Not just their name but who they are
“It’s not just a session name; it’s a purpose, and this session is consumed with sharing the gospel. It’s who they are,” declared Territorial Commander Commissioner Brad Bailey in his Sunday-morning message during the commissioning and ordination service for the “Messengers of the Gospel” session.
The meeting, “Gathering at the Table,” was a worshipful experience reflecting the sacredness of the moment with an undercurrent of joy as 22 cadets were ordained as ministers of the gospel and commissioned as officers while A/Captains Ketsia Diaz and Peggy North received the rank of full captain.
“Jesus set the table for His followers in preparation for His leaving,” the territorial commander continued. They were told to wait until they received the promised power and guidance of the Holy Spirit to enable them to spread His gospel throughout the world [Acts 1:4-8]. He compared it to sessions of cadets attending the training college as a group of strangers starting out together with the promise they, too, will be equipped and empowered through the Holy Spirit to spread the gospel.
Together Commissioners Brad and Heidi Bailey ordained and commissioned the individual Messengers of the Gospel and shared the scripture passage selected for each by their officer spiritual mentors at the college. Cabinet members then gathered around the session to dedicate them in prayer. Captain Kristina Sjogren, Norridge Citadel, Ill., corps officer, read a blessing for the new lieutenants on behalf of officers, as did Oak Creek Centennial, Wis., Corps Sergeant-Major Ken Tregellas on behalf of soldiers. The congregation then read a blessing of its support, followed by a promise of mutual support intoned by everyone.
Near the end of the meeting, the new lieutenants and second-year “Messengers of Compassion” dispersed into the aisles to pray with people. Noting the many, now-empty chairs on the stage, Commissioner Brad Bailey invited those answering the call of God on their lives to become officers to occupy the chairs. More than 70 people mounted the stage, necessitating others to vacate their seats to accommodate the throng. In a light-hearted way, the territorial commander asked all assistant candidates’ secretaries in the theater to stand—which had all officers on their feet—available to speak with anyone in the audience interested in officership.
The table motif for the weekend culminated in the Sunday afternoon service of appointments, “The Table is Set.” Special recognition was made of the 75th reunion of the “Valiant” session represented by surviving members Commissioner William H. Roberts and Brigadier Frank Hovelman, who received a standing ovation.
Valedictorian and session speaker Lt. Jenny Moffitt shared a spirited reflection on her session’s experiences at the training college and presented the gospel message.
In her charge to the new lieutenants, Commissioner Heidi Bailey challenged them to build a larger table in every future appointment, and to always have an extra chair on hand. Emphasizing she was speaking both metaphorically and literally, Commissioner Heidi suggested building a big table might be a good corps project for cementing new relationships.
“Your new table, wherever you end up using it at your corps, will be a redeeming place, a space for God, whenever you put it out,” she added.
Commissioners Brad and Heidi then shared the privilege of issuing the first appointments to the new lieutenants. Having fun “oohing and ahhing” over children and making teasing comments about the locations of the first appointments, the Baileys first read the personal life verses selected by the lieutenants before sending them on to their new corps homes.