11 July 2013

THE Chief of the Staff (Commissioner André Cox) and Commissioner Silvia Cox (World President of Women's Ministries) shared in a time of joy and inspiration in the France and Belgium Territory when they led meetings that included the commissioning of eight cadets of the Messengers of the Resurrection Session (Les Messagers de la Résurrection).

The Chief joined territorial leaders and training staff in Coeur de Vey Corps (church), Paris, for Covenant Day. One by one the cadets knelt at the place of prayer to sign their promises – having been reminded that the covenant they were about to make was between them and God. Following these special moments a time of fellowship was shared around the table during a meal.

The next day, excitement and enthusiasm were the order of the day in the Palais de la Femme as the hall filled to capacity with family, friends, officers, Salvationists and guests from other denominations. It was noted that a Salvation Army gathering of this size had not been seen in Paris for perhaps 30 years. Territorial Commander Colonel Massimo Paone welcomed the international leaders, special guests and church representatives including Pastor Claude Baty, Chairman of the Protestant Federation of France.

Quietness came upon the hall as the cadets entered one by one to the tune of 'Purify My Heart' played by the territorial band. Once on the platform the cadets joined in singing their sessional song making reference to Jesus being their only hope.

The eight cadets were introduced to the congregation by training coordinator Major Anne Thöni and Lieut-Colonel Anthony Cotterill, Training Principal of the William Booth College in London. Following an explanation of what their training had entailed, the cadets recited their declaration of faith. The territorial commander then commissioned and ordained each cadet in turn before presenting them with their mandate as officers. A prayer of dedication was offered.

During her Bible address Commissioner Silvia Cox reminded her listeners of the need to proclaim the good news and to be fishers of men. She also emphasised the sessional name and the importance of everyone being called to be witnesses of the risen Lord.

People responded when the call to the mercy seat was given, before the meeting drew to a close with the singing of 'Thine is the Glory, Risen Conquering Son'.

In contrast to the reflective nature of the morning meeting, the afternoon celebrations allowed everyone gathered to openly express their delight at the commissioning of eight new officers into the territory. The new lieutenants entered behind the territorial flag, receiving a standing ovation from the congregation.

As had happened in the morning meeting, prayers were offered and the lieutenants testified. Each lieutenant took his or her mother or silver star recipient to the platform to be accepted into the Fellowship of the Silver Star.

The singing of 'I'll Not Turn Back' by the new officers preceded the presentation of appointments by the territorial commander.

In his Bible message, the Chief of the Staff spoke of the need for humility, tranquility and confidence in God. He described officership as being an adventure with God.

During the closing song the new lieutenants prayed with people who had responded to a call for officership.

It was a happy congregation that brought the day's celebrations to a close with a song which implored God to equip his people for service.

Report by Majors Patrick and Julie March