When Margaret McPherson came to her first tai chi class at The Salvation Army’s Berkshire’s Citadel, she wasn’t sure what to expect. In the midst of recovering from a serious health issue, Margaret felt the need to get her body moving. At the class's break time, she was invited to attend that Sunday’s special Thanksgiving service which would also have a full turkey dinner after.
“I went to that first Sunday service and I haven’t missed once since,” says Margaret with a laugh.
In the time since then, Margaret has also become active in the Young at Heart seniors group. This is a program that connects people over the age of 55 and brings them together every month for hymn singing, devotions, and lunch.
“There’s no real community centre in Berkshire for seniors to connect, so this really helps them stay active and socialize,” says Captain Amanda Robinson, pastor at Berkshire Citadel Community Church. “This is a place where people can be part of the community and feel comfortable.”
Recognizing the need in Berkshire for a space that community members could gather, the team at The Salvation Army’s ministry team began opening up their programming and facility to outside participants. Now the church’s space is booked almost every night of the week with classes ranging from Zumba to painting.
“Since opening up the program to community members as well as congregation members we have seen a lot of growth. We see a lot of new faces,” says Captain Robinson. “We are filling a gap that exists and in the process are bringing people together.”