ADAPTABILITY is vital in the world of COVID and for the Horsham Salvos, according to Horsham Captain Chris Sutton.
The organisation has spent the past eighteen months striving to keep the community connected during a time of significant change.
"We're trying to be adaptable and keep that connection with people throughout the lockdowns. It might lead to doing things a bit differently in the future," Mr Sutton said.
"Last year when we were in lockdown a lot longer, we were doing different packs to give to people. We had what we called church-in-a-bag for our church people, kids-in-a-bag for our kids club kids. Little things like that that we delivered door to door so we could keep in contact that way."
Depending on the bag, the packs contained anything from the Salvos newsletter, tea and coffee and prayer readings.
Whenever regional Victoria was lockdown free, the Horsham Salvos would resume pre-COVID programs to retain a little normalcy.
"We started our community lunch again and did takeaways. We did that right up until our last lockdown where we just put the mail in a plastic container and people were able to come and pick them up or I was able to deliver to people who don't drive," Mr Sutton said.
Mr Sutton said the best part about working with the Salvos was how even the most straightforward act could change lives.
"Working with people, supporting people, and I'm doing my best to help people's lives become better.
Originally from Melbourne, Chris Sutton said the Salvos had been a part of his life from the beginning.
"I grew up in the Salvation Army attending the church and the various activities in Melbourne and really had a call to serve God in the Salvos as an officer in the Salvation Army.
"That led me to a Salvation Army training college in Parkville, where I studied and became a Salvation Army officer.
But learning to become an officer wasn't the only change in his life at the college.
"That's where I met and got to know my wife, Tracy. We got married just before we went up to Kaniva.
Mr Sutton said husband-wife teams weren't unusual within the Salvos.
"It is quite common within the Salvation army. The army has a history of female officers. We have a partnership in our working life where we work together as an officer team, as well as our personal life. We compliment each other with our different gifts and abilities."
Nevertheless, the move to Kaniva proved to be a big change from the hustle and bustle of Melbourne.
"It was a big change. I appreciated the changes coming from a busy Melbourne to a smaller place and getting to know the local community and people and the country lifestyle. I don't miss the traffic!"
The Suttons spent four years in Kaniva before taking on the role of Captain in Horsham in January 2019.
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