15 November 2012

GOD'S word was uplifted and people responded to the prompting of the Holy Spirit when General Linda Bond returned to her home country of Canada to lead rallies in Newfoundland and Toronto.

Salvationists in the Newfoundland and Labrador Division enthusiastically greeted General Linda Bond at a public rally in St John’s, Newfoundland. More than 700 people crowded into the sanctuary of the Mary Queen of Peace Church to welcome the General and to join in worship with fellow Salvationists from various regions of the province. The General was capably supported by Canada and Bermuda territorial leaders Commissioners Brian and Rosalie Peddle, who were given a warm welcome home to their native province, and divisional leaders Lieut-Colonels Wayne and Myra Pritchett. 

Inspiring, uplifting worship was supported by the music of St John’s Temple Band, Trinity Bay South Corps Worship Team, and St John’s Citadel Songsters.

Personal testimonies by George Skeard (Grand Falls Citadel) and Joanne Pardy (Mount Pearl Citadel) bore witness to the International Vision of One Army, One Mission, One Message. George spoke with gratitude of his opportunity to serve with the Canadian Salvation Army mission team at the Summer Olympics in London. Joanne – young people's sergeant-major at her corps – testified to deep peace she has received through her faith at times of great crisis and also expressed the satisfaction of involvement in ministry to children and young people. 

In the General's Bible message, Jesus Christ was uplifted and individuals were challenged to deepen their relationship with him and to renew their commitment to follow him in a world that is hungry for God’s love and compassion. The evening was crowned with a steady stream of seekers expressing their deepest desire to accept the challenge of God’s word. The outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit and his anointing upon his servant, the General, was unmistakable. 

Two days later, in Toronto, excitement and anticipation filled the John Bassett Theatre at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre as hundreds of people gathered for a Salvationists rally. Territorial Commander Commissioner Brian Peddle made reference to the General's Canadian heritage in his words of introduction: 'With the warmth of our hearts we welcome you home.'

At the General’s request, a video promoting the Army’s Worldwide Prayer Meeting was shown. The General encouraged all Salvationists to participate in this global initiative to cover the Army world in prayer between five and eight o'clock every Thursday morning. 'I believe an Army on the march must first be an Army on its knees,' she said.

The Friday evening rally featured representative Salvationists from the Ontario Central-East and Ontario Great Lakes Divisions, including Toronto’s Yorkminster Songsters, North York Temple Singing Company, Oshawa Temple Band and vocal soloist Karen Gross. A highlight of the programme was the performance of the Ontario Central-East Junior Timbrelists, more than 30 strong, to Erik Leidzén’s 'The Invincible Army'.

Rebecca Bailey Minaker testified to her life-changing experience as a delegate to the first International College for Soldiers held in London, UK, and thanked the General for her support of this new venture. Gabriela Cravioto shared how she dedicated her life to Jesus Christ during a Hispanic family camp.
During her Bible message, the General outlined what love for God means for his followers. 'Love for God is a response. Love for God is obedience. Love for God is service,' she said. She reminded those in attendance that the work they do as Salvationists is not done for the Army but for God. In response to the General’s invitation, officers and Salvationists went forward to rededicate their lives to the service of God.

On Saturday, the General received an honorary doctor of divinity degree from Tyndale University College in Toronto during their fall graduation ceremony. Entering the Bayview Campus Chapel to the congregational singing of 'Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee' with members of the graduating class and college faculty, the General took her place on the platform. Lending musical support was an ensemble from North York Temple Band.

An alumna of the college, the General was introduced by Gary Nelson, college president and vice chancellor, who stated that she had been chosen to be honoured in this way because she exemplifies the values, commitment and leadership represented by graduates of the institution. 'She is committed to the history, theology and mission of The Salvation Army,' he said.

Following the conferring of the honorary doctorate by Stephanie Ling, college chancellor, the General addressed those gathered. 'I receive this honour as the General of The Salvation Army,' she said. 'The glory belongs to God.'

During her time in the territory, the General led officers councils in St John's and Toronto.

Report by Major Wade Budgell (St John's) and Pamela Richardson (Toronto)