(Above) “We all felt that God was nudging us toward something more,” says Rachel Quirt
“Is this a joke?” Captain Brent Haas looked up at me with a smile.
I sympathized with his bewilderment.
I have a background in behavourial science, a bachelor’s degree in religious education, I’ve been an ordained pastor for five years and I was working toward a master’s degree. And here I was being interviewed ... for a data entry position!
But there was method to my seeming madness.
Connecting with The Salvation Army was the furthest thing from my mind when I moved to Halifax in August 2020. I was in the midst of working on my master’s degree at Yorkville University in Fredericton with the aim of becoming a licensed therapist.
Pursuing my degree isn’t enough, I thought. I need more work.
That November, I realized a seasonal job would be perfect for me. I could make some money, pay off my tuition and become involved with my community during the holidays.
As I was searching, I came across The Salvation Army. They were looking for a data entry worker. Perfect! I thought. This would fit in quite well with my master’s. I could reach out and volunteer in the community during a wonderful season and with a wonderful organization.
I applied for the job.
But God had other plans. I didn’t get the data entry position, as I had hoped.
Unbeknownst to me, The Salvation Army in the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) was in the beginning stages of a significant transition. A transition of closing five churches and amalgamating into one, with a second becoming a new church plant with a unique expression.
At the time of my interview, Captain Brent and his wife, Captain Melissa Haas, were overseeing two of the Salvation Army churches—Fairview Citadel and Spryfield. It was the Christmas season, and they were extremely busy with all that that entails for the Army.
Due to my background, they felt that they didn’t want to waste what was being presented to them, so Captains Brent and Melissa asked if I would be a community ministry worker at the Fairview site with minimal oversight while they managed the Spryfield site over the holidays.
A New Beginning
My contract was to end in December, but before that, Captains Brent and Melissa asked me to continue on. This would allow me to keep working with them while I finished my degree, which I did this past April. We took a “let’s pray and see what God is up to” approach as we all felt that he was nudging us toward something more than what we understood at the time.
From there, I stayed with Captains Brent and Melissa as they pioneered a new expression of The Salvation Army in the HRM.
I’m now the director of discipleship and care at a new Salvation Army church plant in Lower Sackville, located just outside of Halifax, called Encounter Church which covers three communities: Dartmouth, Bedford and Lower Sackville.
Under the leadership of Captains Brent and Melissa, we’re thriving! We are now sitting at a regular attendance of 70 people, and we’re less than a year old. Things have been going really well and we’re excited to see what God is doing.
Servants of God
My defining characteristic is that I absolutely love God, absolutely love Jesus, and I will follow him anywhere. God specifically has connected me here at The Salvation Army for this time in this season.
I didn’t expect to be involved in The Salvation Army, but when he brought me here and connected me with Captains Brent and Melissa, it was apparent that God was calling me to partner with them.
I consider those who serve within The Salvation Army to be really humble servants of God, desiring to serve him and serve people, and that resonates with me.
We have a very similar heart in wanting to love on people and love on God’s church. And The Salvation Army is highly respected and valued in communities around the world, so it’s an honour to be partnering with them.