• Official opening in Bulgaria
The Eastern Europe Territory, led by Australian officers Colonels Cheralynne and Kelvin Pethybridge, joined with international leaders, territorial personnel, Bulgaria regional leaders Captains Captains Eduard and Inna Lebedev, youth and the local Salvos community to celebrate the official launch of The Salvation Army’s Bulgaria Region on Saturday 21 October.
“It certainly was a day to remember,” said Colonel Cheralynne. The culmination of a great weekend for The Salvation Army in Bulgaria / Армията на Спасението – the enrolment of five senior soldiers, three junior soldiers and two adherents in Bulgaria – an incredible and exciting privilege to be part of this chapter in The Salvation Army Eastern Europe Territory.
It was a long-awaited day. In St Petersburg, Russia (then part of the Eastern Europe Territory), in 2006, celebrations took place that recognised the 15th anniversary of Army ministry recommencing in Eastern Europe and then growing behind the former Iron Curtain. At that congress, a Bulgarian flag was presented to recognise a country in which it was believed the Army would eventually ‘open fire’.
General Brian Peddle (Ret.) announced on 9 March 2021 that Bulgaria had become the 132nd country in which The Salvation Army is officially at work.
In May 2019, registration was granted for the Army to begin work in Bulgaria almost 15 years after the St Petersburg celebrations.
Despite lockdown and other restrictions enforced due to COVID-19 having made life far from easy in the country, the Army ministry quickly made its presence felt.
Partnerships were formed to help distribute clothes and food for children and needy families. Youth work, scouts, children's ministry and worship groups quickly formed. These continue today, as does a growing spiritual ministry, family outreach, and an extensive support work for Ukrainian refugees.