For the first time in history, the international, national and territorial leadership teams from all four USA territories met for a Leadership Summit. During the two-day event, the leaders sought God’s guidance and vision for The Salvation Army in the United States of America.
Gathering in south Florida, international leader General Brian Peddle and Commissioner Rosalie Peddle (World President of Women’s Ministries), along with Chief of the Staff Commissioner Lyndon Buckingham and Commissioner Bronwyn Buckingham (World Secretary for Spiritual Life Development) and Commissioners Edward and Shelley Hill (zonal leaders, the Americas and Caribbean, International Headquarters (IHQ)), were guest leaders at a Leadership Summit with the national and territorial leadership teams from across the USA.
To commence, the General and Commissioner Peddle, along with hundreds of officers, soldiers and friends of The Salvation Army, shared in worship. Under the ministry of the Chief of Staff, the day began with exuberant worship at Fort Lauderdale Adult Rehabilitation Center where the redeeming work of the Lord was celebrated as graduates were acknowledged for their achievements. Worship then moved to Fort Lauderdale Corps (church), with other local corps contributing through dance, praise and song.
From receiving salvation at the age of seven until now, God’s faithfulness has marked Commissioner Rosalie Peddle’s life and ministry. The commissioner shared her thoughts that while recent years have been traumatic for us all, she still firmly believes that, looking across the globe from her ministry at IHQ, God still has the whole world in his hands. During her testimony, Commissioner Rosalie shared lyrics that summed up her life experiences: ‘All my life, you have been faithful. All my life, you have been so, so good.’ She recognised the contribution made by women in leadership across The Salvation Army and said, ‘Almost half of the population of the world is female, and I am humbled and privileged to work with inspiring and capable Salvationist women leaders every day. Of course, like everyone else, I have longed for that in-person contact – those meetings where we can see each other smile and share our faith together. This trip had a packed itinerary, with some challenging conversations yet it was also an absolute delight to have the opportunity to share time together in friendship and fellowship. I look forward to doing more of this throughout the coming year.’
The highlight of the meeting at Fort Lauderdale was the enrolment by the General of 20 senior soldiers and eight junior soldiers from local corps. The General challenged the new soldiers to follow their covenant and promise, whilst reminding them of their commitment to the Lord.
General Peddle further challenged those gathered to live out the mission of the Army, and asked the question from Isaiah 6, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ Answering this, the General continued: ‘The Salvation Army must listen to God’s call and answer, “Send me. Send me to my neighbour. Send me to my casual acquaintances. Send me to my co-workers. Send me to the family nearby. Send me, if God wills, to the training college. Send me to the ends of the earth if that is what he wants.”’
Following this powerful meeting, the General, with Commissioner Rosalie Peddle and Commissioners Hill met the National Advisory Board at its tri-annual board meeting. Speaking to board members, General Peddle, along with USA National Commander Commissioner Kenneth Hodder, shared news of the exciting growth being experienced as well as the opportunities arising for the Army in the United States and around the world. The National Advisory Board members had the opportunity to respond with questions, which were underlined by the notion that they know who The Salvation Army is, what it stands for, and are steadfast in their commitment to support the Army as it marches forward in mission.
The General said, ‘One of the great delights for me as General of the Salvation Army is to meet our officers, soldiers and friends around the world. The pandemic has made this especially challenging for us all, and nothing beats being able to have meaningful conversations with people face-to-face. I was delighted to worship with people from all around the USA and, in particular, to enrol new soldiers. Leadership is an integral part of an officer’s life, and it was a privilege to join with leaders from all four USA territories and with members of the National Advisory Board to hear their concerns and share in fellowship. It really was a joy to meet with these devoted people in their own country.’
Report by IHQ Communications