27 September 2016

COMMISSIONERS Floyd and Tracey Tidd were officially installed as national leaders of The Salvation Army in Australia by General André Cox at City Salvos (Adelaide Congress Hall). The installation coincided with the official launch of Australia One, under which The Salvation Army's Australia Southern and Eastern Territories will be united as one national territory for the first time since 1921. Commissioner Floyd Tidd was installed as National Commander and Commissioner Tracey Tidd as National President of Women’s Ministries.

The Australia Territory will be launched on 1 January 2019.

Aboriginal elder Uncle Frank Wanganeen provided a 'Welcome to Country', recognising that Adelaide – like the rest of Australia – was originally indigenous land. Federal Senator David Fawcett read a message from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, and Senator Alex Gallacher represented Opposition Leader Bill Shorten. Adelaide Lord Mayor Martin Haese, who earlier in the day hosted a civic reception, also spoke at the installation and launch. Other political and church leaders also attended the event, with music provided by the Melbourne Staff Band and Sydney Staff Songsters. 

The General told the Adelaide audience, which was boosted by people throughout Australia and other parts of the world via live-streaming, that there were many reasons for the choice to move towards a unified territory. 'I am pleased that the decision was based on the right reasons,' he said. 'This is not a reflection of decline or lack of financial resources. The decision ... enables us to speak with one voice to government and other national partners. It enhances mission opportunities while reducing the cost of administration. It is anticipated that savings that will accrue will enable us to establish a mission support endowment to benefit the work of the Army on the field.'

The General described the formation of the unified territory as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Australia to experience the renewal of God’s Spirit and refocus on his mission. ‘Don’t miss it,’ he said. ‘God is not calling us to gather in halls and places of worship. God is calling the Army to total mobilisation. We are not an Army serving in peacetime. We are an Army that is called to war against sin and evil, against injustice and against suffering and depravation ...

‘God is calling us to be more than a worshipping community and much more (to be) a serving community. We need to see more of our uniforms out on the streets of our cities. We need Salvationists to be mobilised in serving soup on the streets, meeting the homeless, visiting the elderly and bringing light and hope into the lives of people without hope.’ 

Responding to the General’s comments, Commissioner Tracey Tidd said, ‘It’s not about how many people come to our worship services. It’s about how many people we serve.’ She appealed to Australian Salvationists to ‘take necessary risks’; to look at the formation of one territory from God’s perspective.

Commissioner Floyd Tidd supported his wife’s comments, suggesting that, while the merger of two territories would be a moment of history, it was also ‘his [God’s] story ... that he has been unpacking for years.' He added that It wasn’t really a merger or a unification but 'a creation – God’s creation'.

The commissioner appealed to Salvationists not to live in the past but to have vision. ‘If your vision isn’t enough to scare you,’ he said, ‘it’s probably insulting to God.’

For more information on the Australia One project, go to http://australiaone.info/ 

Report by Bill Simpson

Tags: South Pacific and East Asia, The General