worshipful. Major Beth Muhs (Manhattan ARC) remarked, “You’ve brought us worship, and we can’t thank you enough for that”. A highlight for many of the songsters was when ARC residents would join in singing songs such as This Is Amazing Grace and How Great Is Our God.

Members of the Staff Songsters shared testimonies at every meeting. The group’s Executive Officer, Lt.-Colonel Renée Lance, shared the Word of God, offering encouragement and hope to the ARC faith communities. Another highlight of the weekend was the premiere of a new song, I Have Need, Lord, with lyrics by Commissioner Harry Read and music by Songster Leader Whitehouse.

It was a fantastic weekend with opportunities for sharing the Gospel while enjoying rich fellowship with God’s people. Lt. Madeline Bates, program administrator for the Brooklyn ARC, let the Staff Songsters know that the residents were still talking about the Sunday morning worship service well into the following week, a testimony to the power of Christian music to transcend suffering and uplift the human spirit.

For the 2018 – 2019 season, the Staff Songsters, in addition to celebrating the addition of “Staff” to their name, welcome percussionist Cashus Saydee to the group. Captain Tim Sheehan (second tenor) and Rob Jeffery have taken on new roles as Public Relations Secretary and Communications Secretary, respectively.

Eastern Territory Staff Songsters web site, original report by Rob Jeffery, ETSS Communications Secretary