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The Salvation Army - International Headquarters 101 Queen Victoria Street - London EC4V 4EH - United Kingdom Founder: William Booth General: Brian Peddle Editor The Officer: Major Martin Gossauer Artwork and Design: Jooles Tostevin-Hobbs Editor’s email: IHQ-TheOfficer@salvationarmy.org Telephone: +44 20 7332 8082 Distribution enquiries: Contact local DHQ, THQ or CHQ IHQ phone: +44 20 7332 8087 email: IHQ-Editorial@salvationarmy.org Printed by Page Bros Ltd - Mile Cross Lane - Norwich - NR6 6SA - United Kingdom © The General of The Salvation Army, 2020 All Bible quotations throughout this edition of The Officer are from the New International Version 2011 unless stated otherwise The Salvation Army International Trust is a charity registered in England and Wales (no. 1000566) whose sole trustee is The Salvation Army International Trustee Company, a company limited by guarantee and registered in England and Wales (no. 02538134) at 101 Queen Victoria Street, London ECV4 4EH.
FROM THE EDITOR// martin gossauer, major
AS THE WORLD has gone ‘viral’ in this COVID-19 crisis, the Church has extended its ministry to digital platforms to reach people and help them stay connected. The Salvation Army is no different, and not only have Salvationists around the world shown selfless love in frontline service, supporting those who need us in the most difficult circumstances, but they have also shown exceptional creativity in adjusting their work and moving the Army online. ‘Who knew?’ asks the General in his lead article, what opportunities the digital world would offer? And who knew that when we agreed last year for this issue of The Officer to carry a main feature on digital ministry, that 2020 would mark the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and lead to an astounding increase in our digital lives? Besides a general introduction to our mission in the digital age and offering some tools for online ministry, in this issue a number of colleagues share their journey through the virtual sphere which, for many of us, is a learning experience presenting not only challenges but also tremendous opportunities which should not be missed. Richard Munn, in his contribution, quotes John Wesley: ‘The world is my parish.’ The Church is meant to be a Church for the world, and I am old enough to remember the inscription around a huge globe in the entrance of the previous IHQ building, ‘The world for God’. As we explore new ways of being the Church, we realise afresh the dimensions of God’s mission for us. The infinite God is guiding us on yet more unexplored paths. For many of us, unexplored paths may also be represented by the Dialogue on Human Sexuality. Launched by our senior leadership and encouraged to be taken up at grassroots level around the Army world, this dialogue is facilitated by the conversation tools Let’s Talk About…. I trust Lieut-Colonel Julie Forrest’s contribution will help ‘lift the lid’ and open the way for further features around that theme. In this time of great need and adversity, there are also positive outcomes: more people are hearing and sharing the gospel online; more people are praying; more people are taking care of and talking to their neighbours. Some church doors may still be closed, but we are reminded: we don’t go to church, we are the Church; The Salvation Army is not a building, the Army is us – you and me, God working through us! The situation calls for signs of faith, hope and love, but we also need to support each other, mentally and spiritually, in order to reorganise our work. So, please join me in this prayer from Revd Olav Fykse Tveit (World Council of Churches General Secretary): ‘God of life, you have promised to be with us every day, also in difficult days, in times like these. Give us clarity in our minds, strength in our work and discernment, rest as we sleep, peace in our minds. Be with those who need help more than we do ourselves, help us to see what we can offer from your love.’ Articles in The Officer may not be republished without the approval of the General. For approval please use the email on this page.
CONTENTS// october-december 2020
WHO KNEW? 04 GENERAL BRIAN PEDDLE SERIES: TAKING A STAND GAMBLING IMASIC MEMBERS
NEWS FROM THE 10 WORLDWIDE CHURCH FEATURE: DIGITAL MINISTRY MISSION IN A DIGITAL AGE JOSEPH HALLIDAY
DIGITAL MINISTRY EXPERIENCES 16 DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC ’MUNNDAY’ MORNINGS 23 COLONEL RICHARD MUNN THE GAME MUST GO ON... 24 MAJOR ANDY FUHRER THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX 26 MAJOR LEE KONG YEE TOOLS FOR ONLINE MINISTRY 28 PERSONAL REFLECTION TO GOD BE THE GLORY CAPTAIN SHELDON R. BUNGAY
MORAL AND SOCIAL ISSUES NO MORE SWIMMING WITH THE FISHES CAPTAIN MAT BADGER
LIFT THE LID 36 LIEUT-COLONEL JULIE FORREST COLUMN: FROM BERNARD A DREAM FOR RETIREMENT MAJOR BERNARD CHIRANDU
Articles and letters for publication are welcomed. Email them to IHQ-TheOfficer@salvationarmy.org or post them to: The Officer, The Salvation Army, 101 Queen Victoria Street, London EC4V 4EH, UK Articles in The Officer do not necessarily reflect the official view of The Salvation Army.
EMBRACE THE DIGITAL AGE
HIS ARTICLE is not meant to recount the implications and impact of a global pandemic. There is space, however, to lament great loss and pray for God’s continued and sustaining grace to be poured out in abundance on the mission of the Army in each country where we serve. It is worth noting that amid multiple and diverse challenges there is a clear indication that opportunities of great value to the Kingdom have emerged. A direct outcome has been the strengthening and further development of the Salvation Army’s profile and public persona. This has led to amazing partnerships, enhanced trust and new stories of the value of Christian faith and service in our communities. It is important to acknowledge God’s hand of blessing and thank him accordingly.
FOLLOW THE GENERAL
GeneralBPeddle GENERAL BRIAN PEDDLE
The most commonly asked question I receive is: ‘General, what will the Army look like after COVID-19?’ When I hear this question, my thoughts quickly become fragmented and I attempt to discipline myself to stay in the space being created by the person asking the question. For instance: • As an organisation, are we digitally capable of managing the expectations? • How do we discuss and evaluate the ‘old normal’, the ‘new normal’ or the ‘next normal’? • Are we able to look to the future through the lens of new possibilities? • What becomes of online ministry when there are no restrictions? • How do we ‘reopen’ without stepping right back into our past? • What about managing expectations and different views on next steps? • What needs to change; what do we do differently; and what do we stop doing – are there things that no longer bear fruit? I recall that early in this journey there was notable concern about going back to where we were. There seemed to be an expression suggesting that we should be legitimately concerned and repentive of what we had become. In fact, many are asking for a recalibration or a reset. For the record, I have not fully unpacked a strategy, but I have been bold in saying that if we have in any way strayed from God’s mission plan, his redemptive strategy, his whosever gospel, then WE REPENT, and get back to being his Church.
The most commonly asked question I receive is: ‘General, what will the Army look like after COVID-19?’ ...
If we are to answer the previous questions and do so honestly, we must acknowledge and value the lessons we have learnt during these past months: Yes, we can embrace new ways of working. Yes to ministry that is enabled through an online presence. Yes to connection that can exist without an actual hug or handshake. Yes to technology that is efficient, cost saving and effective. The list continues, but you get the point. I note, with deep admiration, the courage of those who have literally ‘moved the Army online’. Who knew… • that worship around the world was possible without leaving my couch? (Thank you!) • that an iPad passed through a letter box to a senior who is shielding allowed for the best pastoral visit ever? • that our online prayer meeting at IHQ could grow from 10 in attendance to 60, overnight? • that you can still kneel in your home and respond to the message, accept Christ and give your testimony (online) two weeks later? • that leadership can be virtual if it has a foundation of influence, trust and is administered pastorally with love? Who knew? This issue of The Officer speaks to several aspects of the digital world and the technology we use. Anything we do for God’s honour and glory comes with a call towards excellence, so that what we do and how we do it does not impede or hinder the ultimate goal. I actually enjoy digital engagement, but if I have learnt anything in recent weeks, it’s how much I need to improve. I encourage us to embrace tools that enhance our personal gifting in the administration of God’s deposit in us and the mission field where we serve, all for his glory. As I write, we are passing 100 days of lockdown and are still facing degrees of uncertainty. I did not know how a world already busy at many things would respond to
a pandemic, or how the Army would react to losing the in-person contact which is at the heart of our mission. I recall my last day at International Headquarters and my dialogue with Chief of the Staff Commissioner Lyndon Buckingham who said, ‘General, we are ready, we can do this.’ I witness to the fact that by God’s grace and despite untold challenges, much has been accomplished and the Army has continued to serve. In celebrating our digital engagement and our online presence, I joked with a colleague, ‘Wouldn’t it be a good day if the headline could read: ‘‘Christians Crash the Internet’’?’ The Church is not closed! The Church is alive, living and breathing in each missional heart of those who follow and call him Lord. We will find a way. So, what does the ‘next normal’ look like? I see… an Army that has recaptured its creative and adaptive spirit – we can do this! an Army that is not held back by anything that prevents it in furthering the cause of Christ – Lord, set us free! an Army that takes its stand, not one that is stuck on immovables, but an Army that pivots and is always turning toward the needs of people, and finally, an Army that is outward facing, responding to its call to mission – ready, engaged and taking responsibility. My challenge to The Salvation Army, to us as its leaders, is, ‘don’t re-embrace our “old normal’’ as if it is the best that God can do.’ ‘See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland’ (Isaiah 43:19). I propose to you that there is no evidence, biblically or in God’s narrative with his people, that the ‘old normal’ is the only thing we must do… He is doing a new thing! Don’t miss it!
general brian peddle
| who knew?
FROM THE GENERAL
the officer october-december 2020
series taking a stand exploring the army’s international positional statements Members of the International Moral and Social Issues Council (IMASIC) reflect on The Salvation Army’s International Positional Statements.
STATEMENT OF POSITION The Salvation Army is opposed to gambling. The nature of gambling lends itself to exploitative, deceptive and manipulative practices. It is contrary to Christian principles of love, freedom from oppression and concern for others. As such it should not be a means of income generation or economic development, whether by government agencies, charitable organisations, churches or commercial interests.
Download the complete International Positional Statement on Gambling at salvationarmy.org/isjc/ips
HE GREAT American president George Washington understood the sad effect of gambling and declared, ‘Gambling is the child of avarice, the brother of iniquity and the father of mischief.’ Gambling in general – whether it is online betting, casinos, raffles or lotteries – has the potential to be addictive, with countless negative behavioural effects on the gamblers and their close contacts. Gambling is a major problem in many countries around the world. While it appears to be victimless, many families greatly suffer from the effects of gambling. For example, among some 450 million people living in South America and the Caribbean, more than 300 million are eligible to gamble. This enticing market is amassing billions of dollars yearly in revenues while leaving behind a hefty trail of poverty and despair. During the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a sharp increase in online betting. Millions of people, confined to home and with a lot of free time for leisure, have fallen prey to online gambling and blockchain technology. We must all take heed of the words of Paul to Timothy: ‘But mark this: there will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money… lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God’ (2 Timothy 3:1-2, 4).
Greed is the primary driver of gambling. Casino owners are often caught discussing ways to lure customers. They look for innovative ways to trick and manipulate players to stay longer in the game. In many places, free drinks and inexpensive foods are offered, while the clocks are removed to entice vulnerable people to overspend. The pleasure of enriching oneself at the detriment of others is condemned in the Bible. We are called to love our neighbour as ourselves. Taking advantage of the vulnerable through tricks and mischief is wickedness at its core. The Bible instructs us to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep (Romans 12:15). We are called to have empathy for others. In gambling we take advantage of those who weep. The words of Paul in Philippians 2:4 admonish us not to look out for our own interests but for those of others. As we seek justice together, let us lift each other up and support each other as members of the divine family.
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FOR REFLECTION * In your cultural setting, how can you best communicate the challenges of gambling and betting? * Comment on the fact that the effects of gambling impact not only one person or one family but multiple people and families, even whole communities. * How does ‘the priesthood of all believers’ relate to ‘every Salvationist is a community change agent’?
The Salvation Army seeks to support gamblers and their families through the provision of education, counselling and rehabilitation programmes ... THE OASIS PROGRAMME IN NEW ZEALAND
The International Positional Statement on Gambling states: ‘The Salvation Army seeks to support gamblers and their families through the provision of education, counselling and rehabilitation programmes.’ An outstanding example for that is the Oasis programme of The New Zealand, Fiji, Tonga and Samoa Territory. Oasis centres across the territory provide information and education, confidential counselling, comprehensive assessment and referrals (if required) to specialist services including legal and budgeting advice and crisis intervention – all free of charge. People with gambling and related problems are empowered to make positive choices for a healthy lifestyle. Experts deal with the needs of problem gamblers and those affected – family, partners or friends. They offer support and help reduce gambling harm through self-reflection techniques and the use of creative and research-based therapies. Oasis also runs a website (oasis.salvationarmy.org.nz) with many resources, videos and stories of change, and operates a free hotline. A special focus is on online gambling with the offer of tools such as online gambling blockers to help limit access. Oasis is also involved in community-based approaches to gambling harm. For example, they participate in the Gambling Harm Awareness Week (GHAW), a national campaign that runs each year during the first week of September. The theme for 2019 was ‘Take time out from gambling, put time into whānau (extended family). GHAW is an opportunity to reflect on gambling behaviour and that of friends, family and community
WATCH AN OASIS VIDEO ON youtu.be/DvtWFghs6g0
SOME KEY GAMBLING STATISTICS • The global market for online gambling reached around US$45.8 billion in 2017. • In the UK, the total gross gambling yield for 2017-18 was estimated at £14.5 billion and in Canada, in 2017, CAN$17.3 billion. • According to many studies, the average Australian gambler spends more money on gambling than in any other nation – more than AUS$1,200 per adult each year. That’s not that surprising when you consider that over 80% of Australian adults are said to be gamblers, which is also the highest rate in the world. • A 2010 study showed that Singapore was close behind Australia. But no other nation spends half as much per adult on gambling, with nations like Ireland, Canada and Italy all spending under US$600 per adult per year on betting. • In the UK, studies show that nearly 75% of adults gamble from time to time, and 85% of American adults are said to have gambled at least once in their lifetime. FOR MORE INFORMATION gambling.net/statistics.php
MAJOR VILECE THOMAS Training Principal and Territorial Liaison Officer on Human Sexuality Caribbean Territory
PERSONAL REFLECTION My experience of growing up in my native land of Haiti in the 1970s and working as a youth leader and community organiser with young people has taught me that gambling is not a godly entertainment, but rather a trap that destroys people, families and society. Countless people, particularly youths, have suffered tremendously from that malady. I remember how one of my best friends in high school was forced to repeat a class because his father had gambled the money earmarked for his school fees and had lost. The setback had lasting effect on the youngster, and it took years for him to recover. The life of Jesus was sacrificial and from his teaching we received the mandate to love not only our friends and close relatives, but all those we meet, regardless of race, creed or aspirations. Gambling tends to erode our love for our neighbours and compels us to rob them for selfish gains. My love for service as a Christian and a Salvation Army officer has led me to study the life of Frederik Derby from Suriname. Derby was devoted to the fight against the forces of darkness in his country. This fight included the rejection of gambling. It was not an easy decision for this trade unionist and politician. Along with 15 other freedom fighters, Derby was arrested for his beliefs on the night of 7 December 1982. All were executed the very same night except Frederik Derby, who miraculously escaped. This outstanding public servant died
of a heart attack on 19 May 2001, shortly before he was scheduled to stand as a star witness against his captor. Derby immortalised his passion by saying, ‘We do not want a country that believes in gambling and does not believe in hard work.’ His devotion to human dignity and his character have impressed and influenced me greatly, to the point that when I visited Suriname in 1995, shortly before I entered training to become an officer, I inquired further about his work. The Bible warns us against greed: ‘Wealth from get-rich-quick schemes quickly disappears; wealth from hard work grows over time’ (Proverbs 13:11, NLT). Despite this, many churches are using some of these ‘schemes’ for fundraising purposes on the pretext that it is for charitable causes. This is counterproductive and can lead people to addiction which is difficult to overcome. In our first overseas appointment, one year after our wedding, my wife Joan and I were sent to Sint Maarten, Netherlands West Indies, a beautiful Caribbean island, to pioneer the work of The Salvation Army. We spent five years of fruitful ministry as servants of Jesus. One of our great challenges was to stand against betting activities that were justified in the name of fundraising. As a freshly commissioned young couple, we had to stand our ground through the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit in order to lay a strong foundation for the Army, based on biblical principles and Christian ethics, which prevails to this day.
COMMISSIONER MARIE WILLERMARK Corps Officer, Linköping Sweden and Latvia Territory
PERSONAL REFLECTION As I think of my personal perspective on gambling, it strikes me that I know personally of no one who suffers from addiction to gambling. That says something about the privileges and somewhat isolated world that I live in as a Salvation Army officer. A bit more than four per cent of the Swedish population have problems related to gambling. On top of that, there are far more family members who are co-dependent and suffer from someone else’s addiction. It has hardly escaped us that the isolation, and perhaps boredom, caused by COVID-19 has triggered abusive and harmful behaviour. Restricted to their homes people have discovered the world of gambling sites online. Although our government wants to limit deposits on gambling accounts to 5,000SEK (about £430 or US$540) per week, this will only make the road to ruin longer. While Salvationists hopefully stay true to their covenant and keep out of obvious gambling offers, we need to be aware of the deceptive approaches that are all around us. The wolf of gambling is clothed in sheepskin in various ways. Two deceptive examples are most obvious to me. • Entertainment on TV. Winning large amounts of money by answering questions still triggers the hope of gaining a lot for a small cost. I personally don’t want to watch these programmes, as they build the whole drama around the fact that people are attracted to money. It is the enticement of Mammon.
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COLONEL DANIEL RAJU DASARI Territorial Commander India Northern Territory
• Buying lottery tickets to
support a good cause. The Postcode Lottery exists in several countries in Europe and elsewhere. In Sweden, there are 56 organisations who receive funds from this lottery. The company wants it to look as if you buy a ticket to support these fine organisations and, on top of supporting this good cause, you can become rich. But the Postcode Lottery is first of all a profit-making company. The owner and the managing directors earn huge amounts of money.
I assume that there are Salvation Army ministries in the world whose mission is to help people be free from the addiction of gambling. I admire that and we could probably do more. However, I personally see an important mission for each one of us: to help people see through the deceptive introduction to gambling which presents itself as entertainment and support for a good cause.
PERSONAL REFLECTION In India, gambling exists in many forms and it may be surprising to know that many people are involved in betting, but they think what they are doing is not gambling. Some look at it as a game, fun or a leisure activity, unaware that it is a slow poison which bankrupts their families. In most villages in India, groups of people secretly meet to play cards, hold cockfights, pigeon races and various other local games and put their money, properties, assets, house, etc, up for betting. Cockfights are very popular in several parts of India and a lot of money changes hands. Such gambling is a dangerous habit, but some people are involved more widely and in bigger ways by betting on horse and bullock racing, football and cricket, or even on election results. Many are also regular gamblers at casinos. This social evil leads to money laundering, corruption, murder, kidnapping and other crimes, and to fights between individuals, families and groups. With the active participation of politicians, millions of rupees are believed to change hands in the gambling industry. In India, Salvation Army ministry is very strong in villages. The corps officer is a well-known and respected person in every village. Their ministry is considered sacred and their influence in the community as change agents can be huge. When we were serving as corps officers in a village, one evening a young man offered chicken curry to us. I asked him,
‘What is special today?’ He said, ‘Sir, today we won the cockfight and got an extra cock. We cooked it and share some of it as you are our corps officers. Please take it, it is very tasty.’ I said, ‘I’m sorry, we won’t accept it. How can you give this to God’s servant?’ Then I explained to him about betting and its consequences. He started to look at it differently. He said sorry to me and changed his life by giving his heart to Jesus. Now he is working as a software engineer in a big city and still testifies: ‘Daniel sir refused our chicken curry; that changed my life.’ Praise be to God! Not only the officer, but every believer can be a community change agent. We believe in the priesthood of all believers.
NEWS FROM THE WORLDWIDE CHURCH Source if not stated otherwise: oikoumene.org PROMOTE TECHNOLOGIES THAT UNITE The World Association for Christian Communication (WACC) is urging us all to use and promote technologies to unite people and communities divided by adversity. ‘As the coronavirus raises physical and psychological barriers – and as people and communities are experiencing varying degrees of isolation, fear and despair – it is all the more important that communication technologies, especially social media and digital platforms, are used to convey trustworthy information and stories of courage and hope,’ states WACC’s response to the ongoing situation regarding COVID-19. ‘Communities are enriched by open, honest and transparent dialogue,’ WACC maintains. ‘This applies equally to a neighbourhood or village, a city, a religious community, or a community of nations.’ WACC recently proposed 10 principles to guide communication in today’s digital spheres, among them ‘everyone is entitled to accessible communication, information and knowledge at affordable levels’. WACC states, ‘Digital technologies can provide ways for people to stay in touch as well as vital information that can save lives. Open access to the digital sphere is a prime example
of communication rights in practice.’ Ownership of mobile phones is spreading rapidly across the globe. Yet, there are still many people in emerging economies who do not own a mobile phone. In 2019 mobile divides were most pronounced in Venezuela, India and the Philippines, countries where three in 10 adults do not own a mobile phone. The digital divide has become more pronounced than ever amid the global coronavirus lockdown, but experts are concerned that in the current circumstances this divide, where more than 46 per cent of the world’s population remain without technology or Internet access, could grow wider – particularly among women. Both the digital divide and social inclusion need to be addressed by governments and by civil society organisations. waccglobal.org/communication-andcommunity-in-times-of-isolation/ THE DISTANCED CHURCH The publication The Distanced Church: Reflections on Doing Church Online, an e-book launched by Heidi Campbell (Professor of communication at Texas A&M University and Director of the Network for New Media, Religion and Digital Culture Studies), features input from 30 practitioners and researchers sharing their current experiences and observations. The book’s contributors come from 10 different countries and represent 12 different Christian denominations.
Campbell said her goal was to collect key stories and research expertise reflecting on the response of churches to the pandemic, and to publish them in a timely manner. ‘The goal is to get this material out to those who will most benefit from a project of this nature – religious communities wrestling with the sudden move from offline to online ministry through digitally-mediated contexts,’ said Campbell. Free download: doi.org/10.21423/distancedchurch PROTECT CHILDREN AGAINST SEXUAL VIOLENCE The World Council of Churches (WCC) has launched a campaign and a toolkit with practical and spiritual resources for pastors, leaders and Sunday schools to facilitate real conversation and help churches create a safer world for children. The ‘Out of the Shadows and Into the Light’ campaign and toolkit are a concrete step to raise awareness on risks and responses to protect children, particularly in the context of confinement caused by the COVID-19 crisis. It acknowledges that churches are well placed to raise awareness of threats of child sexual abuse and put in place preventive measures and support victims, especially among the most vulnerable. Churches from Tanzania, Nigeria, India, Indonesia and the Philippines have participated in a pilot project of
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the campaign that offered capacitybuilding workshops to church representatives. The work done in these targeted countries helped to shape the toolkit, and to develop national action plans in response to the issues raised by the Out of the Shadows Index which measures how national actors in 60 countries address child sexual abuse and exploitation (outoftheshadows.eiu.com). Free download: seafile.ecucenter.org/d/ e46ccc62ed1249faaaf1 AN ECONOMY OF LIFE IN A TIME OF PANDEMIC Two e-conferences brought together some 25 participants to reflect on the socio-economic-ecological impacts of the COVID-19 crisis and how it offers the world an opportunity to rethink and reshape financial and economic systems so that these actually give priority to ensuring and investing in the health and well-being of communities and the planet. The initiative was co-sponsored by the World Council of Churches (WCC), Lutheran World Federation (LWF), World Communion of Reformed Churches and Council for World Mission. ‘In the harsh light of COVID-19, we see more clearly the great inequality of income and wealth. We see the massive gender inequities and generational disparities of our economies,’ said Prof Dr Isabel Apawo Phiri, WCC Deputy General Secretary. ‘Our responses to the pandemic could very well rewrite the world for the better, and fundamentally transform the way we live, what we eat and buy, what we produce, how we distribute goods and where we invest.’ ‘Our economic systems must prioritise people over profit. We must not forget to protect the livelihood and basic needs of people,’ said Rev Dr Martin Junge, LWF General Secretary. ‘COVID-19 is calling us to a theological and ethical renewal
where we address inequality, poverty and public policies to ensure enough resources and equal access to health services. Now is the moment to reinvigorate this conversation,’ added Junge. In a common message from the convening organisations, which will also be the basis of advocacy towards key financial and economic institutions such as the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, G20 and United Nations, governments were urged to bolster support for healthcare and social protection. It further called for debt cancellation and the implementation of the Zacchaeus Tax proposals, including the initiation of progressive wealth taxes at national and global levels to resource the critical response to the pandemic. ‘People who are already vulnerable are bearing the brunt in terms of loss of lives and livelihoods,’ the message reads. ‘We are living in an apocalyptic time and are reminded that the term ‘‘apocalypse’’ means to unveil or uncover,’ the message states. ‘In its light we see anew and afresh the distorted realities and inequalities powerful interests have passed off as normal and unquestionable. The human causes and systemic roots of this pandemic point to the exigency of systemic change if we are to be converted by the revelation COVID-19 is offering us.’ HEALING THE WORLD: EIGHT BIBLE STUDIES FOR THE PANDEMIC ERA As the world lurches through the coronavirus pandemic and its wideranging consequences, the World Council of Churches (WCC) published a set of resources for individuals, groups and faith communities to grapple spiritually with the new reality and come to terms with its meaning for their lives. The global coronavirus pandemic,
which has brought death to hundreds of thousands and serious illness to millions more, also poses profound spiritual questions and real challenges to Christians everywhere. The pandemic itself has become a fundamental test of our faith in God and God’s providence, and it urges earnest re-examination of our relationship to God, each other and the natural world. Healing the World offers eight Bible studies to facilitate our coming to terms with the loss, fear and confusion engendered by the pandemic, and the bracing prospect of building the world anew. Free download: oikoumene.org/en/resources/ HealingtheWorldbiblestudies.pdf Further resources can be found on the WCC’s coronavirus page at www.oikoumene.org/coronavirus THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH IN A DIGITAL AGE Technology is transforming the world, and the latest issue of The Ecumenical Review, the quarterly journal of the World Council of Churches (WCC), offers theological and ethical perspectives on the digital age. ‘Do we live in a ‘‘post-truth’’ era?’ asks theologian Jürgen Moltmann in his opening article, ‘The Spirit of Truth’, warning that truth is endangered by the political and economic control exercised by digital surveillance and big tech. Contributors to the issue – titled ‘The Spirit of Truth in a Digital Age’ – explore the implications of digital transformation for economics and politics, as well as for theological reflection, and what it means to be human in a digital world. Free download of some articles: onlinelibrary.wiley.com/ toc/17586623/2020/72/1
news from the worldwide church
MISSION IN A DIGITAL AGE REACH THE WORLD WITH THE GOSPEL
“Digital ministry is a huge opportunity for the Church, and one we shouldn’t ignore. We have the chance to reach, with God’s message, people who otherwise would not come into contact with Christians ...”
VERY WEEK at around the same time, I get a familiar ping from my smartphone. As I pull the device from my pocket and see the blue sand timer icon on the notification, I feel the same flash of curiosity. The alert is from the ‘screen time’ function, letting me know how many hours in the last seven days I’ve spent using my phone. That this report is available at all is a curiosity. It is an acknowledgement that many of us now use our phones, tablets, computers, smart TVs and smart speakers so frequently that we need to be made accountable for this time. We used to talk of our ‘digital lives’, but in truth the boundary between our physical and digital spheres is now hard to distinguish. It is staggering to think of the numbers of people who have a presence online. There are 2.5 billion monthly active Facebook users, 1 billion on Instagram, 2 billion on YouTube and 2 billion on WhatsApp. It is forecast that by 2021, 3.8 billion people will have smartphones. When William Booth established The War Cry in Britain 141 years ago, he desired that readers should learn about the work of The Salvation Army and hear the gospel message. With this in mind, Salvationists went where they needed to – to pubs, to street corners and to other places they may have felt were unsavoury. They understood that in doing so, they could reach people they would not reach otherwise. They understood that they could shine a light into dark places. Digital ministry is a huge opportunity for the Church, and one we shouldn’t ignore. We have the chance to reach, with God’s message, people who otherwise would not come into contact with Christians. We also have the opportunity to teach, commune with and grow those who already gather in church buildings.
JOSEPH HALLIDAY Digital Content Specialist Communications Programme Resources
International Headquarters, London
In Matthew 28:19-20 we find the Great Commission of Jesus: ‘Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’ Though clearly written many centuries before humanity had considered online communication, I believe we get a firm steer for this new digital age. Not only is digital a huge opportunity, but it is a biblical imperative to
the officer october-december 2020
Social media is designed to be just that: social. Genuine community happens every day online and Christians should be a part of it ...
reach out to this group of electronic users – to ‘go and make disciples’ of this digital community, just as much in this age as in the age of Jesus. The question, then, is not so much whether we should be online, but how to be Christians online. In order to have an impact, we need to approach our digital ministry with the same principles as our offline ministry, but with new techniques. We need to be communitycentred, appealing, accessible, relevant and focused. 1. BE A GENUINE PART OF THE DIGITAL COMMUNITY There is a tendency by churches to use their online presence as the equivalent of a noticeboard at the back of the hall, announcing events, worship services and concerts, but having little interaction with users. This is problematic for several reasons. Social media is designed to be just that: social. Genuine community happens every day online and Christians should be a part of it. We should be more than salespeople, dropping in to advertise our next coffee morning and disappearing again for seven days. Moreover, the ‘digital noticeboard’ approach suggests that our goal is to get people into our corps building. While this is a good ambition to have and recognises the important role of a physical community, it may also be a wasted opportunity. Jesus calls us to be the light of the world, shining like a town on a hill (Matthew 5:14-16) – and our online presence is not an exception. Rather than saving this light for our halls, consider how you can shine it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, YouTube and other websites, both personally and as a corps. This comes down to everything from comments on updates from others and sharing the posts of local businesses showing support, to photos showing your community work and the posting of materials like short devotional thoughts. People value genuine, authentic interaction. 2. BE APPEALING Christians often forget how huge a step it can be for a non-churchgoer to enter a church building for the first time. Digital ministry offers the chance for the public to take a ‘sneak peek’ at our corps community
and get to know a little about its people, its services and its faith. After all, people use the Internet to better understand and research all kinds of offers and services! As mentioned before, this is not with a view to getting them through our doors, but because we have a chance to make an impact without even meeting them. So how do we shape up? Put yourself in the shoes of an outsider and review your social media presence, website and digital resources with fresh eyes. Is your tone warm and welcoming? Do you add images or video when possible, to attract interest? Do these images look modern? Do your posts stand out for the right reasons? Do you post content that is fun as well as content that is serious? Think about who is interacting with your digital presence; if it is only people who already attend church, perhaps you need to rethink your approach to make an impact on a wider audience. 3. BE ACCESSIBLE It is also crucial that we make ourselves accessible. This is done in all kinds of ways but requires the same ‘eyes of an outsider’. Avoid acronyms and Salvation Army terminology that might alienate newcomers – initialisms are much more useful when explained. Depending on the culture of your society, you should consider how well-understood Christian terms may be. If you mention ‘ascension’ and ‘epiphany’, it is probably worth explaining what these refer to. When you encourage people to get in touch with you (and you should!), make it easy for them. Use inbuilt messaging services when you can and provide clear alternatives, such as an email address. Adopt a mindset of removing all hurdles for your audience. It really helps to be a ‘familiar face’ in an online world. Much like our favourite news or shopping website doesn’t have a different logo, typeface, photographic style and colour palette every time you order your groceries, neither should your Facebook page and other accounts. These things may seem unimportant, but recognition puts people at ease, lets people know they are on familiar ground and instils trust.
| mission in a digital age
In the online world, people enjoy learning about other people ... Testimony sharing, then, can be a very useful way to show the power of a relationship with God ...
» 4. BE RELEVANT
Most importantly of all, we should be relevant. This is key. Many of the people we reach online, may not actively be seeking God. They are perfectly happy as they are (or at least, they consider themselves to be). Our mission, as Christians, is to show people the love of Jesus and the difference that a relationship with him makes. We also have the role of discipling those who already call themselves Christians. Sunday services happen one day a week – most people use their phones every day. Here is the gift of space to develop faith, impart teaching and encourage prayer on a daily basis. It is easy, for instance, to throw a Bible verse onto social media, but this may not be very relatable and sometimes it can even repel! We instead need to think about how to make our teaching useful to people. This can be as simple as adding some meaningful reflections alongside a Bible verse. It could be articles that go deeper on a particular topic or issue. It could be a podcast or video series of conversations around a specific theme. In the online world, people enjoy learning about other people. A sense of connection is important! Testimony sharing, then, can be a very useful way to show the power of a relationship with God. Imagine the impact on people if every church community across the land shared their congregation’s stories of Christian faith. You could ask corps members, ‘What difference has knowing God made for you?’ and share their responses through video or text. Digital ministry should not come from church leaders alone, with ‘Christian content’ being posted solely on corps social media accounts and websites. Instead, all members of the Body of Christ should feel empowered to share life with Jesus with their friends, just like in the offline world.
5. BE FOCUSED To do digital ministry well, it must be a focus: a core part of our work. Years ago, it was enough to spend a few minutes a week online, perhaps updating a website or posting a weekly summary. Things have moved on, and if we are serious about reaching and growing people, we need to approach it with the same passion as, for example, our musical ministry or midweek programme. If we put the labour in, it will produce fruit. This may feel overwhelming, particularly for those who lack technical or communication skills. Spend time in prayer – even if this is an area you are comfortable working in – and make God the focus of your efforts. Start small, and do not compare yourself to other people and centres (though being inspired can help). There is no need to sign up to 15 social networks and a new website on day one! Focus on one or two platforms and grow from there. Do not feel you are on your own. God has almost certainly placed somebody with the right gifts into your congregation or community. They don’t even need to have digital skills. Maybe there’s a good illustrator in your corps who is happy to bring a Bible verse to life online? It is easy to be put off the online world. It can at times be superficial, unhelpful and even dangerous. But we are The Salvation Army, and I believe that the digital space is a new battle line. To be relevant, reach our geographic communities and communicate the gospel, we must invest in occupying the virtual streets. Let’s also not forget the positives: the Internet allows loved ones to keep in touch, enables people to quietly find information they need and educate themselves, and brings about joy. I pray that Christians, and particularly Salvationists, will be able to add ‘allows others to experience God’ to that list.
the officer october-december 2020
PRACTICAL TIPS FOR DIGITAL MINISTRY • Look at what others are doing, both Christian
organisations and secular companies. What is exciting and done well, and what is off-putting? Think about what you enjoy interacting with online. Don’t copy, but be inspired and use it to inform your approach. Look at the most recent online posts of your church. Be critical! How do they look to nonchurchgoers? Are they appealing, accessible and relevant? Would they encourage you to find out more? Where possible, use images and videos to brighten up your content. On some platforms, this has the bonus effect of making your post more likely to be seen due to the nature of the platform’s algorithms. Use the resources you have. For videos, your phone’s camera will likely do a good job, and clip-on microphones are widely available. Build up a library of photos of your corps, activities, people (following consent and safeguarding guidelines) and local area. This way, you can illustrate content even when you are off-site.
• Educate yourself on the differences between
platforms. This is best done by using different social networks, but there is a wealth of articles online too. For example, Instagram is imagebased, but Twitter is usually more text-focused. Use these approaches to your advantage! • Schedule your content, either using a sheet of paper or a dedicated tool like Hootsuite. Most social networks also have built-in scheduling tools. Planning ahead can help you feel less overwhelmed. • Don’t be afraid to experiment with new ideas! Try live video, competitions, discussion times, downloads, audio content – whatever you can think of! Review things regularly. If something works, try it again. If it doesn’t, don’t be afraid to stop doing it.
| mission in a digital age
DIGITAL MINISTRY EXPERIENCES DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC COLONEL NIHAL HETTIARACHCHI Territorial Commander India South Western Territory
EVERY CLOUD HAS A SILVER LINING ‘Every cloud has a silver lining’ is a familiar idiom, but it brings an innovative meaning during the COVID-19 lockdown. One of our soldiers who is overseas and has missed Sunday meetings at home for a long time, commented about our territory’s online ministry: ‘It was a pleasant surprise and great delight for me to suddenly find myself with my family.’ In a community where emotional attachment is prevalent, meeting people physically and being with loved ones in times of grief or on joyous occasions are considered a social privilege and responsibility. Church and worship are inseparably intertwined with social life, and the jeopardy and trauma caused by the lockdown were too much to cope with. To mend minds and hearts, and maintain the warmth and freshness of fellowship, our territory’s Salvation Army Mission Network (SAMN) became active. SAMN was established last year with the goal of reaching out to the community through social media. With its recently opened studio the territory was able to develop its digital ministry and, during the lockdown, SAMN played a prominent role in connecting people, communicating information, sharing concerns and providing care and spiritual nourishment. During Holy Week, online meetings were held every day and prayer sessions led by divisional commanders and senior leaders continued for 23 days. Special days such as Mother’s Day or Family Sunday were also observed and attractively presented in a way that brought much joy and blessing to people. We were able to minister to the world through YouTube, Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram. The people realised that online ministry is an effective means – and for the limited time of lockdown the only way – to have fellowship with other believers and loved ones. To alleviate psychological trauma and excessive stress, the territory launched various online competitions such as painting, drawing, singing and instrumental music for youth. The singing competition was also open
to adults and became a grand event with a massive participation of all age groups (even a 96-year-old!). It made a tremendous impact. We also started online Sunday school and a vocational Bible study. ‘I am not a member of the Salvation Army church, but they should be commended for the exemplary service they extended to the community during the lockdown’ was one of testimonies that someone posted on social media. People from other faiths also came forward to support us with donations and kind words, motivated by watching our ministry. Digital ministry takes the Church to individuals and families. It crosses geographical and religious boundaries, reaches into people’s lives and can be a blessing even to those who worship in secret. It expands our public relations on a wide scale and deepens our sense of ministry to those close by and those far away. FOR MORE INFORMATION GO TO facebook.com/ hettiarachchinihal and facebook.com/samn.iswt.
the officer october-december 2020
We realise that it takes time to do it well. There is no such thing as ‘plug-in-and-play’. Hours and hours of work go into a relatively short service ... LIEUTENANTS OWEN AND REBECCA MUTIZE Corps Officers at South Rand Community Church Southern Africa Territory
MOMENTS OF CRISIS INITIATE INNOVATIVENESS It is human nature to seek comfort when a crisis arises. The current global crisis has placed so many obstacles in life as we know it, and has forced the Body of Christ to create new ways of initiating and maintaining ministries to continue bringing hope to Salvationists and friends during South Africa’s lockdown where church gatherings are prohibited. COVID-19 has halted almost every fellowship activity happening at corps level which has required corps officers to engage with different ideas of uniting people in worship through digital ministry methods. At our corps, before COVID-19, social media platforms were used as a way of sharing highlights of corps events, but now, e-worship has become the only avenue left for proclaiming the good news and keeping hope alive amongst church members. Many lessons have been learnt and opportunities presented to minister through online ministry. We realise that it takes time to do it well. There is no such thing as ‘plug-in-and-play’. Hours and hours of work go into a relatively short service. The recordings have to take place in home settings using various gadgets. This has brought difficulties in maintaining quality standards in our weekly productions. We greatly acknowledge the coordinated and focused efforts by the team who always strive to achieve unparalleled excellence in all productions. We are blessed to have a very capable editor as part of our corps ministry team. Our key rule has always been keeping things simple, with a clear communication to all contributors of the meeting, coupled with a good workflow of how the meeting will be aired online.
One of the most rewarding experiences has been that of people logging on to our Facebook page from different parts of the world every Sunday. This online platform has created vast opportunities in reaching a huge number of people which is almost impossible when we have a meeting in a building. We have also seen non-Salvationist friends logging on to our weekly services. This has made us realise that we cannot simply return to ‘normal’ when we are able to go back to our corps buildings. Digital ministry has to somehow become part of our ongoing ministry, even if we do not know what that will look like in the future. New people have contacted us through social media. We also love the sense of community fellowship that has evolved through interactions on online platforms. By means such as WhatsApp, we can quickly reach corps folks and are able to clarify matters almost instantly. We also realised that some of our congregation do not have the Internet data capacity to join in these regular online meetings. Perhaps we need to explore ways of making this cheaper for some people. Finally, we do not know how long this pandemic will last, therefore, digital ministry must adapt to the fluidity of society. There is more potential in online ministry; we just have to explore ways to increase participation so as to continue effectively reaching out to many more people. Above all, we rest our faith and hope in the truth that ‘in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose’ (Romans 8:28). FOR MORE INFORMATION GO TO facebook.com/The-Salvation-Army-South-RandCommunity-Church-407971706638975
digital ministry experiences during the covid-19 pandemic
Digital ministry has to somehow become part of our ongoing ministry, even if we do not know what that will look like in the future ...
CAPTAINS MAXEL AND NI KETUT EKA LATUPUTTY Corps Officers in Jelambar, Jakarta Indonesia Territory
» JELAMBAR CORPS IN JAKARTA DISCOVERS
ONLINE MINISTRY Like many other countries, Indonesia has also been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to social restrictions which have impacted people’s lives in many ways, including worship. Jelambar Corps is located in densely-populated western Jakarta where people are vulnerable to the exposure of the coronavirus. During lockdown, Salvationists could no longer visit the corps and every direct interaction with our congregation
became impossible. This was a tough challenge, but God encouraged us to live-stream meetings on Sundays via Facebook and offer pastoral care through WhatsApp or by telephone. Our young people’s sergeant-major arranged youth and Sunday school services on Zoom. It wasn’t easy to switch from a physical to a virtual space and we had to overcome some obstacles, such as how to include music or concerns over slow Internet connections, but God enabled us beyond expectations and provided everything we needed. Soon our online worship became a weekly routine and we were grateful to realise that we not only reached Salvationists in Jelambar but also on other islands. Youth meetings have become a channel of blessing too as we interact with young people, not only in Indonesia, but also with others currently living abroad (Singapore, Cambodia, etc).
the officer october-december 2020
The rampant spread of the coronavirus required us to get used to the advancement of communication technology which continues to evolve. Our human interactions may be limited and, on occasion, we would prefer the more effective face-to-face communication, but we discovered new ways to convey the gospel of Christ. We praise God because under all circumstances his wisdom and guidance are real in our lives and enable us to continue our service for his glory. Young people from our corps testify to the blessing received through online ministry. We have been forced to leave our comfort zone, adjust and make changes to the way we worship. This must be accompanied by intensified pastoral care. Regulus Nathan Hidayat – YPSM
MAJOR KOJIRO TOKUNAGA Corps Officer in Yokohama Japan Territory
MAJOR NAOKI MISAWA Corps Officer in Ezo Japan Territory
THE ARMY GOES ONLINE IN JAPAN In Japan, Territorial Commander Colonel Kenneth W. Maynor (KM) spoke with corps officers Major Kojiro Tokunaga (KT) and Major Naoki Misawa (NM) about their experience with digital ministry.
Nothing can quell the spirit of Salvation Army soldiers! There are many things to be thankful for in these difficult times; God has strengthened our fellowship and allowed us to focus on exalting and delighting in him. May God be glorified, and we all be blessed. Hallelujah! Sophie Sahetapy – Music team
KM: How has the COVID-19 crisis changed the way you minister to people?
I thank God because Jesus is so good to me every day. Even though we are living through difficult times, I’ve never once felt that God has forsaken me. I am blessed through online worship because I can listen to God’s Word which strengthens me and I get to know new friends from other corps such as Palu, Bali, Bandung, Semarang etc. I am grateful and feel blessed to serve the Sunday school children. Stefany – Student
NM: Ezo Corps began to use social media at the beginning of March to reach people who were not able to attend in person. The frequency increased due to meeting restrictions. The corps online presence grew to include a weekly Sunday school presentation beside adult worship, and we added a special meeting to appeal to brass band musicians.
KT: Yokohama Corps was already using social media to connect soldiers and for outreach. The crisis has prompted an increase of use of social media and sharpened the quality of our presentation.
KM: What kind of online channels do you use? KT: We use YouTube and Facebook to maximise the accessibility for people. NM: YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. KM: What lessons have you learnt ‘doing church online’? What are the difficulties you encounter? KT: It is important to also provide written material to soldiers for the purpose of reinforcing the social media message. It is essential for them to dig deeper into
digital ministry experiences during the covid-19 pandemic
Our livestream is a reason for some people to get up ... They can tell their story, simply share what they are planning that day ... and inspire each other how to stay active during this period ...
» Scriptures. We need to be more careful with words and appearances when live-streaming; a clear and concise message and sound quality are so vital.
NM: Online church meetings are quite difficult and demand study and preparation. An effective presentation requires listening to feedback from others. KM: How has the sense of community evolved among your people through digital ministry? How do people respond? How do people get involved and participate? KT: Many soldiers respond to the online ministry. Prayer requests are shared. The new normal is a daily rhythm of sharing prayers and testimonies. NM: Corps members are able to engage in the worship more freely through online ministry. Some soldiers were prevented from regularly attending Sunday worship due to their employment. Corps members are inviting family and friends to engage with The Salvation Army via online ministry. KM: Have you reached new people through digital ministry? How can you use it as an outreach tool? KT: Yes, new people have been connected to the corps, and soldiers are able to direct family and friends to our YouTube and Facebook ministries. NM: Yes, new people from the brass band community are being connected to the corps. The weekly online programme features brass music which is attractive to all musicians. KM: Besides Sunday worship, what other possibilities of digital ministry have you explored? KT: To encourage people to be fully engaged in their spiritual battle, we have a daily prayer meeting online. The digital ministry opens many doors to reach new people. NM: An online Sunday school programme is gaining attraction. I anticipate using digital ministry to further reach the brass band community. Ministering online is a pioneering work for the 21st century.
WILFRED HERMANS Freelance Journalist for Strijdkreet The Netherlands, Czech Republic and Slovakia Territory
A LIVING ROOM FOR THE NEIGHBOURHOOD Coronavirus or not, the neighbourhood work of The Salvation Army continues, of course in an adapted manner. In the Netherlands the Army runs several community centres called Bij Bosshardt (after the late Lieut-Colonel Alida Bosshardt who became known in the whole country as ‘Major Bosshardt’ for her work in Amsterdam’s red-light district). These meeting places where everyone – young and old, poor and rich, immigrant or native Dutch – is welcome for a chat, almost function like a living room for the neighbourhood. Every visitor is a participant, and activities are organised following their wishes and needs. Ever since the lockdown was announced, in Zwolle, in the northeast of the country, Bij Bosshardt has been hosting a livestream every Tuesday and Thursday from its living room, with hundreds of virtual visitors. At quarter to ten, exactly the moment the physical living room opened in earlier times, now via Facebook Live, neighbourhood worker Tineke Kleinhuis is ready, together with corps officer Major Johan van Gooswilligen. Whereas the real living room was visited by some 35 Zwollenaren on a normal day, almost a thousand people from all over the country watch the livestream – live, or later. ‘Our livestream is a reason for some people to get up,’ says Tineke. ‘They can tell their story, simply share what they are planning that day, encourage and inspire each other how to stay active during this period. In the meantime, we respond to questions that viewers of the broadcast ask us live.’ Johan and Tineke do not prepare the livestream, says the latter. ‘You don’t do that when you drink coffee with people. Johan usually lights a candle at the beginning and as a corps officer he brings in elements such as hope, faith and trust, often in response to what viewers express. The conversation is always light-hearted,
the officer october-december 2020
Photo: Good Folk
it remains a living room setting. Then we just start chatting; it’s live, so something has to be done. I sit with the camera, read the comments and keep an eye on the time. ‘‘Hey, good morning, Henk, nice of you to join us,’’ or, ‘‘Welcome, new viewers, tell me where you come from.’’ That’s the way it goes.’ ‘When people tell us via a private message that they are lonely, we are a listening ear for them. According to their needs, we try to offer advice and, depending on where they are watching from, we refer them to people or organisations in their neighbourhood. In Zwolle, we have a hotline and an app contact for our regular visitors and volunteers. In addition, four times a week we walk around the district and talk to people face to face, one-and-a-half meters away.’ The impact of the livestream is huge, notes Tineke. ‘Last week someone watched from the hospital bed. For her, it was very special, because she was not allowed visitors. Through us, she suddenly had human contact again. For others, our broadcast functions as a distraction from their misery. People can express their
Above: Neighbourhood worker Tineke Kleinhuis and Major Johan van Gooswilligen during a livestream. In the background, on the wall, a portrait of ‘Major Bosshardt’
emotions for a moment, share that they find the corona crisis quite stressful, or that they feel depressed. The other day, it was a woman’s birthday and, of course, she could not receive a visit, so Johan walked to the piano during the broadcast and we sang for her. Meanwhile, viewers congratulated her or sent a card via Facebook. After the broadcast she sent us a message via the app: ‘‘How wonderful that you did this for me!’’ She was absolutely thrilled.’
Translated and adapted from a previously published article in the Dutch War Cry, Strijdkreet (4 May 2020, strijdkreet.nl)
digital ministry experiences during the covid-19 pandemic
For people who live in our centres, we tried our best so they didn’t feel isolated, especially in retirement homes ... DAVID GERMAIN Director of Communications Public Relations, Communications and Resources, THQ France and Belgium Territory
» NEW VOLUNTEERS RECRUITED IN FRANCE
THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA Containment in France due to COVID-19 started on 17 March and forced us to evolve the way we do social work, including children’s homes and retirement homes. The challenge was to keep contact with clients who could no longer visit us, and to allow clients living in our centres to keep contact with the outside world. For example, centres which used to receive children for tutoring created teams of social workers and volunteers to stay in touch with schools and students. It allowed them to organise regular calls or videoconferences to continue academic support. We received very touching testimonies of teachers, explaining how, little by little, they felt part of the family they were in contact with, and developed stronger relationships. Sometimes the whole family followed the lesson, but for some children this moment was the only one dedicated to them and therefore very precious. Some families were also allowed to come to the centre to print learning material if they didn’t have computers or printers at home.
were not familiar with such tools, and it can be difficult for them to use if they have hearing problems. Since no one else but employees could enter retirement homes, some centres organised video sport sessions such as Pilates, with coaches presenting exercises. Social media has proved to be a great tool to recruit new volunteers. Many of our older volunteers couldn’t continue their mission because of the lockdown. We posted appeals on social media and were dazzled at how many people reacted and stepped in, fully investing themselves in their new activity. Social media is also a means for people in need to contact us and ask for help, as well as new partners to propose supplies such as food or to develop new partnerships.
Retirement home Saint-Etienne © Bruno Vigneron
Regarding disadvantaged people, the Housing First model means that we have more and more clients living in flats. Since we couldn’t visit them anymore, social workers spent most of the day on the phone, trying to maintain the relationship and to allay anxieties. Some centres organised WhatsApp or Zoom conferences, so people could participate in online animations or sport sessions. A mobile phone company also offered us top-ups which were given to clients, so they could stay in contact with their loved ones. For people who live in our centres, we tried our best so they didn’t feel isolated, especially in retirement homes. As a matter of urgency, centres purchased tablets so residents could stay connected to their families. Some of our older residents needed some practise as they
Retirement home Strasbourg
© Elyxandro CEGARRA - PANORAMIC
the officer october-december 2020
‘MUNNDAY’ MORNINGS A PODCAST TO CAST BROADLY
COLONEL RICHARD MUNN Director of the International Social Justice Commission in New York, International Headquarters It began with a failure. An innovative media staff member thought a vlog would be a good idea – a video series on doctrinal and ethical issues. We recorded a pilot. The outcome was horrible. My scowling visage and nervous ticks predominated. ‘How about a podcast?’ he kindly suggested. And thus it began, the Munnday Mornings podcast series, available through iTunes, where we discuss theological concepts and simple truth. THE JOURNEY Series one features our doctrinal foundations, with each episode averaging around 10 minutes. We launched, and the feedback and numbers were good – around 3,000 unique downloads. That’s a large auditorium, I thought. The most popular episodes: ‘The Scriptures – Defending a Lion’, ‘Jesus Christ – Superstar’ and ‘End Times – I Can See the Port’. Emboldened, we embarked on series two, featuring an array of complex ethical issues from a Salvationist perspective, now with each episode averaging around 25 minutes. The momentum continued, to an increased 5,000 total combined unique downloads. Now, that’s a congress, I mused. The most popular episodes: ‘Alcohol – I’ll Drink to that’, ‘Abortion – Sanctity of Life’ and ‘Refugees – A NonNegotiable Duty’.
TO LISTEN TO THE PODCAST GO TO
We may just be on to something. LESSONS LEARNT Since venturing out I discovered, to my benefit, the global podcast subculture. Every kind of format, duration and subject matter populates this crowded field. The expert hosts, with millions of listeners, are superb communicators. They are substantive, witty, fast-moving and provocative. Music, seamless segues, lots of guest interviews and archival clips make for a good podcast. And of course, great content. We officers, with our own regular communication business, have much to learn. We have great content, the greatest story ever told; but, no question, I would go back and change some of my early podcasts, if I could. The technical support team is irreplaceable – helping to distinguish from the multitude of postings on our personal social media sites. These are effective (sometimes) for a short time. But the iTunes platform has long-standing duration, it seems. Three years after posting the first series, I received communication that we have a regular listener in Iraq. One colleague officer even heroically binge-listened the entire series on one long afternoon walk!
The recent special episodes in series three feature renowned Salvationist guest presenters teaching on ‘Refugees’, ‘Racism’ and ‘Sexism’ – now each episode at a 40-minute length, and the audience continues to rise, with a noticeable and sharp increase in activity following the Twitter support of the General.
BROADCAST As a corps officer, a couple of decades ago, I delighted that our ‘sound man’ was a local radio technician, faithfully and professionally recording our morning worship and duplicating them onto cassette tapes for the shut-in and absent. ‘I love this,’ he said, handing me 20 cassettes for mailing. ‘It reminds me of the root of the word ‘‘broadcast’’, we cast broadly each week.’
The Podcast Host, a professional podcast provider, states: ‘If your new episode gets, within 30 days of its release… more than 3,200 downloads – you’re in the top 10 per cent of podcasts’ (thepodcasthost.com).
‘The world is my parish,’ John Wesley famously said, and William Booth believed in ‘the whole world redeeming’. ‘Wesley Wednesday’ and ‘Founder’s Friday’ podcasts are something they would have deployed, we can be sure. colonel richard munn
| ‘munnday’ mornings
THE GAME MUST GO ON… SWITZERLAND MOTIVATES SALVATIONISTS TO KEEP FIT WITH E-SPORT EVENT “It should be an event for ALL! All generations from young to old, all people with or without disabilities, all Army centres (corps, social or charity shops) were invited to join ...”
The editor spoke with Territorial Youth Secretary Major Andy Fuhrer. The Family Sports Days are probably the biggest event in the Switzerland, Austria and Hungary Territory and have a long tradition. Are the Swiss particularly sporty? This would need to be evaluated in a more global context! [he laughs] However, the Family Sports Days have taken place every year since 1974 and are today, indeed, the largest event in the territory. About 700 participants in around 80 teams compete in different leagues in the football or volleyball tournament, besides other activities. Hundreds of visitors from around the country cheer for their teams and 200 volunteers cater for the well-being of all. At the heart of the event is the open-air service Timeout on Sunday morning. What went through your mind when the COVID crisis threatened the cancellation of the event? We couldn’t afford to cancel the event because it is an annual highlight, especially for the younger generation, and an important point of contact for the territorial Army family. So, the idea was born: the sport days take place... simply differently than before!
MAJOR ANDY FUHRER Territorial Youth Secretary Switzerland, Austria and Hungary Territory
With much creativity and dedication your team ventured out to prepare what was probably the first-ever e-sports event in Salvation Army history. What were the challenges? It should be an event for ALL! All generations from young to old, all people with or without disabilities, all Army centres (corps, social or charity shops) were invited to join. For the event to be competitive, we designed the team competition supplemented by a video game, the FIFA20 e-sports tournament, for individual entries. To motivate participants, our digital media manager expanded existing communication channels to be present at the ‘digital village squares’ via social media and reach the younger generations. Finally, instead of a weekend, the event took place during the first two weeks of June. Can you present us some facts and figures? We were surprised by the huge rush of participants! More than 750 people in 46 teams signed up, with teams up to 60 participants. A choice of seven disciplines allowed participants to collect points in the fight for the fittest team of the territory. To encourage the older generation
the officer october-december 2020
to participate, we also offered categories such as walking and even knitting! Here are a few accomplished totals: 4,300 km running, 33,000 km cycling, 5,100 hours walking, 170,000 push-ups, more than 1 million rope skippings and even 1.7 million steps (from sea level to Mount Everest!). Yes, I think we Swiss are quite sporty (and take many steps...) [he laughs]. An app, specially created for the event, allowed participants and spectators to follow the competition in real time. The Glide app was the centerpiece for capturing this e-event! (See glideapps.com) It enabled participants to set up their personal profile, select a team and then enter the points in each discipline as days went by. Based on these entries, the team ranking was updated on a leader board. A chat function allowed exchanges between participants, and the disciplines were explained and presented in YouTube clips. In addition to the team competitions, how did the FIFA20 e-sport tournament take place? We also wanted to offer an individual participation and reach the younger generation. Games were played at home via the Internet, during the first week the group games and in the second one the knockouts. Some scenes of the final were moderated and live-streamed.
The online sport event seemed to be a success. Our wildest expectations have been exceeded! We received a lot of positive and enthusiastic feedback. Teams completed the disciplines together and motivated each other through a WhatsApp group. A father told us that his children couldn’t hear his bedtime story because they still tried to earn more points for their team. A woman who had to abandon participation due to an accident some years ago, now became a passionate participant again thanks to the new design of the disciplines. We know of corps groups who visited each other with their bicycles to motivate and congratulate one another. A participant stated that it had been a long time since he had felt so connected to his corps community. I give thanks to God who made it possible for our dedicated youth ministry team to achieve unbelievable things in a very short time.
Other highlights live-streamed included the Timeout worship service and, of course, the announcement of the winners. ‘Wearing Masks’ was the timely topic of the meeting presented in German and French. Right up to the award ceremony teams offered a head-to-head race and the leader position changed several times in the final minutes before the end of the competition. Finally, it was the Moutier charity shop team from the French part of the territory who won the title! major andy fuhrer
| the game must go on...
THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX ONLINE TEACHING IN TRAINING COLLEGES
â&#x20AC;&#x153;Many colleges around the world have been able to roll out virtual tutoring and e-learning allowing students to continue their studies without interruption. Using technology such as video chat enables people to connect over long distances and makes travelling redundant. But here in Rwanda it is a different story ...â&#x20AC;?
N JANUARY 2020, my wife and I touched down on African soil for the first time, arriving from Singapore to take up our new appointments in the Rwanda and Burundi Command. We were not only faced with a new culture, but also the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. We were tasked with educating and preparing cadets to become officers, but the coronavirus forced the sudden lockdown of the training college and our movements were restricted. We had to hurriedly arrange alternative teaching methods so training could continue. Many colleges around the world have been able to roll out virtual tutoring and e-learning allowing students to continue their studies without interruption. Using technology such as video chat enables people to connect over long distances and makes travelling redundant. But here in Rwanda it is a different story; we have less online resources available than in other training colleges where I have taught previously. The COVID-19 crisis reinforces the fact that we must embrace technology if our training colleges are to remain resilient and adaptable. It is also an opportunity to reimagine our training methods to make them more relevant to the current generation of cadets. Present circumstances have compelled us to think quite radically out of the box, despite the imposed constraints. What are the challenges facing the digitalisation of education in our training college?
MAJOR LEE KONG YEE Training Principal and Secretary for Spiritual Life Development Rwanda and Burundi Command
1. Online teaching is a steep learning curve for cadets and educators. We are often averse to change, especially in areas we are not comfortable with. We have become so accustomed to the current outdated educational model which was designed for the Industrial Revolution era. It presents a one-way system with passive learning, linear thinking and a one-size-fits-all teaching methodology. This model is ill-suited for the task of educating and preparing our cadets for ministry in the 21st century. Education in general needs to modernise and become more relevant. The world has moved at such a pace that to teach using primarily a chalkboard is no longer suitable. Digitalisation is both the solution and the
the officer october-december 2020
It is now no longer an option but a necessity to leverage on technology if we are to offer cadets in less-developed countries a better learning experience ... challenge. Teaching must nurture thinking rather than just dishing out instructions. We need educators who have the capacity for critical and creative thinking, for effective communication, and the skills and adaptability in order to revamp our traditional instructional model. We need to educate cadets who can think, communicate and adapt where necessary. 2. We need to provide greater access to digital resources. We have nine cadets in this session. The college operates with the bare minimum where things many take for granted, such as an Internet connection, are non-existent. College computers are more than eight years old and cannot support today’s software and programs. It is now no longer an option but a necessity to leverage on technology if we are to offer cadets in less-developed countries a better learning experience. Access to a digital library and online resources opens a world of knowledge to cadets. Some may be digitally ignorant, but we have to start somewhere – why not at the college where officers are trained? 3. This crisis also provides an avenue for closer collaboration with other Salvation Army training colleges and theological seminaries around the world. We could tap on expertise worldwide, share resources and participate in each other’s online courses, especially those in the mother tongue of the cadets. In the Rwanda and Burundi Command language is a huge challenge; cadets come to the college with little working knowledge in spoken and written English, the medium of instruction. Online and recorded courses can be offered to cadets in their mother tongue by competent lecturers/facilitators sourced from elsewhere. This method promises to be beneficial for cadets who have difficulty in the language of instruction as they can play back lectures to catch up. Besides paper exams and assignments, online presentations by cadets can be recorded and uploaded where educators can view them and offer comments and critique with the help of web conferencing tools. This will help bridge the gap in a territory/ command where there is a lack of educators, thus improving the calibre of the teaching.
4. We are at an inflection point in the way we educate our cadets. Going forward, immersive learning is yet another way in which technology can make education more holistic, interactive and insightful. Cadets can engage through an artificial environment that simulates situations in which the information can be applied. The college can embrace e-learning holistically via an online platform that offers tools to develop, administer and track educational programmes and courses. Such a programme manages to create and deliver curriculums that students can follow both online and offline. Videos, courses and documents can be included while managing and tracking everything online. 5. Teaching online has shortcomings – but so does in-person teaching. To make sure that all cadets can benefit from online teaching, could this time be an opportunity to improve this type of learning for the better? What kind of a classroom might this look like – perhaps a blend of in-person and online teaching that can fulfil the training requirements either for a flexible or a residential training model? In a different kind of education and training, a mix of both methods, determining the right balance to ensure effectiveness of the transfer of learning is crucial. For example, being connected through online resources will be extremely beneficial when cadets are on field placement between the first and second year of training. In conclusion, while online education is a lifesaver during the COVID-19 lockdown, it cannot completely replace the human connection, but will certainly complement it. At least it makes provision for training to continue in the unlikely event that another pandemic warrants a lockdown.
major lee kong yee
| think outside the box
TOOLS FOR ONLINE MINISTRY A CHOICE OF RESOURCES FOR DIGITAL MINISTRY VIDEOS
Tips for online video – from the IHQ
The Ideas Share Space is designed to reimagine how we meet the demands of the new reality we serve. The Australia Territory launched this platform last year to encourage Salvationists to share the ideas they are implementing in their local mission, or need help to implement, and that could be utilised across the movement. These might be around virtual church solutions, serving isolated communities, working from home etc, ideas.salvationarmy.org.au
Communications team, salvationarmy.org/ihq/ coronavirus-tips-online-video Building Church from Home – a video series produced by Music and Gospel Arts Ministry, Canada and Bermuda Territory, outlining how to plan and produce an online worship service right from your home. Topics include free music resources and lyric videos, tips for creating a professional look and sound, copyright guidelines, file sharing, editing software and much more. For more information and resources go to samagacb.com Moving your ministry online – if you’re looking to kickstart your online ministry, this page on the UKI Territory’s website suggests many ideas, salvationarmy.org.uk/moving-ministry-online, if you’re searching for ideas to develop your online ministry, go to salvationarmy.org.uk/developing-ministry-online
Fight for Good – join USA National Editor-inChief Lieut-Colonel Tim Foley and the USA War Cry team as as they share insight, inspiration and news about The Salvation Army, available on Apple Podcasts and thewarcry.org/articles/?articlecategory=podcast The Do Gooders Podcast – join Christin Thieme, Editor of the USA Western Territory’s Caring digital publication, as she interviews guests each week for ideas to make an impact – from what it means to do good, to where to discover joy, what it is really like to be homeless or how to raise kind kids, caringmagazine.org/podcast Develop – listen to host Ben Gilbert (Head of International Projects in the UKI Territory) speak with practitioners from around the world as they grapple with the complexity of tackling poverty and injustice, available on Spotify and Apple Podcasts. All Terrain Podcast – a new resource from the Youth and Children’s Ministries team in the UKI Territory that tackles four universal questions about life and everyday issues: 1. How do we face change? 2. How do we move through suffering? 3. How do we receive joy? 4. How do we mature in service? allterrainpodcast.podbean.com
the officer october-december 2020
The Bible 2020 app was created by the Scottish Bible Society to let the global church join together and show that God’s Word is still being spoken in towns and cities across the world. People are encouraged to record themselves reading Bible verses out loud, then post their recording on a global video wall and share the video on social media, instant messaging or via e-mail. Bible Societies from 85 countries are promoting the app. ‘We hope this campaign will encourage Christians to rediscover confidence in the Bible and the power of speaking God’s word aloud,’ says Elaine Duncan, CEO of the Scottish Bible Society. Join a global movement of people reading the Bible every day in 1,200 plus languages and 1,500 plus Bible versions. The Bible 2020 app is available from Apple and Android app stores, scottish.bible/ bible2020 The Bible App™ is used by millions of people to make God’s Word a part of their daily lives. Download the free app and access your bookmarks, notes and reading plans from anywhere. Enjoy hundreds of versions, including audio, all on your mobile device. Available in more than 900 languages worldwide for Apple, Android and Kindle Fire, bible.com/app
Fortress Radio is an independent UK radio station owned by Citadel Promotions Limited: run by Salvationists, for Salvationists and all lovers of Salvation Army music. Whether housebound or alone, travelling or at work, listen to your favourite Salvation Army melodies, broadcast from 7 am to 10 pm, every day, providing something for everyone. Every Sunday presents a day of music featuring bands, songsters, young people’s sections and much more: knee drill, openairs, holiness, praise and salvation meetings, there’s even a wind-up (requests) hour. fortressradio.online SalvationArmyToday is a YouTube channel featuring news from around the Salvation Army world twice a week, run by the USA Southern Territory, youtube.com/SalvationArmyToday or salvationarmytoday.org Salvation Soundcast is a network of audio programmes in English and Spanish, presenting Bible-based, contemporary and relevant messages of hope from the Salvation Army’s USA Southern Territory, salvationarmysoundcast.org
Salv Army Women – page administered by the International Headquarters Women’s Ministries team, facebook.com/SalvArmyWomen Salvation Army Schools International– a Facebook group with information about Salvation Army schools, facebook.com/ groups/244944399868803 Facebook Salvation Army Corps Worldwide – connect with Salvationists around the world, facebook.com/groups/salvationarmycorps Salvos For a More Inclusive Church – group for members and friends of The Salvation Army who support an inclusive model of church that welcomes people in same-sex relationships, facebook.com/groups/134104103291829
Thirteen Tips for Sharing Your Faith Online, how to spread the gospel in the digital realm, by David Giles, IHQ Communications, published in All the World, October-December 2014 issue, salvationarmy.org/ihq/alltheworld and in the Canadian Salvationist, February 2015 issue, issuu.com/salvationist/docs/sal-2015-02
SALVATION BOOKS E-BOOKS
All Salvation Books dating back to 2012 are available as e-books
TO GOD BE THE GLORY THE ARMY SALUTE “Raised clenched fists are symbolic of unity in the midst of struggle, hands over the heart during an anthem are viewed as patriotic and two hands outstretched towards me from my mother-in-law tell me that I’m about to be embraced whether I like it or not! ... ”
IMPLE HAND gestures have served as a form of communication throughout the course of history. No, I’m not referring to sign language, although that is a brilliant invention which allows our deaf or hearing-impaired neighbours to communicate effectively. Instead, I’m talking about simple salutes that allow people to identify themselves with a certain group, club or sect, or certain hand movements that communicate an effective message generally accepted by all, such as the ‘thumbs up’ gesture.
CAPTAIN SHELDON R. BUNGAY Divisional Youth Secretary Newfoundland and Labrador Division Canada and Bermuda Territory
On many occasions as I have travelled on the Canadian highways, I have witnessed motorcycle enthusiasts extend two fingers on their left hand to acknowledge a comrade passing in the opposite direction. Different forms of military salutes are common all around the world; Boy Scouts and Girl Guides have salutes that accompany their pledge or promises; and some salutes have been met with controversy or are seen as distasteful such as those used by fascist regimes. Raised clenched fists are symbolic of unity in the midst of struggle, hands over the heart during an anthem are viewed as patriotic and two hands outstretched towards me from my mother-in-law tell me that I’m about to be embraced whether I like it or not! We all know that The Salvation Army also has a salute – the index finger of our right hand is raised above shoulder height – used between Salvationists around the world to communicate recognition of a fellow citizen of Heaven, or often when a Salvationist is introduced to a group, or is met by applause following some type of
As we made our way to the beginning of the honour guard, something happened that I did not expect, and its impact will remain with me, I believe, throughout the remainder of my life and ministry ...
performance when musicians offer the salute as a way of saying that it is God who deserves all the glory and praise and not themselves. At a recent emergency disaster response to a local apartment building I was boldly asked, ‘When will The Salvation Army finally get rid of their military terminology and those silly uniforms?’ There are even some within The Salvation Army who think it’s time to do away with some of our symbols and traditions, the salute included. I remember at my commissioning when we actually practised saluting our territorial commander, there were some observers who smirked or rolled their eyes at the task. Perhaps to the uneducated observer it does seem silly or odd that a Christian denomination would have a salute, and I confess that I have never put much thought into questions such as, ‘Why do we have it?’, ‘Is it meaningful?’ or ‘Does it serve a purpose?’, until it was my great privilege and honour to serve as a pall-bearer for an officer colleague and friend. It was a beautiful service of celebration as we honoured her life and ministry, and rejoiced at her promotion to Glory. Unsurprisingly, there were many officers present, some active colleagues and also the retirees who blazed the trail before us. At the end of the service all officers were invited to form an honour guard that would flank both sides of our colleague as we carried her out of the sanctuary one final time. As we made our way to the beginning of the honour guard, something happened that I did not expect, and its impact will remain with me, I believe, throughout the remainder of my life and ministry. As the coffin of my colleague reached the first officers in the guard, they almost instinctively began to raise their right index fingers quietly and solemnly in salute. And like a wave that begins slowly but very quickly gains momentum, that raising of arms continued as each officer was passed and the processional salute continued. It wasn’t long before the magnitude of that moment in my own life became almost too much for my emotions to handle, my bottom lip began to quiver, and my tear ducts overflowed to the point that I could hardly see where I was going.
Why? Well, I’m still processing what it all meant to me, but this I know for sure. I am blessed to have been called to work with some of the greatest people on this earth, people who give of themselves tirelessly to meet basic human needs and spread the gospel of Jesus Christ in whatever city or town The Salvation Army appoints them to. Are any of them perfect? No, but some of them have sacrificed so much to respond to the life of ministry, often working with limited resources and expected to meet whatever task gets placed before them each day. As I watched the faces of my colleagues, I was profoundly aware that many of them have been forced to deal with numerous criticisms; they have forfeited meals and time with their own families to respond to a hospital call or a grieving family; they have had to wrestle with their own convictions and study hard to determine what God is leading them to say or do; and often with limited skills they have worn the many hats of ministry that sometimes require them to be administrators, business professionals, pastoral counsellors, public orators, one minute planning events for children and events for seniors in the next. In each of their appointments they have been compared to those who in the minds of some have done things better, and given the knowledge that they will eventually move on to another community and another appointment, we have whole generations of officers who have no idea what it feels like to establish lifelong friendships. Despite having given a lifetime of service like my friend, some have to come to terms with the reality that none of us are immune to sickness and the reality of death. Yet, they seek no praise. Instead, they raise a finger and silently say… ‘To God be the glory!’ Previously published on the writer’s Facebook page, 4 January 2020, and in the Canadian Salvationist, 5 March 2020. captain sheldon r. bungay
| to god be the glory
the officer october-december 2020
N NO MORE SWIMMING WITH THE FISHES A CHRISTLIKE RESPONSE TO AN
OT MANY things in this world make me furiously angry. But the issue of child abuse does. Recently I visited the area in New Zealand where I grew up, which has seen several high-profile child abuse cases over the years. Two were especially horrific. In August 2007, three-year-old Nia Glassie was beaten to death. Eight years later, another three-year-old, Moko Rangitoheriri, died in similar circumstances. In the time leading up to their deaths, both children had experienced ongoing abuse.
EPIDEMIC OF CHILD ABUSE
“As I thought about these innocent children — and countless others like them — who died at the hands of people meant to be their protectors, I wondered what it was that pushed these people beyond the point of no return ... ”
Nia and Moko were killed by people unrelated to them, yet trusted by their caregivers to provide care. As I thought about these innocent children — and countless others like them — who died at the hands of people meant to be their protectors, I wondered what it was that pushed these people beyond the point of no return. At the height of their frustration, where was the sounding of the inner conscience alarm system warning them that what they were doing was clearly wrong? Where was their moral compass? And if that conscience alarm did sound, why wasn’t it listened to? Intertwined with the issue of child abuse is the issue of justice for the child. As a teenager, I loved contemporary music. One of my favourite albums was Innocent Blood, by 1980s Christian heavy metal group, Resurrection (Rez) Band. Glenn and Wendi Kaiser were founders of this band and co-founders of Jesus People USA, a Christian community for the disenfranchised in urban Chicago. The cover of Innocent Blood carried the image of an eight-year-old girl named Tricia who had lived close to the Jesus People community. Trish was taken without trace, her abductors never caught. In her memory, the band addressed the subject of child abuse on their album, which planted seeds in my life about the importance of providing safe spaces for children and pursuing justice for them.
CAPTAIN MAT BADGER Territorial Youth Secretary New Zealand, Fiji, Tonga and Samoa Territory
JUSTICE FOR CHILDREN Jesus got heated about the whole issue of child abuse. In fact, he was almost Mafia-like in his response to the threat of harm against children. In Matthew chapter 18, Jesus takes a child on his lap and makes the following statement: ‘If anyone causes one of these little ones – those who believe in me – to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung round their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea’ (v 6). The gangster threat that someone will soon be ‘swimming with the fishes’ comes to my mind whenever I read Jesus’ words! What does Jesus mean by ‘stumble’? David InstoneBrewer, in The Jesus Scandals: Why He Shocked his Contemporaries (And Still Shocks Today), points out that the Greek word skandalizo can be translated as anything from ‘causing sin’ to ‘causing offense’. In the New Testament, the word ‘stumble’ was used to refer to all
... when children are abused by caregivers, the image of God is corrupted in the eyes of those children ...
sorts of temptations, often in the context of sexual sin. For example, in Matthew 5, Jesus warns against looking at a woman lustfully, and then summarises this section of the Sermon on the Mount by saying that your ‘eye’ or your ‘hand’ might cause you to ‘stumble’. Perhaps we easily skip over this somewhat innocuous phrase — ‘to stumble’ doesn’t seem such a big deal. But Instone-Brewer explains that this comment was far more loaded to Jesus’ original audience, because the word used for ‘hand’ could also mean ‘penis’! Jesus has a child sitting on his knee, so he uses the coded warning of a millstone to convey the severity of his disapproval in a way that will be clear to adults but go over the head of the child. Jesus hates child abuse with a passion. And it is the offending adult who Jesus holds to account, regardless of any dysfunction in their background. Adults abusing children is not acceptable in the eyes of God! And Jesus then goes on to make it clear what the penalty will be. A fitting eternal punishment will be something far worse than having a large millstone hung around the offender’s neck and drowning them in the depths of the sea. It’s probably easier for us in this day and age to visualise Mafia-style ‘concrete shoes’ than a millstone, but they achieve the same thing: death in the depths and darkness of the water. In other words, Jesus says God will have the last say — and the punishment of offenders will be severe! Those who work to cover up such abuse, whether as individuals or as part of an organisational structure, are equally condemned. In fact, religious leaders who emotionally, physically or sexually abuse children fall under greater condemnation, because Jesus always expected a higher standard of those who should know better (see Luke 11:37-54 and Matthew 23:1-36 for Jesus’ criticisms against religious leaders, as well as Mark 12:35-40 and Luke 20:45-47 for further warnings). WHY DID JESUS CARE? Why was Jesus so hot under the collar when it comes to the issue of child abuse? Firstly, because such abuse causes immense pain and suffering to the innocent. It is
a total betrayal of the care and protection that is their basic human right. Secondly, Jesus also knew that any form of child abuse would impact the next generation’s experience of God. In the Old Testament (the Bible Jesus read), parents were tasked with raising their children in correct knowledge, understanding and experience of God. Moses writes in Deuteronomy 6:6-7, ‘These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.’
MORAL AND SOCIAL ISSUES
the officer october-december 2020
Moses knew that when it came to learning about God, most knowledge is caught not taught. That’s why he says the laws of God must start by being in the hearts of the parents. When the laws of God are cherished in the hearts of parents, the odds of a child having a positive experience of God is far higher. That’s because the parent’s experience of being in relationship with God lines up with what they are teaching their children about God. Of course, how children choose to apply the example of their parents’ faith to their own lives as they grow is another issue entirely. But in this process of learning about God, it would be fair to say that the next generation has the best opportunity to develop a healthy picture as to who God is and — more importantly — what God’s character is like when their parents’ devotion to God is heartfelt. To apply this principle to the issue of child abuse, when children are abused by caregivers, the image of God is corrupted in the eyes of those children. Their path to peace with God is made harder because of parental hypocrisy. And, thirdly, Jesus got hot under the collar because abuse has long-term developmental consequences. When children are sexually abused, for instance, they often have problems forming normal relationships or even trusting people for the rest of their lives. I have spent time over the years with adult survivors of child sexual abuse who
captain mat badger
| no more swimming with the fishes
The overall aim of this strategy is ... to insert a Christlike moral compass in the hearts and minds of tomorrow’s parents ...
» were relationally broken. If they were abused at an early
age, they may feel personally guilty and sinful about this even though the abuse was never their fault. If this abuse happened at the hands of religious leaders, the survivor’s confusion is compounded by an additional level of complication. Again, the abuse was not the survivor’s fault; it was the result of the sinful actions of another person intent on misusing their power. The resulting feelings can be almost impossible to remove even when they realise this truth as adults. Some abuse survivors continue to suffer for the rest of their lives. And a destructive cycle can sometimes also begin — when they become parents themselves, there is a chance that those who were abused may, in turn, abuse their children. I believe this cycle partly explains the child abuse epidemic so prevalent in my home country, as well as incidents of child abuse around the globe. A CHRISTLIKE RESPONSE As a Christian movement, we need a Christlike response to this child abuse epidemic, to which I would like to propose a six-part strategy. Without going into the minutia of this strategy, it could be briefly explained as follows: 1. As a movement, The Salvation Army needs to resource and empower this generation of parents to disciple their children. The nature of this should be consultative and inclusive, with the faith community and parents working together. Importantly, we must include parents outside of our faith community, those whose children and teens are connected to the Army in some way. 2. We need to provide safe, welcoming spaces for children and young people. Some children don’t have safe spaces, so let’s become their ‘no-strings-attached’ safe space. As inconvenient as it may sometimes be, we must commit ourselves to undergoing all required processes to ensure that every person working with children and young people in a Salvation Army context is safe and suitable – no exceptions! I am happy to report here that my home territory has taken a lead on this with our Keeping Children Safe training, along with a number of other developments in the area of safe practice.
captain mat badger
3. We need to seek justice for vulnerable and disenfranchised children and young people, both at a local level and at a higher governmental level. In some parts of the world this will involve challenging societal structures and cultural norms. 4. As a movement we need to adopt an inclusive, strengths-based youth development approach that empowers every young person to make good decisions in life, regardless of their backgrounds. No young person is an island; each is a part of families in all their wonderfully varied forms. Family is important to every child, and often the journey to adolescence can be messy and stressful on the wider family. Therefore, this strategy would look to understand and engage with wider support structures, including family. 5. We need a strategy that addresses the accessing of pornography by young people. To use a statistic from my home country, most teenagers in New Zealand either use, have used, or will use porn on a regular basis, regardless of ethnic or religious background (for more information on this research, go to thelightproject.co.nz). This reality will likely have an impact in the whole area of sexual abuse in future generations. 6. We need a long-term strategy that intentionally invests in the next generation of parents. The reason I am saying ‘the next generation’ is that our intervention with children and young people today will help today’s young people become healthy parents in the future. The overall aim of this strategy is to provide care and compassion for abuse survivors today, but also to insert a Christlike moral compass in the hearts and minds of tomorrow’s parents. I am more convinced than ever that if we take responsibility for this and do it well, not only will our faith communities be better off, but so will our neighbourhoods, our economy and, ultimately, our wider society. It is our sacred responsibility within The Salvation Army to ensure that no one needs to ‘swim with the fishes’ on our watch. We want every child who encounters The Salvation Army to experience the safety that Jesus so strongly championed and that they so justly deserve.
| no more swimming with the fishes
the officer october-december 2020
DEAR EDITOR Cover, For a Just and Equal Sharing (January-March 2020) Are the colours on the cover of this issue meant to represent the Gay Pride flag? I ask because I noticed that they are the same colours and in the same order as the Pride flag. CAPTAIN SCOTT DUPERREE Corps Officer, Sunbury USA Eastern Territory Response from the editor: Usually, the cover relates to the content, this time to the main feature ‘For a Just and Equal Sharing’. As such, the colours on the cover refer to those of the rainbow, foremost a biblical symbol of God’s alliance with us, humans, and a symbol of the just and equal world he wants to establish through his Kingdom. The LGBTQ community happen to use these same colours for their flag. Looking at pictures, people can see different things depending on their perspective and interpretation. Take Responsibility, by the General (April-June 2020) The General’s call to take responsibility modelled the kind of leadership required for the 2020s. Particularly the way he poses a series of questions about future leadership but clearly leaves the questions unanswered. This action in itself by the Army’s global leader makes a huge statement about the kind of leadership required. It can no longer be prescriptive leadership, but one that is open-ended, inviting contribution, posing the questions and involving everyone in the answers. MAJOR PETER MCGUIGAN Corps Officer, Preston Victoria Division, Australia Territory Feedback on the online link for The Officer This looks good and is easy to read and access. In this day and age, I think this is much better stewardship of financial resources, arrives on time and saves trees! MAJOR GRANT KINGSTON-KERR Chaplaincy New South Wales/Queensland Australia Territory I am all for an online version of The Officer. I have often thought about the cost and environmental impact of printing and shipping the magazine, and I much prefer the ease and accessibility of the digital format. I like the use of Issuu and I think this is great. I also acknowledge that there are those who would still want hard copies;
however, I am happy with the digital version and happy to no longer receive a paper copy. LIEUTENANT BEN HOLLIS Corps Officer, Gosnells Australia Territory I wish to advise that I would be happy to receive a digital copy. However, as secretary for the retired officers’ fellowship in Queensland, Australia, I would request that retired officers be asked whether they want a digital copy or not. At present we have approximately 33 retired officers who don’t have access to a computer, iPad or iPhone, and they would still require a printed copy. Please don’t overlook those without tech gear. COMMISSIONER JAN CONDON Caloundra, Queensland Australia Territory Great to be able to have an online magazine. Just needs to be formatted for an iPad screen, one page per screen, not a double page. Obviously producing an online version would be a huge saving in printing and postage costs. Some places would require a print version. Maybe it could be set up as a subscription so that it comes to individual officers’ email addresses. MAJOR ISABEL BECKETT Area Officer Australia Territory Note from the editor: These are just a few comments we received among many others. For the time being, we will continue to send a link via the territory for online access to the magazine; for those who prefer a print copy (for example officers who have no Internet access), please notify your territory and these will be provided.
LETTERS FOR PUBLICATION ARE ALWAYS WELCOME ... EMAIL: IHQ-TheOfficer@salvationarmy.org OR POST TO: The Officer, The Salvation Army International Headquarters, 101 Queen Victoria Street, London EC4V 4EH, UK
LIFT THE LID DIALOGUE ON HUMAN SEXUALITY
EARS OF awe and joy pricked my eyes. I was totally lost for words, shaking with excitement, then peace surged through me, an awareness of the Holy Spirit burning inside, confirming his presence as details of my new appointment were being explained. As I gathered my senses, I was overwhelmed with a sense of God leading and directing my life to bring me to this point. Early in my ministry I had responded to God’s prompting and prayed: ‘God break my heart with the things that break yours.’ At the time I discerned that God was putting people in my path who had suffered pain and heartache, and the common theme was relationships and sexuality. As the reality of my new role began to sink in, I was humbled, but also knew God was anointing me for this work. As in every other role, I needed to discern the Spirit and God’s will; it was with his help that in May 2019 I commenced my appointment at International Headquarters as the International Liaison Officer for Dialogue on Human Sexuality. For some time, the international Salvation Army had been preparing and having dialogue on sexuality. The General explained that he felt it was the right time ‘to lift the lid’ on the ‘too hard basket’ and look closely at the issues faced by The Salvation Army around relationships and sexuality. Coming into a brand-new role felt a little daunting as I wondered how to create structure and plan how to connect with 61 territories, commands and regions.
LET’S TA LK
Let’s talk about ... elationships Sexuality and R E
AND ARMY LEADERS
If you want to know more about the conversation tools Let’s Talk About… contact your territorial leadership. If you’d like to share with readers a personal experience with any of the issues mentioned in this article, please write to IHQ-TheOfficer@salvationarmy.org
LIEUT-COLONEL JULIE FORREST International Liaison Officer for Dialogue on Human Sexuality International Headquarters, London
Doors have opened! As I look back, I am grateful for the connections established and for the opportunities to dialogue either in person or via video calls or email with so many people. Even though this is such a difficult topic, I am encouraged that so many leaders have welcomed with enthusiasm conversations about sexuality. I have learnt so much about culture and behaviour. I am humbled as people have shared stories about their land and people in a very deep way. From the beginning I knew that God had to be central in all I do, and I trusted him to give me a simple framework on which to base this ministry. He showed me that I needed to approach my work through three lenses – the lens of a pastoral approach, the lens of the power of story and the lens of inclusion. I try to keep these perspectives in balance. The Spirit reminds me that Jesus came ‘full of grace and truth’, and as such grace and truth must underpin this work. My job title includes the word ‘dialogue’. My role is not to make policy decisions, nor is it to persuade anyone to think my way or even discuss how we bring about change, but it is about dialogue, listening in safe environments in order to understand. I hope to encourage facilitated conversations that promote understanding. 1. THE LENS OF A PASTORAL APPROACH God loves us all equally. He created us with emotions and feelings, so I approach each issue with an understanding of the human condition and remember that behind it there are people, with their story, their life.
I am acutely aware that dialogue on sexuality is a very difficult subject for people to openly discuss, but also for many it carries deep pain ...
For the previous 20 years of my officer ministry I have been able to practice (part-time) as a psychosexual therapist. During these years I have heard stories of sexual trauma, abuse, violence in relationships, addiction and so much more. I am acutely aware that dialogue on sexuality is a very difficult subject for people to openly discuss, but also for many it carries deep pain. Most conversations in my new appointment acknowledge the difficulty of talking about sexuality, but also affirm how needed this dialogue is in a Salvation Army setting. As we open dialogue and show a willingness to have the difficult conversations, we can build trust and I pray an outcome will be that we better understand those who carry hidden and silent pain. There are recurring themes that have echoed around the Salvation Army world. Repeatedly, there is a call to understand and respond to helping people with married life, partner abuse, pornography and same-sex attraction and relationships. These issues have been raised many times, often from different angles, but always with a heart for people who are dealing on some level with these issues. There are other issues such as child marriage, dowry or polygamy that belong to specific cultures. With a pastoral approach I want to be nonjudgemental and seek to understand context as well as content. 2. THE LENS OF THE POWER OF STORY Jesus discerned the heart. It is important to hear people well and seek to discern their heart. This will help me understand more about the person, the culture and their context. There is power in a story. In my conversations with leaders, I usually ask the question: ‘What is the main concern you have about sexuality in your territory?’ This is when I learn more about cultural issues, and the variety is incredible – from teenage pregnancy to a deep concern for marriages, issues around dowry and bride price, the prevalence of child marriage and cultural ‘rites of passage’. Culture is a crucial influence on how we view relationships and sexuality. The value of the girl child is often a concern I observe, which leads into how men ultimately treat women; this
can be from encouraging and supporting child marriage to violence in the home, controlling her, sexually violating her choice in how to ‘give’ her body and making her subtly aware that she has less value than boys and men. I am encouraged and moved that men tell these stories with pain and sadness, and often give examples of how they have raised their own daughters differently compared to their own generation (when women were not treated as equals).
MORAL AND SOCIAL ISSUES
the officer october-december 2020
The Salvation Army stands up for social justice. I hear many examples from around the Army world where women’s ministries and project teams work to raise awareness and empower women. Poverty is often at the root of issues that become violent and abusive. I have a heart full of gratitude for those who actively engage to bring about change. 3. THE LENS OF INCLUSION ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ Scripture uses the word ‘love’ as a verb. People are excluded for many reasons; I have an overwhelming sense that we can change the world if we each take a small step to intentionally include those who are on the margins in our context. If we extend this throughout our corps and centres, we may find God entrusts us with even more broken and needy people than we could ever imagine. Inclusion helps people to heal and restore, and we can truly learn how to love our neighbour as ourselves. In his Call to Mission, the General speaks of inclusion: ‘We must be beyond reproach in treating all people with respect and compassion, remembering our mission to meet human needs in Christ’s name without any discrimination. In Christ’s name we can enable others to seek and find him.’ It has been my experience that there is a reluctance to talk openly within corps/centre settings about the pain and suffering people feel regarding sexuality. For some this is due to shame for what they have done or what has been done to them. The feeling of being unclean or unworthy is prominent in their minds, and they fear rejection if people knew their story. For others it is a struggle with LGBTQ issues that means they cover their lieut-colonel julie forrest
| lift the lid
Church should be where we can be our true self … to come with our brokenness, damage and pain, and find redemption, healing and restoration ...
» true self as they fear rejection or judgement if their
struggles and confusion, or even their clarity, are shared among fellow Salvationists. I am a strong believer that church should be where we can be our true self, have a glimpse of the Kingdom of God and are able to come with our brokenness, damage and pain, and find redemption, healing and restoration. LET’S TALK ABOUT… The decision to enable The Salvation Army world to have dialogue on sexuality commenced at the pre-High Council in 2012. During the time General André Cox was in office, the focus on sexuality was developed and the International Moral and Social Issues Council and the International Theological Council were tasked to produce materials to be used within The Salvation Army and relevant to the five zones. The result of their work was the production of the Let’s Talk About… series. The talks currently available are: Let’s Talk About… • Divorce and Remarriage • Married Life • Partner Abuse • Pornography • Same-Sex Relationships • Sex Outside of Marriage • Singleness
There are other issues still needing to have a Let’s Talk About… produced, for example bride price, dowry, child bride, transgender or polygamy. They are mostly specific to certain cultures. However, as we become more and more a multicultural society, there is a need to include these topics more widely. Once they are ready, they will be circulated via territorial leadership. In conclusion, I would be grateful for your prayers. Please pray that I can continue to balance grace and truth with all issues of sexuality. Show your support by holding conversation groups within your corps and centres. Your territorial leadership will be able to let you know who your point person is for your country. For many years, I have carried a vision for The Salvation Army found in a poem attributed to William J. Crockett:
Recently, a revised version of the ‘Married Life’ conversation was added to reflect the cultural differences in the South Asia Zone. My role is to identify a point person in each territory and command so that I can liaise with them and support them as they plan for the ‘talks’ to happen in their own context. Currently, I have been able to establish this relationship with more than three quarters of the territories and commands. The plan is that they, with the support of their leadership team, arrange for facilitators being trained and equipped to hold the talks. Usually, they choose a ‘pilot’ division to assess the best way forward, and then have the conversations throughout the territory. Ideally, all Salvationists will be given the opportunity to join a small group. For each theme, the Let’s Talk About… series offers a conversation guide and a facilitator’s guide, designed to help people talk lieut-colonel julie forrest
about sexuality and relationships. In the ‘Decide and Plan’ section the question ‘How then shall we live?’ is important; it gives the group opportunity to articulate how they want to move forward. This may include exploring another talk, or perhaps an action they can take, often around how we can be more supportive or inclusive. The crucial aspect of the talk is the actual conversation and thinking about the subject.
| lift the lid
A People Place If this is not a place where tears are understood, Where can I go to cry? If this is not a place where my spirit can take wing, Where do I go to fly? If this is not a place where my questions can be asked, Where do I go to seek? If this is not a place where my feelings can be heard, Where do I go to speak? If this is not a place where you will accept me as I am, Where can I go to be? If this is not a place where I can try to learn and grow, Where can I just be me? I pray that Salvationists around the world will show to those with a ‘story’ about sexuality the love and compassion of Jesus, and that the Army be recognised as ‘a people place’.
the officer october-december 2020
book review BY LIEUT-COLONEL DAMON RADER (OF) LIVING IN RETIREMENT USA
THE HOLINESS DILEMMA BY JOE NOLAND
This book was written to address Salvation Army soldiers (and holiness seekers in general) around the world concerning the vitally important matter of holy living, internally and externally. The content is honest, biblical, practical, accessible and engaging. It comes from the passionate heart of a retired Salvation Army leader who knows the necessity of being Spiritfilled and Spirit-led. He himself is a good example of what he’s talking about.
Independently published, 2019 AVAILABLE FROM Amazon US$5.99 (Paperback) US$2.99 (Kindle e-book) By the same author: THE EVANGELISM DILEMMA: INTRODUCING 8 ABSURD ‘WORLD-WINNING’ EVANGELISTIC IMPERATIVES Independently published, 2019 AVAILABLE FROM Amazon US$6.99 / £5.45 (Paperback) US$3.99 / £3.11 (Kindle e-book)
Without claiming any special inspiration, he shares with us what he calls ‘illuminations’ concerning holiness that have come to him over the years. He hopes they will illuminate our understanding as well. I tend to see things as ‘both and’, rather than ‘either or’, so crisis and process makes sense to me. It is helpful to have different points of view. If they can be seen as complementary, instead of mutually exclusive, and can be synthesised – as with our two eyes – we can get a 3D image that is more accurate and complete. Clearly, God likes variety. He created a lot of it, and he has a fascinating variety of holy people. Cases in point are my dear brother Lyell M. Rader Jr, to whom this book is dedicated, and our father Lyell M. Rader (OF) for whom he is named. Two holy men, wholly devoted to God, who were very different in personality,
temperament, giftedness and sensitivities. Dad was known for his fervent zeal and boldness, for his soul-winning on the street and person-to-person charisma, and for his persevering in follow-up and prayer. My brother Lyell was known more for the rich treasury and quiet contemplation of his inner life, for his teaching and for the full fruit of the Spirit in ripe abundance in his life. Both men enjoyed intimate fellowship with God and brought glory to his name. Both continued to grow in grace and in likeness to their Lord until they were finally Home with God. This book calls us to a higher standard of doing what is ‘right’ as well as what is ‘good’. These virtues should always be held together and in balance, like truth and grace, righteousness and holiness. They are integral dimensions of a whole. Jesus put love for God and love for people together. In fact, our love for people is evidence of our love for God. So, the highway of holiness is the high way of holy love. The book concludes with the charge to catch the cadence of what Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Love one another as I have loved you.’ I can hear that, feel it, and march to it. Let’s do it together. Text extracted from the foreword to Holiness Dilemma.
book review by lieut-colonel damon radar (of)
| the holiness dilemma
RECENTLY PUBLISHED BOOKS SEASON OF CREATION 2020 CELEBRATION GUIDE, JUBILEE FOR THE EARTH The theme for the 2020 Season of Creation, which is held annually between 1 September and 4 October, is ‘Jubilee for the Earth’, and a new guide provides creative ways for worship and action to celebrate this season. The guide contains an ecumenical prayer service, liturgical resources, meditations and ideas for action and advocacy that help individuals or congregations animate the theme, which allows people to explore the reality that, this year, the global reach of the novel coronavirus revealed our shared human nature and the inter-connectivity of our economies, political structures, health care systems, food production chains, and energy and transportation systems in devastating ways. ‘The theme ‘‘Jubilee for the Earth’’ was chosen to advocate for life sanctification and give rest to all Creation’, said Dr Louk Andrianos, WCC Consultant on the Care for Creation, Sustainability and Climate Justice. ‘Accidentally or by providence, the COVID-19 crisis showed us that giving rest to Earth from human exploitation can save life and the overall creation. This could give us an ecotheological lesson to tackle the climate crisis as well’, he added.
FREE DOWNLOAD oikoumene.org/en/ resources/2020-season-ofcreation-celebration-guide
The Season of Creation is facilitated, among others, by the World Council of Churches, ACT Alliance, World Communion of Reformed Churches, the Lutheran World Federation, Christian Aid and Lausanne/WEA Creation Care Network.
CHRISTMAS BREAKTHROUGH: FINDING THE REAL GIFTS OF THE SEASON A BOOK OF MEDITATIONS FROM ADVENT, THROUGH CHRISTMAS TO EPIPHANY BY PHIL NEEDHAM Christmas Breakthrough is a 41-day spiritual journey for Christians and seekers alike. It can be used during an Advent-Christmas season, but also at any time of the year when our lives are going in so many directions, and it is more important than ever to recover what the Christmas season is really about. This book of daily meditations aims to help the reader do just that by focusing on this greatest breakthrough in human history. Real Christmas doesn’t just happen. We must prepare for it. The first part of the book takes the reader through the four weeks of Christmas preparations we call Advent (literally the ‘coming’ of Christ), reaching sublime fulfilment on Christmas Eve with the birth of Jesus. The second section of meditations progresses from Christmas Day through the Twelve Days of Christmas (Christmastide). It concludes with the 13th day we call Epiphany (literally the ‘appearing’), referring to the light of a star that lit the way for the Magi. For us, as for them, it points to the light of Jesus – the unfailing Illuminator of our faith. Christmastide is not recovery time from our seasonal exhaustion. It is a time to begin to come to terms with how everything changed with the coming of Jesus – for our world and for us personally. It addresses the all-important question: ‘How do I now live my life in light of the reality that Jesus is now here among us?’
Published by Crest Books, The Salvation Army USA National, 2019 AVAILABLE FROM your local trade department crestbooks.com US$14.95 satradecentral.org US$10.00
the officer october-december 2020
FILTHY RAGS BY TOM FORD Filthy Rags is Major Tom Ford’s inspirational devotional book based on Zechariah 3. The prophet Zechariah’s mission was to encourage those returning to Jerusalem after captivity to complete the building of the temple and re-establish an intimate relationship with God through traditions that they once practiced. Zechariah 3 describes the vision whereby Joshua is selected by God to fulfil the high priest position in the new temple. In the preface, Ford writes: ‘Drawn from my experience of ministry in jails and prisons and from the different people I have met, Filthy Rags is a witness and proof of the grace and power of God to transform lives. It is a book to encourage everyone, no matter their current situation, to grow closer to God. The book was written not just to be read, but to be a catalyst for interaction with God.’
SOCIAL HOLINESS: THE COMPANY WE KEEP BY JONATHAN S. RAYMOND Social Holiness is a critical caution surrounded by a potentially great resource. We tend to become ‘the company we keep!’ This clear-headed account of ‘holiness’ invites unholy humans into holy community, connecting the individual’s experience of holiness with God’s own Triune-self, always both communal and social. God then facilitates, nurtures and deepens the experience, primarily in and through the other forms of company we keep, which ties the experience of holiness to participation in the loving mission of Jesus. This book is a must-read for any serious Christian. ‘Here is clear-headed engagement with a balanced doctrine of holiness wedding social psychology to a profoundly insightful and orthodox biblical theology of holy living. The result is a treasure trove of insights into the way of salvation that emphasises the personal and social reality of the Spiritfilled life. It’s a refreshing Trinitarian soteriology, a work for anyone who desires to move beyond archaic, hackneyed or sentimental language about sanctification.’ (Bill Ury, National Ambassador of Holiness, The Salvation Army USA National)
Published by Aldersgate Press, 2018 AVAILABLE FROM Amazon or your local bookshop US$7.00 / £3.47 (Paperback) US$4.49 / £3.47 (Kindle e-book) Also available at crestbooks.com
NIG EL BOV EY
The book is a collection of articles published in the UKI War Cry over the past two years. With added material for personal devotions, the book has a wide appeal beyond the UK.
THE BIB LE
For many people, the Bible is like a distance, an iceberg yet up – beautiful per cent unexp close it is cold, uninv from iting and at lored. least ninety In Browsing the Bible, Major Nigel of the sixty Bovey delves six books of the Bible into each message. and expos In so doing es its essent , he reveal can make ial s a map by further discov which the eries of their reader own. Each overv iew is accom panied by exploration daily routes , a theme for further for meditation and a crafte A Salvation d prayer. Army office r, Nigel Bovey gospel comm has been a unicator in gifted person and forty years. in print for His ministry more than includes worki appearing on TV and ng in prisons, radio, song Army’s weekl writing, editin y evangelistic g the Salva pastoring newsp tion aper The War congregatio ns. Cry and Browsing the Bible is his eighth title to be published.
In Browsing the Bible, Major Nigel Bovey, former editor of the UKI War Cry, delves into each of the 66 books of the Bible and exposes its essential message. In so doing, he reveals a map by which the reader can make further discoveries of their own. Each overview is accompanied by daily routes for further exploration, a theme for reflection and a crafted prayer.
Published by New Frontier Publications, USA Western Territory, 2018 AVAILABLE FROM tradewest.com US$4.99 Also available as a free download from frontierpress.org
BRO WSI NG
BROWSING THE BIBLE BY NIGEL BOVEY For many people, the Bible is like an iceberg – beautiful from a distance, yet up close it is cold, uninviting and at least 90 per cent unexplored.
BROWS THE BIBING LE NIGEL BO
Published by Shield Books, UKI Territory, 2020 AVAILABLE FROM sps-shop.com £8.00 (Paperback) Also available from Amazon £7.00 (Kindle e-book) recently published books
42 MAJOR BERNARD CHIRANDU TERRITORIAL MEDICAL AND SOCIAL SECRETARY ZIMBABWE AND BOTSWANA TERRITORY
A DREAM FOR RETIREMENT column: from bernard Have you ever wondered why the disciples shunned the little children who had been brought to Jesus? Perhaps they did because, at that time, both women and children were not well respected. I must admit that I used to have this attitude too. But later, in all my corps appointments, I loved and still love to be with the junior soldiers. I like working with children. I regret that we do not have a children’s home in our territory. If we had one, I would be there to serve as a volunteer. Children are part of God’s creative plan. They are not just an afterthought, but they are gifts from God to their families. Everything about creation was pronounced good, including God’s design for children.
heart bleeds. I was once appointed to Masiye Camp, a training centre in a remote area of Matabeleland South Province, which offers children from difficult backgrounds psychosocial support through developing their life skills. It was at this place that I learnt to value philanthropy and appreciate the support of generous donors for disadvantaged children. It was during our time there that my wife and I decided to do something, and the dream was born to run a children’s home in our retirement. We looked for a place to build one and the government, through the District Council, offered us 20 hectares. We are thankful to God because our application for the registration of the home was approved and we now look forward to implementing the project.
Children need nurture and guidance. Children also need solid structures to keep their physical, emotional, social and spiritual growth on track. Therefore, I love to be in the company of junior soldiers. As their leaders we are present in their lives, supporting their growth and development, and leading them by our godly example.
I learnt that children are vulnerable even in good circumstances, but when there’s poverty or violence, children can suffer still more damage. The Bible singles out orphans for us to help. ‘Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor’ (Zechariah 7:10). Those without fathers are close behind orphans. And children living as refugees, displaced by conflict or in extreme poverty are extremely vulnerable. There is no social or financial safety net for them — no one to provide for their needs or to nurture them. God asks his people to help take care of children in such vulnerable places.
Each time I come across orphans, displaced children or children living in poverty who need special care, my
I strongly feel that children need protection. We are living in a world corrupted by evil. Child labour,
In Genesis we read that, ‘God blessed them and said to them, ‘‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it’’’ (Genesis 1:28).
major bernard chirandu
| a dream for retirement
physical abuse, exploitation and child marriage are only some of the challenges children may encounter today, not to mention dangers such as drug and alcohol addiction, bullying or gang involvement. God is our deliverer from trouble and enemies and, as an extension of our love for him, we should protect children from people who seek to harm them. Some of us are even called further by God to act as advocates or to become professionals in child protection. Children are blessed by God. The Bible states: ‘And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them’ (Mark 10:16). In blessing the children Jesus showed his heart towards little ones. He gave them his undivided attention. He always desires to bless them in every way. We can be channels of this blessing. I look forward to my retirement and the fulfilment of our dream.
We thank Major Bernard Chirandu for his valuable contributions throughout this year and hope that in his retirement he will be able to fulfil his dream to care for orphans in his country. May God bless him and his wife in their ministry as officers and followers of Jesus. We look forward to welcoming a new columnist next year, Lieutenant Debora Carvalho from the Brazil Territory.
Snapshots in History FIRST SALVATIONISTS SET FOOT IN SOUTH AMERICA 130 YEARS AGO After a journey of more than three weeks aboard HMS Trent, departing from Southampton, UK, with the blessing of William Booth, five Salvationists (Majors Thurman, Captains William T. Bonnet and Frederick Calvert and soldier Alice Turner) who hardly spoke any Spanish, finally arrived in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where, on New Year’s Day 1890, they launched The Salvation Army in a rented hall called Del Buen Orden, ‘Of Good Order’. The first meeting proceeded in a rather unorderly way, the men attending from nearby taverns carrying sticks and knives in their belts, but one of them ‘surrendered to the King’. He signed: ‘One of the gunners.’ The pioneers promised ‘great victories and that the flag of The Salvation Army will be flying for Jesus in every city and town of this South American republic’. A plaque commemorates that first salvation meeting in the hall - which became the first South American corps - and the first issue of The War Cry on that continent. From there, the work spread in the same year to Rosario, Santa Fe province. When the first Salvationists arrived, Argentina was on the brink of an economic and political crisis, and the population faced social instability, also due to high immigration. Between 1857 and 1940, more than six million newcomers arrived from Europe and the country became the most European republic in South America. Power and wealth remained in the hands of a selected few oligarchs and the working class faced poverty and misery to the extent that, after a harsh winter in 1890, a petition was presented to several newspapers to ‘give The Salvation Army money and the means, and in three days we will get rid of this scandal’. The press launched an appeal for public donations and within days the Army opened a former factory to accommodate 200 people. This was the beginning of the social work followed by a long series of efforts to support the less fortunate. In December 1892, The War Cry announced that ‘the growing development of our organisation has forced us to separate our social branch from the spiritual work’. Rescue operations in support of victims of prostitution started in 1894, and in 1896 the Army opened workshops for people with no occupation and home. The ministry was extended to medical services, with a maternity clinic opening in 1922 and a dental clinic in 1939. Later, a primary school was set up. In the 1930s, under the leadership of then Lieut-Commissioner George Carpenter who later became General, the music ministry in corps developed, with brass bands and songster brigades being formed.
Territorial Headquarters in Buenos Aires in the late 1890s
Open-air meeting in Rosario, Santa Fe province
Also in 1890, the Army opened fire in Uruguay and, in 1910, Paraguay joined the fold. Today, the three countries form the South America East Territory, with its headquarters in Buenos Aires. Besides its corps work, the Army runs a diverse social ministry, mainly with homes and day care centres for children, student accommodation, homes for the elderly, night shelters for men and women, as well as a network of charity shops. Text adapted from El Salvacionista, 2020, South America East Territory, and translated by Elizabeth Edwards, Translation Coordinator IHQ.