DERRY – The Salvation Army in Derry has two new leaders.
Husband and wife duo Tyler and Sojourney Adcox became leaders of the local Christian church and charitable organization serving Derry, Londonderry and Windham earlier this month.
Both Adcoxes were graduates of Eastern Nazarene College in Quincy, Massachusetts and were introduced to the Salvation Army through its overnight camp, Camp Sebago in Maine. However, the two met at Eastern Nazarene College in 2009. They were married after graduation and now have two young boys, Tyler, 2, and Henry, 6 months.
“The community is so welcoming and open to individuals,” Sojourney said. “Volunteers and secretaries have shown us a lot – we are fresh out of school and still learning. Everybody is so welcoming and patient and it has been an easy transition.”
“Since, graduating I feared I would not be accepted in my placement,” Tyler added. “I had nothing to fear – our placement as officers in Derry has been an absolute blessing. Crowds of individuals from our congregation sat on our front yard to help us move in which speaks to the beauty of this community. We couldn’t ask for a better first appointment.”
Tyler, who grew up right outside of Portland, Maine, worked at Camp Sebago before Sojourney. He began in 2010 and remained there for the following four years. After 2013, Tyler, who studied Christian ministry at Eastern Nazarene College, found a youth ministry job in Ohio where he ministered and worked with a variety of different teens.
In 2017, Tyler decided he wanted to become a pastor for the Salvation Army and then went to the 22-month schooling at the Salvation Army seminary.
At Eastern Nazarene College, Sojourney, a former resident of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, studied Elementary Education. While at school she was introduced to Camp Sebago but couldn’t work there because she had to save up money for classes and worked various part-time jobs. She started working at Camp Sebago in 2013. Here, much like her husband, she was introduced to the Salvation Army. She then joined the Salvation Army as a soldier, or member.
While Tyler served in youth ministry in Ohio, Sojourney worked as a Headstart teacher. She taught 3 to 5 years olds in four different classes of 19 students each.
All the while, she found herself always helping Tyler with ministry and was very involved with vacation Bible schools and day camps. She attended the Salvation Army seminary with Tyler in 2017 and is now working alongside him as co-officer.
“Tyler has really helped my journey. When I was in Philadelphia, the closest Salvation Army was 45 minutes away. The Salvation Army has helped me use the gift God has given me, serving people,” Sojourney said. “Tyler is more of a people person and I work behind the scenes. I really enjoy the programming and helping people with a variety of different stories.”
“We both have our own personal skill sets that complement each other nicely,” Tyler said. “We both ensure that everybody receives help and nothings goes untouched.”
Fresh out of school, and still learning the responsibilities of their positions, Tyler and Sojourney have agreed that their top priority for Derry, Windham, and Londonderry is to improve and expand upon family ministry with a particular focus on families with younger children. They hope to add more family-oriented programming throughout the year, minister to families, and ensure safe spaces for their community.
“At the Salvation Army, things move frequently,” Tyler said. “Family ministry is a goal that we expect will take longer than one year to accomplish. We want to continually encourage families to worship God with children by their side.”
“Anything is possible, whether we stay in this location or move,” Sojourney said. “We are here to help and serve no matter where our building resides.”
Sojourney is referring to the Exit 4A project, part of the Interstate-93 expansion. The new exit will require the state to take some local land, and the Salvation Army building on Folsom Road is included in the current list of properties the state needs to take in order to construct the new exit.
The project is slated to begin next summer and the state is hoping that it will be completed in three years. Right now, the Salvation Army building in Derry remains open on Folsom Road and is operating as normal.
At the Salvation Army in Derry spiritual life programming includes: worship services, Sunday school, prayer meetings, and Bible studies. Emergency social services are provided Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. A food pantry runs every third Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., an after-school program happens every Tuesday from 3:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m. and a teen night for grades 6 and over takes place from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday nights.
During Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday afternoons, a feeding program also takes place. Additionally, a yard sale and a chili/chowder cook off will serve as community fundraising events in August and September respectively. Finally, home visitations occur upon request.
The Adcoxes oversee and do their best to participate in all such programming. They will be looking for local leaders and volunteers to help them keep adding to this programming with additional Sunday school services and worship meetings.
“It is all about balance. We send our boys to daycare and bring them to work sometimes. I have a Pack-n-Play set up in our office and have held my son while serving,” Sojourney said, with a laugh. “Despite having two young boys, as officers, we ensure that we immerse ourselves and feel a part of the same community as everyb ody who lives close by.”
“We make sure our bodies are rested and ready to work at their full potential,” adds Tyler. “As a Marvel fan I have to quote 'Thor: Ragnarok' – ‘Asgard is not a place, it is a people.’ Here, at the Salvation Army, Sojourney and I believe it is not just a place, it is a people. That is what makes it such a blessed community and we look forward to helping everybody see the light of God.”