May 24, 2018
Hey USA Central family, we are overjoyed to be coming back HOME and discover what God is preparing to do amongst us and through all of us together. We have sensed God’s presence, we’ve been obedient to the moving of His Spirit, and we are rewarded by the blessing of coming home to the USA Central Territory!
We are also confident that the Lord has chosen the right General for the right time! I know you will join us in supporting in prayer General-Elect Commissioner Brian Peddle and Commissioner Rosalie Peddle as they move into their new international leadership roles. Their new responsibilities will require much, but we believe with confidence that the Lord will continue to be faithful in providing strength and direction for our leaders.
We are now looking forward with much anticipation to seeing many of you at our upcoming Commissioning Weekend for the ordination and commissioning of the Messengers of the Gospel and for a time of inspiration and renewal with our special guests Lt. Colonels Kelly and Donna Igleheart!
May God continue to bless The Salvation Army!
I am sharing with you the latest High Council report published by International Headquarters. We continue to feel the presence of the Holy Spirit in this place, and are relying on His leading in all that is said and done.
The candidates and their spouses were given further time on Wednesday morning to finish their questionnaires and write their speeches. When the council resumed, Commissioner Willis Howell (Territorial Commander, USA Southern Territory) began the time of devotion with Song 936 from The Song Book of The Salvation Army: “Wanted, Hearts Baptized with Fire.”. Commissioner Bronwyn Buckingham (Territorial Leader for Leadership Development, United Kingdom Territory with the Republic of Ireland) read from Ephesians 3:8, 14-21.
Sharing thoughts ahead of the candidates and spouses presenting their responses to the questionnaires, the Chaplain (Commissioner Mark Tillsley) spoke of the Holy Spirit strengthening the inner person individually; that strength comes corporately through “power, together with all the Lord’s holy people,” (v18) until finally they “be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God,” (v19). This message was for all the council members as they sought God’s will as the time of the election approached. The Chaplain reinforced this when he prayed that this prayer of the apostle Paul was not only for the candidates but for all the leaders gathered in the chamber.
Before lots were drawn for the order in which the candidates would speak, Commissioner Brad Bailey (USA Central Territory) informed the council that he had withdrawn from the election process.
The answers to the questionnaires were delivered without interruption and listened to in respectful silence. As outlined in the Orders of Procedure there followed no expression of approval or dissent.
Following each candidate’s reading of his or her prepared responses and then having answered any clarifying questions, the Chaplain offered two verses from Scripture. The plea: “I am your servant; give me discernment,” (Psalm 119:125); and God’s response: “Be still, and know that I am God,” (Psalm 46:10), after which everyone engaged in moments of silent prayer.
The Chaplain concluded the day in prayer.
—Report by Major Christine Clement
Please know that we greatly appreciate your prayer support during these important days.
May 23, 2018
Our days in London at the High Council continue with constant prayer, seeking the Lord’s guidance in all that is done. I am sharing with you the official report from our time yesterday as published by International Headquarters:
Tuesday morning began with nominees indicating whether they would accept or decline their nomination for election to office as General of The Salvation Army. Five nominees accepted the nomination and these candidates, and spouses, left the council to prepare the answers to the questionnaire and write their speeches.
The council then reconvened to elect a new President to replace Commissioner William Cochrane, who had to step down from the role as a result of accepting nomination. This resulted in another historic moment for a High Council – Commissioner Birgitte Brekke-Clifton being elected the first woman to take this office. Commissioner Clive Adams (Territorial Commander, Sweden and Latvia) was elected as Vice-President.
The final business of the day was to consider questions to be addressed to individual candidates. Those submitted by members were considered, reviewed and accepted or rejected by the council. The morning concluded with the Chaplain leading members in the singing of “Thou Christ of Burning, Cleansing Flame.” Commissioner Mark Tillsley (International Headquarters) prayed for the candidates and spouses – “our brothers and sisters” – who were placing their lives on the altar in a very real way.
Speaking to a group of married women High Council members, Major Christine Clement asked what the nomination of the first married woman meant to them. The response was far ranging: it gives them dignity was one answer; it empowers them; it shows confidence in women; it is a great example to all women and emphasizes that The Salvation Army is focusing on its (married) women officers as leaders. Similarly, asking about the nomination of Commissioner Mnyampi, a Tanzanian and from one of The Salvation Army’s youngest territories, the response was that it was “good for we Africans,” showing that they are ready to be considered for such a level of leadership.
Finally, on a day of firsts, Commissioner Cochrane became the first single male officer to be nominated, almost 90 years after the first single woman was a candidate for the office of General – Commander Evangeline Booth.
However, as much as there may be interest in the firsts and interesting facts from the 19th High Council, they will not be important when it comes to the election process. As it says in Proverbs: “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord,” (16:33).
—Lt. Colonel Brian Venables
Heidi and I appreciate your prayer support for us, for the other High Council members, and for this entire process.
The presence of the Holy Spirit has been very real in our gathering at the High Council. We are earnestly seeking the Lord’s guidance as we consider the future of The Salvation Army and how we can best serve Him in building His Kingdom. The following report has been shared by International Headquarters:
Following a day of worship on Pentecost Sunday, including an afternoon of prayer, the 2018 High Council resumed its work on Monday morning. Commissioner Prema Wilfred (Territorial President of Women’s Ministries, India Northern Territory) brought the Bible reading from Luke 5:1-11 about Jesus calling fishermen as his first disciples, on which the Chaplain (Commissioner Mark Tillsley, International Headquarters) focused, emphasizing the need to leave the shallows and ‘put out into the deep’. There may be uncertainty in the deep waters, he explained, but it is there that the depth of Christ’s love and mercy can be discovered, along with the depth of Christ’s mastery and of Christ’s majesty. The devotional period concluded with the singing of “O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus” before Commissioner Yvonne Conrad (TPWM, Southern Africa Territory) prayed.
Over the weekend the Questions Committee had done its work and, once these questions were agreed for both the candidate for General and his or her spouse (if married), the council again had a significant time of prayer before moving to the nomination process. Now was the time to test the deep water.
One by one the members left the chamber to make their nomination in private, returning to post their ballot paper in one of two boxes for this purpose. Of interest is that one of the boxes is the original ballot box used over the years and the second was added for a more recent High Council.
The day concluded with the nomination process.
—Report by Major Christine Clement
Thank you for sharing with us in prayer.
May 22, 2018
I have received word that some of you were able to enjoy the tremendous Welcome to the High Council and Farewell to General André Cox and Commissioner Silvia Cox via various social media sites, but I am pleased to share the official written report that was published by International Headquarters. It was indeed an exciting, worshipful, and God-honoring event!
“PERSONAL” is not the first word that springs to mind when describing a big event in central London, but the Welcome to the High Council and Farewell to General André Cox and Commissioner Silvia Cox managed to be spectacular and yet highly personal. The General’s message that every person can change the world if they give themselves over to God was backed up by stories from the international leaders’ lives that demonstrated how, through service and sacrifice, they have made a personal impact around the world that will last long after they retire in August.
The event, in Central Hall, Westminster, began in a lively fashion, with a fanfare from the Fanfare Trumpeters of the Household Division of the British Army, resplendent in red tunics and bearskin hats. The congregation rose to welcome the General and Commissioner Cox, who were followed into the hall by the 108 members of the 2018 High Council. The Chief of the Staff, Commissioner Brian Peddle, welcomed the congregation to the best ticket in town – a nod to the royal wedding which had just taken place about 25 miles to the west.
The General turned to face the members of the High Council, who were seated behind the stage, to charge them to consider carefully the sacred purpose of electing the next General. He told them it was “time to cast aside any personal opinions,” adding: “God does not always work in the way we expect.”
Music played an important role in the meeting, from lively pre-meeting contributions by the International Staff Band (ISB), International Staff Songsters (ISS) and Boscombe Timbrels, to pieces that brought about an atmosphere of prayer and contemplation. This mix of styles was demonstrated when the hushed atmosphere after “The Prayer” was sung by Gemma Hinchliffe, accompanied by the ISS and trumpeter Simon Cox (nephew of the General and Commissioner Cox), was followed immediately by the lively singing, dancing, and drumming of African Praise, a British group made up of Salvationists from Zimbabwe and other African countries. The African influence – appropriate for the farewell to The Salvation Army’s first Africa-born General – was felt throughout the afternoon, including some extra-loud cheers when African leaders marched onto the stage!
“If I Were the General …” gave opportunity to three young people to offer their thoughts on what a General should be and do. Daniel Rose and Joel Lalhmingliana – featuring in a video presentation – came up with innovations such as giving out chocolate bars to encourage people to attend worship, allowing trombones to play at double forte and keeping sermons to four minutes long! Addressing the congregation in the hall, Emma Góchez considered some ideas for making Army uniforms more practical and fashionable but also spoke about the importance of using teenagers already in The Salvation Army to help other teens who were struggling. “We need to let more light into this dark world,”she said.
An African-style arrangement of “They Shall Come from the East, They Shall Come from the West” began with singing by some of the ISB and then grew to take in the whole congregation, with drumming and dancing from African Praise. This was followed by a prayer and Bible reading given by the writer of the original music to the song, Retired General John Larsson, who prayed that High Council members would receive “a generous supply of wisdom that comes from above.”
“Consecrated Service” was a new piece by Bandmaster Richard Phillips, written as a musical tribute to the General and Commissioner Cox. Featuring the ISB, ISS, Gemma Hinchliffe, Simon Cox, African Praise, and Boscombe Timbrels, the work took the listener on a journey through the term of office of the General, from the early sacred moments following election through to their taking the message of being a consecrated, mobilised people around the world, all using well-known Salvation Army songs.
Tributes to the retiring leaders were paid by two members of the High Council. Commissioner Margaret Siamoya (Territorial Commander, Zambia) thanked the Coxes for showing Spiritual leadership. She complimented the “dancing General” (“when you visited Africa!”) on his championing of the Accountability Movement, his leadership at the International Congress in 2015, and the introduction of The Whole World Mobilising initiative which she said has had a great impact in her territory. The commissioner paid tribute to “Mama” Silvia’s impact on souls and particularly her advocacy for women’s development.
Commissioner Massimo Paone (Territorial Commander, Switzerland, Austria and Hungary) spoke about how the General and Commissioner Cox had embraced their roles with
commitment, passion, and energy. He made a particular point to highlight the example that the leaders had made in working closely as a team, saying that this type of joint ministry could be seen as The Salvation Army’s secret treasure.
It wasn’t all good news, however. Thanking the international leaders for choosing to retire in Switzerland, he warned them: “From 3 August I will be your territorial commander” and said that he expected them to be coach and mentor to him and his wife … “and I won’t take no for an answer!”
A video put together by the Coxes’ family showed how the international leaders has kept in touch over the past five years while visiting every Salvation Army territory and command. Their children and grandchildren received a postcard from every country they visited, along with a selection of gifts. Some of the grandchildren made their way onto the stage to return the favour, with Sarah Makanjera – one of the General and Commissioner Cox’s three daughters – saying that the next appointment was as full-time grandparents.
In response, Commissioner Cox spoke about the immense privilege that has been hers and that she was thankful for the adventures. She told the congregation that she could never imagine how a shy person who was scared of flying could have done what she has over the past five years, travelling all over the world to speak to crowds that sometimes contained several thousand people. Through everything, she added, she has learned to trust God. She said that she had been aware of the power of prayer, which she knew had been supporting her, and paid tribute to the support she had also received from her husband, who she described as such a wonderful man – to the delight of the congregation!
Stirring songs from the ISS, “More than Wonderful” and “All Rise” (including soloist Kerry Sampson), led into the congregation singing of “Holy, Holy, Holy” before a video presentation reminded the congregation of the General’s “I Dream” statements that had underpinned his whole term of office, focusing on The Salvation Army he wanted to see – an accountable, mobilised Army that gave young people a voice. The General took up the last “dream” statement, then told the congregation – and thousands of people watching the live stream online – that he had been delighted to see some aspects of his dream become reality. He acknowledged the support he has received as General, from the prayers of Salvationists worldwide to the way that he and Commissioner Cox have been released by their family. Far from being satisfied, however, he warned: “The Salvation Army around the world has the potential to be so much more!” And while he acknowledged that there are successes, he pointed out that when things are going well, it can become easy to stop relying on God. “Woe to us,” he challenged, “if we ever forget the Lord in our Army.” He told his listeners not to allow compromise to take hold, and to avoid being taken in by the spirit of the world. Asking: “Do we rely on ourselves or do we rely on God’s strength?”, the General pointed out that “the light of our lives can sometimes be diminished by compromise,” and yet “the world in which we live is desperate to see light and hope.” Referring to Joy Webb’s song “The Candle of the Lord,” which talks about taking the light of God to the darkest places of society, the General called on everyone listening to join him in saying: “Lord, light me so I can make a difference in the world.”
There followed sacred moments as the ISS sang the song referred to by the General. People moved from the congregation to kneel at the mercy seat in front of the stage. Some members of the High Council moved to speak to the seekers while others quietly stood from their seats in an attitude of prayer and solidarity.
The General challenged the congregation to “stand and make this song your prayer,” which brought a unanimous response from everyone present. Following the meeting online, many people added comments such as “Amen,” “Praise God,” and “Lord, light me.” (At time of writing, the stream had been watched live or on catch-up more than 40,000 times.) The meeting finished in spectacular, joyful style with “O Boundless Salvation!”, the song known as the Founder’s Song and, as explained by the Chief of the Staff, “A bit of an anthem for us!” As the congregation gave a full throated rendition of the seven verses, the music groups that had taken part joined in one by one, including the fanfare trumpeters who stood on the balcony, and officers from International Headquarters who waved flags, until the final verse, “And now, Hallelujah, the rest of my days shall gladly be spent in promoting His praise,” reached a glorious conclusion, followed by a long, spontaneous round of applause.
The congregation may have come to pay tribute to The Salvation Army’s international leaders and welcome the group that will choose the next General, but they left having praised God and committed themselves – on a very personal level – to being a light for God in the darkest places of the world.
—Report by Kevin Sims
IHQ Communications, International Headquarters
I am hopeful that from this report on the Saturday evening event will stir your hearts to continue with urgency the Salvation War as we move forward in service to our God and King.
May 21, 2018
I wanted to share with you the official report that was released regarding our second day of the High Council:
The second day of the 2018 High Council began with the words ‘May Jesus Christ Be Praised!’ resounding around the chamber. Colonel Arschette Moukoko (Territorial President of Women’s Ministries, Mozambique) read from 1 Peter 5 before the Chaplain, Commissioner Mark Tillsley (International Secretary for the Americas and Caribbean Zone), shared thoughts about leadership based on Peter referring to himself as a ‘fellow elder’. The devotional period concluded with song #397 from The Song Book of The Salvation Army, the contemporary worship song ‘This is My Desire to Honour You’. With that prayer on their lips the council began the day’s work.
At the end of the first day the Council was working through the Orders of Procedure that will guide the remaining time of the High Council in its deliberations. With the orders agreed the council was ready to move forward.
The next step in working towards its aim of electing the 21st General of The Salvation Army is to elect a Questions Committee. The members of the committee who will undertake the work of formulating the questions to be answered by each candidate to be General are Commissioner Merle Heatwole (International Headquarters), Commissioner Marie Willermark (Germany, Lithuania and Poland Territory), Commissioner Lorraine Bamford (USA Eastern Territory), Commissioner Clive Adams (Sweden and Latvia Territory), Commissioner Susan McMillan (Canada and Bermuda Territory), Commissioner Oscar Sánchez (Mexico Territory), Commissioner Prema Wilfred (India Northern Territory), Commissioner Grace Chepkurui (Kenya West Territory) and Commissioner Jennifer Walker (Indonesia Territory).
Members of the council were invited to submit possible questions. Now the committee will do its work and prepare the questionnaires. When its work is done the council can move forward to the nomination of candidates for election as the next General of The Salvation Army.
Commissioner Wilfred Varughese (India Northern Territory) concluded the day in prayer.
—Report by Major Christine Clement
I trust this additional look into the business of the High Council will help guide your prayers as you continue to lift us up to the Father’s Throne.
May 18, 2018
I wanted to provide an update on the proceedings which are taking place at the High Council.
An election took place voting in officers who will serve for the duration of the council:
Commissioner William Cochrane (Territorial Commander, Norway, Iceland and The Færoes Territory) was elected as President.
Commissioner Birgitte Brekke-Clifton (International Secretary for Programme Resources, International Headquarters) was elected as Vice-President.
Commissioner Mark Tillsley (International Secretary for the Americas and Caribbean, IHQ) was chosen as the Chaplain.
We are pleased to announce that the Formal Welcome to the High Council and the Retirement Salute for General André Cox and Commissioner Silvia Cox will be held on Saturday, May 19, beginning with 30 minutes of preliminary music at 3:30 pm. This service will be live streamed and available via several sites including: https://www.salvationarmy.org/ihq/highcouncil2018 and http://salarmycentral.org/. Please take into consideration the time difference.
Your continued prayers for these deliberations is much appreciated. We can feel the presence and guidance of the Holy Spirit in this place, and know with certainty that God is providing direction as we seek His will.
May 16, 2018
The Pre-High Council has just finished. Many important topics concerning the future were reviewed, discussed, and prayed for by a beautiful and beautifully diverse group of leaders from around the world and who are, each and every one, a gift to The Salvation Army.
General André and Commissioner Silvia Cox gave their final private address to this group this morning and challenged all of us to seek the will of God inspired and guided by the Holy Spirit as The Salvation Army’s future depends on it. Now, they leave to go home and meet with family before the Welcome to the 2018 High Council and Farewell to the General and Commissioner Silvia Cox on Saturday at the Central Hall Westminster, London.
There is peace and sense of expectation in our spirits as we move into this next and extremely important phase in the choosing of the next General of The International Salvation Army.
We leave you with words from the chorus “Lord, If Your Presence,” by Yvonne Field, and we ask that you continue to join us in this, our prayer;
“So we stand within your presence,
And humbly seek your grace;
Father Almighty, Jehovah, Savior,
We long to meet you face to face.
Let your glory fall upon us,
Convict, inspire, provide;
Father Almighty, Jehovah, Savior,
Your holy presence is our guide.”
May God bless our Salvation Army!
May 15, 2018
As we have shared on other occasions, the Kingdom of God isn’t limited to a place, or a group of people, or even a specific time. The Kingdom of God is defined by the King and His supremacy and reign. Wherever in our world and in our beloved Salvation Army we find the supremacy of God, there we will also find the expression of God’s Kingdom on Earth.
The richness and fullness of the High Council, which gathers for the express purpose of electing the next General of the International Salvation Army, lies in the diverse and multifaceted expression of the Kingdom of God that we experience as a group of International Salvation Army leaders who embrace their number one priority as that of honoring God above all.
The focus of the High Council must continue to be on who can best lead us in keeping our divine focus on our Mission Statement which declares:
The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.
This is God’s Salvation Army, and we covet your thoughts and prayers as we participate in this humbling and God-honoring decision.