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Salvation Army celebrates 125 years

The Salvation Army Media Release

Salvation Army celebrates 125 years of service to the New Zealand community

Wellington, 30 March 2008

Up to a thousand people are expected to mark 125 years of Salvation Army service in New Zealand during a round of activities in Dunedin this week.

Salvationists and others from around New Zealand and overseas will gather for the three-day Freedom Congress (4-6 April).

Salvation Army Territorial Commander, Commissioner Garth McKenzie, says the congress celebrates a significant milestone in the fight against poverty and social and spiritual distress in our community.

'The congress is an opportunity to look back over The Salvation Army's work in New Zealand since the arrival of a small contingent of Salvationists in Dunedin in March 1883 and their first open-air meeting a few days later.

'The congress is also about looking to the future, with the central theme that The Salvation Army is moving forward in Christian mission as it continues to care for people, transform lives and reform society.'

Freedom Congress includes a range of speakers and events, including a talk by the chair of The Salvation Army's New York-based International Social Justice Commission, Commissioner Christine MacMillan.

Many activities will be open to the public, including workshops, public worship, youth activities, and a concert. A brief open-air commemoration at Dunedin's Cargill Fountain will recall The Salvation Army's first public event in New Zealand at the same location on 1 April 1883, and will be followed by musical presentations in the Octagon.

The 'Break Free' concert brings together Salvation Army national music groups SpiritSong and the National Youth Band for performance of vocals and brass. TVNZ will record the concert for later broadcast on their Praise Be programme.

A book recording the most recent 25 years of Salvation Army life and ministry, 'Many Voices in Mission', will be launched at the congress. The book is an add-on to The Salvation Army's existing centennial publication.

More details of the congress are available at www.salvationarmy.org.nz

ENDS

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