Welcome to Catalyst

140 Year Anniversary Edition

Welcome to Catalyst

What Motivated Wilson Carlile?

Church Army during WW1 & WW2

Marie Carlile: Pioneer & Leader

Women’s Hostels Then & Now

CA Through the ages

Stories from the Past

Donate to Church Army

Vintage Gallery

Send Me a paper copy

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Previous Editions

Welcome to Catalyst

Welcome to the first of two special editions of Catalyst celebrating 140 years of Church Army. You are holding in your hands, not just a special edition but a testament to 140 years of God’s goodness; 140 years of sharing the Christian faith and 140 years of countless lives changed and transformed forever. In the following pages we will endeavour to capture just some of the key moments in Church Army’s history as we have grown and adapted to changing needs and crises throughout the years. We are also remembering the man who started it all – Wilson Carlile and his daring spirit which took church outside of the church walls to the people who would not have been welcome inside the building; making the love of God accessible to every class of people, not just the privileged.

Church Army have always resolved to fight injustice and meet society’s deepest needs wherever we find them. As the world around us changes, we continue to follow in the footsteps of Wilson Carlile and move into new areas of outreach and social action as new needs arise. But while world wars, political changes, global health crises, and more may change the landscape in which we work, one thing that never changes is the need for people to hear the Gospel message of Jesus.

The root of Church Army’s vision is founded in Wilson Carlile’s firm conviction that evangelism means both words and action. He treated both telling people about Jesus and being Jesus to people as two sides of the same coin, which could not be separated if Christians were to be truly faithful to the teachings of Jesus. For one to share the Good News with someone on the street, one also has to recognise their needs, roll their sleeves up, and join that person on the street, whatever their situation.

As you flick through these pages and see the black and white photos of people in Church Army’s past, it is our prayer that they would not appear as figures in a museum – interesting, but old and irrelevant to us now, but rather that they would leap off the page as part of a great story of how God took one man, planted a vision, and injected light and hope into some of the darkest and most unreachable parts of the UK and Ireland. Each person in these photos, like you and me, has obediently and faithfully served God and in doing so, has made up a small but significant part of the rich tapestry of Church Army’s story.

Chris Hardy

Catalyst Editor
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Neil Thomson

Head of Communications
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As this is the anniversary edition of Catalyst, we decided to give it an anniversary feel. Our Communications Team have been down in the Church Army archives underneath the Wilson Carlile Centre in Sheffield, searching for some of the earliest CA magazines we could find.

On this inner cover we have refreshed the font page from a copy of The Church Army Review depicting Hope on the Streets in 1908. This is not only a special edition of Catalyst, but it is also a return to Catalyst as a quarterly magazines. During the outbreak of COVID-19 we made the decision to combine Catalyst with Prayer Diary and send these out every two months. This worked well during such an unpredictable season, and we are grateful to God that we can now bring you a longer Catalyst and a separate Prayer Diary from this edition going forward.

If you support us financially, thank you. You are part of maintaining and growing the Church Army legacy which has been built over the last 140 years; you are enabling the evangelists of today to continue spreading the Gospel with passion, and you are preparing the way for future generations of Evangelists to take the Gospel to the streets in both words and action.

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