Lectio Divina: Praying the Scriptures
The Generalâ€™s Easter Message
The Soldierâ€™s Covenant: Is It Realistic?
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Jesus of the Streets
Seeing Christ in the marginalized
The Changing Face of Homelessness:
Inside 5 Army Shelters
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As we reflect on Jesus’ death and Resurrection, his love and salvation shine through the Easter story by General Linda Bond Cert no. XXX-XXX-XXXX
11 The Changing Face of Homelessness
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Across the country, The Salvation Army is helping men, women and children stay off the streets by Kristin Fryer PRODUCT LABELING GUIDE
14 Jesus of the Streets
FOREST STEWARDSHIP COUNCIL
Seeing Christ in the marginalized by Major Juan Burry
16 Are You Converted?
Is the age-old question still relevant? by Lt-Colonel David Hammond
17 Sacred Reading Departments 4 Editorial
Lost and Found by Major Jim Champ
5 Around the Territory 10 Mission Matters
Easter Victory by Commissioner Brian Peddle
20 Letters 23 Ministry in Action Higher Education by Ken Ramstead
24 World Watch
International Leader Visits India
25 Celebrate Community
Enrolments and recognition, tributes, gazette, calendar
28 Territorial Prayer Guide 28 Media Reviews 29 Our Covenant
Through the lectio divina, we can connect with God in prayer, meditation and contemplation by Captain Mark Braye
18 No Chance to Say Goodbye
Living in the wake of a loved one’s suicide by Kristin Fryer
21 Is the Church in Trouble?
How to navigate our way through the dangers facing the Christian faith by Major Julie Slous
Reality Check by Rob Perry
30 Battle Cry
Think Big. Start Small. Go Deep by Major Danielle Strickland
Cover photo: © iStockphoto.com/nuno
Inside Faith & Friends Playing Her Part
As an actor and teacher at Alberta’s Rosebud School of the Arts, Maki Van Dyke’s faith provides her with solid cues
from Jesus that Good Friday, explains bestselling author Max Lucado, one soul made a desperate request
When you finish reading Faith & Friends in the centre of this issue, pull it Faith & out and give it to someone who needs to hear about Christ’s lifePlaying changing Her Part + power
From the Depths of Death
Terry Battersbee’s life turned around when he came to The Salvation Army’s Harbour Light Centre in Bermuda
Between Two Thieves When everyone turned
Actor and teacher Maki Van Dyke's faith provides her with solid cues
Golfer Gets Into tHe swInG
the Lorax :
Dr. SeuSS in 3-D
Good Friday Reflections
bottom of every article posted on Salvationist.ca
Sharing the Vision
General Linda Bond’s letters to Salvationists around the world can be read at Salvationist.ca/ tag/sharing-the-vision
Inspiration for Living
Pass It On
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Salvationist I April 2012 I 3
Lost and Found
preached my first sermon in 1973, soon after I had been accepted as a candidate for officership. It was one of those forgettable experiences for almost everyone present except the preacher. I remember the text, my racing thoughts of “You don’t know what you’re talking about” as I stumbled and mumbled through 20 minutes of material in eight and a half minutes. I remember the overwhelming relief when the corps officer stepped up and took over the prayer meeting and invited people to come forward and receive Christ as their personal Saviour. I also remember an old gentleman lurching down the aisle and kneeling at the mercy seat as the congregation sang “Amazing grace! how sweet the sound, That saved a wretch like me!” The captain turned to me and said, “Jim, you know this person and you should go and pray with him.” The seeker that night was Ollie Bump. Ollie was a homeless man who on occasion had sought refuge at The Salvation Army. Struggles with alcoholism and other addictions had cost him dearly throughout his life. A recent diagnosis of cirrhosis of the
liver and lung cancer had brought him to the local corps, asking if the Army might assist with transportation to London, Ont., for medical treatment. That’s how I came to know Ollie. I travelled most weekends between Chatham, Ont., and London, and agreed to give him a lift. I was barely out of my teens and had never encountered “street” people in an up close and personal way. And there I was that Sunday evening, kneeling at the mercy seat and asking this frail gentleman of the road why he had come forward. “I would like some of that amazing grace,” Ollie said. The Salvation Army was born on the streets of London, England. But in short order its ministry and message spread to city streets around the world. Connecting the homeless with the message of hope through the practical expressions of care has been our raison d’être since our beginnings. Major Juan Burry provides us with a cogent analysis of why The Salvation Army engages in social service ministry (see pages 14-15). The major punctuates his article with encounters born out of personal experience with the poor and oppressed found on the streets of Victoria. In so doing, Major Burry reminds us that William Booth’s mantra of “soup, soap and salvation” is still relevant and applicable today. Lest we forget, the message of redemption and resurrection is intended for the whosoever; the homeless, the middle class, the rich and the famous. It is amazing grace demonstrated in the risen Christ. As I knelt beside this unforgettable character and listened to his request, I couldn’t help but say, “Help yourself, Ollie.”
William Booth’s mantra of “soup, soap and salvation” is still relevant and applicable today
I once was lost, but now am found, Was blind but now I see.–John Newton MAJOR JIM CHAMP Editor-in-Chief
4 I April 2012 I Salvationist
is a monthly publication of The Salvation Army Canada and Bermuda Territory Linda Bond General Commissioner Brian Peddle Territorial Commander Major Jim Champ Editor-in-Chief Geoff Moulton Assistant Editor-in-Chief John McAlister Features Editor (416-467-3185) Pamela Richardson News Editor, Production Co-ordinator, Copy Editor (416-422-6112) Major Max Sturge Associate Editor (416-422-6116) Timothy Cheng Art Director Ada Leung Circulation Co-ordinator Kristin Fryer, Ken Ramstead, Debbie Sinclair Contributors Agreement No. 40064794, ISSN 1718-5769. Member, The Canadian Church Press. All Scripture references from the Holy Bible, Today’s New International Version (TNIV) © 2001, 2005 International Bible Society. Used by permission of International Bible Society. All rights reserved worldwide. All articles are copyright The Salvation Army Canada and Bermuda Territory and can be reprinted only with written permission.
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AROUND THE TERRITORY
Providing Comfort in Winnipeg After Devastating Fire
Photo: Sheila North Wilson, CBC Winnipeg
WHEN FIRE DESTROYED an apartment complex in Winnipeg, the building’s 40-50 residents lost precious valuables and memories in the raging inferno. The Salvation Army emergency disaster services community response team provided emotional
and spiritual care to victims who escaped with only the clothes on their backs. “We opened the doors to our church to provide the evacuees with a safe and warm place to go to while things were sorted out for them,” explains Jeff Hamel, community ministries supervisor at Weetamah Corps. “When the evacuees showed up, we met their immediate needs by feeding them, then sat and talked with them, comforting them as they dealt with feelings of hopelessness and despair.” The Army also collected donations from the generous people of Winnipeg, During the devastating apartment fire in Winnipeg, the Army’s emerincluding clothing, gency disaster services team assisted the evacuees couches and dining
tables. Larger items were delivered by the thrift store when evacuees moved into more permanent housing. Many of these items were donated by people such as Keith Dixon, one of the firefighters who responded to the emergency. While rescuing a person trapped inside, Dixon was injured and subsequently found himself off duty to recover. During his recuperation, he got in touch with The North West Company who agreed to help. “We are very happy to provide these families with a care package of everyday necessities,” says Christine Reimer, vice-president and general manager, Giant Tiger West, one of the company’s stores. “While we cannot replace lost memories, we can offer some comforts of home during this difficult time.” The company also gave the evacuees $20 Giant Tiger gift cards. “The Salvation Army is grateful for the support of the community as they join in giving hope and dignity to those devastated by the fire,” says Hamel.
London Radio Station Elicits Community’s Generosity LONDON, ONT., RADIO station 102.3 BOB-FM is working with the Army’s Centre of Hope food bank in London to assist lowincome families and individuals needing food. Each year during December, BOB-FM, in partnership with London Mitsubishi, holds a toy drive called BOB’s Magical Mountain of Toys for the annual Christmas hamper program. London Mitsubishi supplied a vehicle to pick up toy donations at local businesses to build the “mountain.” Discovering the Army’s ongoing requirement for food, the station decided to continue their assistance into 2012. They elicited the support of London Mitsubishi, who extended the use of their vehicle, and held a food drive at three of London’s No Frills grocery stores in January. Salvation Army volunteers, along with BOB-FM, manned a table at each store where for $5 or $10 customers could purchase bags of food filled with items most needed by the Army. Because of the community’s generosity, hundreds of bags of food were delivered to the food bank. “The response was remarkable,” says Perron Goodyear, public relations and development representative, Ontario Great Lakes Division. “We are grateful to BOB-FM and their listeners for
Did You Know
… Corinne Frost, community care ministries secretary at Edmonton Crossroads Community Church, was selected as the Global Woman of Vision for February by Global Edmonton television station? She was recognized for her work with the marginalized in her community … on January 19, The Salvation Army’s
their ongoing support. The partnership with BOB has allowed us to help many families during these difficult economic times.”
Volunteers Richard Graham and Susan Graham with Jordan Sojnocki of BOB-FM at a No Frills store in London, Ont.
Addictions and Rehabilitation Centre in Victoria served a post-Christmas holiday dinner to 550 people in need? … the government of Newfoundland and Labrador is providing $124,000 for the Army to renovate the Wiseman Centre in St. John’s? The centre currently only houses homeless men, but renovations will add four units to accommodate women as well
… in February, The Salvation Army New Hope Community Centre in St. John’s, N.L., held a ceremony for nine students who graduated from its 12-week retail skills employment training program? Funding is supplied by the provincial government and the course offered through the College of the North Atlantic Salvationist I April 2012 I 5
AROUND THE TERRITORY
Burlington Thrift Store Reopens in Style
Canadian Tire Supports Disaster Relief
HUNDREDS OF BARGAIN hunters queued up outside the Army’s newly renovated and expanded store in Burlington, Ont., waiting for the doors to open in late January. The first 100 customers entering the store received $10 gift certificates. “We could not have asked for a better turn-out and more positive response from the community,” says Maria Guayacan, thrift store district manager for the Army’s National Recycling Operations. “We were thrilled to see some of our regular shoppers and to meet guests who were visiting us for the first time.” Visitors to the 15,000-square-foot thrift store were treated to $1 and $2 deals, free giveaways and a wide selection of products. Helen Evans, store manager, says visitors were impressed with the results of the renovations. “The expansion is more than just a larger space and some new paint,” she explains. “We have totally redone the store, from floors to lighting to new fixtures and change rooms. The only things we didn’t change were the great bargains.” With the store’s more pleasant and convenient shopping experience, the staff are hoping the changes will continue to entice new customers.
GRAHAM MOORE, TERRITORIAL public relations and development secretary, and Dan Howlett, director of operations and community programming for Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding. The memorandum confirms the organizations’ partnership agreement to strengthen disaster relief effectiveness and aid Canadian communities to recover from disasters in a timely manner. The agreement will ensure the donation of resources such as generators, clean-up kits containing bottled bleach, mops, buckets, shovels and other cleaning supplies, personal hygiene kits, smaller tools for repair and reconstruction, and Canadian Tire gift cards. As part of the new agreement, contact information for Army personnel and Canadian Tire staff will be exchanged. This will enable emergency disaster services directors to be in touch with Canadian Tire representatives to arrange for physical resources to be moved to affected disaster areas. The hope is that sometimes Canadian Tire personnel may even be deployed as Salvation Army volunteers in an emergency situation. “Canadian Tire Jumpstart has been a generous partner with The Salvation Army over the years,” says Moore. “Gifts in kind, funds to assist sports participation for children and youth, sponsorship, and attending our events are just a few activities that have solidified our relationship.” Graham Moore and Dan Howlett sign a
Thrift store manager and employees celebrate before opening the doors to the newly expanded store in Burlington, Ont.
Langley Children Learn to Give Back PRESCHOOL CHILDREN AT CORE Education and Fine Arts in Langley, B.C., may be young, but they are learning the importance of giving back to their community. Students were asked to bring in used clothing to be donated to the local Salvation Army. The goal was to fill four reusable packing crates that were on loan from It’s Your Move, a local company that specializes in moving equipment rentals and supplies. The response was so great that the school eventually filled more than 50 crates with clothing, shoes, blan- Preschool children proudly display some of the items donated to help the less fortunate in their community kets and books. 6 I April 2012 I Salvationist
Memorandum of Understanding between the Army and Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities
Sonia’s Cradle Rocks in Maple Ridge THE SALVATION ARMY Caring Place in Maple Ridge, B.C., is partnering with Monkey Business Kids Boutique to support the Sonia’s Cradle program, a ministry dedicated to helping young families in need. Discount coupons for diapers and baby formula are being collected for use in the purchase of these much-needed items. The premise for the Sonia’s Cradle program was born in 2009 when Sonia Nickle, a new worker at the centre, collected donated items for babies and toddlers to help families in need. Other community agencies connected with her efforts, which resulted in more families receiving the support they required. Following Nickle’s sudden death in 2010, Caring Place staff members honoured her memory by naming the program Sonia’s Cradle.
AROUND THE TERRITORY
Canadian Appointed to International Doctrine Council CANADIAN DR. JAMES READ, executive director of The Salvation Army Ethics Centre, has been appointed by General Linda Bond as a member of the Army’s International Doctrine Council, which advises Salvation Army leadership, councils and commissions on doctrinal and theological issues. In addition to his responsibilities at the Ethics Centre, Read serves as associate professor of philosophy and ethics at Winnipeg’s Booth University College and is a senior policy analyst for The Salvation Army’s International Social Justice Commission in New York. “It was a great surprise and honour for me to be appointed. It means that I will be able to sit at the same table as some of The Salvation Army’s premier theologians from around the world and learn from them,” he says. “Theology is about finding ways to talk intelligently about God in terms that make sense of our world and our times.” A lifelong Salvationist, Read and his wife, Laurie, have been active members of Winnipeg’s Heritage Park Temple for 30 years, where he serves as the corps sergeant-major. Canadian Major Wendy Swan, extended learning program director at Booth University College, has been serving on the International Doctrine Council since 2009.
Prime Minister Harper Thanks the Army UPON ASSUMING LEADERSHIP of the Canada and Bermuda Territory, Commissioner Brian Peddle was officially welcomed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper during their meeting at the prime minister’s Parliament Hill office in Ottawa. Harper thanked The Salvation Army for its work in communities across Canada. Commissioner Peddle was also welcomed in the House of Commons prior to Question Period by Kildonan-St. Paul MP Joy Smith. Smith, whose private members legislation Bill C-310 was unanimously passed in the House of Commons, is one of Canada’s foremost leaders against human trafficking. “The Salvation Army has also been at the forefront of national and international efforts to end modern-day slavery by raising awareness in communities and providing invaluable shelter and rehabilitation to survivors,” said Smith. “I want to commend The Salvation Army for its commitment to the hope and dignity of all people.”
Prairie Youth Retreat Rekindles Faith EIGHTY-THREE YOUNG PEOPLE from the Prairie Division gathered for a winter youth retreat at Camp Arnes, located one hour north of Winnipeg. Captain Mark Dunstan, divisional youth secretary, encouraged the delegates to give up
Samuel Dunstan participates in free-time activities during the youth retreat
personal control and allow their faith in Jesus Christ to grow, and to recognize that Jesus’ forgiveness and unconditional love remove all sin and shame. “Our response is to learn more and more about this love and share it with those who cross our
Cpt Mark Hall spends time with youth from the Prairie Div
path,” said Captain Dunstan. Small-group discussions focused on 1 John 4:7-12, allowing the young people to reflect on what God’s limitless love looks like and how they have experienced this love. On hand for the retreat were Captain Mark Hall, territorial youth secretary, and five cadets from the College for Officer Training in Winnipeg. Cadets Bethany Howard, Lance Gillard and Stefan Van Schaick testified to God’s place in their lives. The worship team from Winnipeg’s Heritage Park Temple led the youth in their praise of God. “I was amazed how everyone joined in worship,” says delegate Brandon McCallum. The spiritual impact of the weekend was evident. “I had the chance to reconnect with God,” says delegate Nykela Penner. “I was down and ready to give up on everything. Now I have a different perspective on things! It was an amazing weekend.” Salvationist I April 2012 I 7
Photo: © iStockphoto.com/kevinschreiber
Were You There? As we reflect on Jesus’ death and Resurrection, his love and salvation shine through the Easter story
t was my first Sunday at my new corps appointment. When the meeting came to an end, I was told that one family in attendance was facing the impending death of their 14-year-old daughter. She had been present with her parents that morning. This family undoubtedly had to be my priority for pastoral visitation. And so a journey lasting a few weeks began, with daily visits and the privilege of walking alongside a family in their darkest hour. On a very hot, sticky Sunday afternoon in August, I was to visit Sherry for the last time. She lay on her bed agonizing with the heat, the discomfort, the thirst and the pain. Her mother could only look on helplessly. Her dad sat beside her, raising her in his arms every few minutes to give her more ice to crunch, her only relief 8 I April 2012 I Salvationist
BY GENERAL LINDA BOND from the raging thirst. She was dying. We knew we were sharing her final hours. The window of her bedroom was open in the hope of getting some air. But what was coming through the window was the sound of children playing. The joyful shouts and laughter were in stark contrast to the moaning of a dying child. Somehow the sadness was all consuming and anything other than grief seemed so inappropriate. But beyond those bedroom walls life went on as usual. It strikes me that we are so often unaware of the suffering of others. We hear of a trial and the news reports give the particular date of when a child went missing. We hear about the anguish of the parents, the details of the horrible crime, the months that went by before the
perpetrator was caught. Being reminded of the date the crime happened may trigger a reflection: Where was I on that day? So often we have a happy memory. But then we realize that while life went on for us—that same day had ended tragically for others. Just Passing By And so it did many years before when Jesus faced the most agonizing crucifixion experience. A familiar song asks the probing question, “Were you there when they crucified my Lord?” More than 2,000 years later, we have to answer “no” if we are thinking in terms of time. But let’s go there in our imagination. In his prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus confesses, “my soul is
deeply grieved to the point of death” (Mark 14:34 NAS). He sweats drops of blood. His soul is in agony. He is tormented, but life goes on. The disciples fall asleep. During his arrest, his trial, his whipping, there is a suffering beyond the physical. The grief of aloneness is real. Where are his companions? Are they there? Yes, they are, at least they are in the vicinity. But Judas has orchestrated a betrayal, Peter is denying any knowledge of him and the other friends can’t be seen for dust. And for others in Jerusalem, life went on, business as usual. There was no awareness that beyond their patch, outside the city, the Son of God was to be crucified. It is the most important day in history but they are not there. Even Simon of Cyrene had other plans. He was “passing by on his way in from the country” when he was stopped and forced to carry the cross and “be there” (Mark 15:21). Sharing Hope To be honest, even if time or geography were not factors, few of us want to enter into the suffering of others. We certainly shrink from suffering ourselves. Yet once we have experienced it, we are never the same again. In some ways, we share in the fellowship of his sufferings (see Philippians
3:10) and enter into a knowledge of Christ we never had before. For Christians, the suffering of Jesus on every level—spiritual, emotional, social and physical—speaks to us in a deeper way. It tells us that he understands. He is not distant, remote or unfeeling. He is “there with us.” He knows pain. He knows rejection. He knows humiliation. He knows grief. However, the Easter season calls us to the deepest level of reflection regarding his suffering. We have to understand the purpose for it. It means we must go beyond contemplating the pain endured. We have to face ourselves, our part in his suffering. No wonder the songwriter says, “Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.” Whether we realize it or not, we were there when they crucified our Lord. With all our sin, with all our shortcomings, with our rebellion, we were there. And he took our sin upon himself. He bore its awful penalty. He opened up the way for us to come to the Father, reconciled, redeemed and restored. Now we share his life in a new way. Because of his atoning sacrifice, we are truly never the same again. This is not a bad news story. This is the Good News, the best news! This is a love story! This is the demonstration of the love of God, said the Apostle Paul, “in
that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8 NIV). The cross is not the end. It is the beginning and the Resurrection of Jesus announces it in most dramatic fashion. Jesus is alive! This is a story of God with us and God for us. The amazing consequence of this is our salvation. But it also calls us to seek the salvation of the world. We are a people who share his heart for others, their suffering, and even their apathy, and most certainly their need of a Saviour. We serve. We intercede. We seek justice. We tell the Good News. We believe in transformation for we are also a resurrection people. We share his hope for the world. General Linda Bond is the international leader of The Salvation Army.
This article also appears in this month’s Faith & Friends, located at the centre of this issue of Salvationist. When you are finished reading Faith & Friends, pull it out and share General Linda Bond’s Easter message, and all the other inspiring stories, with someone who needs to hear about God’s life-changing power.
ACADEMIC DEAN Booth University College invites applications, nominations and expressions of interest for the position of Academic Dean effective July 1, 2012. Booth University College is operated by The Salvation Army Canada and Bermuda Territory as an educational expression of the ministry of the Army. The University College serves students on its Winnipeg campus, officers across the Canada and Bermuda Territory, and the international Salvation Army in 35 countries. The Academic Dean provides leadership to the academic programs of the institution, including the development and maintenance of programs, the recruitment and supervision of faculty, and the cultivation of strong relationships within the academic and other constituencies. The Academic Dean is a member of the senior leadership team of the institution and works closely with the President. Desired Qualifications: • a PhD in a discipline relevant to the emerging curriculum of the University College, demonstrated success teaching undergraduates, experience in academic administration, and a passion for undergraduate education. • the ability to provide visionary leadership and to manage the day-to-day operations of the academic program. • the ability to cultivate relationships with other colleges and universities. • Salvationist in good standing. • beliefs and a lifestyle compatible with the mission and identity of the University College. We encourage all qualified persons to apply in confidence; however, due to federal immigration requirements, Canadians and permanent residents of Canada will be given priority. Consideration of applications will commence immediately and continue until the position is filled. Please submit a letter of introduction, a curriculum vitae, and the names of three referees to Dr. Donald Burke, President, Booth University College, 447 Webb Place, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, R3B 2P2. Web: www.BoothUC.ca; e-mail: email@example.com; phone: 204-924-4868
COMMEMORATING THE 98TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE SINKING OF THE
IRELAND AND PAYING TRIBUTE TO THOSE OFFICERS AND SOLDIERS OF THE SALVATION ARMY WHO HAVE BEEN PROMOTED TO GLORY SINCE MAY 29TH, 2011
SUNDAY, MAY 27TH, 2012 AT 3PM HERITAGE BRASS MOUNT PLEASANT CEMETERY, TORONTO. RAIN OR SHINE.
Salvationist I April 2012 I 9
Living in the power of Christ’s Resurrection
Photo: © iStockphoto.com/kreicher
BY COMMISSIONER BRIAN PEDDLE
e won! These two words make an undeniable declaration, summarize a hopeful outcome and are used by young and old alike. Whether it’s a hockey game among friends at the community rink or a political battle determining the future of a nation, winning for many of us is the ultimate goal, regardless of what price we have to pay along the way. Any observation of human behaviour quickly reveals our competitive spirit and what is often referred to as a “play to win” attitude. When it comes to any matter of significance, most of us want to be on the winning team. As pilgrims in this world, we strive daily in a battle where we sometimes forget we are on the winning team. The words “we won” or “it is finished” are muted by the daily grind or the tyranny of the urgent. It is important that we keep in mind the words of Jesus, “I am the Resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me 10 I April 2012 I Salvationist
will live …” (John 11:25). These words were given to Martha when she experienced the loss of her brother. Little did she realize that these words would echo throughout future centuries. Luke added to the promise with a post-Resurrection comment, “He is not here; he has risen” (Luke 24:6). Though we look to the future and anticipate yet another victory that involves the Lord’s return, the declared Easter triumph remains sealed for all time and is written in the record book. For those of us who believe, we have the opportunity to confidently shout, “We are not afraid,” when faced with moments of uncertainty. Noted atheist Richard Dawkins recently supported a British bus ad campaign that stated, “There probably is no God, so stop worrying and enjoy your life.” In other words, live as though there is no eternity, no life after death, no hope for the future and no consequences for our
actions. Even in the day that Jesus lived, life after death received mixed reviews. The Sadducees would have denied the possibility, while the Pharisees only would have considered it a probability. Jesus, of course, challenged both streams of thought and through the power of the Resurrection demonstrated the reality of life after death. In fact, the miracle of Easter reaches far beyond the event. The personal implication of Easter pulls each of us out of the crowd and we are no longer spectators. Instead, God writes us into the story through his Son, and as Scripture reminds us, “Because I live, you also will live” (John 14:19), we become the recipients of this great hope. Please note that neither the trials of life nor death is our destiny. The words of Jesus to Martha in John 11:25 remain as an offer to any who come to faith: “I am the Resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even though they die.” Then he added these words: “And whoever lives by believing in me will never die” (v 26). Another aspect of the Easter victory is that it takes us beyond our personal world into the context of the whosoever. As we live lives of faith and hope, we do so in the power of the Resurrection with the understanding that this great victory is intended to be shared with others. As Christopher Wright notes, “We are called to be the living proof of the living God.” Many people who struggle with the concept of an invisible God will find their way to faith if they can see God in us as we live in the power of his Resurrection. Throughout this week we will undoubtedly hear someone declare, “We won!” My hope is that the Church, God’s called-out people, would also proclaim victory. It would be great if we heeded the words of John Stott, “We are a people commissioned by God to occupy the secular spaces of our world.” God’s Kingdom will come as we experience personal victory and show others that they, too, can live and share this Resurrection power. After appearing to the disciples, Jesus sent them into the world. I challenge you to go and be a transforming influence in your communities. After all, through Christ we get to share the Easter victory. We won! Commissioner Brian Peddle is the territorial commander of the Canada and Bermuda Territory.
Across the country, The Salvation Army is helping men, women and children stay off the streets
BY KRISTIN FRYER, STAFF WRITER
ccording to recent estimates, between 200,000 and 300,000 Canadians are experiencing homelessness. To put that into perspective, Canada’s homeless population is at least as large as the entire population of St. John’s, N.L., and may be as large as Windsor, Ont. Though ������������������� it is often associ� ated with middle-aged men, homelessness affects men and women of all ages and from all walks of life. Recognizing that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to addressing the issue, The Salvation Army has created shelters and programs to meet the needs of various groups, including women, children, youth and seniors. This article, which profiles five shelters, offers a snapshot of the work the Army is doing across Canada. A Place to Call Home Surrounded by chic restaurants and funky clothing shops in downtown Toronto, Florence Booth House is an unassuming brick building with a white cross above its entrance.
Inside, the shelter is clean but not clin� ical. The lounge is warm and the women sitting at its tables appear comfortable and relaxed. “Florence Booth House is more than a shelter,” says Sinead Harraher, director of hostel services, Florence Booth House/ Maxwell Meighen Centre. “The women who live here call it home.” Opened in February 2000, Florence Booth House is a 60-bed women’s emer� gency shelter. Because of its location, the shelter serves many addicts and sex work� ers, but it also helps victims of domestic violence and human trafficking. “Human trafficking is an issue in Toronto,” Harraher emphasizes. “People are brought in and forced to do work, and when they are used up, they end up on the streets and in shelters.” Though women often have several rea� sons for coming to the shelter, the most frequently given reason is transience. “Chronic homelessness—people who are jumping from shelter to shelter—is common due to high rent costs and long
Photo: © iStockphoto.com/ideabug
The Changing Face of Homelessness housing lists,” says Harraher, noting that the wait list for housing in Toronto is cur� rently over 10 years. “People are staying in the shelter system waiting for housing and then it becomes a lifestyle.” As a result, the average age of the women Florence Booth House serves is increasing. When the shel� ter opened, it was 34 years; now, it’s 46. Esme, who has been living at the shel� ter since October 2011, is 43. She first arrived in 2002 when the building she was living in was condemned. Since then, she has returned several times as she suf� fers from lupus and severe environmental allergies and has difficulty finding suitable accommodation. For Esme, who is not in contact with her family, the shelter is a lifesaver. “Florence Booth is my go-to shelter,” she says. “The staff are very tolerant and they understand where I’m coming from.” She credits the shelter for helping her access services and giving her guidance and encouragement. “They work with people on an individ� ual level,” Esme says. “Without Florence Booth, I would be lost. I don’t know where I would go.” In addition to providing food and shelter, the centre offers various services, such as housing support, counselling, life skills programs, nurse visits and an onSalvationist I April 2012 I 11
site chaplain. Other social services are provided through partnerships with the community. “The staff care about the clients, and they will try every resource to meet their needs,” says Sandra Brown, a frontline worker who has been with Florence Booth House for almost 10 years. Still, the needs of homeless women in Toronto far exceed what Florence Booth House can provide. “We run at a 99-percent occupancy rate—we have to turn people away,” says Harraher. “We refer them to other shelters, but there aren’t enough beds.” She notes that in downtown Toronto there are 1,629 beds for men, but only 510 for women. This problem is not unique to Toronto: the majority of shelter beds across Canada are for men. Going forward, Harraher hopes that Florence Booth House will be able to move to a larger building where it can provide more beds and additional programming for homeless women. Families at Risk While homeless women face many chal� lenges, their difficulties are multiplied if they have children. “It’s hard for a mother of several children to find accommodation,” says Lori Driedger, program co-ordinator at Mumford House, a 38-bed shelter for women and children in Saskatoon. “Many landlords don’t want to rent to a large family.” If these mothers do secure hous� ing, they often do not have the financial resources or the references necessary to find a place outside slum areas. The mothers who come to Mumford House are usually 23-38 years of age, and they often have several children under the age of five—some even have new� borns. Most are unemployed because the cost of childcare outweighs the financial
benefit of a job, trapping these families in a cycle of poverty. A number of factors contribute to homelessness among moth� ers and children, but the most common are domestic violence, drug addiction and mental illness. Families usually stay at Mumford House for up to 30 days, though they may stay longer if they are not able to find stable accommodation right away. While they are at the shelter, they are given food and clothing, as well as help secur� ing employment, furniture and housing. “Children often have a hard time set� tling in at first,” says Driedger, “but they get used to the routine within a few days.” The shelter has a playroom for the children and the staff make an effort to find toys and activities for them. “You get attached to these little kids,” says Lorna Thiessen, a frontline worker at Mumford House. “You just love them because you know they’re walking a hard life, and they’re probably going to walk a hard life for the rest of their lives.” Recognizing how difficult it is for homeless mothers to improve their situa� tion, Driedger says that Mumford House measures its success in terms of incremen� tal positive steps. “Our goal is make sure that people are better off by the end of their stay,” she says. Successes may include getting moth� ers to take their medication on time and take more responsibility for the welfare of their children. Opened in November 2010, Mumford House is a relatively new shelter. Looking ahead, Driedger says she would like to raise the profile of the shelter in the com� munity and gain additional support for the work it is doing. Young and Homeless Seventeen-year-old Donna has struggled with drugs and alcohol for the past four
Frontline worker Sandra Brown speaks with Esme, a resident at Florence Booth House 12 I April 2012 I Salvationist
years, but she has always felt the effects of addiction. “My whole life, my mom has been addicted to weed and drinking,” she says. “Growing up, I never had a dad, but when my stepdad came into the picture, her addictions got even worse.” By Grade 11, Donna’s relationship with her mother had deteriorated to the point where she was no longer going home, instead staying out late, using drugs and alcohol and skipping school. Donna was failing in school when she took a career aptitude test that set her on a new path. “The test tells you what your best career choices are,” she recalls, “and mine was to become an addictions worker.” Determined to change her life, Donna told a counsellor about her situation and was referred to the Hope Inn in Moose Jaw, Sask., where she has been living since October 2010. With the help of the Salvation Army shelter, she has overcome her addictions and will graduate from high school this spring. Open since 2008, the Hope Inn is a four-bed addictions program that houses addicted youth and helps them stay clean and sober. “The Hope Inn provides a stable home life for these youth,” says Christine Langton, who supervises the shelter. When youth arrive at the Hope Inn, they come with an addictions worker and a social worker. The shelter ensures that the youth attend appointments and meetings and, depending on their age, attend school or find employment. “The staff are like house parents,” Langton says. “We don’t bark at them about their plan of sobriety—that’s their addiction worker’s job. Our job is to listen to them if they have difficulty. “We call our residents ‘members,’ ” she adds, “because we want it to be like a family.” Creating a family-like environment is
Residents of the Sutton Youth Shelter work on an art project
important, as family breakdown is usu� ally the reason why youth are homeless. Rochelle Saunders, director of the Sutton Youth Shelter in Sutton, Ont., says that most of the youth who come to the shelter are couch-surfing. Those who do not have friends to stay with end up sleeping in parks or on the streets. Saunders says one 16-year-old boy who came to the shelter had been living in a car. The centre is a 26-bed shelter for youth aged 16-26. It offers a four-month emer� gency shelter program and a year-long transitional housing program. “The goal of the emergency program is to get the youth stabilized and housed, and then we try to rebuild their relation� ships with their families,” Saunders says. “If the youth cannot return home, but they’re working toward something—usu� ally education or employment—we get them into our transitional program.” The transitional program offers youth a chance to live semi-independently in apartment-style housing, where they pay rent and purchase their own food and clothing. The shelter provides many services for youth, including a drop-in centre, nurse visits, a housing worker and an employ� ment counsellor, but perhaps the most important service it offers is confidence building. “The youth are disempowered when they come here, so we focus on enabling them to become agents of change in their own lives,” says Saunders. “We tell them they can do it and that we’re here to help.”
Homelessness in Canada • According to recent estimates, 200,000 to 300,000 Canadians are experiencing homelessness • 6 5,000 young people are homeless or living in homeless shelters at some time during the year • On any given night, 40,000 people stay in homeless shelters • The Salvation Army operates 74 shelters, including emergency shelters, addictions programs, corrections programs and transitional housing • Combined, these shelters provide 6,306 beds Sources: The Salvation Army; Intraspec.ca
Residents of the Saint John Centre of Hope work in the centre’s Dignity Garden
An Aging Population According to a recent survey of The Salvation Army’s homeless shelters for men, 32 percent of clients are aged 50 and older. In Atlantic Canada, these numbers are often even higher. At the Centre of Hope in Saint John, N.B., 83 percent of residents in its special care program are 50 and older, while 30 percent of residents in its emer� gency housing are in that group. Some of these seniors have been with the shelter for years. “We have residents who were dropped off at the centre many years ago, and this is the only home they’ve ever known,” says Captain Rodney Bungay, the shelter’s executive director. “Some residents have no family whatsoever and this is the only place they can get help.” Captain Bungay notes that the cen� tre is often the “last stop” for many of its residents, but he says the shelter has a “tremendous” adaptation rate. “Some of the most hardened and dif� ficult residents from other centres come here,” he says, “and usually, within two months, given the care, respect and com� passion of our dedicated staff, they’re call� ing this place home. They’ve got a smile on their face, they’ve made new friends and they don’t want to leave.” Kevin is one of those residents. A for� mer convict, he suffers from severe brain injuries and mobility issues. “When he first came here a year ago, you couldn’t get near him,” says Darlene Dickison, a caregiver at the centre. “He used to throw things and swear and curse. But we built a relationship with him and he’s doing well now.” Dickison says building relationships
with residents takes time and patience. “You have to earn their trust, because they don’t trust anyone when they get here,” she says. “They’re off the street— they don’t know who cares for them and who doesn’t.” Kevin would like to be independent some day, but Dickison says this is unlikely due to his mental and physical health issues. Sadly, this is true of many residents in the centre’s special care program. “When seniors stop having three meals a day and they don’t have shelter or the ability to take care of themselves, their condition deteriorates very quickly,” says Captain Bungay. “The impact addictions have on their physiology is horrendous.” He notes that the nutritious meals the shel� ter provides have a very positive effect on the residents’ health. He remembers one resident, an alcoholic in his 70s, who had a remarkable turnaround. “He was basically living on alcohol,” Captain Bungay says. “His health had deteriorated to the point where, when he came in through the door, I thought, ‘If this man makes it a week, it will be a miracle.’ ” The centre gave him food, shelter, care and support, and within two months, he was much healthier and, in time, he was able to move back into the community on his own. Though some senior residents may not be able to resume an independent lifestyle, the goal of the shelter is always reintegration into the community wherever possible. But the centre maintains links with its former residents, many of whom visit daily. “They might sleep in their own apart� ment in the community,” says Captain Bungay, “but this is what they call home.” Salvationist I April 2012 I 13
Jesus of the Streets
Seeing Christ in the marginalized
he Salvation Army has a colourful history of using pithy statements to summarize the enormous mission that it has in the world. When I first encountered the Army in the 1980s, the slogan “Heart to God, Hand to Man” was used extensively. In 2000, General John Gowans (Rtd) attempted to capture the raison d’être of The Salvation Army with a phrase that resonated with officers and soldiers alike. He said that the Army exists to “save souls, grow saints and serve suffering humanity.” But perhaps my favourite expression came from the lips of our Founder, William Booth, who described the way in which the Army dealt with the “down-and-outs” was with “soup, soap and salvation.” Each of these phrases identifies the unique ministry that The Salvation Army, as an evangelical Movement, has with those people that society considers poor and marginalized. We have a spiritual connection with God, but also a physical connection to our fellow human beings. We save souls, but we also serve those who are suffering. We are in the business of salvation, but distinctively from many other churches, we spend a great deal of time operating soup lines and offering a clean place to sleep. Why We Exist Why do we do these “other” things if we are a “Salvation” Army? Some would argue that we shouldn’t be involved in social work or social services since it distracts us from our main goal of saving souls. Others counter that social services has an important, albeit secondary, place in The Salvation Army. While we await our future reward in Heaven, it only makes sense that we involve ourselves with something virtuous in the meantime. Also, we reckon that William Booth was a wily fellow who realized that there was no way he was going to be successful in soul-winning unless he took care of the temporal needs of his audience first. Soup and soap were 14 I April 2012 I Salvationist
BY MAJOR JUAN BURRY
just a means to an end, we assume. However, I know a lot of people who are clean and well fed and have no interest in hearing the good news. In actuality, revivals often happen where people are suffering and in uncomfortable circumstances. So why do we do social work in The Salvation Army? History affirms that it is our distinctive marking as a Christian Movement. But are we comfortable with speaking about our humanitarian work as some sort of side venture that we do or just a cover for our real goal, which is soul-winning? I don’t know about other Salvationists, but that explanation of social work leaves me feeling awkward and uneasy. One Army A troubling dichotomy has plagued The Salvation Army for many years. It is the unnatural distinction between our spiritual work and social work. It is a belief that the Army has salvation to offer to people’s souls and service to offer to their stomachs. Those who hold to this dichotomy, for example, see General Gowans’ statement— save souls, grow saints and serve suffering humanity—as confirmation of its validity. Of our three main goals, saving the soul is listed first, so it is reasoned to be preeminent. Serving those who suffer is last and thus must be lesser in importance. In fact, using the language of salvation for the “soul” but not for “humanity” mistakenly leads one to believe that the dichotomy is correct. Christians in general often hold the unbiblical notion that salvation refers only to a metaphysical transaction in which the believer’s disembodied soul is rescued from this world after death and placed in Heaven. Salvation is the guarantee of a good angelic-like life after death and not much else. Salvation has been defined and redefined in so many ways in the Church over the centuries that most people do not have a good grasp of what it actually means
to be saved. Is salvation fundamentally a spiritual experience? If so, what about the physical, social and psychological aspects of our lives? Are these afterthoughts? Are they some sort of secondary facets of Christian life? While it is important to be concerned for the soul, the Bible does not convey this type of dualism. The soul and body are not spoken of in Scripture as two distinct parts of the person—one to be treated with importance and the other to be ignored. That type of belief was held by the first-century Gnostics and was refuted by the Early Church as heresy. Jesus Christ announced his own mission statement in Luke 4:18-19 when he said, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.” One cannot read the Gospel of Luke without noticing the attention that the writer gives to Christ’s mission to the poor and marginalized. With this sermon in Nazareth, Jesus was both announcing and fulfilling the promise that God’s salvation had arrived and in a genuine sense the Kingdom of God had come to earth. Paul Hertig, in his book The Jubilee Mission of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke: Reversals of Fortunes, shows that not only is Jesus “the bearer of good news to the poor, but equally the deliverer of the poor in their sufferings.” As a result, Hertig posits that the freedom that Christ brings is not only a spiritual one, but rather it is also a physical, psychological, socio-political one for those who are oppressed. Jesus’ salvation is holistic in nature. Joining Christ means participating with him in his reign and working towards that same restoration, recovery and redemption that he did. If Christ did in fact initiate the coming of the Kingdom, then a holistic salvation is the only salvation that makes sense. In the Kingdom of God, all pain
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and hardship are done away with. While that Kingdom has arrived, it is not yet fully consummated. So we do not see a perfect world now, but since the reign of Christ has been inaugurated, we certainly ought to be about the business of creating it. If we are the hands of Christ on earth, then it only makes sense that we be about the same business as he was—offering a whole salvation. We are not simply to rescue people from the impending doom of judgment and snatch them into some future Kingdom of God. We are to be actively involved in building that Kingdom here and now. Stories of Salvation I have served in the city of Victoria for nine
years as an officer and all of that time has been spent in appointments that would be classified as social services appointments. So I have had to work through these questions about why we do social work in my own situation and also with a mind to my original calling as an officer. I have come to the conclusion that, while referring to Salvation Army ministry units as either corps or social services has all kinds of practical benefits, they are really misnomers. All Salvation Army ministries must offer the hope of a full salvation and are missing out on something really important if they emphasize one facet over another. At the Victoria Addictions and Rehabilitation Centre (ARC), we see the
people with the same challenges that Jesus encountered in the Gospel of Luke. We interact with the same prisoners that Jesus mentioned in Luke 4:18 in our 40-bed corrections program. Instead of Zacchaeus, we met a guy named Zack a couple of years ago. Zack ran a mail scam out of his home and bilked people out of thousands of dollars. After being released from prison on parole, he ended up staying at the ARC. He has a job now and has made restitution with most of his victims. He is living in the community, staying out of trouble and going to a church a few blocks from the ARC. In Victoria, we also run addictions programs for males, both adult and youth. They come to our facility, get three square meals a day, a clean place to sleep and life skills to help them survive when they leave. But they are also learning about matters of the soul. Just a couple of weeks ago when our divisional leaders were touring our facility, one of the program participants enthusiastically told the divisional commander how much he was learning about God. We also run a 100-bed shelter and transitional housing program. In the last six months of 2011, our team helped 42 men leave the temporary accommodations and find housing of their own. These men no longer have to worry about sleeping on a cold sidewalk. Now they have a home. And last Thursday night, during our chapel service, two men in that program responded to the chaplain’s invitation to confess and receive forgiveness for their sins. As I write these anecdotes, I cannot help but think how much they sound like the ministry of Jesus and his disciples in Luke’s Gospel. Just as the dusty feet of Christ travelled 2,000 years ago throughout Judea and Galilee, so, too, he works on the streets of Victoria and other cities in which The Salvation Army is present. And the salvation that he offers now is as life-changing and complete as it was back then. Not only that, when we view our ministry through the parable of the sheep and the goats found in Matthew 25:31-46, we recognize that we are not only bringing Christ’s saving ministry to the streets, we also find him in the people we serve—Jesus of the streets. “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (v 40). Major Juan Burry is the executive director of the Victoria Addictions and Rehabilitation Centre. Salvationist I April 2012 I 15
Are You Converted? Is the age-old question still relevant?
God will convict us of our need for salvation and bring us to a point of repentance. When the stones were flying and the blood gushing from the body of 16 I April 2012 I Salvationist
Everyone can know the dynamic power of God to forgive our sins and bring us safely into his eternal family Stephen (see Acts 7:54-60), someone laid his clothes at the feet of Saul of Tarsus. It seems obvious that he was being prepared for what was to come on the road to Damascus. The Holy Spirit fulfils this ministry of preparation in us today—not exactly like Paul, but in a thousand ways and means. He convicts us that we are sinners in need of salvation. God will arrange for every person to have a life-changing encounter with the resurrected Jesus. Everyone can know the dynamic power of God to forgive our sins and bring us safely into his eternal family. Along with salvation, God will give the gift of faith so that even a child can understand and be saved. The drunkard, prostitute, serial killer, liar and cheat are all welcome to become converted in the Kingdom of Jesus. God will place in our hearts the witness of the Spirit that we have been converted—or saved or redeemed or changed or born again. However you say it, it means the same thing: “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know
that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13). God will give us the ability and opportunity to publically confess to the world that Jesus is our Saviour. An excellent example of this can be found in the Army’s history. In 1882, just five years after the Movement was born, professional musician Richard Slater heard William Booth preach the gospel on the streets of London, England. During the first Army meeting that he attended, Slater was convicted by the Holy Spirit of his sin and he began a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. He devoted his life to serving God through the Army and is known as the father of Salvation Army music, writing hundreds of songs and organizing the first Army band. All this arose because William Booth publically delivered a gospel message. If there is a false idea floating about that says salvation is available only to a few special people or that it is unnecessary to get into Heaven, we ought to declare its erroneous influence and stamp it out. In the words of Jesus: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven” (Matthew 18:3).
Photo: © iStockphoto.com/joshlaverty
take pleasure in asking people if they are Christians. Most answer with something like “Of course, I go to church all the time.” I bite my lip and think that they did not answer my question. I want to know if they have been converted. You know, saved … born again. Have they accepted Christ as their Saviour? When I was younger, this question was often asked at Army meetings. I remember my parents’ voices vibrating through the corridors of small corps, fearlessly, compassionately asking, “Are you converted, my brother, my sister?” I fear time has eroded the question and in many instances, eliminated it. When Luke was writing the Book of Acts, effectually laying the foundational doctrines for the Early Church, he put the conversion of Saul of Tarsus (later to become the Apostle Paul) at the heart of his message, mentioning the event three times. Acts 9:1-8 records the details of Paul’s dramatic conversion experience on the road to Damascus, when he heard the voice of the Risen Christ, was struck blind and repented of his sin. Then following Paul’s eventual arrest in Jerusalem, he recounted his conversion story to the crowd that had gathered (see Acts 22:111). And in Acts 26, Paul again told his story as he stood before King Agrippa to defend himself against the charges brought against him. When I ask people if they have been converted, it is not unusual for someone to say, “I’ve never had a Damascus Road experience like Saul of Tarsus.” Not many have, but we must remember that Paul was tasked with taking God’s message beyond Judaism to the Gentiles. His conversion was dramatic and unique in the history of the Church, and there is no indication in Scripture that our experience has to be like his. But we can be assured that what God did for Paul, he will do for everyone who seeks him.
BY LT-COLONEL DAVID HAMMOND
Through the lectio divina, we can connect with God in prayer, meditation and contemplation BY CAPTAIN MARK BRAYE
reading, meditating, prayer and contemplation.” “Reading,” wrote Guigo II, “is the careful study of the Scriptures, concentrating all one’s powers on it.” Reading a biblical text is where we start with lectio divina. It is an intentional and attentive reading. We cannot read the Bible during lectio divina in the same manner with which we might skim through the sports section of a newspaper or an article on the Internet. We should take our time and pay attention to words or phrases that speak to our hearts and minds.
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Read Prior to beginning, take a moment to ask God to guide your heart and mind as you engage in his Word. Then, slowly and intently, begin to read—this can even be done out loud. While any passage of Scripture can be used, it shouldn’t be too long. Here is an example from Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi:
ectio divina is Latin for sacred or divine reading. It is a spiritual practice that promotes and facilitates communion with God. Its inception lies in the earliest days of Christianity, particularly in the teachings of the desert fathers and mothers and in the Benedictine trad-
ition. The essential description of lectio divina was written much later by a Carthusian prior named Guigo II in the 12th century: “One day when I was busy working with my hands I began to think about our spiritual work, and all at once four stages in spiritual exercise came into my mind:
In your relationships with one another, have the same attitude of mind Christ Jesus had: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a human being, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in Heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:5-11). Meditate Reading leads to meditating or
reflecting upon the passage. Guigo II wrote: “Meditation is the busy application of the mind to seek with the help of one’s own reason for knowledge of inner truth.” During this second stage of lectio divina we think about the passage and what it means to our spiritual journey. We think about words or phrases that catch our attention and meditate on them. We should allow the Holy Spirit to speak through the words of the Bible. Pray Meditation and reflection lead to prayer. After reading the above passage from Philippians, we may pray to be more like Jesus or offer a prayer of thanksgiving for Christ’s saving work on the cross. Our reading turns into a conversation. We speak, God listens; God speaks, we listen. Contemplate After prayer comes contemplation, not in the sense of formal study but rather in becoming still in the presence of God. “Contemplation,” wrote Guigo II, “is when the mind is in some sort lifted up to God and held above itself, so that it tastes the joys of everlasting sweetness.” This is an opportunity to surrender our own plans and ideas and focus solely on the presence of God. We have had our knowledge of God increased, as well as our relationship with him deepened. Lectio divina is not solely for monks or Christians of the past. The practice can benefit the spiritual journey of all of us, personally and corporately. Lectio divina is a wonderful way to engage our Bibles and commune with our Triune God. Captain Mark Braye and his wife, Nancy, are the corps officers of Temiskaming Community Church in New Liskeard, Ont. They have two children, Hannah and Micah. Salvationist I April 2012 I 17
No Chance to Say
Goodbye Living in the wake of a loved one’s suicide BY KRISTIN FRYER, STAFF WRITER
he death of a loved one is never easy to bear, but suicide is particularly difficult for those left behind. Survivors face an emotional assault from all sides: grief, confusion, anger, guilt. For Christians, suicide raises a number of questions, many of which have no clear answer: How could God let this happen? Is suicide a sin? What will happen to my loved one after they die? But the most difficult question is often, How do I move forward? In this article, three women share their experiences with the suicide of a loved one and the important role that their faith has played in helping them come to terms with this tragedy.
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“In God’s Hands” The year 2010 was difficult for Lisa. In June, her sister died, and then in September, her sister’s husband died. The final blow came in December when her sister’s son, Justin, committed suicide. “Justin was always a troubled child,” Lisa recalls. “He never seemed truly happy, even when everybody else was.” Justin had threatened suicide before, “but this time, he didn’t threaten; he just did it.” Having no children of their own, Lisa and her husband were very close to Justin and his sister. Lisa was at home with Justin’s sister when she heard the news of his death. “I was in total shock for days,” she says. “It took a long time to really sink in.” Initially, Lisa focused most of her attention on her niece who had just lost her mother, her stepfather and her brother. “I was so busy with concern for my niece that in a lot of ways I didn’t let myself grieve over Justin. It was just so much.” Once the shock wore off, Lisa was overwhelmed by grief—and anger toward Justin. “I was just so mad at him,” she remembers. “I felt like: How could you do this to me? How could you do this to your sister? Why?” When her sister died, Lisa believed in God, but she was not a religious person. But not long before Justin’s death, she woke up one Sunday morning and felt God telling her to go to church. “At first, I shook it off, but then I heard it again,” she remembers. Lisa obeyed the call and has been going to church ever since. Lisa’s faith in God has played a big part in helping her come to terms with Justin’s suicide. “I was totally immersed in the Holy Spirit at the time of his death, and I think that made a big difference as far as 18 I April 2012 I Salvationist
being able to get through it,” she says. She was also comforted by her friends, family and her church, but she was especially touched by a letter that one of her friends sent her shortly after Justin’s death. The letter contained an excerpt from The Healing of Sorrow by Norman Vincent Peale, which is commonly known as “When Someone Takes His Own Life.” “That letter helped me more than anything,” says Lisa. “You don’t know how many battles someone fights with himself just to try to make it through each day. I didn’t know if Justin would go to Heaven, but I believe that he’s in God’s hands now.” Even still, coping with Justin’s death has been very difficult for her. “You hear people say, ‘Give it to God and let it go.’ Well, that’s a lot easier said than done,” Lisa says. “You ask God to take this burden from you, but then you still do the ‘what if’—what if I’d said this, or what if I’d done that? Was there something I could have done to stop it?” Just over a year since Justin’s suicide, Lisa says that she has more peace with the loss, but she doesn’t think she will ever fully get over it. “You hold on to the good memories,” she says, “and then the bad starts to slip away.”
devastated. She was not a Christian at the time of Norma’s death, though she was raised going to church. Even still, Norma’s death shook her faith in God. “I wondered how God could have let this happen,” Kim recalls. “Norma was such a wonderful woman. How could God allow her to be that sad and not help her?” Becoming a mother led Kim back to church. “I wanted my children to grow up with the same values that I grew up with,” she says. About five years after Norma died, Kim’s son received a flyer at school advertising a kids’ club hosted by the local Salvation Army corps. Kim went to the club with her son and says that her relationship with the corps just grew from there.
Beyond the Tears Over the last 50 years, five members of Kim’s family have committed suicide, four in her lifetime. The most recent suicide occurred just two years ago, when Kim lost her uncle Dan. “We were at the ‘happiest place on earth’—Disneyland—when we got the phone call,” she remembers with a hint of irony. “None of us can figure out why he did it. He didn’t leave a note.” With the other family members, the reasons were clearer: three were terminally ill, while the fourth, Kim’s aunt Norma, was mentally ill. Of these deaths, Norma’s suicide had the greatest impact on Kim. “She and I were very close,” Kim says. Before Norma had children, Kim spent weekends with her, and after her children were born, Kim, then a pre-teen, spent her summers with the family as their nanny. Kim says she feels like she should have seen Norma’s suicide coming. “Aunt Norma was very depressed, yet her doctors took her off her anti-depressants.” Within two days, Norma was making plans to end her life. When Kim’s mother told her that Norma had committed suicide, Kim was
“I started to feel like this church was a family to me because I have no family nearby,” she says. “All of my family live on the other side of the country.” “I know I can count on the church,” she adds. “We are a good support system for each other.” Sharing an example, Kim notes that when a woman in the corps had a psychotic episode recently, the corps immediately sprang into action: they took her to the hospital, looked after her children and assisted her throughout her recovery. “There are plenty of us around who care and love,” Kim says. “We watch out
Suicide is a devastating and gruelling death for a family to overcome
Facts on Sucide
• 3,705 Canadians committed suicide in 2008 • Suicide is most common among people aged 40-54 • Suicide is the second leading cause of death among youth (aged 15-24) and young adults (aged 25-34) • Suicide is much higher among men (16.8 per 100,000 population) than women (5.5 per 100,000) Source: Statistics Canada
for each other.” Support systems are important to Kim, who also suffers from depression. Having experienced first-hand the devastating effects of suicide on a family, Kim and her mother, who also suffers from depression, have vowed never to commit suicide. “Suicide doesn’t hurt the people who kill themselves; it hurts the people left behind. And we love our family too much to do that to them,” she says. Kim’s advice for others facing the suicide of a loved one is simple: “Don’t blame yourself. “The best thing you can do,” she adds, “is talk about it—it’s something that needs to be talked about.” A Duty of Love Wendy’s brother, Rob, was 20 years old when he was accepted into the university of his choice, but not into the program he wanted. A long-time friend of his had recently attempted suicide, and while Rob had received private counselling, he continued to endure sadness. “He was a good boy struggling with relationships in his life,” says Wendy. “He couldn’t seem to find his own place in the world.” Wendy had just returned home from a demanding day of work when one of her siblings called to tell her that Rob had ended his own life. “I shrunk down to the floor, huddling in the corner,” she remembers. Wendy, who was living out of town at the time, flew home immediately. She had spoken to her brother just three days prior to his death and told him that she had been accepted into a seminary. Following his death, she decided to delay her studies. As she grieved, Wendy was comforted by her faith. “The Bible assures us of God’s total sovereignty,” she says, quoting Exodus 33:19, where the Lord says: “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in
We’re Here to Help
The Salvation Army operates a 24-hour suicide crisis line. If you or someone you care about is contemplating suicide, please call 905-522-1477 (collect calls accepted). A trained member of the crisis line team will listen, determine how best to help, provide information and help build a support system that will enable you to survive and thrive. Salvationist I April 2012 I 19
your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” “I believe that God is gracious and merciful and I knew that Rob’s destination wasn’t really my concern,” Wendy says. “He had a relationship with Jesus and he was now having that long talk about it with God.” Yet even with this assurance, she says that suicide is a devastating and gruelling death for a family to overcome. In addition to undergoing personal counselling, Wendy attended suicide support groups for two years. “Sometimes I had to stay home from church on Sunday mornings just to grieve,” she says. “It took me five years before I could say I found a balance.” After her brother’s death, Wendy says she read a number of books about sui-
cide. She recommends A Fierce Goodbye: Living in the Shadow of Suicide by Lloyd and Gwendolyn Carr, which she found especially helpful. A Fierce Goodbye offers an account of the Carrs’ personal experience with suicide (their daughter-in-law ended her own life), as well as a summary and discussion of Christian thinking about suicide. Since Rob’s suicide, Wendy has had the
opportunity to counsel grieving friends and other members of her church, and she shares her confidence in God’s sovereignty with them. “God is merciful and God is love,” she says. “No one can control the salvation of another—nor the life of another. But we have a duty of love to share the love of God with all the people we meet this day and tomorrow.”
“My heart goes out to those who are left behind, because I know they suffer terribly.... The immediate family of the victim is left wide open to tidal waves of guilt.... To such grieving persons I can only say, ‘Lift up your heads and your hearts. Surely you did your best. And surely the loved one who is gone did his best, for as long as he could. Remember, now, that his battles and torments are over. Do not judge him, and do not presume to fathom the mind of God where this one of his children is concerned.’ ” From The Healing of Sorrow by Norman Vincent Peale
LETTERS NATIONAL ADVISORY BOARD
Shaking Things Up
In Shaking Things Up (February 2012), Gail Cook-Bennett, chair of Manulife and member of the Army’s National Advisory Board, says, “[Salvationists] are motivated by your faith, but you reach out to people regardless of their religion, race or sexual orientation, and I think that is a powerful message. Unfortunately, this message doesn’t get communicated as clearly as it should, and it needs to, because some of your funding sources could be compromised unless this message is very clear.” My response is that the Army needs to because it’s the right thing to do, not because funding sources could be compromised. Johnny Laird The Salvation Army needs to boost its visibility and challenge the status quo, says Gail Cook-Bennett, Chair of Manulife Financial
Gail Cook-Bennett is chair of the board of Manulife Financial Corporation. Prior to this role, she spent 10 years as the founding chair of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB). Over the past 33 years, she has served as a director of a number of major corporations and participated in several Crown, professional and not-for-profit boards and committees. A member of The Salvation Army’s National Advisory Board, Cook-Bennett is also a Member of the Order of Canada, holds Doctor of Laws degrees (honoris causa) from Carleton University and York University and is a Fellow of the Institute of Corporate Directors. She recently spoke with John McAlister, features editor.
How did you come in contact with The Salvation Army? I knew the organization by reputation. People around me had always thought highly of the Army, so when I was invited to join one of your Ontario advisory boards 21 years ago, I readily agreed.
What Army ministry have you seen first-hand? What stood out for you? During a recent visit to Vancouver, I had the opportunity to witness the Army’s presence in the Downtown East Side, which is a neighbourhood characterized by poverty, drugs and prostitution. I went for a walk with two Army officers who were wearing sweaters with the Red Shield on them. Although the officers weren’t from Vancouver, a gentleman who looked like he’d had a rough life approached them because he recognized the Red Shield and he wanted to thank them for the impact the Army had on his life. Later, I spoke with three individuals who had previously been addicted and living on the street and who were helped by the Army. It was incredible to hear of their transformation and their desire to help those suffering from various addictions. I think that transitional housing programs, such as the one at Toronto’s Harbour Light, are important and essential for recovery and reintegration. This model of after-care is something that inspired support of the capital campaign by people
in business. I’ve also visited a facility for women who have been trafficked. It’s unfortunate that the public isn’t more aware of the problem and the Army’s involvement in this work. How do you feel about the Army’s faith stance and the way it influences our mission? I believe that it is the source of your energy and fundamental to the work that you do. What’s not communicated well is your openness and willingness to help others who have different beliefs, values or life circumstances. You’re motivated by your faith, but you reach out to people regardless of their religion, race or sexual orientation, and I think that is a powerful message. Unfortunately, this message doesn’t get communicated as clearly as it should, and it needs to, because some of your funding sources could be compromised unless this message is very clear.
Having served on both a regional and national advisory board, what benefits do you feel these groups bring to The Salvation Army? What do the respective board members gain from this relationship? In the past, when I was chair of one the Army’s regional advisory boards, I wasn’t convinced that we were making a contribution at all. This was because we were not communicating with the Army effectively. More fundamentally, I don’t think we on the advisory board understood our role and the Army perhaps did not understand what we required from it in order to help. I credit Andy Lennox, chair of the current National Advisory Board, for the work he has done in establishing a viable and effective relationship between the advisory board and the Army. We are able to focus more effectively on what the Army’s priorities are and offer experience and expertise to assist in these areas. I see the payoff from this approach. Board members have a great appreciation for the Army. They understand very clearly the impact that the Army makes. Senior people in the business commun-
ity want to contribute to an organization that they respect and that they feel is being productive. I think that we’ve found a way to leverage their talents. Through the various task teams on the National Advisory Board, we’re not only benefitting from the board members’ expertise, but also from their professional networks. The broader the network, the more considered advice the Army receives. Of course, the Army doesn’t have to take the advice of the National Advisory Board. However, according to the Memorandum of Understanding, the Army is committed to providing the board with a clear rationale for its decisions. Obviously if there were a lot of “nos” given to the board, then we’d be back to where we were years ago, but that hasn’t been the case. Every organization has areas in which it can improve. What aspects of the Army could be strengthened? All organizations have challenges with communication. Not everyone can be privy to the inner workings of an organization—it doesn’t matter if it’s a business or a non-profit such as The Salvation Army—so it’s important that key messages be shared consistently with stakeholders. This is essential so that the Army is in a position to do what it does best, which is to serve people at their point of need. The
20 I February 2012 I Salvationist
I believe that one of the major reasons that you do not hear as much about The Salvation Army as you do the Red Cross is their Christian beliefs. Salvationists are there to help the needs of people and lead them to Christ. In this world, that’s not a great selling point when it comes to the media. I also think they do their services for the glory of God and not the glory of man. This is what keeps them alive and well. God has always blessed The Salvation Army and will continue to do so as long as they follow him. Marsha Yerby A Two-Way Partnership BATTLE CRY
Our relationship with the developing world is about more than just money BY MAJOR DANIELLE STRICKLAND
Like Major Danielle Strickland proposes (A Two-Way Partnership, February 2012), I, too, value the Partners in Mission concept, though I have always hoped that the emphasis would be our shared commitment to world mission. Important though the sharing of money is, the concept of partnership is likely 20 I April 2012 I Salvationist
Photo: © iStockphoto.com/ranplett
like that we refer to our relationship with other Salvation Army territories as Partners in Mission. It’s a lovely idea. The problem is that we often don’t act like great partners. Perhaps because the imbalance is so economically visible and we over-emphasize the financial appeals, we tend to make our partnership all about money. Now, don’t get me wrong, it is about money. The western world has 90 percent of the world’s financial resources. We spend more money on bubble gum in North America than it would take to purify unclean water in the rest of the world. So, it’s only fair that we share. But partnerships are much more than that. Relationships based solely on money aren’t partnerships, they are transactions. Real partnerships are based on respect and sharing. This is essential for us to understand because if anyone needs a Partner in Mission, it’s Salvationists in the West. A few years ago while serving in Australia, I participated in a discussion about what being a good partner meant for the Australia Southern Territory. To learn more, I went with a team of leaders to Zambia on a mission experience. The idea was that instead of going to Africa as teachers and/or rescuers, we would go as students. We hoped that if we walked a mile in the shoes of a Zambian Salvationist, then perhaps we could form a relationship that would foster respect and a sharing of resources in both of our territories. It was an incredible experience, but also a very difficult thing to do. For
years the relationship between the developed and developing world has primarily been about money and power, with the “haves” and “have-nots.” It leaves us with money to give and the developing world with money to beg for. On our first night, we were introduced as great leaders from Australia who had come to teach the Zambian Salvationists. I responded right away that we were deeply privileged and honoured at the humility of our hosts. The truth was that we had come to learn from Zambia. The people were confused. What could you learn from Zambia? was the unspoken question hanging in the air. So, I told them the truth. I
knew that in Zambia there was a lot of corps growth. They had corps full of people but not enough buildings to hold them in. In fact, they often had to worship outside. In Australia (and other western countries), we had large, expensive buildings with little to no people in them. There was a stir in the crowd as people began to whisper among themselves in shock at the reality of our condition. I went on. In Zambia there was an orphan crisis when HIV/AIDS became a horrible reality, wiping out a generation of parents. If you visit an average home in Zambia, it would have the family’s own children and many others—orphans who have become part of their home. In Australia (and the
West), there are tens of thousands of orphans that no one will take into their homes. This time there was an audible gasp. Revelation was hitting us all. Finally I mentioned that in Zambia every person is part of a community. You care for each other. In the West, there are people who live completely alone, dying because they are so lonely. The next night our host officer introduced us much more appropriately. “These poor Australian officers have come to learn from Salvationists in Zambia.” And we had. We were able to forge a relationship that was based on respect and shared learning, which was much more valuable than money. We needed to learn about community and social inclusion. We needed to learn how to grow corps with little to no economic resources. We needed to catch the vibrant spiritual climate of our Zambian friends. Yes, we needed to give what we had— our abundant financial resources. But we also needed to let Zambia give what it had—its abundant missional resources. It’s time for us to become true Partners in Mission. What can you give? What can you receive? Let’s base all of our partnerships on respect, relationship and shared resources so that we can bring God’s Kingdom to earth as it is in Heaven. Together with her husband, Major Stephen Court, Major Danielle Strickland is the corps officer of Edmonton’s Crossroads Community Church. She has a personal blog at djstricklandremix.blogspot.com. Salvationist I February 2012 I 29
to remain fiscal until we rediscover our calling to people who have not yet heard the good news. Commissioner Paul du Plessis
Identity Crisis Having read Rob Perry’s article Solemn Vows (February 2012), I must say that there is no room or need for discussions or debate about the structure of the Army or its role, other than to refine our methods of evangelism in a changing world. We waste time and energy in any other talk. In these latter days we all need to be focused on “bringing in the sheaves.” No more and no less. Major John Gerard
Photo: © iStockphoto.com/Amanda Rohde
Should The Salvation Army be considered a Protestant order? BY ROB PERRY
In God’s economy, vows have always been critical. As far back as ancient Israel, God used vow-driven individuals and communities to accomplish his purposes. When women or men wanted to make vows to him, he seemed delighted to oblige them. God consistently culled out from the ranks of his people a few who would stick out, act out and speak out. God gave opportunity for those outside of the priesthood to set themselves apart for acts of devotions and service to him—a kind of voluntarily ostracism. —The New Friars by Scott A. Bessenecker
s The Salvation Army a Christian denomination? A charity? A social justice movement? The answer to each of these questions is most certainly, “Yes!” However, these answers also lead to more questions about our identity as we continue to explore who we are and how we can best serve God in the world. As I begin this series examining The Salvation Army’s Soldier’s Covenant—in par-
ticular the “I will” statements it contains—I want to first examine our fundamental understanding of what The Salvation Army actually is. This is no small question, and has for decades been an issue of great debate within Salvation Army circles. I have found the following framework helpful in providing a perspective from which to examine the promises made by those who decide to join The Salvation Army as soldiers. Throughout history, new life and light have been breathed into the Church (particularly the Roman Catholic expression) through the birth and creation of monastic orders, such as the Franciscans, the Jesuits and the Benedictines. An order is, by definition, a society of monks, priests, nuns, etc., living according to certain religious and social regulations and discipline, with at least some of these members taking solemn vows. If we replace monks, priests and nuns with soldiers, adherents and officers, this sounds like an accurate definition for The Salvation Army. After all, The Salvation
Army is not just another church. In fact, in my grandmother’s time, to call the Army a church was looked down upon. We weren’t a church, we were a Movement, an Army, a new thing God was doing in the world. We embraced the mission of spreading the good news of Jesus around the world. We committed ourselves to new expressions of worship and evangelism, and we even donned our own unique garb. Orders were most often founded by a particular individual who felt God’s stirring to deeper commitment and sacrifice than the Church already provided, as well as a desire to prophetically call the Church back to holiness and the poor. In this light, perhaps William and Catherine Booth were Victorian England’s St. Francis of Assissi, calling the Church, through their new Protestant order, back to holiness and mission. There is a great deal of discussion in Salvation Army circles these days about membership. How can full membership (i.e. soldiership) have more requirements and expectations than the Bible itself lays out for Christian disciples? How can someone who wants to join the Christian Church be required to fulfil promises that Jesus himself did not require? The obvious example is the promise not to drink alcohol. However, when we look at the vow not to drink as an extra-biblical vow taken on by a particular, radical branch of the Church as an example of sacrifice and commitment, this promise resembles the vows of charity and chastity that Franciscans made beginning in the 13th century. Taking it back even further, one could equate The Salvation Army’s Soldier’s Covenant to the Nazarite vow, laid out in the Bible most famously by Samson whose parents vowed that he would not touch anything dead, drink alcohol or cut his hair. These were extra vows and promises representing extra commitment made by people who were called to a deeper and more sacrificial obedience to their Lord. By viewing the Army’s identity through this framework, we can soberly examine the Soldier’s Covenant and seek to understand the depth and breadth of the vows Salvation Army soldiers make. We, the committed few, in dedication to God and the world, go where others won’t, help those whom others ignore and sacrifice more than others will. We make these solemn promises to God and join him in his mission to redeem the world. Rob Perry is the ministry co-ordinator at Toronto’s Corps 614.
28 I February 2012 I Salvationist
This is one of the best articles I have read in a long time on the identity of The Salvation Army. If I may bring in a historical perspective, there is evidence that the early pioneers of The Salvation Army were inspired by the Franciscan movement. Although through the years our Movement has evolved into a denomination, I like to think of it as a Protestant Order. I look forward to reading more articles in this series. Captain Patrick Lublink I would hesitate to call the vows made by members of The Salvation Army “… deeper and more sacrificial.” I would caution any denomination against holding itself up as an example of a deeper sacrifice as there are men and women in many denominations who live incredibly sacrificial lives at the calling of Christ. The Salvation Army should simply do what God has called it to do and not compare itself to others in the body of Christ. Its members might make some unique sacrifices, but that does not necessarily mean that they live more deeply sacrificial lives. Reverend Barbara Moulton
Photo: © iStockphoto.com/Mike_Kiev
Is the Church in Trouble?
How to navigate our way through the dangers facing the Christian faith
f you are presently involved in a congregation, you are involved in a church that is in trouble,” challenged Thomas Long, the keynote speaker at the Festival of Homiletics conference I attended last year. He went on to say that regardless of our denominational persuasion, we are all sailing in boats that look the same. Together, we float on a churning sea that batters us with waves of cultural complacency and societal indifference, causing us to redefine how we understand the Church’s place in our world. Some of us are energized and encouraged by this because we sense something new breaking in upon us. Others view the landscape with questioning, fear and skepticism, or perhaps have
BY MAJOR JULIE SLOUS lost hope and struggle with a feeling of disillusionment. In Church Next, Eddie Gibbs echoes this theme when he suggests that mainline denominations are facing an avalanche of problems that place question marks over their future. With aging congregations, shrinking numbers, emptying pews, depleting financial resources and the increasing complexity of societal dysfunction, how is the Church to stay afloat? There are many congregations that have not found their lifeline in the midst of their trouble and are aimlessly searching for the familiar beckoning lights of home. Gibbs suggests that it is not enough just to batten down the hatches and pray the storm will pass. The day has come
for the Church to recognize the trouble on its radar. The Good Old Days While navigating these turbulent times, there are three dangers that confront us. First, we can become solely dependent on memories to shape our perception of what the Church should become. “If we could only get back to the days when ….” “Remember when the youth used to spend every night at the corps?” “Remember when the main social event in town was the corps potluck?” While our history should never be buried, we have to question whether these remembrances enhance or limit our vision of what the Church can become. The challenge is to extract the philosophy that has
informed our history and to use this to propel us forward in relevant mission for today. In some respects, our memories might not take us back far enough to understand the kind of ministry to which we are being called. Gibbs goes on to say that “the Church in a postmodern era must be prepared to witness with vulnerability and humility from the margins of society, much as it did in the first two centuries of its existence.” We will definitely have to reach beyond our own lived memories as we draw insight and energy from the larger story that has defined the Church. Mirror, Mirror … Second, there is a danger that churches in trouble only seek Salvationist I April 2012 I 21
to become mirroring bodies. As Thomas Long suggests, we often think we should mirror or copy what seems to be working for the church down the street. We look to the success of others and think this is the answer to all our problems. Let’s look at Willowcreek. What are the latest trends at Saddleback? While we should not minimize the insight that can be gained from Christian communities experiencing success, the danger is that our denominational distinction gets swallowed up in the methodology and identity of others. If God intended every Christian community to look the same, he would have created it so. When churches in trouble seek only to become mirroring bodies, they lose the opportunity to stand out with a unique witness to contemporary culture. Woe is Me Third, when the Church is in trouble we risk the possibility of becoming lost in our lament. So today’s society allows hockey games, soccer practice and birthday parties to take priority over Sunday morning worship. It’s clear that commitment to the Church has taken on a very different profile, especially over the last 20-30 years. To those who have lived a different picture of what it means to be 100 percent invested in Christian community, this can be disheartening. We grieve the loss of what Christian faith used to represent. Similarly, lament comes as we have debated intense questions about Army symbolism and identity. In reshaping our perspective of what the 21st-century Salvation Army looks like, we have had to come to terms with a dying form of Salvationism in order that a new one might emerge. If, however, we view our present trouble through the lens of Easter, we recognize that it is only through our experience of death that resur22 I April 2012 I Salvationist
rection can come. Something has to die in order that something might live again. In this respect, perhaps our grieving process has a specific purpose. While it might be a human tendency to want to pray our troubles away, maybe the reality of our troubles is intentionally used by God to take us to new places of faith. The words of Jesus to his disciples echo in our ears: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). If Jesus knew this would be our reality, perhaps it is time to start embracing our troubles as means of grace, instead of lamenting them. The final picture that helps make sense of our dilemma occurred on the day of Pentecost. The disciples were together in the upper room, when suddenly a violent wind from Heaven came and literally broke everything apart. As the Holy Spirit was breaking in, barriers were being broken down and a new expression of Christian community was being born (see Acts 2). Note, however, that in that moment, problems were not necessarily solved; in fact, some were created. Immediately there was an
accusation of public drunkenness, rather than confirming the God-moment that was evolving. Peter was thrust into the pulpit to offer his own interpretation to defend the work of the Spirit. As well, the coming of the Holy Spirit did not solve poverty or sickness. In Acts 3, we encounter a crippled beggar. Throughout the Book of Acts we see evidence of apostles being persecuted, people searching to make sense of life and faith, and an ongoing need for national and individual repentance. Trouble does not fall very far from the Church’s radar, even after the Spirit makes a glorious entrance. In this light, we begin
to understand more of what the Christian journey is about. Yes, the Church is in trouble. Because we are in the world, maybe it will always be so. But the good news is that God uses our trouble as a conduit for his grace. By pressing through our challenges, we are brought to deeper experiences of faith and life in this world. And in the process, God gives us the gift of his enabling Spirit to carry us through the churning sea, upon which we all seem to be sailing. Major Julie Slous, D.Min., is a corps officer, with her husband, Brian, at Winnipeg’s Heritage Park Temple. She also serves as adjunct faculty at the College for Officer Training.
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MINISTRY IN ACTION
For struggling Algonquin College students at exam time, The Salvation Army is making a difference BY KEN RAMSTEAD, EDITOR, FAITH & FRIENDS AND FOI & VIE
Connecting Without Walls The student had just discovered Exam Pause Break, the brainchild of Algonquin College’s campus ministry, specifically Ruth Anne Carney, a Christian nursing professor who saw this as a form of outreach. She was instrumental is getting area churches to come out twice a year during the college’s exam week to offer support, encouragement and refreshments to the students
Ruth Anne Carney
Photos: Eric Dean
he student was exhausted, hungry and broke. She’d pulled a weekend of all-nighters in preparation for her Monday morning final exam at Algonquin College in Ottawa. With a week left before heading home to her parents’, she’d also run short of funds. The vending machine she passed on the way to the exam room cried out to her, but she didn’t have two loonies to rub together. How am I going to get through this twohour exam on an empty stomach? the frazzled student asked herself. Then she saw them. Three long tables laid out with delicious cookies, granola bars, candies, homemade muffins, apples, bananas and oranges. Behind the tables were smiling Salvation Army officers and volunteers, handing out food, bottled water and cups of coffee. And in answer to the famished student’s unspoken question, Captain Tina Rideout, corps officer at Ottawa’s Barrhaven Church, nodded to her and said, “C’mon over. It’s all free!” Free food and coffee? the student thought in wonderment. What gives?
Sharon Dean and Cpt Tina Rideout converse with an Algonquin College student during Exam Pause Week
during this stressful time. The first Exam Pause Break started eight years ago and was a hit with the school, faculty and students. It’s steadily grown in popularity over the years, so much so that there is a waiting list of area churches that want to participate. Each day, a different church is in charge of staffing and stocking the tables, strategically situated at the intersection of the three busiest hallways in the school. “As soon as The Salvation Army got the invitation to participate, we were very excited,” says Captain Rideout. “It was our first year in new facilities and because we don’t have a church building of our own, we saw this as a great outreach opportunity.” “After all, what is community care if we’re not involved with the students’
life in the area?” continues Sharon Dean, Barrhaven’s community care ministries director. “It’s important as a church for The Salvation Army to reach out beyond their walls into the schools to connect with the students where they are,” says Kate Fishwick, an Algonquin student. “Many of my family belong to the Army, and my friends need to see that the church is involved and cares.” Community Effort In order for the initiative to work, the entire congregation had to buy into the project. And it was the corps membership that provided everything offered at the so-called Pause Tables. The congregation baked cookies and muffins and raised funds to purchase the bottled water and coffee. The results surpassed expectations. “We served approximately 400 students with 216 bottles of water, two cases of bananas, 14 kilograms of apples and oranges, 20 dozen muffins, dozens of plates of goodies, cookies and candy, 60 cups of coffee, 400 granola bars—and we still ran out of food! We had to send out for more,” says Dean. Blown Away It’s not just about the food, though. “We also offer free Bibles at the tables Salvationist I April 2012 I 23
MINISTRY IN ACTION
and information on the local church manning that day’s table,” says Carney. “Every day, there are inquiries from kids who visit the tables, many from students of other faiths. We’re not here to proselytize. We’re here to be Christians, to show the students we care at a very stressful time for them.” “As well as the free Bibles, we also had dozens of copies of Faith & Friends,” Dean goes on to say. “The students just snatched them up.” The males especially gravitated to the November cover that featured Toronto Argonaut running back Cory Boyd. “At first, the kids are excited because they’re getting free food,” smiles Captain Rideout. “But then they want to know what The Salvation Army is, and it’s our privilege to respond, ‘We’re a church and we’re doing what we’re doing because of our love for Jesus.’ ” Dealing with misperceptions is a big part of what the Pause Tables are all about. “Too many of my friends don’t know what The Salvation Army is,” agrees Fishwick. “They see the Army as some sort of charity group. It’s kind of funny to watch their reactions when they’re told that The Salvation Army is a church and that they’re there to help. They’re just blown away by it all.”
International Leader Visits India
Gentle Question “The thing that strikes me most is the surprise and gratitude,” says Captain Christopher Rideout, corps officer, Barrhaven Church. “I was walking along when I saw these tables,” says James Sloan, a first-year student taking business administration. “When I was told that everything was free, I was floored. At a time like this, offering something nutritious is huge when you’re in the middle of exams. This’ll keep me going!” Sometimes the need is for more than food and drink. “One of the students who dropped by was a mature student struggling with trying to balance home and school and told me that she was looking for some prayers of peace and assurance and God’s comfort,” recalls Captain Christopher Rideout, who asked if he could pray for her. “That’s why I came,” the student smiled. “It’s important for The Salvation Army to be real and relevant in our community and not just stay within church walls,” says Dean. “We need to be a church that meets people where they’re at, and we’re doing that at Algonquin.” 24 I April 2012 I Salvationist
General Linda Bond greets the crowd in India South Eastern Tty
eneral Linda Bond’s visit to The Salvation Army’s India South Western and India South Eastern territories was a time of great celebration, spiritual challenge and inspiration. The General was accompanied by Captain Elizabeth Nelson, a Canadian officer currently serving at International Headquarters as assistant undersecretary to the South Asia Zone. The General met with thousands of Salvationists in India South Western Territory to share the International Vision: One Army, General Linda Bond shares a moment with One Mission, One Message. Close to 12,000 children of the training college staff in India people gathered for a holiness meeting where South Eastern Tty the General challenged the congregation to “hunger for holiness,” and in the appeal that followed, 1,000 people knelt at the mercy seat. General Bond also visited the training college and other Army institutions. A large crowd of 25,000 greeted General Linda Bond in India South Eastern Territory as she was transported to the Booth Tucker Memorial Church in Nagercoil in a motorized golden chariot. “I am honoured to be your General,” she said. “Together we are the beloved of God—we are his children.” The General attended a gathering of 2,200 self-help group members, who have been assisted through the territory’s enterprise and microcredit schemes. She dedicated a new boys’ home building, and visited the training college and Catherine Booth Hospital. The General prays with those seeking renewal and rededication in India South Western Tty
ENROLMENTS AND RECOGNITION
MONTREAL—The ranks of Montreal Citadel are reinforced as soldiers and adherents are welcomed. Enrolled as senior soldiers: Montserrat Carmona Rueda, Luisa Rueda y Sotomayor, Diane Best, Gladys Andrade Urbano; affirming soldiership: Hema Gudi, Ramesh Gangapatnam; junior soldiers: Sahanna Gangapatnam, Stephie Kamy, Charelle Kamy, Gabriel Martinez, Angel Martinez, Samuel Chirinos, Jorge Urbano, Brianna Maurais, Jeremy Shepherd, Juan Estaban Vasquez, Nathan Shepherd, Daniela Martinez; adherents: Gustavo Martinez, Marllely Valencia Martinez. With them are Garry Garland, colour sergeant; Indira Albert Chirinos, candidate; and Mjrs Grant and Lauren Effer, COs.
OSHAWA, ONT.—Jake Moore and Brendon Pritchett proudly display their junior soldier pledges as they are enrolled at Oshawa Temple. With them are JSS Wendi Westcott; Kevin Thompson, holding the flag; Charlie Ball, junior soldiers’ preparation course leader; Mjr Robert Reid, CO.
OSHAWA, ONT.—Mjr Robert Reid, CO, presents Steve Armstrong with an appreciation certificate for nine years of devoted service as the songster leader at Oshawa Temple.
HAMILTON, ONT.—During a visit of Commissioners Brian and Rosalie Peddle, territorial leaders, to Meadowlands CC, Commissioner Brian Peddle enrolled three senior soldiers, six adherents and reinstated two soldiers. Front, from left, Rick and Doreen Wills, Lynda Peters, Shirley Davis, Jaqueline and Robert Pearce. Middle, from left, Diane Bellingham, Brookelyn Heintzman, Myles Washington-Purser, Chris Bellingham, RS Sharon Avery. Back, from left, David Stevens; Mjrs Gary and Sharon Cooper, COs; Commissioners Rosalie and Brian Peddle; Lt-Cols Deborah and Lee Graves, DDWM and DC, Ont. GL Div. CS Dan Millar holds the flag.
BARRIE, ONT.—Gertrude Broom and Keith White are welcomed as adherents at Barrie Corps. With them are Mjrs Mark and Lynn Cummings, COs, and Lennard Johnston, holding the flag.
ST. ALBERT, ALTA.—Al and Margaret Davison receive the St. Albert Church and Community Centre’s volunteer appreciation award from Lts Peter and Grace Kim, COs. Serving for the past 10 years as members of community care ministries, the couple regularly visits four seniors’ homes to provide music and care to those who need it. “Al is 83 years old and Margaret is 82,” explains Lt Peter Kim. “She still plays the piano and supports us as corps officers in ministry to seniors. They are a vital asset to our outreach to the elderly and have been a tremendous blessing to us and others. We are thankful for their service and appreciate their dedication as Army soldiers.”
JACKSON’S POINT, ONT.—Jeff Noel, director of emergency disaster services, Ont. CE Div, conducted an introduction to emergency disaster services training course at Georgina CC. Front, from left, Maggie Baerg; Evelyn Wells; Amy Clark; Sally Hill; Mjr Barbara Pearce, CO. Middle, from left, Jeff Noel, Ken Brash, Ken Brooks, Tom Duncan. Back, from left, Mjr William Pearce, CO; Bruce Lohnes; Rodney Hiscock; John Morris. Salvationist I April 2012 I 25
BURNABY, B.C.—Lisa, Athena and Helen are excited to be enrolled as junior soldiers at Metrotown Citadel. With them are Cpts Paul and Lisa Trickett, COs, and CSM Stuart Shackleton, holding the flag.
BURNABY, B.C.— Cpts Carson and Teresa Decker, divisional youth secretary and children’s ministries secretary, B.C. Div, were on hand at Metrotown Citadel to welcome Irene, Alex, Samuel, Sunny, Gary, Gerry and Lily as junior soldiers. Supporting the young people are Cpts Paul and Lisa Trickett, COs.
TORONTO— Lt-Col Susan van Duinen, DC, Ont. CE Div, enrols Julia Honcharsky as a soldier at Etobicoke Temple.
CALGARY— Following 23 years of faithful leadership of Glenmore Temple Band, Peter Yetman has retired from his position as bandmaster. Stepping forward to pick up the baton is Jeff Haskey, who was commissioned as the new bandmaster. From left, Peter Yetman; Jeff Haskey; Mjrs Eddie and Genevera Vincent, COs; Cecil Dean, holding the flag.
The Salvation Army Victoria Citadel 125th Anniversary October 26-28, 2012 Special Guest: Commissioner M. Christine MacMillan Help us celebrate this special event! Greetings from former officers and friends can be sent to 4030 Douglas Street, Victoria BC V8X 5J6 Phone: 250-727-3770; e-mail: email@example.com
How exciting to Discover the Roots of Your Faith Five days cruising to the Greek Islands, Greece and Ephesus, and highlighting 11 days in the Holy Land
A Life-Changing Experience in Israel with Majors Woody and Sharon Hale October 20 – November 4, 2012 Brochures now available, Web: www.creativeventures.ca; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org phone: 905-440-4378 The pilgrimage had a profound effect on me. Isaac, our guide, shared much information about the life and times of people in both testaments and the challenge facing the Israeli people today. His passion for his homeland was obvious. The presence of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit were never so apparent for me—D Mayes, Newmarket, Ont.
26 I April 2012 I Salvationist
PILLEY’S ISLAND, N.L.—During 120th anniversary celebrations, Salvationists and friends commemorate the corps’ final payment on its mortgage with a ceremonial burning of the mortgage papers. From left, Mjr Marvin Youden, CO; HLS Winnifred Whyatt; Mjr Richard Mouland; Bradley Oxford; Garry Payne; CSM Doreen Payne; Stanford Colbourne.
Creative Endeavours VICTORIA—Since 2004, the Victoria Citadel Stitchers group has contributed thousands of handmade items, including tuques, scarves, sweaters, socks, baby outfits, blankets, quilts and afghans, to the Army’s community and family services and other local charities. They have also given hundreds of blankets and knitted hats for preemie babies to the Victoria General Hospital neonatal unit. And in addition to their efforts to give away handmade items, the women have raised more than $4,000 for local and international Salvation Army projects. “Our women have accomplished much for the Kingdom of God through their creative endeavours and their faithfulness in helping the poor and needy,” says participant Nellie Thompson. From left, Monica Kwas; Leta Sanders; Ursula Hannah; Edna Cracknell; Vi Denluck; Irene Charron; Muriel Pearson; Bernice Crowther; Freda Burke; Mjr Donna Pittock, leader; Nellie Thompson.
25 Years and Counting HALIFAX—Nancy Jewer was recognized with a luncheon hosted by her colleagues at Maritime Divisional Headquarters for 25 years of faithful employment with The Salvation Army. Jewer currently serves as the financial/property assistant at DHQ. From left, Mjr Jean Hefford, DDWM; Mjr Doug Hefford, DC; Nancy Jewer; Mjr Clarence Ingram, DSBA; Maryann Doyle, divisional director of human resources; Mjr Karen Ingram, divisional secretary for adult ministries.
TRIBUTES GEORGETOWN, ONT.—Colonel Calvin Ivany was born in Saint John, N.B. After service in the Royal Canadian Navy where he was an accomplished trombonist, he entered the training college in the Warriors Session and became an Army officer in 1947. In 1950, Calvin married Lieutenant Marion Green who was his bride of 61 years. A true team, they served congregations in Toronto; Regina; Belleville, Ont.; Ottawa and Winnipeg. Administrative appointments followed as divisional secretary in the then British Columbia South Division, divisional commander of the then Saskatchewan and Ontario South divisions, and as territorial personnel secretary. In 1984, Calvin became territorial commander for Mexico and Central America, serving until retirement in 1989. In retirement, pastoral and preaching gifts found fruitful expression at Mississauga Temple Community Church and the Home-HuttonvilleNorval United Church pastoral charge. A passionate, relational person who enjoyed listening to people’s stories, Calvin left a legacy of faith and service. He is survived by wife, Marion; sons Major David (Beverly), Bruce (Anne), Paul (Elizabeth); daughter, Cathie (Peter); 12 grandchildren; six great-grandchildren and two nieces.
BELLEVILLE, ONT.—Born in St. Albans, England, in 1941, Major Beryl Price committed her life to the Lord at an early age. In 1970, she entered the Lightbringers Session at the College for Officer Training in Toronto. After a short stay as corps officer in Port Hope, Ont., she was transferred to territorial headquarters, serving as secretary to Mrs. Commissioner Janet Wiseman and later Mrs. Commissioner Jean Brown before beginning a variety of financial appointments across Canada. In 1983, Beryl was appointed to Nairobi in the then East Africa Territory as assistant finance secretary, and in 1988, as finance secretary in Ghana in the then West Africa Territory. Her final appointment was at the Regional Accounting Centre (RAC) in Toronto before retiring in 2001 in Belleville, Ont., where she was a dedicated soldier. A faithful follower of Christ, Beryl is loved and missed by her sister, Major Cathie Price. NEPEAN, ONT.—In spite of a 25-year battle with rheumatoid arthritis, Pearl Andrews lived life to the fullest. Spending most of her life in Point Leamington, N.L., she moved to Ottawa four years ago. Pearl inspired everyone she met, but made the most lasting impression on the hundreds of students she taught throughout her 33-year teaching career. She adored young people and they loved her. Pearl devoted much of her life to The Salvation Army, serving in leadership roles such as young people’s sergeant-major and Girl Guide leader. Her favourite expression was, “If it is to be, it is up to me.” Pearl was a member of Gideons for many years and loved crafting, quilting, painting and travelling. She was loved by her friends at the Court of Barrhaven where she lived for the last four years, and by her many friends in Newfoundland. Missing her are husband, Lorenzo; daughters Carolyn (Ed), Peggy (Wayne) and Valerie (Andrew); seven grandchildren; extended family and friends. YARMOUTH, N.S.—Paul Wilson Fenton was born in 1936 in Yarmouth and later moved to Digby, N.S., where he worked as a nurse for 21 years. He was enrolled as a soldier in 1986 at Digby Corps and became the recruiting sergeant. Paul returned to Yarmouth in 1991, where he married and volunteered for the Army’s community and family services from 1992 to 1999. Left with loving memories are wife, Norma; stepchildren Laurie (Gehue), Scot (Fowler); three grandchildren; three sisters; two brothers; many nieces and nephews.
TERRITORIAL Appointments Lt Deanna Scott, corps officer* and community and family services officer**, Charlottetown CC, P.E.I., Maritime Div; Lt Ian Scott, community and family services officer**, Charlottetown CC, Maritime Div; Mjrs Warrick/Lucy Pilgrim, Grande Prairie CC, Alta. and Northern Ttys Div *Designation change; **additional responsibility Promoted to Glory Aux-Cpt Douglas Knee, from Lower Sackville, N.S., Jan 29; Mjr Lynne Sullivan, from Woodstock, Ont., Feb 1; Lt-Col George Oystryk, from Abbotsford, B.C., Feb 8; Mjr Joanne Guenther, from Forest Lawn, Alta., Feb 10; Col Earl Robinson, from Maple Ridge, B.C., Feb 11; Mjr Solomon Jewer, from Halifax, Feb 12
Commissioners Brian and Rosalie Peddle Apr 5-8 regional municipality Easter campaign, Halifax, Maritime Div; Apr 14-15 125th corps anniversary, Grand Bank, N.L. Div; Apr 21 Ontario ministry to women spring rally, London, Ont. GL Div;* Apr 27-29 Booth University College, Winnipeg; Apr 30-May 1 national leadership dinner, prayer breakfast and seminar, Ottawa *Commissioner Rosalie Peddle only Colonels Floyd and Tracey Tidd Apr 28-30 Booth University College, Winnipeg Canadian Staff Band Apr 14 Hannaford Street Silver Band Festival of Brass, Jane Mallett Theatre, Toronto Salvationist I April 2012 I 27
Territorial Prayer Guide
WEEK 1 – APRIL 1-7 Vision – One Army – Deepen our Spiritual Life • The Holy Spirit to make us Christlike • The discipline to learn personal holiness • Grace to commit to a sacramental life of selfless service • A personal conviction to daily pray and meditate on Scripture WEEK 2 – APRIL 8-14 College for Officer Training, Winnipeg • Safe travel of cadets to Alberta for an Easter evangelistic outreach • Cadets to share the powerful message of the Resurrection during outreach in Alberta • Cadets to be successful in their exams • Cadets as they receive summer and first appointments WEEK 3 – APRIL 15-21 The Warehouse Mission, Toronto • Salvationists and officers to be led to serve at The Warehouse Mission • Sufficient finances and for God to open doors for ministry in Cabbagetown • New converts to grow in God’s grace • Wisdom, physical and spiritual strength for Aux-Cpts Ronald and Linda Farr, corps officers WEEK 4 – APRIL 22-28 World Missions Department • Our Partners in Mission: Latin America North Tty, Liberia and Sierra Leone Command • Our Partners in Mission: Zimbabwe Tty, Germany and Lithuania Tty, Malawi Tty • Salvationists responding in areas impacted by natural disasters, famine and war • Short-term mission teams planning trips over the next year WEEK 5 – APRIL 29-30 Personnel on International Service • Lts Gerald and Blanca Dueck, corps officers, Barmstedt, Germany and Lithuania Tty • Cpts Andrew and Darlene Morgan, Hungary regional commander and assistant regional commander with responsibilities for women’s ministries, Switzerland, Austria and Hungary Tty 28 I April 2012 I Salvationist
Mentoring Wisdom: Living and Leading Well Dr. Carson Pue REVIEW BY LT-COLONEL SUSAN VAN DUINEN
r. Carson Pue is known as a leader of leaders, especially through the global Arrow Leadership program. His book, Mentoring Wisdom: Living and Leading Well, brings together the theoretical, spiritual, professional and personal elements of leadership, and helps the reader feel he has a readily available “armchair mentor.” Pue’s transparent musings on leadership are encouragingly realistic, benefiting the novice and seasoned leader. Pue acknowledges that leadership is difficult, requiring wisdom, direction, inspiration, hope, vision casting and execution of the latter. Each two-page chapter consists of a theme, insights, Scripture and prayer. He seeks to hearten and ground the Christian leader by exploring 59 themes, such as Leadership: A Way of Life, Cultivating Vision, The Beauty of Solitude and The Knack of Inspiring People. Pue asks fundamental questions about the facts and techniques of leadership. He then responds in original ways, posing questions such as, “Do you complete a small task or teach someone else?” “What time do you have this week to invest in relationships?” “What have you been weaving into your life?” The questions engage readers to become self-learners and provide ideas for improving their leadership abilities. “Leadership is not a role, but a way of living that permeates everything we do and are,” says Pue. Every Christian leader would benefit from regularly saying Pue’s prayer: “Lord, protect me from everything that is damaging to the holiness and purity of my relationship and service to you. I want to be real with you and those I serve.” This book could be used for personal reflection and in team settings. Reading it through brought insights from the Lord for which I am most humbled and grateful.
How to be a Best Friend Forever
Making and keeping lifetime relationships Dr. John Townsend Many people are convinced that they’ll never find lifelong connections. In this encouraging book, Dr. John Townsend helps readers break through relationship barriers and reveals the eight vital skills necessary for building long-term friendships. His principles for building the best kind of friendship, along with his shared personal experiences, will move readers to aspire to deeper connections and to stay the course when challenges arise.
The Beginner’s Bible Book of Prayers
This book of 20 brief prayers is written to help young children learn the meaning of concepts such as gratitude, forgiveness, patience and wisdom. Through the example of courage portrayed through the story of David and Goliath or the Good Samaritan’s shining example of kindness, children can easily make connections between familiar Bible stories and their own lives. The Scripture verses and stories are brought to life by colourful illustrations.
Is it reasonable to expect Salvationists to live up to the standards expressed in the Soldier’s Covenant?
Photo: © iStockphoto.com/MHJ
BY ROB PERRY
hile The Salvation Army’s Soldier’s Covenant contains some extremely demanding promises, perhaps the most challenging one is this: I will uphold Christian integrity in every area of my life, allowing nothing in thought, word or deed that is unworthy, unclean, untrue, profane, dishonest or immoral. In other words, I not only promise to not speak or act in an immoral or impure way, I promise not to even think bad thoughts! The Soldier’s Covenant is a statement of sacred promises; it is a covenant with God. The Bible makes it abundantly clear that covenant is of the utmost importance to God. So, how can any human being possibly sign a document promising the all-knowing God that they will allow nothing in thought that is unclean, immoral or unworthy? This statement isn’t prefaced by “I will try my very best” or “As far as I am able.” There are no out clauses. Salvation Army soldiers around the world and throughout the years have covenanted to God that all their actions, all their words and all their thoughts would be pure and righteous. Is it possible to keep such a promise? Suppose that someone cuts you off in traffic and nearly causes an accident. Not only are you not allowed to curse them (with word or finger), you
can’t even think a disparaging thought about them. How about when a beautiful guy or girl walks by and your eyes linger a bit too long? Once again you’ve broken a sacred covenant with God. On the other hand, maybe this all sounds familiar: “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment … ” (Matthew 5:21-22). Or, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:27-28). This is just a small excerpt from the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus’ most famous collection of teachings. As with the above, the Sermon on the Mount is overflowing with instructions that seem impossible to fulfil, culminating at the end of Matthew 5 with the challenge, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (v 48). Be perfect. Be perfect in action, word and thought. This is a great goal, but is it too lofty? Is it an example of rhetorical hyperbole by the Master Teacher? Or, is Jesus being literal? Are we truly meant to live perfect, sinless lives, even in our thoughts? At a Salvation Army youth conference, a friend of mine led a workshop on sin. When he asked a room of Christian teenagers whether they believed that tomorrow they would commit a sin, every single person said, “Yes.” When he clarified that he did not mean an involuntary mistake or fumble, but rather a conscious and willful choice between right and wrong, every single person still admitted that they would sin tomorrow. Has the pendulum swung? Have we gone from having seemingly too lofty expectations about our morality and our choices to having no expectations of ourselves at all? Have we stopped believing that true holiness is actually possible, and that by the power of the Holy Spirit we can be sanctified in not just our words and actions, but in our thoughts as well? This is a difficult discussion and could easily lead to puritanical and pharisaical practices, but this is not what is required. In this sermon, Jesus takes the commands from the Old Testament and dives to the heart of our intentions. It is not just actions that matter, but rather our motivations, our inner monologues and our emotions. When Jesus gives us these seemingly insurmountable standards in the Sermon on the Mount, he is not describing an even more difficult rulebook that no person could ever follow. This would stand counter to his consistent message of grace and forgiveness. Rather, Jesus is calling people to a different reality of the Kingdom of God. In the Kingdom of God there is no hatred, war or abuse, there is no racism or sexism, and there is nothing whatsoever that is unworthy, unclean, untrue, profane, dishonest or immoral—not in our actions, words or thoughts. So, is it possible to live up to the second promise statement in the Soldier’s Covenant? If it is only about keeping rules, we have lost before the game has begun. However, if it is about embracing God’s Kingdom, and allowing his new reality to take root and have ownership in our lives, this is a promise we can make, and with his help, strive to keep. In Luke 17, Jesus says, “The Kingdom of God is within you.” This is perhaps the essence of the Sermon on the Mount. Where God reigns, there is no sin. Allow God’s Spirit and Kingdom to reign in you, and you will not sin. Instead, you will be a forerunner of the new reality in our broken world. Rob Perry is the ministry co-ordinator at Toronto’s Corps 614. Salvationist I April 2012 I 29
Think Big. Start Small. Go Deep.
Before we accomplish great things for God, we need to focus on our own spiritual health BY MAJOR DANIELLE STRICKLAND
a w s o n Tro t m a n , founder of the Navigators discipleship program, used a slogan to fuel his movement: Think big. Start small. Go deep. It’s something I read very early in my ministry and it resonated within me. The problem I’ve discovered in most people’s lives is not their inability to dream or to envision—we’ve got vision statements and dreamers aplenty. The real crunch happens when our dreams hit reality—we’ve got to figure out a strategy for our dreams in order to see them come to fruition. If we are praying for God’s Kingdom to be on earth as it is in Heaven, we have to take our dreams and visions (particularly the ones that Jesus spelled out for us) and actually make them happen in the here and now. We need a strategy for this side of Heaven. This is where Trotman’s little slogan becomes very useful. One of the obstacles in achieving our vision is that we often dismiss the “smallness” of starting the work required to make it happen. The Incarnation (when Jesus was born as a baby in Bethlehem) is a great example of starting small. It doesn’t get much smaller than a poor family looking for shelter in a little town and bringing a baby into the world. The vision, of 30 I April 2012 I Salvationist
course, was to save the world, but the strategy began with one small child, a woman and a man who were obedient to God, and a few scraggly shepherds. If you didn’t know the outcome, you would think the strategy was a failure. And, if you were to look ahead and see Jesus hanging on a cross between two thieves, you’d be tempted to think that God should have started with a different strategy. One of the keys to God’s strategies is that his Kingdom is often made up of the very things we can’t see. The epistles tell us that Jesus made a spectacle of the enemy the day he offered his life as the way
of salvation for the rest of us. Jesus’ death was part of the divine strategy to overcome evil, break the curse and free humanity and creation from the enemy’s grasp forever. Think big. Start small. Go deep. When The Salvation Army decided to open fire in India in 1882, they announced their vision: The Salvation Army will invade India. When the Salvation Army pioneer officers showed up at the arrival pier of the dock in India, the Royal British Army was there to meet them, expecting that
they were about to be invaded by armed force. But what they saw shocked them: Frederick Booth-Tucker leading a small ragtag group of mostly young women officers and soldiers, dressed in local attire and armed with Bibles and the experience of their salvation. This was the invasion? This was the strategy? Yes. And it followed the incarnational pattern of our Saviour’s ministry. They wanted to win India for Jesus (think big). They started with a small team of willing soldiers and officers (start small). And they gave their whole lives, health and futures to the cause (go deep). The strategy was blessed by
God as every “boom march” (open-air proclamation of the gospel) led to whole towns and villages coming to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Ultimately, thousands of Indian Salvationists were raised up to lead the charge to win the world for God. Today, India is one of the strongest countries in the Salvation Army world and the vision continues. I’m not sure if you have a strategy for your vision, but I’d like to suggest one. On Facebook and other social media networks, a number of Salvationists have recently engaged in DISCO. No, it’s not a dance, although that’s not a bad metaphor for discipleship. DISCO is short for discipleship covenant—when a small group of Christians connect with each other for accountability and intentional discipleship. There is no set curriculum. Every person determines their own goals and intentions and shares with the group about their progress and struggles every week. Each of the members take turns sharing and dreaming and talking about how they are making that a daily reality in their lives. They pray together and offer their support. It’s a game changer. Seems small, doesn’t it? But imagine if all of God’s people thought big (had a vision for changing the whole world), started small (began focusing on their daily habits and practices) and went deep (showed a willingness to be accountable to others). I think DISCO could really change the world. So, connect with a friend or two on Facebook, by e-mail or in person and covenant together for a period of one to three months to support and hold each other accountable. Together with her husband, Major Stephen Court, Major Danielle Strickland is the corps officer of Edmonton’s Crossroads Community Church. For more information on DISCO, visit djstricklandremix.blogspot.com.
Megan Bartel, BA
Alumna 2011, Bachelor of Arts in Religion if it waS Booth’S SMall Size and location in the heart of winnipeg that first attracted Megan Bartel, it was being involved with people who were passionate about learning and social justice that kept her inspired and engaged. from the moment she stepped through Booth’s front door, it was obvious that she’d eventually walk out that same door with something more than an expensive piece of paper. “the education one receives at Booth is not obtained merely for the sake of learning, but with the intention that a Booth graduate will use it to improve the world,” Megan says. “Studying at Booth has taught me that with knowledge comes responsibility, and it’s essential that we use that knowledge to bring hope to people who most require it.” according to Megan, stepping out of your comfort zone – physically, intellectually and spiritually – can lead to academic success, but it’s the strength of personal values that measures your presence in the world.
Education for a better world. Salvationist I April 2012 I 31
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