International Leaders Inspire Salvationists in Canada and Bermuda
General Brian Peddle and Commissioner Rosalie Peddle (World President of Women’s Ministries) received a warm welcome as they returned home to the Canada and Bermuda Territory for the INSPIRE Conference and Congress 2023.
The event took place in Toronto, Ontario, and brought together thousands of Salvationists, employees and volunteers from across the territory. The international leaders’ visit began on a fun note as the General participated in Salvation Army Night with Major League Baseball’s Toronto Blue Jays by throwing the ceremonial first pitch of the game.
The four-day conference featured close to 100 workshops, three plenary sessions and many opportunities for praise and worship. On the final night, the international leaders attended a gala dinner honouring those who had given exemplary service during the COVID-19 pandemic. Ontario Premier, Doug Ford was in attendance and shared his thanks for the work of The Salvation Army throughout the pandemic and its ongoing support to the citizens of Ontario.
Celebration and Service
Congress events kicked off with a welcome celebration at Toronto’s historic Massey Hall. The General and Commissioner Rosalie Peddle were led into the auditorium by the Gitwinksihlkw Four Crest Dancers, a Nisga’a cultural singing and dancing group from British Columbia.
The evening featured contributions from participants including the Canadian Staff Band, Canadian Staff Songsters and North Street Worship Team from Hamilton, Bermuda. Prayers for the congress were simultaneously offered in Cantonese, English, French, Korean, Nisga’a and Spanish.
Gitwinksihlkw Four Crest Dancers, a Nisga’a cultural singing and dancing group from British Columbia
Later in the service, the General and Territorial Commander Commissioner Floyd Tidd presented the Award of Exceptional Service to two deserving individuals: Major Len Ballantine, musician, composer and leader of the Canadian Staff Songsters, in recognition of his lifelong contributions to the Army’s mission and ministry; and Sharon Wynne for her service as an executive assistant to 15 divisional commanders during her 55 years in the Prairie Division.
The following morning, 11 cadets and two auxiliary-captains of the Reflectors of Holiness Session were ordained and commissioned. In his message, the General reminded everyone that they must also reflect the holiness and light of Christ in the communities where they serve.
Territorial Commander's Youth Leadership Award
That evening, Salvationists again gathered at Massey Hall for a service of praise and worship. A highlight was when Michelle Mailman, a young person from Wetaskiwin, Alberta and Northern Territories Division, was acknowledged for her dedication in helping the corps (church) surpass its fundraising target for Partners in Mission.
After presenting a cheque for $1,800 to the General, Michelle was awarded the inaugural Territorial Commander’s Youth Leadership Award for ‘exceptional service, outstanding commitment and extraordinary innovation offered by a young person to give hope to those in need.’
General Brian Peddle with Michelle Mailman, recipient of the Territorial Commander’s Youth Leadership Award
In her message, Commissioner Rosalie Peddle reminded Salvationists that, ‘Our God is on the move. There’s a fresh and beautiful wave of God’s Holy Spirit flowing across our world.’ A heartfelt video dedicated to the service of the General and Commissioner Rosalie was screened as an expression of gratitude as they prepare to retire in August.
Spiritual Reflection and Commitment
Sunday’s holiness meeting was a time of spiritual reflection and commitment.
An Award of Exceptional Service was presented by General Brian Peddle and Commissioner Floyd Tidd to Major Lucy Pilgrim and her late husband, Major Warrick Pilgrim, in recognition of the significant post-retirement service they gave in 11 appointments. All officers engaged in post-retirement service were also acknowledged by the congregation. Following the General’s powerful message from God’s Word, many knelt at the mercy seat to dedicate their lives to God’s service.
As meetings took place at Massey Hall, the nearby Yonge-Dundas Square – the busiest street corner in Toronto – saw Salvation Army-sponsored activities attracting large crowds to celebrate Canada Day.
During congress weekend, the international leaders also attended a candidates’ reception, a recognition for the National Advisory Board and SAL-CON, a late-night youth event that featured games, music and fellowship.
God Remains Faithful
The General and Commissioner Rosalie Peddle were honoured to be part of INSPIRE and declare that God remains faithful.
It was also appropriate to acknowledge the territorial leadership of Commissioners Floyd and Tracey Tidd and Colonel Evie Diaz, to whom they said ‘thank you’ on behalf of a grateful Salvation Army. They also indicated that with such thanks comes the assurance of continued prayer and support for Commissioners Floyd and Tracey in his health journey, and for Colonel Diaz as she takes up her new responsibilities as Territorial Commander of the USA Central Territory.Tags: Americas and Caribbean, The General, News