roll top timberlands Answering the call
to wish them well. and noon to find out where their next posting would be for the Salvation Army, it didn’t make the wait any easier.
The couple had discussed what places they would prefer to go and how far they wanted to be away from their boys who would be staying in Pictou County, but in the end, they knew the decision was not theirs to make.
“Everyone was like, ‘Where are you going?’ and we would say we don’t know.
They start in their new unit on July 3 and are looking forward to meeting new people and working with a ministry that has similar characteristics to Pictou County.
Dolores works in family services for Pictou County, overseeing everything from the fundraisers to toy drives as well as the thrift shop and food bank in addition to offering some counselling services. Neil is based out of the church and focuses mainly on its ministry and the many services it has available.
“We talk about the church and going to church on Sunday, but after working in the thrift store and family services, I thought of that as my church. You will get 60 to 70 people that come out to church on Sunday, but we get a lot of people that come to our thrift store and family services,” she said. “I tell him I have a bigger church over there. In the thrift store, we have over a thousand people come through the store and that doesn’t include the people who donated or are just walking around. That is a big church.”
The Abbotts have been told that Summerside has a large family services branch that includes a food bank and luncheons that serve as a main service of the community in addition to that of the traditional ministry.
Since a multifaceted ministry is all they know, their move to the Island seems like a natural step in their journey.
“We don’t know what it is to experience just a church,” said Neil. “In some aspects we might get bored.”
The couple were far from bored when they arrived in Pictou County seven years ago. The unit was not in great financial shape so some tough staffing cuts had to be made and the money belt had to be tightened. However,
at the same time, the Abbotts put the focus on building the volunteer base and making the Salvation Army’s services and fundraisers well known in the community.
They took on extra work themselves, but they credit the dedication of their staff and volunteers for helping the unit turn a corner.
“You don’t realize until you go into an intense campaign and you see volunteers who should technically be going home, but they see the importance of volunteering,” Neil said. “You know their backs and hips hurt so much they can barely stand by the kettle or be in the thrift store, but they want to be there. It is amazing to see their dedication.”
The Abbotts hope that the new officer, Lt, Shawna Goulding of Saskatchewan will be shown the same loyalty. The unit will also be hiring a person to fill Dolores’s role in family services so there will be changes in both Westville and New Glasgow.
The Salvation Army encourages officers to stay away from their former units for at least a year so the person filling their shoes is given a chance to manage things their own way.
Since this the Abbott’s first move without their sons, who have been a huge support to them and the ministry, they expect to visit the area from time to time, but they say their attention will be on their new home.
“When we go anywhere, we usually say this is our home,” Neil said. “We make it our home. We minister as if it is our home. The sad part is when it comes to leave because you are leaving one home for another. Previous ministries are always on our minds. You always wonder how everyone is doing and certain people come to mind because they are important to you.”