05 July 2017

‘GOD is going to do great things!’ said General André Cox to thousands of Salvationists and friends gathered for the Mobilize – Newfoundland and Labrador 2017 Divisional Congress and Commissioning. The General and Commissioner Silvia Cox (World President of Women’s Ministries) were in the Canada and Bermuda Territory with Chief of the Staff (Commissioner Brian Peddle) and Commissioner Rosalie Peddle (World Secretary for Women’s Ministries). ‘We are just accompanying the Peddles this weekend,’ the General said with a smile as the Peddles – both native Newfoundlanders – were warmly welcomed home.

It was a busy weekend for the international leaders as they joined Salvationists for a number of public services, beginning with a welcome celebration on Friday evening. Indigenous officers from the region with Major Shari Russell (Territorial Indigenous Ministries Consultant) presented gifts to the international leaders and Territorial Commander Commissioner Susan McMillan. As a gesture of love and friendship, the General and Commissioner Cox were wrapped in a blanket that represented a traditional buffalo robe.

The programme featured the rich history of The Salvation Army in eastern Canada recounted in word and song, present-day ministries and a vision for the future. The Canadian Staff Band (CSB) gave musical support throughout.

In her Bible message, Commissioner Cox encouraged the congregation to follow the example of Christ, who came to be a servant. ‘He gave us a mission and the power to achieve it – to mobilise.’

On Saturday, the Chief of the Staff laid a wreath on behalf of The Salvation Army during a Memorial Day service of remembrance for the many Newfoundlanders who lost their lives in the First World War battle at Beaumont Hamel – in the Somme – on 1 July 1917.

Saturday saw Salvationists participate in events throughout St John’s, including a special Canada 150 celebration carnival. Inclement weather could not dampen the spirits of those who took part in an afternoon of food, games and children’s activities at St John’s Citadel (church). The CSB and the Blue East Worship Team provided music.

The international leaders conducted officers councils and attended a reception at Government House, hosted by the Honourable Frank F. Fagan, Lieutenant Governor of Newfoundland and Labrador.

A highlight of the weekend was the commissioning and ordination of 19 new Salvation Army officers. In his message, the General encouraged Salvationists to actively engage with the world. ‘We are not called to simply worship in this place,’ he said. ‘The world needs a generation of Salvationists who will stand up in their communities to make a difference.’ In direct response to the General's challenge, six people made their way to the stage during the sending-out meeting to publicly declare that they had answered God's calling to be Salvation Army officers. Dozens of people surrounded the six on the stage, forming prayer circles of support and love.

‘Listen to the voice of God as it is proclaimed,’ said Lieut-Colonel Eddie Vincent (Divisional Commander, Newfoundland and Labrador), as he called the congregation to worship at Sunday morning’s holiness meeting. Before reading from Acts, Commissioner Peddle expressed her joy at being ‘home’, and shared her personal testimony. ‘I was nothing when God found me,’ she confessed, ‘and I can do nothing without him.’

The Chief of the Staff challenged the congregation to consider the importance of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. ‘For every non-believer here today there is an urgency about eternity that you must not ignore any longer,’ he asserted.

Later, the General enrolled 49 senior and junior soldiers. ‘God is still calling the courageous!’ he declared. ‘Our lives are to count for something … God wants to use us to have an impact for good in this world.’ Throughout the weekend many people responded to the General’s invitation to kneel at the mercy seat to dedicate their lives to God, some seeking salvation for the first time and others renewing their commitment to serve the Lord with renewed vigour.

From a report by Pamela Richardson

Tags: Americas and Caribbean, The General