The Chief of the Staff visits USA Eastern Territory for Divisional Family Camp
THE Chief of the Staff (Commissioner William Roberts) and Commissioner Nancy Roberts (World Secretary for Women’s Ministries) joined more than 700 officers, Salvationists and friends of the Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware Division, USA Eastern Territory, to share anew in the Boundless experience, celebrating 150 years of The Salvation Army.
Fifty-two corps flags from the division welcomed the commissioners, with voices joining to sing ‘O Boundless Salvation!’. Commissioner Nancy Roberts shared greetings from General André Cox and Commissioner Silvia Cox, reminding delegates that the international leaders were praying for the gathering and asking for prayer for their ministry in Puerto Rico during the same weekend. She reminded participants of the Holy Spirit’s presence and the spiritual nourishment and encouragement that can be realised from gathering together.
Bible studies led by the Chief of the Staff – exploring the gospel account of Jesus meeting a Samaritan woman at a well, and the parable of the Good Samaritan – were themed ‘Boundaries or Boundless?’. The exposition revealed that the Kingdom of God is the ‘place for the outcast, the place where we ourselves once were’ and that those who are hurting are ‘fellow travellers’. The practical application of the study was a call that Salvationists are to do for 'outcasts' what Jesus would have done. The traditional chorus ‘Wide, Wide as the Ocean’ took on renewed meaning, with the reminder that there are no limits to God’s love and redemptive grace.
A special dinner was held in recognition of the cadets of the College for Officer Training, Silver Star members (parents of those who have undertaken officer training) and the retired officers of the division. A tribute was shared in a Gold Star recognition for two mothers whose children were promoted to Glory while active officers. Commissioner Nancy Roberts exemplified boundless grace and care in this presentation and later shared how Jesus set the stage for how people should serve through his command to ‘love your neighbour as yourself’ (Matthew 22:39).
Worship focused on God's boundless grace and its transformation of lives. Howard Davies’s song ‘The Wonder of his Grace’ (876, The Song Book of The Salvation Army 2015) summed up the devotional nature of the camp meetings:
Passing understanding is his boundless love,
More than I can ever comprehend,
Jesus, in his mercy, left his throne above,
All to be my Saviour and my friend.
Higher than the stars that reach eternity,
Broader than the boundaries of endless space,
Is the boundless love of God that pardoned me;
O the wonder of his grace!
Report by Major Sandra J. Jackson
Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware Division