Flying Column 

Church Army's flying squadOrganised missions have played a big part of Church Army's history from the very early days. The first type of missions took place where a parish invited Church Army to the parish for a short length of time to conduct a mission. A pioneer evangelist would go to the parish in question and pitch his tent on a piece of open ground, and this would serve as both a mission centre and the evangelists living quarters.

The evangelist would carry out open air meetings and men would come and sit with him in his tent. These times would often attract working men who would not go near conventional Christianity.

As time went by the missions would cover several parishes and include a variety of methods and styles. These missions would last 10 days and would include weekday meetings during dinner hours in the factories and women and children’s meetings in the afternoon. There would also be main mission services in the evenings with choirs and magic lantern services. These were particularly popular in the 1920s, in industrial areas. They often led to an increased unity between the churches as well as helping people who had no real knowledge of God to come to know him.

daylight cinemaIn the 1950s deanery and diocese missions were more common, with evangelists working in teams and preparation taking place in the year leading up to the mission. Questions on a wide variety of subjects would be encouraged, and mobile daylight cinemas were used showing Christian films.

In the early 1950s the Flying Column method of mission was formed, this was a group of people who were ready to go at any time to respond to the call of a vicar. It initially consisted of 3 captains and a sister, who operated out of London, visiting parishes throughout the country. They would carry out between 15 and 20 missions a year, travelling over 1,000 miles a month.

Read Sister Nanette Sanderson's story