Marching with flags

Under the theme “Same mission, same message”, more than 1500 participants from the whole territory – Norway, Iceland and The Færoes – a record number for a congress in Norway – gathered in Oslo from 27th to 30th June 2013 for a celebration weekend. More than 2000 people around the world followed the live broadcasting of all the meetings.

Diversity represented

Thursday evening the celebrations began with the commissioning and ordination of 13 new lieutenants, representing four different nationalities.

Everyone who was in Oslo on the Saturday of the congress, would not have missed out on seeing The Salvation Army in the streets. Mini-concerts, fashion shows, a congress parade with 700 people representing all aspects of the territory, a concert with the International Staff Songsters in Oslo Cathedral and many more events happened in Oslo and towns close by.

Outdoor congress celebrations

On Sunday the congress finished with a “Generations Meeting”. This included a Super-Hero themed “I’ll fight” play with the territorial youth secretary and his team as the super-heroes fighting bullying, violence, loneliness and challenging the audience with a: “YOU MUST FIGHT!”

All generations, different styles of worship and aspects of The Salvation Army were represented throughout the weekend.

A Spiritual Event

The congress also featured 125 days of Prayer. This was first established Thursday, as 13 people gathered for a day of prayer, praying for the congress and in part reflecting on the 125 days of prayer. “We’ve been a part of something big”, one person said. They prayed out of Acts 4:32 for the congress and the future that The Salvation Army would have one heart, one mind and one voice. The congress prayer teams and many others were praying during the whole congress, some in the prayer area, set up like a prayer room.

The Youth Congress took a part of the 125 days of prayer during the congress. They also had their own worship and prayer evenings Friday and Saturday. Friday the challenge was to choose God. When you choose God, you have to mean it. It’s not a momentary choice. It is a bit like truly apologising for something you have done – you have to mean it. The youth were encouraged by one of the leader’s testimony of choosing God – and meaning it, and how our lives will be transformed.

Although it was not the actual congress theme “giving everything to Christ” became a distinct theme, as the congress weekend went by. This was expressed in the preaching, but also through the worship. One song, sung at the congress, manifests and gives a picture of the spirit of the congress – a spirit of commitment:

I give everything to you, for I know you want it
My two fish, my five loaves of bread
I give them to you
I give all to you
All my tears
All my wounds
I give them to you
            (Ungfila Musikk)