Retired Church Army Evangelists
Some people may look forward to a retirement filled with leisure time and a slower pace of life but for many of our retired Church Army Evangelists, retirement means they are as busy as ever. Jenny Colby is one such retired evangelist having been commissioned in December 1974, she has been active within the Church Army family for almost 50 years. We spoke to Jenny about her life as a CA Evangelist both before and after retirement and some of the ways she has seen God work throughout her life.
Jenny says ‘Despite being officially retired I am still very much involved in Church Army and it is still deeply rooted in my heart. I had attended a Church Army rally in Northampton in 1969 and felt a real call from God to tell me there was a place for me within Church Army, and was later commissioned in North Kensington, not far from where Wilson Carlile first started the organisation. I have had a varied role within Church Army, starting as deputy warden for the Southampton Hostel where I was responsible for the women’s section. Later moving to Cambridge and then Wiltshire where I ran a Christian nurse’s school in my capacity of Church Army Officer. Then on to north Wales where I qualified as a primary school teacher and then on to Berkshire. I have now moved back to Wiltshire to be near my family and Grandchildren.
Throughout my work as an Evangelist, I have felt God’s presence, particularly when I was in Cambridge where I worked within the hostel. Many people had mental health issues and on one occasion someone was using a knife in a threatening manner, but I felt God was protecting me and my young family. I have always had a feeling of God’s presence when I have worked in holiday clubs with children, the joy they experience gives me confirmation that God is at work and for me the work was all about sewing the seeds of God’s love. Many of the children I worked with have come to faith and God has proven time and time again that perseverance is key. God has always sent the right role, or the right person when I have needed them the most and I have seen this in other people’s lives too.
The most important lesson I have learnt on my evangelism journey is to be patient, not to rush into things. In the Bible, you don’t read about Jesus running or rushing people to do things, he is patient and demonstrates to us that we should be patient too. For anyone starting their journey into evangelism my advice to them is to take time to listen to God and be patient. There are times in my life when I have heard God directly and others when he has been more subtle, but for each it is important to listen and to share what you have heard with others. Take any opportunities He presents to you. It is a journey and God led me to Church Army who I will always consider to be my family. ‘
Prayers in Focus
Pray for continued joy in the groups and ministries our retired evangelists are involved with.
Pray that our retired evangelists continue to grow and flourish in their faith.
Pray for those less mobile or experiencing health issues: that they experience peace in heart and mind and that they feel the eternal love of Christ.
Pray that the good work of our evangelists over the years bears fruit now and in the years to come.