The Zacchaeus Outreach Project (ZOP) is run by the Church Army at the invitation of the Archbishop of Armagh.
This is a servant ministry and will only attend parades it has been invited too.
The ZOP bus it mainly used for band parades for serving free tea and coffee to band members.
On days like the 12th and Last Saturday it is also open to Lodge members.
The volunteers are there to help in any way they can. Free literature is available and can be taken by anyone.
The bus was initially paid for by the Imperial Grand Chapter of the Royal Black and the other project costs are met in various ways
by the C of I Priority Fund, Armagh Diocese, individual RPB Lodges, churches and individuals through donating to Church Army.
The bands also support the ministry in various ways.
The project would love to take a group of bands men to take part in a working party to Boa Vista Day Care in a poor community
in Niteroi in Brazil the bands also support the project in various ways including making and selling a CD. Dedicating uniforms, etc.
The ZOP also works alongside the Band Forums, the Confederation of Ulster Band and many other agencies.
The project is willing to get alongside bands and help in whatever way they can.
If you would like us to help then please ask and we can see if we can work something out.
The Zacchaeus Project was started in 2011 and the bus was launched on the 6th March 2012.
The project was set up because it was felt that bands had been marginalised by many parts of society including the church
and that it was the right time for the church to show Gods love and care in a practical way to members of the band community.
The project is headed up by Church Army Evangelist - Valerie Thom, who herself was a member of a band for many years;
she is supported in this work by a group of very faithful volunteers.
The bus was refitted and maintained by Eurocoach, Dungannon who support the project in practical ways,
they house the bus and maintain it free of charge and do much more.
The bus was dedicated to the Glory of God by Archbishop Alan Harper who had worked alongside the Church Army to get the project going.
At the launch the bus was officially opened by the Vice Lord Lieutenant of Tyrone Mr Peter Acheson.
After the service a band concert was held and those bands taking part were St. White Memorial, Bush, Dungannon, William Kerr Memorial Pipe, Aughintober Pipe, Drumnaglough F B, Mulnagore Accordion, Ballytyrone Accordion and Newtownstewart Red Hand Defenders,
the bus then went to its first band parade on 5th May 2012 in Newtownstewart held by Newtownstewart Red Hand Defenders.
Since then we have attended numerous parades.
The project doesn’t go to parades unless it has asked permission or been asked by a band member.
In fact we are now being asked to go to parades outside the Armagh Diocese Area.
The project also attends the 12th & Last Saturday Demonstrations.
Many people haven’t heard of Church Army, it is a mission community formed in 1882
and is a community of evangelists
within the Anglican Church all over the world. Church Army believes in sharing faith though words and actions,
and work mainly with those outside the churches.
You can find out more by visiting the website churcharmy.org.uk
Its evangelists have to find funding for the projects they run including money to cover their wages.