"Strawberry Fields" of Beatles Fame Now a Salvation Army House of Prayer Complete with a Mercy Seat
Dan Wooding/TN, Breaking Christian News, September 3rd, 2007

(Liverpool, U.K.) - According to a report in Assist News, when John Lennon was a child, he would hear a brass band playing at the nearby Strawberry Field Salvation Army Children's home and this would excite him. John would immediately leave his home where he was being raised by his Aunt Mimi and her husband George, on Menlove Avenue, Liverpool, and would climb over the wall into nearby Strawberry Field in a bid to escape from all his problems and play in the grounds there.

Now, according to the report, Strawberry Field is a lively Salvation Army Prayer Center and Church. It had been closed for a while when the Salvation Army closed down the orphanage there. But now it has opened again and is humming with activities with Christians coming from around the world to pray and worship the Lord there.

In charge are Salvation Army ministers Gary and
Dawn Lacey. ASSIST News Founder Dan Wooding interviewed them.

"Dawn and I were ordained as Salvation Army officers in June of 2004 and this is our first appointment," said Gary. "We were sent to Liverpool, my home city, to plant a brand new Salvation Army church from scratch. God had already given us a vision to build a house of prayer and this is the result.

"The very first year that we were here actually Dawn and I just prayed on the streets of Liverpool. We felt that God wanted us to just prayer and make connections here. After about a year, the Salvation Army had gone through that process of closing the children's home and the building was just lying empty and we asked if we could kind of camp out here for a few years to get us on the map.

"We have thousands of people who come here to the site just strange things at our gates. We have people from Japan chipping little bits of paint off you know and putting it in little tins and people taking big slabs of earth and we could make a fortune on E-Bay you know but we don't choose to do that. We even had the front gates stolen for a while, but we've got them back now.

"God just said that He wanted His name lifted up in Strawberry Field, not The Beatles, and we've stuck to that hard and fast since the start."

"Our church has a pretty cool name. It is I-56 which is based on Isaiah 56, the scripture where it talks about God's House becoming a House of Prayer for all nations and the whole of the building here is called the Liverpool Boiler Room."

There is a Mercy Seat in the building where people can go and confess their sins, said Gary. "That's an integral part of the Salvation Army and it's a place that has been there since William Booth created and founded the Salvation Army. He basically had it for altar calls; where people would come forward and there's amazing stories in the early days of people total drunks coming towards the Mercy Seat drunk and getting up from that place totally sober and free.

"It's funny that while there's great debate in the Salvation Army about whether we should have a Mercy Seat, it's ironic that we, as a

forward thinking Salvation Army corps, it was one of the first things we did because we felt it was really important."

Asked what he thought John Lennon would make of the present-day Strawberry Field, Gary replied, "I think he'd enjoy the kind of modern touch on it and the different way we do things," said Gary. "There are many people we work with who, like John Lennon, have a lot of spiritual confusion and the thing we would do here is to simply stick to the Gospel of Jesus Christ."

Asked what he thought that Salvation Army founder William Booth would make of Strawberry Field, Gary said: "Without a doubt, he would approve of what we are doing here," he said. "Many people say, 'You're not really Salvation Army,' but actually we would argue with that we are more Salvation Army than most Salvation Army churches these days, particularly in the UK, because we believe we've rediscovered the roots; the Spirit of God; that was working in the Salvation Army in the old days. We've caught a bit of that early Spirit we believe and we firmly believe that the early vision of the Salvation Army was an amazing vision from God and it still is going on today and we're an integral part of that."

Source: ASSIST News

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