The prayer powerhouse of the High Council chamber has continued to be a source of rich blessing, surrender and empowering as members have met today (Friday 26 May) to listen to the candidates to be the 22nd General of The Salvation Army and their spouses present responses to the questionnaires.
At the beginning of the day’s business, Vice-President Commissioner Eva Kleman acknowledged and thanked the support teams, including translators, IT and secretariat staff, a sentiment endorsed by the Council with long, appreciative applause.
IN HARMONY WITH THE SPIRIT
As Colonel Philip Maxwell (Territorial Commander, Hong Kong and Macau Territory) shared a devotional thought, he referenced the acute awareness of the presence of God that has been felt throughout this week. In addressing the candidates, he said: ‘Today or tomorrow a General will be announced. You will be the person God anoints for leadership. You are not yet the person God wants you to be, but you will be through the prayers and support of those surrounding you in this room.’
The Chaplain, Commissioner Yusak Tampai, shared with members a printed copy of a prayer of discernment and wisdom which he wrote in preparation for this day. As the music of ‘He is able’ was played, he invited members to read through the prayer and allow God to speak to them. This is part of the prayer:
‘Most gracious Father, help me to exercise this sacred task of High Council in harmony with the Spirit, purely and solely for your glory. Amen.’
RESPONSES FROM THE CANDIDATES
As lots were drawn, the order in which the candidates would speak was determined. Their responses were delivered without interruption and listened to in respectful silence, without any expression of approval or dissent throughout (as outlined in the Orders of Procedure).
At the conclusion of each candidate’s reading of his or her prepared response, Council members engaged in silent prayer. The Chaplain then shared three verses of encouragement and confidence from Scripture: ‘Be still, and know that I am God’ (Psalm 46:10 New International Version); ‘Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go’ (Joshua 1:9 NIV); and ‘Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you’ (Joshua 3:5 New King James Version), after which he prayed.
At the conclusion of the responses, the Council moved into the presentation of the candidates’ prepared speeches. Order was again determined by lot. At the conclusion of each speech, members engaged in silent prayer for a period of five minutes before the Chaplain shared two verses of Scripture: ‘But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere’ (James 3:17 NIV); and ‘Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives’ (Galatians 5:25 New Living Translation). Each time he included in his prayer, ‘Most gracious Father, help me to exercise this sacred task of High Council in harmony with the Spirit, purely and solely for your glory.’
A SACRED AND SIGNIFICANT DAY
This has been a sacred and significant day leading up to the election of the General. God’s presence has been felt deeply by the members of the Council and particularly by the candidates – Commissioners Lyndon Buckingham, Merle Heatwole and Kenneth Hodder, and Colonel Diana Macdonald.
Tomorrow (Saturday 27 May), the election for the General will take place. The High Council members covet your prayers.
Report by Lieut-Colonel Jennifer Groves