THE welcome meeting to the Chief of the Staff (Commissioner André Cox) and Commissioner Silvia Cox (World President of Women's Ministries) had an upbeat atmosphere and sense of affirmation. General Linda Bond told the congregation at International Headquarters (IHQ) in London that it was a special day for The Salvation Army.
The ground floor at IHQ was filled with headquarters officers, employees and delegates from the International College for Officers. Also present were the Chief of the Staff's mother, Mrs Commissioner Hilda Cox, cousins Jean-Daniel and Annette Chevalley – who had travelled from Switzerland – and former colleagues and Salvation Army leaders, including Retired General John Larsson, Commissioner Freda Larsson and Commissioner Gisèle Gowans.
In his prayer Commissioner Lalkiamlova (International Secretary for South Asia) thanked God for calling Commissioners André and Silvia Cox into ministry in The Salvation Army and asked him to bless and fill them with the Holy Spirit so they would fulfil his purposes.
In her words of welcome to the World President of Women's Ministries, Commissioner Janet Street (Zonal Secretary for Women's Ministries, Europe Zone) said that she did not need to convince the commissioner of the value of women's ministry around the world and the strength of women and their beautiful trust in the Lord because of the new world president's vast experience in women's ministries. Commissioner Street went on to say that IHQ is a window on the world, providing a global viewpoint and many opportunities.
In her response Commissioner Silvia Cox said that she looks forward to discovering the IHQ family and the world family of Salvationists. She thanked her officer parents who showed her how to live for Christ. The commissioner explained that throughout her officership God has given her Scripture verses which both helped and shaped her life. For her appointment as World President of Women's Ministries she shared with the congregation her verse from Isaiah 43:1 'Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; have summoned you by name; you are mine' (New International Version).
Lieut-Colonel Rob Garrad then sang 'Christ of Glory' as a vocal solo.
Welcoming Commissioners Cox to IHQ, the General said that God had equipped them for these appointments because between them they have a wealth of cross-cultural experience. In taking up their new appointments, she added, they become part of a unique IHQ family where Jesus Christ is central and there is 'a unity that comes from the Holy Spirit'.
In his message the Chief of the Staff reflected that he has realised the truth in the saying 'actions speak louder than words'. He went on to say that the world would be a different place if Christians had the ability to reflect to perfection the things they believe. He reminded those present that they are 'called to be witnesses of another Kingdom, another reality and higher way', and that they should strive to emulate Christ's example. He warned 'faith can be a veneer when it should go deeper'.
He concluded by saying: 'We are called to be one Army, to speak with one voice, to serve with undivided hearts, to be one people.'
In taking up this appointment Commissioner André Cox follows in the footsteps of his father Commissioner Ron A. Cox, who served as the Chief of the Staff from 1987-1991.
Report by Major Sandra Welch