GENERAL Linda Bond declared to the International Conference of Leaders convened in Toronto, Canada that: ‘Anytime his people meet together, he wants to come with the unimaginable, the unexpected and the impossible. So we will wait on the God who loves to surprise us.’
In her keynote address she placed, ‘The deepening of spiritual life and uniting in prayer … in the foreground of all that transpires during these days. We must be an Army marked by prayer, an Army on its knees’. The Holy Spirit made his presence known very quickly when the leaders responded to the General’s call to ‘obedience and trust’ as they knelt before him, described by the General as, ‘the Army’s Commander-in-Chief’.
The 129 participants had earlier shared fellowship at a dinner presided over by the Chief of the Staff where they had received a warm Canadian welcome from Commissioner Rosalie Peddle, Territorial President of Women’s Ministries Canada and Bermuda.
The Chief referred to the international nature of the conference with those attending being leaders of territories and commands, commissioners serving at International Headquarters and the national leaders of the United States of America. Many of the leaders were meeting together for the first time, however, the diversity of language and culture was no barrier to new bonds of friendship being established.
When the leaders gathered to hear the General’s keynote address in a meeting led by Commissioner Sue Swanson, World President of Women’s Ministries, many languages were again evident as voices were raised in prayer. A special feature was the singing of a new song written and composed by Commissioners Robert Street and Dick Krommenhoek.
Having outlined the theme of the conference, One Army – One Message – One Mission, the General challenged the conference to ensure that there would be ‘something to show’ at the conclusion. She said, ‘Our people expect this of us.’
The work of the conference will include the presentation of papers focussing on specific mission priorities. The papers will be discussed in small groups and plenary sessions. There will be daily programme emphasis on spiritual matters including Bible study and prayer.
As the leaders knelt together the prayer was ‘meet our need’. There was a clear expectation that this prayer will be answered.
Report by Commissioner Bill Cochrane
International Secretary to the Chief of the Staff
International Conference of Leaders website - including a live webcast of the Welcome Meeting