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Celebrating our 140th Anniversary

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Monday 1st February 2021

What a year it turned out to be! The year 2020 will certainly go down in history for the impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on the world, and a period we will all remember for the rest of our lives.

The words unprecedented, challenging, difficult, unsettling, have all been used many times to describe the past months as we have considered the impact the pandemic has had on our lives, our families and the communities in which we live.

As I have wrestled with the decisions we have had to take as an organisation in navigating through these times, I have frequently been reminded of the words of the “BB hymn” Will your anchor hold?” Now I have to be honest, if you were to ask me what my favourite hymns are, this one probably wouldn’t appear on the list, I think I have sang it one too many times over the years!

However, the words of the chorus have entered my mind numerous times in recent weeks.

We have an anchor that keeps the soul Steadfast and sure while the billows roll, Fastened to the Rock, which cannot move, Grounded firm and deep in the Saviour’s love.

At times it has felt like the storm has been raging around us and we have been clinging on, just trying to get through as best we can. Although, times of adversity can also bring out the best in the human spirit and I believe there have been many examples of this across the nations over the last 10 or so months.

This has been true in The Boys’ Brigade too. For the first time in our 137 year history Companies have not been able to meet face-to-face, as weekly meetings didn’t even stop during two World Wars!

I continue to be inspired by the resilience and resourcefulness of our leaders in creating new ways of engaging with children and young people during these times. Many of us have embraced technology to communicate in ways we didn’t even knew existed a few months ago. As Companies have been able to resume face-to-face activities the ability to interact in this way is being valued more than ever.

The focus of this Gazette is the journey that lays ahead, and the Vision article outlines our ambitious five-year strategy which we are launching this year. The plan was agreed by the Trustees back in February 2020, and the primary aim of improving the consistency of experience for children and young people is as relevant as ever, but it will be the experiences of the past months that will shape how the plan is delivered.

Back to the hymn, and the question raised in the first line “Will your anchor hold in the storms of life? My reply – absolutely! As I reflect on the past year I am reminded of the numerous ways God has been at work through our organisation and beyond. There will be tough times ahead, but the excitement, energy and commitment shown by young people as they come together in whatever way they can, should inspire and encourage us all as we journey together through 2021.

With best wishes
Jonathan Eales

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