Commitment to Long-Time Pub Ministry
Two long-serving Christchurch Salvationists spent almost 90 years collectively serving in Salvation Army pub ministry before the pandemic brought their long volunteer run to an end in 2020.
Allan Cleave, aged 88, joined pub ministry in 1965, while Frank Green, aged 67, started in 1986. Between them they have 89 years’ experience of regularly visiting pubs, hotels and taverns in their areas handing out War Cry magazine (recently renamed SALT: Salvation Army Life and Times) and collecting thousands of dollars in support of Salvation Army community services. They have also provided kind listening ears for pub patrons, praying with them and referring some to helping agencies.
Their ministry—which is also known variously as hotel ministry or ‘pub-booming’—has taken them to many locations around Christchurch and its surrounds. Allan covered in his time southern Christchurch, including lower Riccarton, Halswell, Cashmere and Addington, along with settlements to the south of the city, Tai Tapu, Lincoln, Springston and Prebbleton. At various times, Frank focused on an area from Avonhead to Hornby (eastern suburbs), Bishopdale (northern Christchurch) and as far out of the city as Templeton.
With the arrival of Covid-19 in early 2020, their pub ministry came to a sudden halt. Both men found it hard to stop their outreach work, but they have adapted and now spend more time with family, continue with Salvation Army church activities and support the community.
Seemingly chance encounters led each to the same path of dedicated service. Allan was the corps sergeant major at the then Spreydon Corps in 1965, when he agreed to fill in for ‘a couple of weeks’ for a Salvationist who was retiring from pub ministry. He was handed a sturdy wooden donation box and a stack of War Crys and enjoyed it so much he just kept going.
Frank relates how he met a Salvation Army officer in the 1980s at the then Hornby Corps. The officer helped Frank stop drinking and then invited him to go to hotels to do pub ministry. Frank says his first Friday night was the most difficult because he used to drink at that bar and knew the regulars, but after that things fell into place. Frank also held corps roles in Christchurch as colour sergeant and quartermaster.
What motivated Allan and Frank to devote themselves to others? Says Allan: ‘I liked the enjoyment of going out to do things to help other people’. He credits the support of his wife Joyce for his years of service. Says Frank: ‘It was a calling, I had to do the Lord’s work’.
Unstoppable in their enthusiasm, both Allan and Frank continue to be involved with the annual Red Shield Appeal and as Salvation Army soldiers.