Congress Delegates Enjoy Inspired Gathering with the General in Germany
THE theme of the Germany and Lithuania Territory's congress – 'Inspiration' – was affirmed by special guest General Linda Bond. 'I firmly believe that the Holy Spirit will inspire us,' she told the congregation of around 700 people who gathered in Siegen, Germany, for the opening ceremony. 'He is the great inspirer and he is here!'
In her Bible message the General called on delegates to make God the centre of their lives and the centre of The Salvation Army. Many people responded to the challenge by kneeling at the mercy seat.
The music festival on Saturday took the theme 'Inspiration – Celebrating Jesus!' Contributions ranged from traditional Salvation Army music from the German Staff Band to interpretive dance from Shaw Coleman and contemporary music from vocalist Ben Fischer. The programme also featured instrumental soloists Alexander Valerstein (cornet) and Stephen Kane (euphonium). In addition, delegates from the countries which form the territory with Germany – Lithuania and Poland – had opportunity to speak and sing about their culture and faith. All had one goal – to glorify God.
Throughout the weekend music and dance items were provided by African Swing Salvation – which also featured a junior section – as well as by the territorial youth choir and representative corps worship groups.
In the Sunday morning meeting the General challenged everyone in the congregation to live holy lives. 'God's plan is for us to be holy, and when we don't accept that we are being disobedient!' she stated. Again there was a wave of response as people knelt at the mercy seat to meet with God.
'Inspiration – Get Moving' was the theme of the Sunday afternoon meeting. The General spoke about a Salvation Army that was fighting against injustice, standing up for the oppressed and freeing people from many different kinds of chains. She called upon the delegates – as true, authentic Christians – to carry the message of the gospel into the whole world. Many people took this last opportunity of the congress to kneel at the mercy seat.
The General was supported during the weekend by territorial leaders Colonels Patrick and Anne-Dore Naud, Chief Secretary Lieut-Colonel Marsha-Jean Bowles and Training Principal Major Annette Preuss. In his closing remarks, Territorial Commander Colonel Patrick Naud reminded delegates: 'For us the mission is continuing. Our mission is given to us through the Holy Spirit. May our lives be open to the Spirit.'
Report by Andreas W. Quiring
Translated by Major Philippa Smale