Not all superheroes wear capes

Defenders of Justice welcomed, 730 delegates challenged

by Major Jennifer Ortman

In presenting the “Defenders of Justice” session of cadets at their public welcome, Captain Kelly Hanton, territorial candidates’ secretary, proclaimed the 14 cadets already know how to serve and lead, having collectively held 54 local officer positions in their corps.

She talked about their variety of backgrounds and experiences, citing that while half are first-generation Salvationists, others bring a Salvationist heritage up to six generations!

“It’s more than just a number,” said College for Officer Training (CFOT) Principal Major John Pook. “It speaks of heritage and legacy that is being lived out and will continue to be lived out through them.”

The training principal encouraged the session to remember the basis of their name as a “superhero” call to serve God—that they know their enemy and Commander and Chief and they’re empowered by the Holy Spirit. After receiving the session flag from Territorial Commander Commissioner Brad Bailey, he presented it with a charge to session flagbearer Cadet Maria Eugenia Medina. The cadets saluted their flag for the first time before a prayer of blessing by Territorial Leader for Leader Development Commissioner Heidi Bailey, who mentioned each one of them by name.

“I fell into a deeper love with the mission in Denia,” said Cadet Donald Cooper, who shared how God worked through his life during his recent participation on the Global Mission Team to Denia, Spain. He talked about the corps’ ministries; the offering taken later that evening supported by World Services/Self-Denial.

Cadet Chatara Mabry’s testimony revealed God was directing her plans and equipping her for officership long before she knew about it.

“I saw how God was using my 13 years of service as a social worker defending the weak and fatherless, upholding the cause of the poor and oppressed, my seven years of teaching in higher education, and how fighting for justice, equity and inclusion for the last three years were preparing me for the work I’d be doing as an officer,” she reflected.

Commissioner Brad Bailey delivered the evening’s message based on the session’s verse, Micah 6:8. Using portions from the Old and New Testaments, he reminded everyone of God’s presence and standard of righteousness and justice, then urged them to love God and love their neighbors.

“Being part of a Micah 6 generation means selling out to Jesus in all ways,” he said. “No longer content to pretend to follow Him, we must be all in with Him, with His purposes as we focus on sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ and serve others in His name.”

In response, the altar was flooded by the entire first-year cadet session and others from the congregation. To conclude the meeting, those who believe they are called to become officers were asked to join the Defenders of Justice on stage to show their commitment to seek God’s will for their lives.

Held at the Chicago Mayfair Community Church (Corps), the meeting kicked off the Territorial 730 Weekend, an event designed to bring those who are exploring their calling to the CFOT campus to learn the next steps. With the theme “Detours,” the meetings looked at the many ways God directs our steps to just the right place at just the right time. This was emphasized in cadet testimonies and messages by corps officers Captain Alex Yanez, Captain AJ Zimmerman and Major Catherine Mount.

“I’m extraordinarily thankful for this year’s 730 theme,” said Matt McCarter, ministry intern at the Lincoln, Neb., Corps. “My whole journey to officership has taken many detours, and so it was relieving to know I wasn’t alone.”

Delegates stayed in cadet housing, were assigned cadets to host them, toured the campus and participated in small groups. An informational session with Blake Lanier from The Lanier Group covered the Candidate Coaching Action Plan

(CAP). During a panel discussion with select members of territorial leadership, CFOT officers and candidates’ secretaries, they could ask questions about CFOT life, academics, the candidate process, officership and leadership.

“The 730 experience was very beneficial,” said Charles Cloak, an intern at the Noble Worship Center (Corps) in Brooklyn Park, Minn. “I was very happy to get a more vivid tour of the college, also to know that my calling is to be an officer and to continue God’s will in my life by going to the college. The CAP experience was very eye-opening and being able to stay in the dorms was a blessing to see where I will be living when I am at CFOT.”

Territorial Corps Sergeant-Major Rochelle Holman shared with cadets what soldiers hope for from their corps officers. Members of the Territorial Cabinet, divisional candidates’ secretaries and CFOT staff also supported the weekend.

On Sunday morning, Major Catherine challenged delegates to live “empowered by God, not enslaved by circumstances,” and Captain Kelly asked delegates who had decided to pursue officership to tell someone so it would become real, solid and accountable.

Cassie Sandoval, ministry assistant at the Garden City, Kan., Corps, summed up the weekend: “My experience with 730 was a time to remember, from everyone being welcoming to the amazing stories others shared. The joy that overflowed in the room with God’s presence was something I will never forget.”

 

 

 

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