So this is it, the last day at the Malmö Salvation Army, the last day as a Salvation Army officer. We are spending the day clearing out the office, which is almost like moving house.

It’s been six hard years with a lot of opposition and slow progress, but has also been the most transforming period in my life (especially if we include the time at college).

The most rewarding (professionally) has been all the people who has come to church who, according to themselves, would never otherwise set their foot in a christian church. All the times we have heard someone say: Wow, I didn’t know Christians could be like this or wow, i did not know church could be this good or I have finally found a spiritual home.

Personally we have gone from a rocky marriage to a rocking marriage built on a solid foundation of trust and radically honest communication (and great sex).

We came from London six years ago unsure if we could do this, unsure if we could make it as a couple, unsure of our faith as we had just spent two years deconstructing and unlearning all we thought we knew. To a corps that was slowly dying away of old age and traditions that kept new people from feeling welcome. We spent a lot of time discussing with whosoever wanted to join the conversation, what church is and what it could be. We set out to create a place so safe that if you told your deepest secrets, you would be as loved if not more for sharing it, a place where the conversation was the center, a place where we could live the questions together and quest for the answers, a place where anyone was welcome and valued regardless of age, social status, sexual orientation or religious beliefs.

DSC_0226When we had our last service a couple of weeks back we had over 50 people, two-thirds of whom would never set their foot in a church, LGBTQ persons, senior citizens, teenagers, atheists, jews, yogis, children, Salvation Army soldiers, all gathered in unity, feeling that they all belonged (both together and in this church) with one heart singing, dancing, loving, reaching out for the divine.

This was very much the realisation of our vision, and to see it become real before our eyes was such a sweet parting gift.

Now we are moving on, to what we do not yet know (no there is no secret plan that we are not telling), we simply have not got our bearings in this brave new world. All I know is that we will keep walking this path, seeking deeper and deeper communion with the divine love that we have found and sharing it with whosoever wants to walk with us. We will continue to work for release and wholeness in our own lives and in the lives of the people around us. And we will continue to worship. Maybe it will be in church, maybe it will be in the park, maybe it will be in our living room. Either way, you are welcome to walk with us into the unknown.

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Martin Ketteringham

The Army needs radical, progressive folks like you. the Army will be diminished by your absence but God has other plans. blessings now and always!

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