Gunnedah Salvation Army has plenty to celebrate, notching up 130 years since its formation, and the official opening of its new building in Tempest Street.
It was a big weekend for the Salvos, with a concert on Saturday night and the opening on Sunday featuring the organisation’s “premier choir”, the Sydney Staff Songsters.
Around 150 people from around NSW attended, including Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson and Gunnedah mayor Jamie Chaffey. TurningPoint Christian Outreach Centre and Salvo churches in Tamworth, Armidale, Moree, Tenterfield and Narrabri shut their doors for the day to attend the event.
The building was officially opened by National Commanders Floyd and Tracey Tidd following the church service. The Tidds unveiled the plaque with Gunnedah’s Major Gaye Day and Captain Richard Day.
The cake for the occasion was a unique delight, bearing images of the Salvos’ former buildings and the organisation’s logo. It was created by local resident Abbie Jensen and cut by Joyce Lodge who was a well-known face of the Salvos for many years.
Major Gaye Day said it was a wonderful weekend and everyone had a great time.
“It was an overwhelming success because we had people come from all over the place too. A lot of people travelled for it,” she said.
“It was really good to see everyone mixing and getting on together.”
She said a highlight was the involvement of the Sydney Staff Songsters who led a number of songs including the Salvation Army’s founder’s song, O Boundless Salvation, written by the organisation’s founder, William Booth.
“It was really good to see this prestige in so many ways and they just got in and involved us [in the singing],” she said.
Major Day said the theme was “honour the past, embrace the future”, with honour boards on display featuring the history of each of the Salvos’ buildings.
“It was a proud day,” she said.
“[A highlight was] the atmosphere and the unity that was displayed.”
“We had one person say it took us back to the roots of what the Salvation Army is all about.”
Major Day said the event took 12 months to plan and she was grateful to the huge team of volunteers who helped the event to run so smoothly.
The major said she was glad to be part of the new era for the Salvos and to see the “new potential that this building brings to the community”.
The building was purchased with the help of a legacy gifted by a donor about 15-20 years ago.