Pathway of Hope goes Down Under

Maribeth Swanson and Commissioner Miriam Gluyas, Australia territorial commander

The Territorial Pathway of Hope (POH) leadership team, led by Dr. Maribeth Swanson, territorial social services secretary, and Linda Brinker, Pathway of Hope director, represented the Central Territory at the 140-year celebration of Salvation Army social services in Australia.

The five-day event held in Melbourne focused on sharing integrated mission approaches from across Australia and The Salvation Army worldwide. The conference theme, “Everybody has a work to do,” highlighted the call for soldiers, officers and social service professionals to serve from a heart of compassion for “the last, the least and the lost” in Jesus’ name.

The invitation came following the submission of a peer reviewed proposal. A wide array of topics focused on service delivery designed to meet the unique cultural and social context of Australia and local community needs. An emphasis was placed on exploring the historical foundations of The Salvation Army in Australia and the internationalism that is unique to the organization. The conference had representation from the U.S., Denmark, New Zealand, Norway and the United Kingdom.

Conference leaders with the international presenters

Following the conference, the Australia Territory’s social and community services leaders coordinated tours of multiple street and community mission programs, corps community centers, healthcare facilities, and treatment and housing programs for the international delegation. This informative time was capped off by a two-day strategy session to further discuss the POH initiative, Australia’s Doorways program and other innovative programs offered by the participating countries.

Linda Brinker presents on POH.

The highly successful discussions resulted in an exchange of key aspects of service delivery which could potentially be adopted by each country and included plans to continue periodic consultation as part of an international collaborative effort.

The Australia team expressed a strong interest in piloting POH in the future. All attendees agreed that POH strongly aligns with the holistic mission and integrated ministry of The Salvation Army.

 

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