A matchfactory exclusive! As Salvation Army Officer appointments in the UK are made public today, we’ve consulted some battle-hardened officers, seasoned in the art of justice-seeking, to offer some top tips for the Officer who is moving appointment and wants to be ready to get going quickly. There’s some tips in there that might be relevant even if you’re not moving, and even if you’re not an Officer!
They are in no priority order – some can be done before, some when you’re there. In any case, soak up the wisdom of what they’ve got to say!
- Check out who the MP is for your new corps (and quarters in case they’re different!) at this website.
- Email the MP to arrange a one to one meeting on your arrival for the purpose of developing a public, trust-based relationship
- Same as above for local councillors
- Same as above for key reporters at the local paper
- Check whether the constituency is a marginal seat (if so, please get in touch with us as we’d love to work with you in the build-up to the next general election)
- Use this website to learn more about poverty indicators in your area
- Use this website to learn more about the ward and neighbourhood surrounding your new appointment.
- On arrival, prepare a plan for systematic visitation, including everyone connected to the Corps. Start with the leadership team – the inner circle – and work outwards. Keep an open mind and be ready to listen. And be ready to share your story too.
- Ask each person what makes them angry.
- Ask people who attend community programmes what worries them about the community.
- Ask your new neighbours who the ‘movers and shakers’ are in the neighbourhood or what 1 thing you need to know about the community as a newcomer.
- Read about the political history of your new community. Use google or local history library.
- Buy a local newspaper and highlight all the local political stories. Can you identify what issues are important to your neighbourhood? Set up a google alert for news from your new area.
- Stick to your visitation plan. Don’t get sucked into activities or programmes.
- Identify those in the congregation who are passionate about social justice.
- Walk from the quarters to the Corps for the first few weeks. Take a different route each time and make a note of other churches, faith institutions, community organisations ready to follow up at a later date.
- Read Marching Towards Justice for an introduction to community organising and The Salvation Army.
- Subscribe to www.matchfactory.org
Have you found these tips useful? Do you have any more to add? Share them in the comments below – if they’re good we’ll add them to the list!