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Oban’s Salvation Army Community Church held an emotional final service at 18 Stevenson Street last Friday.
‘We are sorry to announce that the church centre will be closing on 8 October,’ the Corps said on its Facebook page, inviting members to celebrate its work since its foundation in 1986.
After the service, it added: ‘Today we gathered in Oban to give thanks to God for 35 years of ministry in this town. The season for our ministry here has come to an end, and we thank all of those who have made the ministry possible.’
‘It is nearly 100 years since the Salvation Army arrived in this town,’ Major Steve Dutfield told the packed room. ‘The work in Oban has ebbed and flowed. Since 1986 it has had periods of success, and periods of decline. Although things around us change, God never changes.’
‘In this day and age, there are few resources to go around, and we cannot support Oban Salvation Army as much as we want to,’ added Major Gillian Jackson, who called the day ‘tinged with sadness’.
Major Peter Renshaw said: ‘God will continue to watch over you.’
Corps member Henry MacLean then sang his own composition, ‘I Believe’. A small group is carrying on under Major Janet McIntyre, Corps Officer for the Salvation Army in Kinlochleven and Fort William.
Jeanette Sheldrick, a community development worker at the centre for three years, said: ‘We will help people in any way. That builds up. It is very sad because we want to carry on providing that support. There is a crisis of funding for a lot of churches.’