The MSS Corps-visit calendar generally occupies one weekend per month, perhaps around Melbourne, often out of the city, and sometimes out of Victoria. Occasionally the “Corps” is a scheduled Territorial Headquarters event, such as the Welcome to Cadets in early February or the Ordination and Commissioning of new officers in late November or early December.
However, in any year there always is the possibility that there will be a special request from our Headquarters to be available for “extras”, and sometimes this can be at short notice.
Such a scenario occurred recently when General Eva Burrows (Retired) was Promoted To Glory on Friday 20 March.
The Melbourne Staff Songsters has enjoyed a special link with General Eva, and so we were honoured to be asked to participate in the Service of Thanksgiving to honour General Eva Burrows’ life, held in the Melbourne Town Hall on Tuesday 31 March, in the presence of the current General, Andre Cox, and Commissioner Silvia Cox.
Significantly, although this event was held at 1pm on a weekday, all members of the MSS were present, and the music we contributed included General Eva’s request, Christ in Me. As we sang we had a sense that we were expressing General Eva’s thoughts, so beautifully composed by UK Salvationist Yvonne Field:
Christ of Glory, Prince of Peace, Let thy life in mine increase;
Though I live may it be shown ’Tis thy life and not my own.
Dwell within, that men may see Christ in me,
Christ, the living Christ, in me.
Answer now my soul’s desire, purge my heart with holy fire,
Soothe the hurt with gentle balm, Breathe within my life thy charm,
Fill me now, so shall there be Christ in me,
Christ, the holy Christ, in me.
Gracious Lord, thy grace apply, Both to save and sanctify;
All my life wilt thou control, Calmly ordering the whole,
That the world may ever see Christ in me,
Christ, and only Christ, in me.
Highlights of this special event, which was live-streamed worldwide, can be viewed at www.sarmy.org.au/live
Five days later, on Easter Sunday, the MSS was invited to participate in the Belgrave Heights 64th Easter Convention. The services over four days are held in the large Convention Centre (capacity 1600+ and well-filled) set amid eight hectares of bushland.
We sang in Sunday’s 2.30pm and 7pm services, and gave a short concert at 4.30pm. It was a pleasure to mix with Christians from many denominations as together we remembered the crucifixion and the resurrection of Jesus, and our music was very enthusiastically received.
In 2000, the MSS visited the UK, and we were accompanied by Andrew Blyth, from the UK Music Department. This was the beginning of a special connection, and so we were delighted to welcome Andrew to our regular rehearsal on Monday 23 March. He taught us one of his compositions, All My Life, and led us in our devotions.