Horsham Salvation Army captains move on after three years

JPCT 210512 Horsham Salvation Army captains Ian and Sue Woodgate leaving to go to London. Photo by Derek Martin
JPCT 210512 Horsham Salvation Army captains Ian and Sue Woodgate leaving to go to London. Photo by Derek Martin

The leaders of Horsham Salvation Army, who have touched the lives of hundreds of people over the past three years, are moving to London next month.

Captains Ian and Sue Woodgate have helped the branch set up the weekly Hope In drop-in for people in financial difficulties and expanded the church’s provision for children and families during their time in Horsham.

Reflecting on their time here Sue said: “Three years ago this church looked very different. We weren’t meant to be here.

“There was a leader meant to come here but she died of cancer, so they were without a leader. We had three weeks’ notice.

“We came with no agenda other than to say God wants us here.”

“When we came here we met a beautiful group of genuinely sincere Christians. We asked them what we should invest our time in.

“At the time there weren’t a lot of young families in the church, so we invested a lot of time and energy in that in the first year.

“From that we have Kids Alive on a Friday and from that we have seen families come through into the church.”

Another area which has thrived under Ian and Sue’s leadership is the Thursday night drop-in, which now have more than 30 people a week attending.

Sue said: “The word hope came very early to us - to bring hope to others - and that’s when Thursday nights became Hope In.

“We have loved being here and absolutely no reason to want to move. We have a real sense of peace and blessed assurance it’s the right thing.”

Their new role will see them move out of church leadership and into training others.

Ian said: “We are off to do a regional role in the London Central divison of 29 churches in south and north London.

“We are joining the team there to help resource and equip them. Sue’s focus will be youth ministry and working with church leaders.”

Sue added: “We will help the church to connect with the community.

“I came from East Dulwich so I’m every excited about going home. Our office will be in Elephant and Castle.”

Sue and Ian’s last service will be on Sunday July 8 at the church on Booth Way, Horsham, and their successors are Majors Ann and Iain Stewart, who are moving down from Scotland.