18 May 2017

GENERAL André Cox and Commissioner Silvia Cox (World President of Women's Ministries) shared moments of celebration and challenge during a visit to the Switzerland, Austria and Hungary Territory.

The visit began in Vienna, Austria, where the international leaders joined Salvationists and friends in thanking God for his guidance and care during The Salvation Army's 90 years in the country. At a press conference the General talked about the Army’s worldwide ministry and City Commander Major Hans-Marcel Leber and social services section leader Ulrike Knecht gave a presentation on The Salvation Army’s work in Vienna.

The Salvation Army is relatively small in Austria, with one corps (church) and a few social programmes, yet it became clear that the impact of its work is appreciated by the city of Vienna. A call from The Salvation Army for more affordable housing in Vienna was shared on a national news website and featured on the city's own site, which included a comment from the General. The visit and the Army's 90th anniversary in Austria were subjects of a column in the newspaper Neue Kronen Zeitung.

The General and Commissioner Cox visited the SalztorZentrum men's hostel and toured Haus Erna, a residential home for men. Vienna Corps is also based in the same building. At an open-air 'nostalgic service', the General unveiled a plaque to commemorate the life of pioneer officer Brigadier Erna Kissuth. Two Swiss officers shared memories of their service in Austria.

Commissioner Cox preached about Paul’s obedience to God’s call on his life, reminding the congregation that God is still calling people today. Her prayer, she said, is that all her listeners would be able, like Paul, to say: 'I have not been disobedient.'

In the evening, the international leaders attended anniversary celebrations attended by soldiers and employees from Vienna with their families, work partners, supporters, other Salvationists and representatives of churches. There were musical contributions, testimonies, drama, a podium discussion and an inspiring keynote message from the General. 

On Saturday the General and Commissioner Cox left Austria to travel to Miskolc in Hungary, where more than 300 people met to celebrate The Salvation Army's work in the country.

People from every Salvation Army corps and social service centre in Hungary were in the congregation for a meeting that included worship songs accompanied by a brass band as well as a worship group from Budapest-Rákoscsaba Corps, prayer, preaching of the Word and an opportunity to respond to the Holy Spirit.

Testimonies by Commissioner Cox and two Hungarian Salvationists touched many people. Following the General’s call to work as one Army with one mission, fighting against injustice and for salvation, many people dedicated their lives once again to God’s will.

The meeting and the following lunch were of particular significance to a number of Roma people who attended. Many said that they felt honoured to be part of an international organisation such as The Salvation Army, which they consider to be a gift from God.

Report by Florina German

Tags: Europe, The General