“We dedicate this building today and all that happens in it to the glory of God. It’s His building. It’s His work, and we are His people,” declared Commissioner Paul R. Seiler, territorial commander, in his opening remarks to the 450 people, including national leaders Commissioners David and Barbara Jeffrey, at the dedication of the new Central Territorial Headquarters (THQ) in Hoffman Estates, Ill.
Indeed, while the day was set aside to ask God’s blessing on the beautiful, modern facility from which The Salvation Army’s work in the 11 Midwestern states is led, the emphasis was equally on rededicating the work and people, officers and employees alike.
“We determined when we made a physical move that it was a good time to improve the way we work together to serve the Army on the frontlines around this territory,” Commissioner Seiler continued. “This is a great team of people. They are mission focused, and I appreciate every one of them.”
Information Technology Secretary Ron Shoults, who represented the employees, captured the perspective of those who serve at THQ. “The people who work here know that we belong to something large in the world,” he said, referencing not only the tremendous ministry in the territory but the 127 countries in which The Salvation Army has an official work.
Echoing this life-changing theme, Hoffman Estates Mayor William McLeod responded, “We are proud that you came to our city, and we are also very proud of the work that you do…I don’t think there are too many people in this great country who either haven’t had a family member or haven’t known someone—an acquaintance, a neighbor—who hasn’t been helped by The Salvation Army.”
Earlier in the service the mayor and Chamber of Commerce and Village officials were recognized and thanked by the territorial commander, as well as architects Steven Wright, owner of Wright Heerema Architects (WHA) and Lisa Smith of WHA, principal designer of the territorial headquarters project; and Steve Zuwala, president/founder of ICG (Interior Construction Group).
The U.S. and Salvation Army flags were posted by the Ellsworth Meineka American Legion Post 1983 and Salvationist THQ employee John Gant, followed by singing of the National Anthem accompanied by the Chicago Staff Band (CSB). The CSB joined their voices on the prayerful “Bless this house” preceded by a recitation of Philippians 1:1-11 by the Bill Booth Theater Company.
In a clear and compelling dedicatory address, National Commander Commissioner David Jeffrey focused on following Jesus. He advocated what sets this beautiful structure apart is that people do their work for the service and glory of God.
“If it’s done for His honor and glory, it’s holy,” he said, explaining that with this intent the task is transformed, whether typing a letter, sweeping a floor, entering expenses or preparing food.
He continued, “We are partners in the gospel, and the work you do is as important as the work that I do….You may not have the same opportunities for frontline service but nonetheless what you do is vital to the frontlines. We need each other, and we’re workers together as followers of Jesus Christ.”
After a responsive dedicatory reading led by Commissioner Barbara Jeffrey, national president of women’s ministries, the official ribbon cutting that concluded the service was led by Commissioner Carol Seiler, territorial president of women’s ministries and coordinator for strategic mission planning.
An open house and a reception gave visitors the opportunity to tour the 193,000-square-foot building that not only houses offices and work stations but features 20 conference rooms, seven break areas, a fitness center and a dining room that seats 250 people. The building also hosts the Chicago Staff Band rehearsal and recording studio, the Territorial Historical Museum, the Visual Communications Section studios, and the Adult Rehabilitation Centers Command. The facility features all LED timed lighting and 30 cost-efficient, climate-control zones giving flexibility in heating and cooling portions of the building.
The dedication represented the culmination of a process that began five years ago to improve the functionality and service of THQ.