10 January 2017

GENERAL André Cox and Commissioner Silvia Cox (World President of Women’s Ministries) rang in the New Year in southern California during a visit to the USA Western Territory to install new territorial leaders Commissioners Kenneth and Jolene Hodder.

The Hodders, Territorial Commander and Territorial President of Women’s Ministries respectively, return to the territory after 11 years of international service at International Headquarters in London and two terms in Kenya.

'They are uniquely qualified to lead this territory forward in achieving all that God has in store for the West,' the General said in the installation service at Tustin Ranch Corps (church). 'All the things they have witnessed have enriched their lives and, by God’s grace, he has placed them home in the West for a purpose.' The General revealed that in the commissioners' most recent appointment, as leaders of the Kenya West Territory, during 2016 the territory opened a new corps every nine days and grew its ranks by 9,000 new soldiers.

In his Bible message, Commissioner Kenneth Hodder spoke from 1 Corinthians 2:1-5, noting that Paul shows that people's limitations are natural and essential to the proclamation of the gospel. Paul’s fundamental message, he said, is humility.

He challenged the congregation and the many people who watched the meeting online: 'As we begin our work together, let us recommit ourselves as individuals, as a territory, as an Army, to Christ and his purposes. May we bring all that we are – as weak and fallible as we are – to him for him to use.'

During the closing song, 'O Boundless Salvation!', the General spontaneously picked up and began waving the Whole World Mobilising Salvation Army flag. The new territorial commander followed suit with the territorial flag, joined by all the divisional leaders.

A week earlier, on New Year's Eve, the international and territorial leaders visited the rehearsal of The Salvation Army's Tournament of Roses Band. For the 98th year on 2 January, the band – this year comprised of members of the Western Territory and guests, the Oslo (Norway) Temple Band – marched in the Rose Parade in Pasadena, California. A Salvation Army band has marched in the parade since 1920, making it the longest-serving band in the parade’s history.

The General delivered the message that evening at Tustin Ranch Corps's annual New Year’s Eve Dinner and Concert, featuring the Tustin Ranch Band and the visiting Oslo (Norway) Temple Band.

The General recognised that the events of 2017 are, as yet, still unknown. He challenged those present: 'As we stand on the threshold of 2017, this is not a time for us to shy away. This is a time when God’s people need to be mobilised, to spread the good news of Jesus Christ, to show the light of God’s love to the world.'

On New Year’s Day, well over 700 people joined in a United Latino Worship Service at Los Angeles Central Corps. The service featured a united brass band from six local corps, a united kids' choir from five corps, and a united praise and worship team from three corps. The General enrolled 29 junior soldiers and more than 40 senior soldiers from across southern California.

Many people of all ages responded to the General’s altar call to renew their vows with God or to accept Jesus as their saviour. The General told the seekers and the rest of the congregation: 'We are not called to remain in 2017 as we were in 2016, because God wants to create something new in our lives.'  

Christin Thieme
Editor in Chief and Literary Secretary
USA Western Territory

Tags: Americas and Caribbean, The General