The highly-versatile One Army international teaching resource is introducing yet another dimension to encourage Salvationists and friends around the world to learn together. The programme's 13 attractive, informative books and the accompanying DVDs are already complemented by a website and social media presence, but from 13 January 2016, One Army will introduce virtual meetings, linking Salvationists and friends internationally in real time.
Majors Nick and Kerry Coke will host the first meeting from Raynes Park (United Kingdom Territory with the Republic of Ireland) as they launch a One Army study discussion group at their corps. Using the ‘One Life’ theme from the series introduction, they will invite participation from those who engage with the material online. David Giles and Gary Rose from the International Headquarters Communications team will facilitate the live event, building on their experiences from the 150th anniversary international congress, Boundless 2015.
David outlines that the live events will use interactive tools on the website at www.salvationarmy.org/onearmy, incorporating video via YouTube and Periscope, and featuring comments received from around the world. ‘One of the great successes of Boundless,’ he says, ‘was the camaraderie and unity witnessed online. We’re keen to ensure that this was not a one-off. One Army lends itself well to live online discussion with participants around the world, and it will be exciting to see how it develops.’
Worldwide participation is an integral part of the One Army concept. The Salvation Army’s internationalism is one of its main strengths, with mutual support and sharing consistently enriching its effectiveness. The DVDs present views and culturally-specific activities from many of the 127 countries in which the church and charity is at work. The sharing of comments by means of virtual meetings is intended to enhance this further.
Scriptwriter and producer Commissioner Robert Street explains: ‘One Army has been received eagerly in an enlightening diversity of locations and situations. It will be good if we can encourage more international links between people who share the same faith, or even none – as yet.’ He continues: ‘Essentially, One Army teaching is centred on Jesus – who he was, what he taught and what he says to us today. We look to him to see what the Army should be today. The teaching helps us make a personal response too.’
The virtual meetings begin on Wednesday 13 January 2016 at 7.30pm GMT, and are planned to run for about an hour. They will be held each Wednesday at the same time until 10 February. Further venues and times will be arranged according to how these first meetings develop. With One Army also having specific youth teaching in every book, virtual meetings for young people are the next aim.
More details of One Army’s first virtual meeting can be found at www.salvationarmy.org/onearmy, and on Facebook and Twitter.