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Soldiers of the Cross session gathers for 50-year reunion

(From left) Majors Barry and Pam Grainger, Major Reta Brown and Lieut-Colonels Christine and David Rees display the sessional flag.



More than 20 members of the Soldiers of the Cross session of cadets, which graduated in 1976, recently gathered in Sydney for a reunion, some not having seen each other for decades.


With some session mates travelling from as far as Rockhampton and Brisbane and others from closer locations like Newcastle, the Soldiers of the Cross session mates (from the former Australia Eastern Territory) spent three days together in warm fellowship at Macarthur Corps, south-west Sydney.


One of the organisers, Heather Rose, said there was no time lost in getting to know each other again. “We enjoyed reminiscing and thinking about all the crazy things we had to do [at college] that they don’t do now!


“I think it’s both the good and the bad that binds us – and our love for Jesus, of course.”


Participant David Rees said it was “a joy” to be reunited with his session mates. “Despite all having different colour hair now, we recognised each other as soon as we saw each other!”

Some of the Soldiers of the Cross session that gathered for the reunion.

Another organiser, Reta Brown, agreed, saying, “The years just melted away, and all of a sudden, we were all back at 55 Livingstone Road again!” [The former Salvation Army Eastern Territory Training College.]


“It’s been lovely to see some of these folk in our session that we have not really seen since we left college – a long time ago now!” said David. “It’s just such a joy to be together and share lovely, warm fellowship again. A lot of fun and laughter, and still moments when we had deep thoughts of sadness because we all have different stories to tell. There’s just a lovely comradeship.”


Hazel Alley and her husband John said that the minute they found out about the reunion, they started planning their trip down to Sydney from Rockhampton. “We knew this would be a really life-changing experience and very special,” she said. “You realise that even though 50 years has gone past, it’s just like you were back there.

The oldest and the youngest cadets in the session – Barry Grainger and Barbara Green – cut the 50-year reunion cake.

“The bond that we have is around the fact that we are all in Christ,” she said. “Hearing all the different experiences and hearing what people have done and where they are now – it’s really good.”


The reunion brought together decades of experience – including overseas service, alcohol and other drugs work, corps work and other programs. “Countless lives have been touched through God’s work in us,” said Heather.


In Colossians 2 (The Message translation), Paul talks about God weaving a beautiful tapestry with our lives: “I want you woven into a tapestry of love, in touch with everything there is to know of God.”


David Rees said this was evident in the recollections of decades of faithful service to the Lord that were shared during the 50-year reunion: “Together, it’s just a beautiful picture of ministry opportunities and things accomplished for the Lord. A lovely picture with many colours.”

Click through the slideshow for more photos of the 50-year reunion:



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