A congress led by General André Cox and Commissioner Silvia Cox was held to celebrate the 25th anniversary of The Salvation Army restarting its ministry in Russia in July 1991 after the fall of communism. The Army originally began working in Russia in 1910 but had to cease operations in 1923.
People gathered from around the country to meet in Rostov-on-Don, more than 600 miles south of Moscow, to worship and hear God’s message. Some came from as far east as Vladivostok, a distance of more than 4,000 miles.
The congress theme was based on Joshua 3:5 (NIV): “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.” The opening celebration concert set a joyful atmosphere as the many cultures within the Russian Salvation Army family joined together. The General spoke about the joy of knowing God. The next day at a Worldwide Salvation Army Mission seminar, the General and Commissioner Cox spoke about their vision for the future. Explaining the need to be relevant in the 21st century, the General spoke openly about the current state of the Army and called all Salvationists to take an active part in The Whole World Mobilizing campaign throughout 2017. Afterward, the General challenged participants in a men’s rally to “live in holiness” while delegates to a women’s rally under the leadership of Commissioner Cox heard how precious they are in God’s sight.
That evening, a youth festival themed “I Came to Christ” featured contemporary music and testimonies from three young soldiers on their call to officership. Commissioner Cox shared about her journey with Christ and challenged listeners to make a personal commitment to Jesus. In response many young people knelt at the mercy seat. The evening concluded with young people laying their hands on and praying for the General and Commissioner Cox. On Sunday morning the General spoke about visible grace, encouraging everyone to have a living relationship with Jesus. Fifteen young people responded to the call for officership. The meeting ended with a march led by the General holding the Army flag.