Dream role for Norwich Salvation Army trio
By Mike Wiltshire
2008: This March sees the first Easter celebrations led by the new leadership team of the Salvation Army Citadel in Norwich.
Majors Denis and Olive Lomax are heading up a lively programme at the army's headquarters in St Giles Street, along with Captain Jonathan Wylie, who has also joined them on the new leadership team.
Jonathan, 27, who comes from Newry, Northern Ireland, has a business background in administration. His hobbies include abseiling and rock-climbing.
The new team's initiatives extend far beyond the worthy "stereotypes" of brass bands and helping the homeless.
For example, on Saturday April 5, as part of the army's community events programme, they will host a fun-packed evening with the well-known comedy duo, Cannon and Ball.
Then, on June 1, as part of the Citadel's lively "First Sunday" programme, they will welcome the well-known Christian author Adrian Plass at 6pm, along with TV producer Malcolm Flanagan.
For Denis and Olive Lomax, their Norwich posting is a dream come true, since in years gone by they had often visited Norfolk for holidays. Denis remembers sitting on Cromer pier and thinking that Norfolk would be a great place to work.
The couple have had successful postings in Newark, Liverpool, Carlisle and Scotland where they helped oversee 30 congregations. Many people do not know that the army is, first and foremost, a church, whose message is based on the Bible, says Denis.
Born in Merseyside, Denis first met Olive when she was already a committed Christian. She let Denis know that if he wanted to go on seeing her he would find her at the local citadel. In time, Denis came to a personal faith in Jesus Christ – and so began a lifetime of public service with Olive.
The couple have two children, Rebecca and Jonathan.
In Norwich, Denis and Olive have taken over from Majors Ray and Carelle Begley, who moved to the army's divisional headquarters in Newcastle last year.
Founded in 1865, the Salvation Army is now at work in 110 countries.
In Norwich, it has three "corps" (churches and centres). Activities include a Day Car Centre for the elderly and a Drop-in Centre for those who are homeless.
Pictured above are, from the left, Majors Denis and Olive Lomax, with Captain Jonathan Wylie.