THE first full day of the 2014 International Conference of Leaders was filled with praise and celebration as delegates joined together for worship at the conference venue, followed by a grand public welcome meeting at Singapore Central Corps on Sunday afternoon.
A capacity crowd at the public meeting welcomed The Salvation Army's international leaders – General André Cox and Commissioner Silvia Cox (World President of Women’s Ministries) and the Chief of the Staff (Commissioner William A. Roberts) and Commissioner Nancy Roberts (World Secretary for Women’s Ministries) – and leaders representing the Army's territories, commands and regions around the world, International Headquarters (IHQ) and USA National Headquarters.
The Chief of the Staff welcomed attendees to ‘this historic and spectacular event’, which was carried, live via the internet, to viewers around the world through the IHQ website (available to watch again: sar.my/2014icl).
The General and Commissioner Cox were marched into the hall by the Gracehaven Percussion Parade – a rhythmic, pulsating group of young drummers who set the tone for the welcome meeting. The congregation immediately matched the energy of the drummers with a rousing rendition of 'Joy, Joy, Joy, There is Joy in The Salvation Army'. Three delegates offered prayer: for the welcome meeting, for the conference and for the Singapore, Malaysia and Myanmar Territory.
Testimonies from Colonel Susan McMillan (South America East Territory) and Lieut-Colonel Margaret Siamoya (Zambia Territory) were introduced by Commissioner Silvia Cox who brought her own greeting to the meeting. Interestingly, Lieut-Colonel Margaret Siamoya will be promoted to the position of territorial commander effective 1 August 2014.
It is well known that young people and the Army's ministry to youth and children are priorities for the General, so it was no surprise to see the programme highlighting young people. The Bishan Chinese Corps worship team sang 'At the Cross' followed by an energetic dance presentation by the young people of Singapore entitled 'Jump Around and Turn it Up'. The General took centre stage, surrounded by young people, as he fielded questions in an 'Ask the General' segment which was personal, informative and engaging.
Prior to the General's message, Karina Devadas and Joshua Wan created a quiet and reflective atmosphere as they sang 'Be Still My Soul (In You I Rest)'. The General's first words were sincere thanks to the Singapore, Malaysia and Myanmar Territory for hosting the 2014 ICL, showing particular appreciation for the 'wonderful warmth and spirit of hospitality'.
In his Bible message, the international leader acknowledged the reality of life today, saying: 'We live in challenging times.' He further expressed that ‘if the world ever needed the gospel message, it is now'. In concluding his message, the General shared the lyrics of Salvationist songwriter Major Joy Webb’s 'The Candle of the Lord', a sensitive and moving song which was later sung by Suzanne Rose, former International Staff Songster, and current member of the IHQ Administration Department.
Reflecting upon the opportunity to host the 2014 International Conference of Leaders, Colonel Lyndon Buckingham (Territorial Commander, Singapore, Malaysia and Myanmar Territory) said: 'It is an honour and privilege to host the conference. In doing so it sends an important message to Salvationists across the territory that they are part of a significant global movement. May God continue to bless and use The Salvation Army today and may he empower and engage his leaders this week as we meet together.'
Report by Major John P. Murray, MA, APR, CFRE
Communications Secretary and Literary Secretary