THE Salvation Army's new Spain and Portugal Command was inaugurated during a joyful gathering in the Spanish capital, Madrid. For some years there had been discussion about the Spain Command and Portugal Command being joined together, and in October 2012 General Linda Bond announced that this would happen as of 1 February 2013.
Practically all of the officers and a number of soldiers from Portugal as well as all the Spanish officers and a large number of soldiers from all around Spain gathered for worship, fellowship and celebration. The event was presided over by Commissioners Robert and Janet Street, International Secretary and Zonal Secretary for Women’s Ministries of the Europe Zone, on what was their last official duty before retirement.
The weekend began with a lunch for officers and their children followed by an officers’ meeting. Commissioner Janet Street shared her testimony, distilled from more than 40 years of active officership, and Commissioner Robert Street focused his message on Jesus washing the feet of his disciples at the end of his earthly ministry.
There was an atmosphere of excitement and joy as people gathered for the welcome and inauguration meeting. A combined band from Spain and Portugal provided music as the national flags of the two countries were marched into the hall, followed by new command leaders Lieut-Colonels Gordon and Susan Daly.
The meeting included a presentation of the work of Exército de Salvação in Portugal featuring all the officers, and an item by combined timbrellists from Madrid. Lieut-Colonel Susan Daly shared her testimony and there was a time of joyous worship led by a combined Madrid music group.
The highlight of the meeting was the installation of Lieut-Colonels Gordon and Susan Daly as command leaders. A letter of greeting from General Linda Bond was read and Commissioner Robert Street spoke of the inauguration of one command as part of one Army, with one mission and one message. To mark the commencement of the new command, the International Secretary presented two command flags. A Spanish flag was presented to the command leaders and the other flag, in Portuguese, was presented to Majors Mário and Celeste Nhacumba – Portugal Secretary and Portugal Programme Officer respectively. The flags were unfurled to thunderous applause and expressions of joy.
Officer Commanding Lieut-Colonel Gordon Daly thanked officers and soldiers who had travelled from across Spain and its islands and from all around Portugal. He greeted visitors who had come from as far away as Australia and Brazil for the occasion, and invited the congregation to acknowledge the service of Commissioners Robert and Janet Street.
In his message he affirmed that the work of The Salvation Army in Spain and Portugal is in good hands because it is in the hands of God. The message concluded with a moving time of prayer when Salvationists from Spain and Portugal were encouraged to pray for each other in small groups. The meeting ended on a note of great joy as the congregation sang in Spanish and Portuguese 'I’ll Go in the Strength of the Lord'.
Celebrations continued the following day when Portuguese officers and Salvationists participated in corps meetings around Madrid. Commissioners Robert and Janet Street took part in the meeting at Palomeras Corps which featured the enrolment of two junior soldiers and an item by the junior soldier music group.