22 September 2017

GENERAL André Cox and Commissioner Silvia Cox, accompanied by the band and timbrels from Boscombe Corps (United Kingdom Territory with the Republic of Ireland), travelled to Rome to celebrate 130 years of Salvation Army ministry in Italy. They were joined by Salvationists and friends from all over the country and a group of delegates from Greece.

At a Saturday morning welcome reception the General met church representatives, institutional and civic authorities and leaders of organisations with which The Salvation Army works. An open-air concert followed at the Colosseum, where the message of the gospel was proclaimed. The revamped Italian War Cry was distributed and many contacts were made. Representatives from the press and television stations lined up to interview the General.

A thanksgiving meeting in the afternoon was enriched by music from Boscombe Band and Timbrels, a duet in Greek by soldiers from Thessaloniki and a praise band. A drama item from the young people, 'Back to the Future', represented key moments in the history of the Italy and Greece Command.

The General’s Bible message called those present to go 'back to the past' and learn from it. He urged Salvationists and friends to recall God’s faithfulness with a view to committing themselves to making a difference in the world by preaching the gospel and responding to human needs in Jesus’ name without discrimination.

In the afternoon, the General and Commissioner Cox took part in a march of witness through the streets of the San Lorenzo district where the Army has a complex which is home to a guesthouse, a social centre with a wide variety of programmes, a corps and the command headquarters.

This was followed by a concert by Boscombe Band which featured a wide repertoire, ranging from adaptations of well-known pop songs to classic Army pieces. The proceedings were enlivened by contributions from the visiting timbrelists, which drew an enthusiastic response, including a spontaneous 'conga glory march' which the General and Commissioner Cox joined in! A colourful international flavour was added through a vocal solo by a Chinese member of Rome Corps and African drums played by asylum seekers housed in a Salvation Army centre in the south of Italy.

Commissioner Cox’s Bible message reminded the congregation that they are God's people. As such, she said, they must draw on the resources of prayer and Scripture in order to work out their mission of loving God and people, and of praising God from generation to generation.

In the Sunday morning meeting the General ordained and commissioned Aux-Captain M. Catalanotto to the rank of full captain. Following moments of praise and worship, the General invited those present to place themselves into God’s hands to be used by him to bring salvation and healing to a broken world. He called on his listeners to rely on the power of the Holy Spirit to make a difference in their own lives first and then in the lives of those around them.

The challenge to all present rang in the conference centre: 'What is God calling you to do? Are you ready to write the history for the next 130 years?'

Many people responded by offering themselves for service as officers of The Salvation Army, while others gave their lives to God or rededicated themselves to his service.

Report by Major Virginia Longo

Tags: Europe, The General