The Chicago Mayfair Community Church, Ill., Corps parking lot teemed with vans, cars and people as Salvationists from across the territory gathered to welcome the “Heralds of Grace” session.
The meeting opened with a warm welcome by Metropolitan Divisional Commander Lt. Colonel Ralph Bukiewicz, who invited the congregation to sing, “We’ve a Story to Tell the Nations.” Afterward he reminded the congregation of the meeting’s purpose: to affirm and celebrate each cadet as they’ve come to be equipped for ministry.
The cadets walked the center aisle to cheers and applause of the crowd and music by the Chicago Staff Band, led by Bandmaster William Himes.
Once the cadets were seated, the lights dimmed for Cadet Steven Dahl’s video testimony. Steven’s unique call to officership came from the witness of a Salvationist on Facebook and Steven’s subsequent perusal of Army theology and ministry. He reminded the congregation how God can use any tool to draw people for His purposes, no matter how different or seemingly insignificant.
In her presentation of the session flag, College for Officer Training (CFOT) Principal Major Cherri Hobbins recalled the flag’s significance, naming Cadet Sarah Eddy as the standard bearer.
A CFOT ensemble sang a lovely rendition of “Grace Alone,” and Territorial Candidates’ Secretary Colonel Dawn Heatwole commented, “I feel like a proud mother,” before inviting the congregation to sing “Take My Life.”
Throughout the evening the cadets shared summaries of their testimonies by completing the sentence, “God’s grace working in my life results in…” Responses like “…a desire to show compassion to others,” and “less of me and more of Christ,” brought affirmations all around.
Cadet Grant Holloway and second year Cadet Jonathan Tamayo provided comic relief as they donned wigs and sang their own quirky lyrics to Disney’s “A Whole New World,” to promote the CFOT Harvest fundraiser.
In her message Commissioner Carol Seiler cited Hebrews 12:15 (NIV): “See to it that no one misses the grace of God…” She pressed the cadets and congregation not to allow the business of officership or life to detract from opportunities to share God’s grace.
“See to it cadets, officers, musicians, soldiers, believers and friends that no one misses God’s grace,” the Commissioner concluded.