A ma­jor mile­stone

The Sal­va­tion Army Trin­ity Bay South cel­e­brates 120 years


A rush of traf­fic is seen along Main Road in Dildo on Sun­day morn­ing.

The park­ing lot of The Sal­va­tion Army Trin­ity Bay South citadel over­flows with traf­fic and ve­hi­cles need to pull off the road in search of a park­ing spot.

The large grey and white build­ing is bustling with ac­tiv­ity as all age groups hastily ma­neu­ver to­ward the main en­trance.

Most are mem­bers of the church who have not seen each other since the pre­vi­ous Sun­day. Some are new­com­ers check­ing out the corps for the first time.

Voices of the con­gre­ga­tion ra­di­ate through the long hall lead­ing to the sanc­tu­ary.

A con­tem­po­rary band fea­tur­ing gui­tars, a pi­ano and a drum set starts up while so­cial­iza­tion con­tin­ues.

The re­laxed at­mos­phere is ap­par­ent be­fore the ser­vice, but when it com­mences, voices hush, and wor­ship be­gins.

This is a typ­i­cal Sun­day at the citadel, says Ma­jor Chris Pil­grim, the church pas­tor.

There is a so­cial as­pect to the gath­er­ings, he says. Peo­ple at­tend both to wor­ship and to keep con­nected to the neigh­bours they have built re­la­tion­ships with dur­ing their time at the church.

Big an­niver­sary

The Army cel­e­brates each pass­ing year in May, al­ways dur­ing Vic­to­ria Day long week­end, but ev­ery five years they do a lit­tle more to mark big mile­stones and this year is no ex­cep­tion.

Af­ter 120 years with a lo­cal pres­ence, the Trin­ity Bay South Corps cel­e­brated with two days of events with the Je­sus.”

The first event was fam­ily fo­cus day.

“We in­vited chil­dren and fam­i­lies of the church to come and join us,” Ma­jor Chris said. “We have games and crafts and all sorts of ac­tiv­i­ties.”

Fam­i­lies take part in the church­in­flu­enced events con­nected to the week­end’s theme so they can con­nect so­cially and spir­i­tu­ally with each other.

A ban­quet is held for the con­gre­ga­tion in the evening, and this year the Dildo Lions Club hosted some 270 guests.

Among the spe­cial guests were two no­table at­ten­dees who are no

Satur­day’s stranger the Trin­ity Bay South Corps. Com­mis­sion­ers Max and Lenora Feener were of­fi­cers of the lo­cal chap­ter from 1970-72.

They have since moved up the ranks within the Army, and are cur­rently sta­tioned out of At­lanta, Ge­or­gia as ter­ri­tory lead­ers in the United States.

Other guests in­cluded Army of­fi­cers from across the Avalon and divi­sional lead­ers Ma­jors Frank and Rita Pittman from head­quar­ters in St. John’s.

Church still thriv­ing

In a time where many churches in out­port New­found­land are clos­ing, The Sal­va­tion Army Trin­ity Bay South Corps is still go­ing strong. Suc­cess did not come easy, and many smaller churches closed their doors to in­te­grate, said By­ron Brooks, band­mas­ter for the church’s brass band and 40-year mem­ber of the church.

“We’re liv­ing in a dif­fer­ent age for sure,” Ma­jor Chris added. “It works well, the pulling to­gether of all of those churches over the years have proven to be a happy mar­riage for the most part.”

Times have changed since the church’s in­cep­tion, and the lo­ca­tion is not as im­por­tant as it once was, since trav­el­ling a dis­tance is no longer an is­sue for most.

“For each lit­tle town to have a church, they’d never main­tain it,” Brooks ex­plained. “Es­pe­cially now since ev­ery­one has a car.”

Some is­sues still face the ag­ing pop­u­la­tion of the citadel, in­clud­ing the fear of bring­ing chil­dren to the church and the com­pe­ti­tion with other ac­tiv­i­ties.

“I have heard young cou­ples won’t bring their chil­dren to church be­cause they’re afraid they are go­ing to run around and make noise,” Ma­jor Chris noted. “My re­sponse to that is ‘ Who cares? Bring them any­way.’ They might be get­ting a tid­bit of some­thing that will help nur­ture them into ma­ture chil­dren who have some dis­ci­pline or morals to act upon.”

He says chil­dren are not ex­pected to sit down and keep quiet in his church, and all young fam­i­lies and young peo­ple are wel­come.

“Years ago, there wasn’t a lot to do on a Sun­day morn­ing but to go to church. Look at all we are com­pet­ing against; recre­ation such as hockey and so­cial me­dia, and try and com­pare to it. It’s a tough bat­tle.”

Shar­ing the faith

Ma­jor Chris takes great pride in see­ing com­mu­nity res­i­dents de­velop through his church ser­mons.

“We’ve seen a num­ber of peo­ple come into the church since our fouryear stay so far, and we’ve seen quite a life­style change in them,” he stated. “We want to get the mes­sage of the Bi­ble out there, the gospel out there. The rea­son we ex­ist is to make a trans­form­ing in­flu­ence in the lives of peo­ple.”

“For my wife and I it’s not just an ap­point­ment to the church, but to the com­mu­nity, and we like be­ing part of the com­mu­nity as a whole.”

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