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Dunedin City Corps Celebrates 140 Years

Dunedin City Corps Celebrates 140 Years

Dunedin City Corps recently celebrated 140 years of The Salvation Army operating in New Zealand with various activities to educate people on the Army’s history.

Celebration highlights on Saturday 1April included a bus tour which took people to 40 historic Salvation Army points; an open air meeting at Cargill Monument; and, a video including a re-enactment of the boat landing of the first Salvationists to arrive in New Zealand, shot in 1983 at the divisional centenary celebrations. Mosgiel Corps joined the celebrations on the Saturday.

On Sunday 2 April, there was another historic video played from 1994 featuring other corps which made up the division at the time. There was food shared and a static display in the corps foyer, which included images and information provided by Archives at the Plowman Resource Centre.

The weekend was an opportunity for people to both browse through history books and share stories passed down through their families.

While the weekend reflected on the history of the area, it was also a time of looking forward to what The Salvation Army might look like in the future. On Sunday during the morning service a musical balloon game was played: when the music stopped, people had to answer a question pulled out of a bowl. The questions were about how they became connected to The Salvation Army, but also what they hope for the future of the Army.

Corps Officers Captains David and Christina McEwen have served at Dunedin City Corps for five years and have become well acquainted with the life of the corps. Christina said the open air meeting was a significant moment of the weekend. ‘There was something quite surreal about standing near where the Army started and just honouring all those who have gone before us, the people here now, but also those who are going to follow us.’

Dunedin Fortress Corps, as the first Salvation Army corps was named, began on the streets of Dunedin in 1883. They then leased buildings for some time, until ‘the Fortress’ was built and opened in 1892. A Northern and Southern Corps were also established, until all three combined in 2003 to become Dunedin City Corps. The corps then moved to the Metro Centre in Crawford Street, Central Dunedin, where church services, Community Ministries and ASARS programmes operate today.

David and Christina said the weekend celebrations were an opportunity to reflect but also prepare for the next 140 years.

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