21 May 2023

General Brian Peddle preaching

The Welcome to the High Council and Farewell to General Brian Peddle and Commissioner Rosalie Peddle (World President of Women’s Ministries) took place on Saturday 20 May 2023 at Central Hall Westminster.

A deeply spiritual occasion, the event combined prayer and music with dance, filmed tributes and other acts of worship.

Welcomed to warm applause, the General and Commissioner Rosalie Peddle gave the traditional Salvation Army salute as the audience cheered. Colonel Peter Forrest welcomed members of the High Council as they prepare for their sacred task of electing the 22nd General. High Council members entered the hall in order of seniority to greet their international leaders. In a touching moment, Commissioner Rosalie Peddle saluted the General before they left the stage.

The song, ‘Jesus, the name high over all’ brought the audience together with clapping and waving of Salvation Army flags, before members of Southwark Corps read Scripture from the book of Revelation to reinforce the spiritual solemnity of the event.

The Chief of the Staff, Commissioner Lyndon Buckingham welcomed the guests and international leaders. He said, ‘We welcome those watching online and those in London. We acknowledge the presence of the King of kings and ask that we remember his blessing.’

Charge to the High Council

The General then charged the High Council members with their significant responsibility. He said, ‘It is my privilege to welcome the High Council delegates. You have led The Salvation Army at a time that has been challenging for the world. We face significant unrest, natural disasters and tragedy. You have led courageously.’

He continued, ‘I address you on behalf of a prayerful and expectant global Army. Your challenge is to discharge your duty and to abandon all personal preferences and to surrender to the will of God … the sacred engagement given to you today is to reveal the chosen one that God has already ordained. Trust in the Holy Spirit. Today, we say together, “May God bless the 2023 High Council of The Salvation Army.”’

African Praise Fellowship ZimbabweAfrican Praise Fellowship Zimbabwe

Praise and worship

The stage filled with diverse uniforms and cultural dress as prayers and music were shared. International Headquarters (IHQ) staff, the IHQ Praise Team and African Praise Fellowship Zimbabwe – a rich, soulful and spiritual fellowship group – performed a lively worship song accompanied by tambourines, hosho and the International Staff Band (ISB). This popular group left the stage to the audience clapping in time to the uplifting music.

The International Youth and Children Advisory Group film thanked the departing international leaders for their service and ministry and recognised the role of the High Council.

Konverse Dance Crews performed an energetic hip-hop-style dance that rocked the stage, the ISB played ‘Called to serve’ and the IHQ Praise Team sang ‘How great is our God’, before the film Called to Mission recalled highlights of General Peddle’s leadership.

Konverse Dance Crews
Konverse Dance Crews

'Time to come home'

The daughters of the General and Commissioner Rosalie, Stephanie Forystek and Major Krista Andrews, paid tribute to their parents. Stephanie said, ‘It has been the honour of our lives to share Mum and Dad with the international Army.’ An emotional Major Andrews said, ‘Mum and Dad, you have modelled what it is to keep company with Jesus and this is the greatest gift that you have ever given. Now it’s time to come home – and we will be waiting with open arms.’

After the family reunion, the International Staff Songsters gently sang ‘He will hold me fast’.

'God has it all in his hands'

Commissioner Rosalie Peddle addressed the meeting saying, ‘I stand here today as a testimony to what is possible when God has it all in his hands. I say farewell to this unforgettable experience of being one of the international leaders of The Salvation Army.’ Thanking her family and the global Salvation Army for their support, she said, ‘We will be forever interested and will pray for you continually. Thank you, General Brian. I am grateful for your constant support and inspiration. We look forward to retirement and what God has for us next. God bless you all.’

A short, animated film, Memories of Service: Such Exciting Adventures recognised the global service of the international leaders before tributes from the High Council. Colonel Alfred Banda said, ‘You clearly called The Salvation Army to be ready to pray and to reflect Christlike behaviour and holiness. In your ‘Call to Mission’ you encouraged us to take responsibility to raise up every generation. You have fulfilled God’s calling! We are praying for you and wish you a happy and fruitful retirement. God bless you.’

Commissioner Robyn Maxwell said the leaders were approachable and visionary. She thanked them for their leadership, saying, ‘You led us magnificently through COVID. You took to social media and became our very first “digital General”. Commissioner Rosalie, thank you for being a champion for women and girls. Thank you for your 93 years of combined service. May the Lord bless and protect you.’ A standing ovation followed these emotional and sincere tributes, with everyone singing ‘Goodness of God’.

The animated film Memories of Service: The Thriving Years showcased personal reflections from the retiring international leaders, before representatives of Southwark Corps shared a variety of Scripture readings.

The General addresses the High Council
The General addresses the High Council

'This is not the end of the story'

General Peddle addressed the meeting, saying, ‘Thank you to members of the High Council and for the grace of God that has come to us through you. Thank you to Commissioners Lyndon and Bronwyn Buckingham. I acknowledge you both today. I honour Commissioner Rosalie today. I love this woman very much and she has been my partner in ministry. I stand before you confident that God continues to work out his will in my life. It has been a privilege to lead the international Salvation Army – glory to God!’

Sharing his confidence in the future, the General said, ‘This is not the end of the story. The Salvation Army has a place in the world to give salt and light, because God still welcomes prodigals home. He will come again! Walk in obedience and love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul. Stand with me under the banner of the immeasurably more God. By his grace he will provide, and with his strength we can walk in this world as children of the Almighty.’

The International Staff Band
The International Staff Band

Prayer for the High Council

Colonel Julie Forrest invited everyone to pray both for themselves and others by placing prayers into golden bowls or online. She said, ‘We need to pray for members of the High Council.’ The IHQ Praise Team then sang ‘He leadeth me’.

The Chief of the Staff asked that the Lord be glorified by the prayers from the event and invited the congregation to unite in singing ‘Storm the forts of darkness’.

Colonel Peter Forrest gave the benediction, saying, ‘Here is a prayer of benediction from Isaiah. The Spirit of the Lord rest upon you. May the blessings of God be upon you now and forever. Amen.’

Konverse Dance Crews and the IHQ Praise Team concluded the meeting, singing ‘The Lord bless you and keep you’ as the General and Commissioner Rosalie left the hall, followed by High Council members.

The meeting was accompanied by sign language throughout, with more than 1,200 individual viewers joining online, with 30 different countries represented. The event may still be watched here: sar.my/welcome.

IHQ Communications

Tags: 2023 High Council, Events, The General, News