19 September 2016

A LARGE and very diverse crowd greeted General André Cox and Commissioner Silvia Cox (World President of Women's Ministries) at the public gathering in Athens, Greece that was held in connection with The Salvation Army's European Zonal Leaders' Conference. Refugees and asylum seekers were at the event, which was also attended by two ambassadors, the leader of the Anglican Church in Athens, Salvation Army leaders from across Europe and local Salvationists from Athens and Thessaloniki.

A greeting was given by Heracles Moskoff, the Greek Government's National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human Beings, and music was provided by an ensemble of Salvation Army officer brass players and a male voice group. In his Bible message, the General encouraged Salvationists in Greece to live out their faith in visible ways.

The previous evening, in support of the recently established Salvation Army presence in Athens, a small group of officers who were part of the leaders' conference visited Victoria Square in the heart of the city where they formed a band and played to some of the refugees who remain encamped there. Some of the children who gathered round the band had never seen or heard 'live' music, and they stood still and silent all the way through the musical presentation. The opportunity to briefly and respectfully share the gospel message with a predominantly Muslim audience was a moving experience for all involved.

Major Polis Pantelidis (Regional Officer, Greece) shared something of the story of The Salvation Army, gave his personal testimony and concluded the activity with prayer, all of which was translated by a volunteer so the refugees who had gathered to listen to the message could understand.

Later, the General and Commissioner Cox joined International Headquarters representatives and leaders of The Salvation Army from across Europe in Athens for the zonal leaders' conference, which is held every three years to consider strategic plans for the future of the Army in the continent.

Video footage of the band playing in Victoria Square can be seen on Colonel Henrik Andersen's Facebook page: sar.my/vsband

Photos from the weekend are available to download from the IHQ Flickr stream at: sar.my/gengre 

Report by Europe Zone
International Headquarters

Tags: Europe, The General