Volunteers Spread Holiday Cheer
Generalâ€™s Message: Light of the World
Army Helps Women Escape Sex Trade
Salvationist The Voice of the Army
Rediscovering the Nativity A fresh look at the characters behind the Christmas story
1 I April 2012 I Salvationist
Marjory Watson, Soloist, United Kingdom Toronto Northern Lights Chorus, Steve Armstrong, Musical Director Ian Sadler, Organist The Festival Chorus with Canadian Staff Band, John Lam, Bandmaster
Saturday, December 14th, 2013 - 7:30p.m. Roy Thomson Hall, 60 Simcoe Street, Toronto
Tickets from $15 to $25 available at roythomson.com or call RTH Box Office 416-872-4255 Presented by Ontario Central East Division
2 I December 2013 I Salvationist
than is required.
Inside This Issue Cert no. XXX-XXX-XXXX
December 2013 No. 91 www.salvationist.ca E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Departments 3 4 Editorial The Little Mermaid by Geoff Moulton
5 Around the Territory 9 Mission Matters
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26 Celebrate Community
4 Enrolments and recognition, tributes, gazette, calendar
28 The Storyteller
The Disrespected Heir by Major Fred Ash Cert no. XXX-XXX-XXXX
29 Spiritual Disciplines
Features 8 Jesus: Light of the World Cert no. XXX-XXX-XXXX
God sent his Son to dispel darkness and set people free by General André Cox
10 Rediscovering the Nativity
A closer look at the characters in the course of Jesus’ infancy by Pamela Richardson, Donald E. Burke, Major Cathie Harris, Major Glenda Bishop, Colonel Ricardo Bouzigues and Major Mark Wagner
A Promise Fulfilled Praise Him PRODUCT FORESTC.STEWARDSHIP COUNCIL by Commissioner Brian PeddleLABELINGbyGUIDE Major Randy Hicks
24 Cross Culture
30 Ties That Bind
Defending Women’s Rights by Major Kathie Chiu
14 Comfort and Joy
How Salvation Army volunteers are making Christmas special for others by Melissa Yue Wallace, Major Shawn Critch and Kristin Ostensen
18 Right at Home
A simple gesture linked the clients of the Maxwell Meighen Centre in Toronto to a church family by Ken Ramstead
20 Into the Light In London, Ont., Cornerstone and the John School address the causes of prostitution and provide a way out by Kristin Ostensen
22 Restoration Work
A Harbour Light resident and employee explains how God turned his messy life into a message by Melissa Yue Wallace
Inside Faith & Friends Pennies From Heaven
With the help of Noah Leslie and The Salvation Army’s toy-drive campaign, children will have gifts under their Christmas trees
“Every Little Bit Helps”
On the island of Bermuda, volunteer Rosamund Daniels spreads goodwill at Christmastime and all year round
The Army band seemed to be playing to an empty street, but one person was listening
Share Your Faith When you finish reading Faith & Friends, FAITH & frıends pull it out and give it to someone who needs to hear about + Pennies Christ’s lifeFrom Heaven changing power Christmas 2013
Inspiration for Living
DINER KEEPS CHRISTMAS SPIRIT ALIVE FOR SALVATION ARMY
“O HOLY PLIGHT…” GOD’S MUSIC WAS ANYONE LISTENING?
Thousands of kids will have Christmas thanks to The Salvation Army’s toy-drive campaign
Salvationist.ca Keeping up-to-date has never been easier! Visit salvationist. ca on your mobile device or personal computer for the latest territorial and international news and feature articles on pressing issues that affect Salvationists
in dialogue with fellow Salvationists and friends of the Army. We would love to hear from you
Take advantage of the website’s interactive capabilities. Post a comment about an article that has inspired you. Engage Salvationist I December 2013 I 3
The Little Mermaid
ays before Christmas I anxiously scanned the store shelves. Dolls, books, toys … What would a five-year-old girl want? The week before, I had received a call at The Salvation Army’s editorial office from an inmate named Juan who couldn’t be home for Christmas. He desperately wanted his little girl, Diana, to know that Dad still loved her. Could I do anything? Now at the toy store, I prayed: “God, help me find the right toy.” I didn’t know why, but my eyes kept returning to a Little Mermaid doll. It was beautiful, but somewhat dated. Surely a five-yearold wouldn’t remember an 18-year-old Disney movie. But something told me it was right.
Tears welled up as I saw the title on the tattered box When my wife and I arrived at the apartment, a woman answered the door and introduced herself as Diana’s mother. At first, Diana hid behind her mother’s skirt and eyed us suspiciously. After a few minutes, she became more comfortable around us. It helped that my wife speaks Spanish, Diana’s native tongue. “Thank you for coming,” her mother smiled. We presented them with the wrapped toys from Dad and enough groceries for a turkey dinner. Then the phone rang. It was Juan and, through his broken sobs, he conveyed his gratitude for the gifts and the love he had for his family. Then as we shared a prayer, something remarkable happened. Diana ran to her bookshelf and grabbed her favourite VHS tape to show me. Tears welled up as I saw the title on the tattered box: The Little Mermaid. How could she have known? We hadn’t exchanged more than a few words and the gifts were still wrapped. Of course, she had no idea about my shopping trip. But God knew. He had not forgotten this family. 4 I December 2013 I Salvationist
Each year, The Salvation Army helps thousands of families like Diana’s. This month, we profile Salvation Army volunteers who are spreading Christmas cheer from coast to coast (see page 14). Our nativity reflections will take you “behind the scenes” to glimpse new perspectives on the age-old story (see page 10). And in his holiday message, General André Cox reminds us that we are all “carriers of the Light” that came into the world on that evening long ago (page 8). One way we can shine that light is through our Christmas issue of Faith & Friends. Inserted in Salvationist, it also goes out separately to nearly a quarter of a million people each year, through kettles, Sunshine Bags, toy drives and carol sings. It may be the inspiration someone needs to visit a Salvation Army church this season. As you read the stories in Salvationist, consider what you can do this year to share the spirit of Christmas with those in need. Our motivation? The joy in our hearts because the Christ Child was born in Bethlehem.
GEOFF MOULTON Editor-in-Chief
is a monthly publication of The Salvation Army Canada and Bermuda Territory André Cox General Commissioner Brian Peddle Territorial Commander Lt-Colonel Jim Champ Secretary for Communications Geoff Moulton Editor-in-Chief Melissa Yue Wallace Features Editor (416-467-3185) Pamela Richardson News Editor, Production Co-ordinator, Copy Editor (416-422-6112) Kristin Ostensen Associate Editor and Staff Writer Timothy Cheng Art Director Ada Leung Circulation Co-ordinator Ken Ramstead Contributor 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.
Annual: Canada $30 (includes GST/HST); U.S. $36; foreign $41. Available from: The Salvation Army, 2 Overlea Blvd, Toronto ON M4H 1P4. Phone: 416-422-6119; fax: 416-422-6120; e-mail: email@example.com.
Inquire by e-mail for rates at salvationist@ can.salvationarmy.org.
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The Salvation Army exists to share the love of Jesus Christ, meet human needs and be a transforming influence in the communities of our world. Salvationist informs readers about the mission and ministry of The Salvation Army in Canada and Bermuda. salvationist.ca firstname.lastname@example.org facebook.com/salvationistmagazine twitter.com/salvationist
AROUND THE TERRITORY
New Truck Helps Chilliwack Food Bank produce. We couldn’t before,” says Don Armstrong, manager of the food bank. “We can give clients fresh produce that they could never get before. They’re going to get carrots, corn and bananas.”
Photo and story: Cornelia Naylor, Chilliwack Times
FOR YEARS, THE Salvation Army Community Food Bank in Chilliwack, B.C., has missed out on between 45 and 90 kilograms of food donations every day because it didn’t have a refrigerated truck to transport fresh produce. As of October, that is no longer the case. The food bank’s new $100,000 refrigerated truck is now making the rounds, picking up perishables from local grocery stores. The need for a refrigerated truck had been pressing for the food bank for years, but two years ago, the Chilliwack Chiefs, the local hockey team, stepped up and committed to fundraising until a truck was paid for. Asked why his organization got involved, Chiefs president Glen Ringdal said the choice was an easy one. “The Salvation Army is one of the most important charitable organizations working in this community,” he says. “Not only do they do fantastic work, they’re totally respected by everybody as a great organization that delivers real value to the community.” All that was needed was a project for the Chiefs organization to get its teeth into, and the truck was a natural choice. Since the hockey team hopped on board, other groups have come through with sizeable donations, including $20,000 from Sardis Kiwanis and $10,000 from Farm Credit, to name just two. Food bank officials are now celebrating the fruits of two years of fundraising. “Now we can go to all the grocery stores and pick up fresh
From left, Glen Ringdal; Don Armstrong; Chiefs players Kiefer McNaughton, Jake Hand, Cooper Rush, Shay Laurent; Ian Pratt, community ministries director, The Salvation Army Care and Share Centre, show off the new refrigerated truck
Breakfast Program Serves Disadvantaged in Montreal IN ONE OF Montreal’s poorest neighbourhoods, a new monthly breakfast program is reaching out to the community. Le Phare, a mission corps operating out of the Booth Centre, has been serving in the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve area for more than two years, delivering food to low-income people twice per month. Invitations to the first breakfast, held in September, were distributed through this program. The breakfast was prepared by a retired chef who lives at the Booth Centre, and served by a team of three Salvation Army staff and 13 volunteers, including three soldiers and four adherents who have been enrolled since Le Phare officially opened in February 2013. A worship team from the corps was also at the event, playing a mixture of Christian and popular music after the breakfast. An adherent from Le Phare, who once struggled with addictions and went through a program at the Booth Centre, gave a short testimony. “He used to live in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, and so he was able to witness to the people that there is a way out of the cycle of poverty and
addiction,” says Captain Betty Lessard, community ministries officer, Booth Centre. Fifty-five people attended the first breakfast and Captain Lessard expects that number to grow. “We want to develop our ministry in the neighbourhood, so the breakfast program is a way of making contact with people,” she says. “It’s getting to know
them, taking care of their physical needs and doing soft evangelization.” On the morning of the first event, a volunteer invited a homeless man who was passing by to come in and have breakfast. “After the breakfast, he was weeping,” says Captain Lessard. “He was hungry and we offered him food. He could see God’s hand in it.”
A breakfast program is reaching out to people in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, a low-income neighbourhood in Montreal Salvationist I December 2013 I 5
AROUND THE TERRITORY
Army Provides Support After Bus-Train Collision THE SALVATION ARMY provided practical and emotional support after a double-decker bus and a passenger train collided in Ottawa in September, killing six people and injuring more than 30 others. Called into service by Ottawa Fire, The Salvation Army deployed three mobile canteens and sent a chaplaincy team to the local community centre to provide support to uninjured passengers and the families of those affected, who assembled there. The chaplain team met with each of the six families of the
deceased as they waited for an official confirmation from emergency officials. On the day of the collision, The Salvation Army served lunch and dinner to emergency personnel, as well as drinks and snacks throughout the day. The next day, the Army provided breakfast, bringing the total number of meals served to approximately 270. Over the course of two days, the emergency disaster services team had approximately 17 volunteers and staff at the site of the incident and at the reception and information centre.
Army emergency disaster services personnel are on the scene following a bus-train collision in Ottawa
TV Ads Promote Kettle Campaign
Booth UC Boasts Record Enrolment
FOR THE 2013 Christmas kettle campaign, The Salvation Army and Grey Canada created three 15-second TV commercials that are appearing on networks across the country. Featuring a soup kitchen, thrift store and shelter, each commercial tells the public that “Your donation makes a difference.” With all of the elements painted by hand and constructed of wood, metal or plastic, the scenes in each commercial tell a story of transformation. The first TV spot shows a man sitting on the street, looking hungry and dejected, until he is brought inside and served a hot meal. In the second, a mother and child shiver in the cold until they receive warm winter clothing. In the third, a man is sleeping outside on a cardboard box until he wakes up in a warm bed. The transformation in each scene is triggered by a coin dropping into a Salvation Army Christmas kettle. “We wanted to help people understand why they should give to The Salvation Army at Christmas,” says John McAlister, national director of marketing and communications. “Although our kettles are very visible, many Canadians don’t know what The Salvation Army is about and may be reticent to give. These TV commercials not only catch people’s attention, but also illustrate that the money given to The Salvation Army helps feed, clothe and shelter vulnerable people.” In addition to English and French, the TV commercials were produced in Cantonese, Mandarin and Punjabi.
BOOTH UNIVERSITY COLLEGE in Winnipeg opened the 2013-2014 academic year on a high note with record enrolment numbers for both new students on campus and the overall number of students on campus. “A double-digit increase in enrolment is always a good news story, but a near 30-percent increase in new students is a remarkable achievement that speaks to the hard work of the entire Booth team,” says Dr. Donald Burke, president of Booth University College. “I am very proud of our team and of their focused and effective work.” Compared to September 2012 figures, in the fall 2013 semester Booth University College recorded a 29-percent increase in the number of new students on campus, a 21.5-percent increase in the total number of students on campus, and a 39-percent increase in the distance education credit hours sold. This September, Booth University College also officially welcomed its new vice-president, academic and dean, Dr. Marjory Kerr. At the opening convocation and installation service, Kerr encouraged students to heed God’s calling on their lives, saying, “As students you have the opportunity to experience, recognize and respond to God’s calling for you … watch for it, and when you do, it will come.”
A new Salvation Army TV ad shows how kettle donations make a difference in the lives of Canadians 6 I December 2013 I Salvationist
Dr. Marjory Kerr addresses students and faculty at Booth University College
AROUND THE TERRITORY
Ceilidh Benefits PEI Shelter MORE THAN 200 people came out to enjoy music and show their support for The Salvation Army’s Bedford MacDonald House at a ceilidh—a gathering featuring traditional Scottish or Irish stories, songs and dances—held at the Kiwanis/Shriners Bingo Country Club in Charlottetown, P.E.I., recently. “It was a great concert of local music with the very distinct ‘Island charm,’ ” says Captain Jamie Locke, corps officer at Charlottetown Community Church and director of Bedford MacDonald House, the only men’s shelter on Prince Edward Island. The event was organized by Barb Perry, Ralph Billard and Charlie Blaisdell,
who approached Captain Locke with the idea of holding a benefit. “They are people with hearts of compassion for the less fortunate,” says Captain Locke. “It is evident that they poured their hearts into this project.” Emceed by Perry, the event featured top-notch entertainers from across the province, including Janet and Joseph Hebert, Stan Paquet and Kalie Chaisson, and raised $1,700 for the shelter. “Charlie, Ralph and Barb, along with the many others who helped in the organization of this event, are to be commended for a job well done,” says Captain Locke. “The Salvation Army
in Charlottetown is privileged to have the support of islanders who value our service within the community.”
Cpt Jamie Locke (second from left) accepts a cheque on behalf of Bedford MacDonald House, presented by, from left, Barb Perry, Ralph Billard and Charlie Blaisdell
Ontario Great Lakes Holds First HR Conference
THE SALVATION ARMY’S thrift store in Bermuda received a boost in September, thanks to the initiative of a local hotel. The Fairmont Hamilton Princess held a clothing and household item drive for the Army as part of its community connections month. “We chose to work with The Salvation Army as the organization has been an integral part of the community in Bermuda for more than 100 years,” says Len Czarnecki, the hotel’s general manager. “With the economic challenges many in Bermuda are facing, the services of The Salvation Army are more vital than ever in helping to provide even the basic essentials for families in need.” The response from the community was very positive. Over the course of one day, the hotel collected 6,800 kilograms of clothing for the Army. “It was an amazing day, ” says Major Shawn Critch, divisional commander, Bermuda Division. “The generosity of the community was beyond our expectations. We are grateful to the Fairmont Hamilton Princess for such a partnership.” The hotel has indicated that this could become an annual event.
MORE THAN 100 delegates from across the Ontario Great Lakes Division gathered at Guelph Citadel in September to participate in the division’s first-ever human resources conference. Organized by the divisional human resources conference committee, the weekend was led by Pamela DeRaaf, divisional director of human resources. Both days began with devotions, followed by workshops led by Salvation Army personnel and professionals from the community. These workshops covered topics such as human rights, employment law, fraud, disability management, conflict management and recruitment. The training will help The Salvation Army improve its operations across the Ontario Great Lakes Division. “A wealth of information was made available to the delegates who, without question, left the conference better equipped to handle human resources issues in their workplace,” says Major Patricia Phinney, divisional secretary for public relations and development.
Photo: Akil Simmons, Royal Gazette
Bermuda Clothing Drive Exceeds Expectations
Andreanne Boden, employee of the Fairmont Hamilton Princess, proudly displays some of the clothing collected
More than 100 participate in a divisional human resources conference Salvationist I December 2013 I 7
Jesus: Light of the World God sent his Son to dispel darkness and set people free BY GENERAL ANDRÉ COX
hristmas is celebrated in so many different ways around the world and yet so easily we forget the true meaning of an event that shaped and changed the world. People of all nationalities and cultures have been drawn to God’s light as revealed in Jesus, whose coming to earth changed and changes the way we think and act. The prophet Isaiah foresaw the coming of Jesus into the world—“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given … he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, … Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6 NIV). A well-known Christmas carol expresses so beautifully the longing that people still have—“Come, thou longexpected Jesus, born to set thy people free … ” (SASB 79). The world has never known, and will never know, a light more powerful than the light Jesus brought. John described it as “The true light that gives light to every man … and … the world did not recognise him … his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him … he gave the right to become children of God … ” (John 1:9-13). Despite this wonderful reality, there are still far too many people living in 8 I December 2013 I Salvationist
darkness and despair, suffering and fear, having lost the will to live, for they see no future. They have lost all sense of purpose and direction because they refuse to turn to “the Light.”
The Bible presents Jesus as the coming of light into the world— light which outshines anything we can ever imagine The Bible presents Jesus as the coming of light into the world—light which outshines anything we can ever imagine. We are surrounded by flashing lights, neon signs, illuminated billboards—all designed to attract us, to draw us in. But there is no light that compares to the light of Jesus, for it draws us into the joy of knowing him as our personal Saviour.
The impact of Christ’s coming into the world is still in evidence. People are experiencing change and transformation, finding deliverance and freedom, peace and forgiveness. The message of the angels still resonates powerfully in our hearts and lives today. Christmas is a wonderful opportunity for us to be not only witnesses to “the Light” but also carriers of “the Light.” We must celebrate and give thanks for the true meaning of Christmas: “He came to give us life in all its fullness … he [“the Light”] came to banish death and doubt and darkness, he came to set his people free” (SASB 274). May the “Light of the World” shine into your hearts this Christmas—and then out to others so that the world will be a brighter place in the coming year. May God richly bless you as you join with us in giving thanks to God for the birth of our Saviour.
General André Cox is the international leader of The Salvation Army.
A Promise Fulfilled
The one who “takes away the sins of the world” has already come. Will you receive him? BY COMMISSIONER BRIAN PEDDLE Joseph and the shepherds remained intact (read further commentary about the Nativity characters on the following pages). There were no leaked e-mails, premature Facebook announcements or information espionage. God had simply and repeatedly intimated his plan to redeem the world and reconcile his creation to himself. What some might view as bits and pieces of a story are, in fact, the careful articulation of a synchronized rescue plan that would, to this day, become the central focus of a turning point in the story of God and his people.
prophecy of one calling in the wilderness (see Isaiah 40:3). We don’t equate John the Baptist with the events of Advent or the birth in Bethlehem. John was a preparer of the way for both Christ and his message. He identified the Bethlehem baby as the Saviour of all people, the one who “takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29). God ordained it and the prophets foretold it, but it was John who announced it. Our challenge is two-fold. First, it is about our personal preparedness to
My heart skips a beat when I reflect on the “for to us” part of this prophecy
My heart skips a beat when I reflect on the “for to us” part of this prophecy. “God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them” (2 Corinthians 5:19). This may not be the first Christmas image that comes to mind, but picture a ragged, disheveled character living alone in the desert. He wears simple clothes and has a diet consistent with his unorthodox life. He is known as a social rebel. His eyes are piercing, his passion is clear, his finger points and his persistent message of repentance is not lost on his listeners. He is Isaiah’s
Photo: © iStockphoto.com/Liliboas
s it time yet?” Perhaps you have answered this question for your child or grandchild as he or she eagerly awaited Christmas morning or a family vacation to Disney World. Trying to explain “soon” and “later” can be challenging! As adults, we understand the concept of time and the need for patience and waiting. We often say that timing is everything, especially for a golfer or an anxious driver caught in traffic, but timing is only part of the experience. Getting it right also creates an atmosphere of anticipation. I wonder how the nation of Israel felt as they waited to hear from God. Would he fulfil his promises? I love Paul’s words: “But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son” (Galatians 4:4). The birth of Jesus didn’t just happen. For hundreds of years, the Jewish people had expected, longed for and looked for a Messiah, one who would deliver them and fulfil a national dream. Long before the people recognized their need or even considered God’s ability to meet their need, God made such a provision. The Apostle Peter says in reference to Jesus that “He was chosen before the creation of the world” (1 Peter 1:20). From the very beginning there was a clear thread running through the scriptural record that reflected the certainty of an Advent. A Messiah was coming. God had ordained it to be so. We generally accept the fact that the intervening years between the Old and New Testaments present themselves as silent and are even filled with a measure of darkness. The only real voices of hope were prophetic echoes such as those we read about in the Book of Isaiah: “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light” (Isaiah 9:2) and “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given” (Isaiah 9:6). Isaiah spoke hope into the silence, the darkness and even in the absence of the miraculous—the promise prevailed. Despite the prophetic word and the anticipation, there appears to be little evidence of any immediate preparedness. The element of surprise for Mary,
receive him and, second, it is about our responsibility to share this gift of hope with others. The story as we know it shouts into our reality declaring: “The time has fully come. He is here! Will you receive him?”
Commissioner Brian Peddle is the territorial commander of the Canada and Bermuda Territory. Salvationist I December 2013 I 9
Rediscovering the Nativity A closer look at the characters in the course of Jesusâ€™ infancy
he Nativity depicted in movies, childrenâ€™s plays and art often portrays idyllic characters and sentimental scenes. Many key characters are not even represented. Are we in danger of romanticizing the Christmas story? Can we learn fresh insights by looking at this unique cast of biblical characters? Six writers examine the key players in the birth of Jesus.
10 I December 2013 I Salvationist
SHEPHERDS It was probably a night like all the rest. Sunlight had given way to darkness and the heat of the day had slipped away. Except for the occasional bleating of sheep and the murmured voices of their shepherds, all was quiet. The only source of heat and light was a small campfire that helped to keep wild animals away from the treasured flock. It was just another peaceful and uneventful night in the fields surrounding the town of Bethlehem. And then it happened. An angel appeared, shining in the light of God’s glory, and scared the poor shepherds half to death. Is it any wonder that Luke 2:9 says “they were terrified”? “Do not be afraid,” the angel said. “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11). And before the shepherds could get their hearts back to a normal rhythm, “a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest
heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests’ ” (Luke 2:13-14). For generations, the Israelites had been waiting for the coming of the Messiah. His birth was not just good news; it was big news as well! The only people who knew about his arrival, however, were Mary, Joseph and the group of shepherds who had just received the news. Shepherds were near the bottom of the social standings of their time. Did they wonder why they were chosen above everyone else, including the religious elite? Were they afraid no one would believe them? Perhaps, but they did not allow their questions or fears to control them. Instead they responded with an immediate acceptance of the news, journeyed to the humble manger where Jesus lay and then spread the word of what they had seen and heard (see Luke 2:15-17). Most people will admit they are afraid of something. Childhood anxieties about such things as monsters under the bed
BY DONALD E. BURKE
BY PAMELA RICHARDSON
usually diminish as we become adults, but they can be replaced by fears that don’t go away as easily. Perhaps you are afraid of becoming sick or losing a loved one. Unemployment and economic hardship may scare you. Do you worry what others think of you? Maybe your knees shake at the thought of sharing the good news of the Messiah’s birth with a neighbour. Psalm 55:22 offers some great advice for handling fear: “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you….” You may be thinking, “It’s not as easy as that.” I agree, but as people who believe in the saving power of our Messiah, we can rest easier knowing we are not travelling through life alone. Take time this year to attend a Christmas pageant, one with angels wearing garland halos and shepherds dressed in bathrobes. As you watch them retell the story of what happened so many years ago in Bethlehem, reflect on your fears and then lay them down beside the manger.
Simeon & Anna
In Luke’s Gospel, the story of Jesus’ birth is filled with people who could easily have been overlooked. There is no mention of King Herod, no Wise Men—no VIPs. There are just the humble, the poor and the marginalized, those who can bring only their praise and obeisance to the infant Son of God. Simeon and Anna fit nicely into this assembled cast (see Luke 2:25-38). The first thing we need to note is that while Anna is introduced immediately after Simeon’s encounter with the holy family, there is nothing in Luke that suggests there was any connection between the two. This stands in contrast to Zechariah and Elizabeth who, as the parents of John the Baptist, obviously were married. Simeon and Anna have no such close association even if we are accustomed to reading their story as though they do. Second, we tend to think of Simeon as an elderly man. But once again, a careful reading of the biblical text shows that there is no basis for this assumption. Simeon may be middle-aged or younger. What we are told about Simeon is that he lived in Jerusalem, he was righteous and devout, he was looking forward to the coming of the Messiah and the Holy Spirit was with him. Simeon had no religious credentials—he was not a priest or a prophet. But it was the Holy Spirit who directed him to go to the temple at the time of Jesus’ dedication. Taking the baby Jesus in his arms, Simeon broke out in praise of God, proclaiming that he was now satisfied that he
had seen the one who would bring God’s salvation to the world. Then Simeon blessed the child’s parents and proceeded to prophesy that this child was destined to bring judgment upon the people and that a sword would pierce his parents’ hearts. For Anna, on the other hand, we are given more biographical information. She had been married for seven years and then was widowed for many more. Now 84, she had lived well beyond the normal lifespan at her time. Anna is described as a prophet who never left the temple, fasting day and night. Our first impulse would be to think that Anna was an especially devout woman. But never leaving the temple may have simply been a matter of survival. Widows were among the most vulnerable in a patriarchal society. Without a male to provide for them and give them standing in the community, many women in her situation would have had to enter the sex trade in order to survive. But there was little chance that this option existed for Anna at her age. Therefore, her residence in the temple may have been partly due to her devotion and largely out of necessity. But even if this is all true, Anna still found room to praise God, to see in this child more than was apparent to most. Many saw Jesus in the temple that day, but it was a faithful man and an elderly widow who recognized a Saviour. Simeon and Anna illustrate the fact that often it is those whose lives are uncluttered by the trinkets and baubles of material wealth and power who have eyes to see Jesus and open their hearts to him. Salvationist I December 2013 I 11
BY MAJOR CATHIE HARRIS
Her figurine sits in the Nativity scene, so still, with a slight smile, watching over her newborn baby. Mary, mother of Jesus, seems so passive and serene. We may hardly give her more than a passing thought. But do not be deceived. There is a strong young woman of faith behind that figurine. We meet Mary in the first chapter of the Gospel of Luke. She is a young woman engaged to be married. This is nothing out of the ordinary. But an angel from God appears to her, calling her favoured one and saying, “The Lord is with you” (Luke 1:28 NRSV). Her reaction tells us this wasn’t an everyday occurrence. She was “much perplexed” (Luke 1:29 NRSV) and began pondering its meaning. It would seem that Mary was a ponderer by nature as we watch future events unfold. Into those moments of wondering the angel spoke startling words: “You will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High” (Luke 1:31-32 NRSV). Talk about unusual news coming out of the blue! But Mary was not timid. She spoke right up to the angel: “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” (Luke 1:34 NRSV). The angel responded but didn’t really explain much. This was still a great mystery. But in those moments, Mary made a momentous decision. She did not sit back on her heels and
say “whatever … ” but rather spoke strong words—words from a deeply held faith in the God of her ancestors: “Here am I, the servant of the Lord. Let it be with me according to your word” (Luke 1:38 NRSV). You see, Mary is not a passive figurine in a Nativity scene. She chose to become an active participant with God in his work of ongoing salvation. It was a costly decision. She faced public disgrace and a possible break-up with Joseph. How was he to understand her pregnancy? Being a righteous man, Joseph continued to love and protect Mary. But due to circumstances beyond their control, they had to travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem in the final months of her pregnancy. She went through labour and delivery in a stable because there were no rooms in the inn. These were less than ideal circumstances even for those times. Mary could not have known what being the Lord’s servant would mean for her. God called and she chose to say yes. Being God’s servant means active participation. It is more than showing up for worship services and committee meetings. It is more than agreeing with stated Christian beliefs. It is actively pondering, actively questioning and actively following. So don’t be deceived by idyllic Nativity scenes. There’s a lot more going on inside those characters than you might think.
WISE MEN Marketing companies spend thousands of dollars trying to grab our attention and promote a product or brand, particularly at Christmastime. And yet thousands of years ago, when God announced the greatest event of all time that very first Christmas, he didn’t use methods of worldly lavishness. He did something far greater and more spectacular. The birth of this baby wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger in a stable behind some inn in an obscure Judean town, was trumpeted by heavenly angels. Then months later, when God wanted to let the nations of the world know that a king had been born, one who would turn their previous religious traditions and belief systems upside down, he used a star in the sky. We are awestruck, but not surprised at the origin of the first “announcer” of the birth of the Christ Child, who is described in the Matthew and Luke accounts as “an angel of the Lord.” However, what is intriguing is the origin 12 I December 2013 I Salvationist
of the second announcement. Months later, Magi from the East arrived to worship “the one who has been born king of the Jews,” having followed a star (see Matthew 2:2). So much has been speculated of the spiritual background and depth of these Magi, commonly known as Wise Men, learned men interested in dreams, astrology, magic and books pertaining to mysterious references to the future. We have to surmise that they studied and knew the God of the Old Testament passages and were aware of the prophecies and signs surrounding the coming of the Anointed One (see Daniel 9:25) and the timing of his birth. Perhaps these men came to Bethlehem having been spurred on by astrological calculations, coupled with God’s Holy Spirit prompting their minds to anticipate what they were looking for in the heavens: a star. Given the religious, pagan practices of the eastern nations, they could quite possibly have been restless in their religious experience, yearning
BY MAJOR GLENDA BISHOP
for something more and looking for signs of the arrival of this infant king. Whatever the background and reason for their obedience to follow that star, the Magi remind us that there are many in our world today—of all cultures, faith backgrounds and lifestyles—who need a “star.” There are many who are restless and who need a star to point them to the One who will bring meaning to life that goes way beyond themselves. As Christmas comes again this year, may we be reminded that we are called, as those who worship Christ, the newborn king, to be “stars”: “Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, ‘children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.’ Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life … ” (Philippians 2:14-16 NIV). May we each choose to love him more and shine brightly so that we can lead people to Jesus.
BY COLONEL RICARDO BOUZIGUES
“Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly” (Matthew 1:19). Here, the gospel writer shows one of the most difficult and constant spiritual trials that Christians face in life. It is the struggle between social pressure and conscience: doing what most believe is right or what we ourselves believe is just. Here we see Joseph’s dilemma. He was engaged to Mary—that is, he had sealed the pact with the bride’s family by paying a dowry, completing the bridal commitment that in Hebrew society established a permanent bond and forced them to full fidelity. They were waiting, perhaps several months, to fulfil the date set for the wedding ceremony, which culminated when the husband took his bride to live at his home. In the interim “she was found to be with child” and she told Joseph that it was “through the Holy Spirit” (v 18). But can you imagine the consternation of Joseph? Could he believe Mary? As
he knew it was not his child, he could only suppose that his fiancée had been unfaithful to him—which was considered adultery. If Joseph wanted to be obedient to the law, he should disown Mary so that she would be put on trial—almost certainly being condemned to death by stoning. Because he loved her and listened to his heart, Joseph decided to divorce Mary without specifying the reason, so as not to expose her socially. But this did not resolve the tremendous struggle that Joseph was experiencing. In a dream, an angel confirmed Mary’s version of events and revealed the essential role to be played by Joseph according to God’s plan: to continue with the wedding and to name the child Jesus. Naming the child meant Joseph adopted him as his son, giving him all legal rights―and thus, the child begotten by the Holy Spirit would be the son of David. When we find ourselves in a dilemma, let us act out of love and ask God for
I recently visited the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto. There I saw a famous painting by the old master, Peter Paul Rubens, called The Massacre of the Innocents. It is a truly horrible painting to contemplate. When we see Syrian mothers weeping over the bodies of their children we are reminded of the slaughter of the innocents. When we try to imagine the deaths of millions of babies in the womb each year in North America, we mourn the bloodbath of the unsuspecting. Rubens’ masterpiece commemorates a crime perpetrated by King Herod, which is recorded in Matthew’s Gospel. Herod ruled from 47 to 4 BC. (A second Herod, his son, became tetrarch of Galilee and later murdered John the Baptist.) The old man shows up at the beginning of the Gospel. “Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, Wise Men from the east came to Jerusalem” (Matthew 2:1 ESV). Out of scant biblical references and some historical records, a portrait emerges of a Machiavellian ruler in ancient Israel: Herod was feared. “When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him” (Matthew 2:3 ESV). Does the phrase “all Jerusalem” mean they were merely worried that he was worried, or did he actively make his displeasure known through malevolent threats? Herod was wily. “Then Herod summoned the Wise Men
direction. He is not only interested in helping us, but may also permit us, as he did Joseph, to participate in his plans to bless others in a way we could not forsee. God may surprise us this Christmas! Courtesy of Words of Life.
BY MAJOR MARK WAGNER secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared” (Matthew 2:7 ESV). A shrewd politician, smooth with Roman authorities, he knew how to get answers. Jesus referred to Herod’s son the tetrarch as “that old fox.” Did Herod’s son pick up that characteristic from his crafty father? Herod was ruthless. The thought of a rival king left him in a rage. Nothing would stop him from protecting his turf. And so, the slaughter of the innocents. “Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the Wise Men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under” (Matthew 2:16 ESV). God uses whom he pleases to do his will, but he is always in control. Of the cruel Assyrian conquerors he said, “Shall the axe boast over him who hews with it …?” (Isaiah 10:15 ESV). The Lord prophesied Jesus would come out of Egypt— where he fled to escape the slaughter. He used the faithful Magi and these cruel circumstances in the unfolding of his unstoppable will. Today we mourn massacres of innocents knowing that one day justice shall prevail. The horrors of this fallen world will one day be halted. Power corrupts but absolute power is wielded with perfect justice in the hands of the Holy and Righteous One. Salvationist I December 2013 I 13
Photo: Chris Stanford
Karen Haddrell began ringing kettle bells in 2007 in Kelowna, B.C. 14 I December 2013 I Salvationist
Comfort and Joy How Salvation Army volunteers are making Christmas special for others
Spreading Good Cheer BY MELISSA YUE WALLACE KETTLE BELL RINGERS are a common sight in shopping centres and stores during the Christmas season. Standing for hours on end—sometimes in inclement weather—they greet passersby with a kind word and a warm smile. For volunteers such as Karen Haddrell, giving support to The Salvation Army is easy because they’ve received support in the past. In 2005, Haddrell came to The Salvation Army’s Kelowna Community Church in British Columbia
for Christmas help. “After my marriage ended, my family and I struggled just to get by,” says Haddrell, a single mother of two. A friend referred her to the church’s hamper program, where low-income families receive a turkey with all the fixings and toys. “We would have had pizza or French fries for Christmas dinner and my kids would have had pretty lean gifts had it not been for The Salvation Army,” she says. “I started ringing the kettle bells in 2007 as a way to give back for all the support I received in difficult times.” Haddrell became more involved with Kelowna’s programs and began attending church services in April. “I
Dedicated Youth BY MAJOR SHAWN CRITCH JORDAN BASCOME AND Daelyn Glasgow-Thomas are two young people who have been assisting with The Salvation Army’s Christmas distribution program in Bermuda for years. “When I’m not focused on my schoolwork, I can be found at the National Sports Centre where I train for track and field,” says Bascome, 16. “As I’ve gotten older, I’ve seen many of my friends go through times of struggle. I thank God for my gifted life and so I don’t see why I wouldn’t use my health and strength to help others by volunteering my time at The Salvation Army.” Bascome was introduced to volunteerism at the age of two when her family prepared and served Christmas lunch to the residents of the Army’s emergency housing complex. In 2008, she began serving through the Santa Anonymous program. This program operates through community and family services and provides gifts to approximately 950 children annually. “The older I got, the more I realized the significance of serving others. I’d see people on the streets and wonder about their life stories or how they got into such a state. Obtaining school volunteer hours was one thing, but getting the chance to give to people was a heartier reason why I gave my time.” In 2010, Bascome invited her friend, Glasgow-Thomas, to volunteer with the same program. The two teens have helped every Christmas since. “I volunteer because I enjoy giving to people in need,” says Bascome. “It really puts me in the Christmas spirit, which is all about giving. Seeing the
finally decided that it was going to be an important part of my social and spiritual life to go to church,” she says. “I can really relate to the messages and how they apply to my life.” She has also been volunteering in the church office for the past two years. “Working in the church is so positive and nurturing,” she says. “It helped me develop a sense of self-worth I hadn’t had in a long time.” This Christmas, Haddrell will be coordinating volunteer drivers to pick up the kettle bubbles from 20 locations daily during the campaign. “The kettles became a gateway to serve in a variety of empowering roles. Through volunteering, I have met, and become part of, a loving church family.”
people leave with smiling faces because they are grateful for something we did for them makes me happy.” Both Bascome and Glasgow-Thomas give up two days of their Christmas vacation to volunteer and have seen the personal and community benefit of lending a helping hand to others. Volunteerism has provided a learning opportunity that has changed them and created a desire to help others for years to come.
Jordan Bascome and Daelyn Glasgow-Thomas show gifts for the Santa Anonymous program Salvationist I December 2013 I 15
A Table for 200 BY KRISTIN OSTENSEN A CATERER BASED in Knowlton, Que., Virgo Romano has worked for restaurants all over the world, from Canada to Kuwait to West Africa. But these days he’s bringing his expertise to The Salvation Army’s Booth Centre in Montreal, where he, his family and friends cook and serve dinner on Christmas Day. Now in its fifth year, the dinner at The Salvation Army is an entrenched tradition, and the family looks forward to it every year. “We celebrate our Christmas on Christmas Eve now, so we can spend Christmas Day at the Booth Centre,” he says. Romano and his family had been talking about putting on such a dinner for a number of years before they found a home at the centre. “I did some research on different organizations and The Salvation Army was one that stuck out,” he says. Romano purchases and prepares the food at his business, Virgo Catering, and then brings it to the Booth Centre on Christmas morning. The meal is served in two sittings at noon, with 100 people at each sitting. “The people love the dinner because,
at the Booth Centre, they usually have a buffet, but we go out and serve it to them and talk with them,” he says. “Some of them don’t have anyone on Christmas, so it’s quite special for them.” Over the past few years, Romano has been frequently touched by the gratitude of the residents. “Some of them really go out of their way to thank us,” he says. “One time, a man who had taken the meal in his room sent us a card, which he had made by hand, before we left.” Last year, 20 family members and friends joined Romano in serving dinner. On the day of the event, the Romanos
Virgo Romano, his family and friends serve Christmas dinner at Montreal’s Booth Centre
Warm for the Holidays BY KRISTIN OSTENSEN CHRISTMAS FOR MANY seniors in Whitby, Ont., will be a little warmer this year, thanks to the community care ministries of Whitby Community Church, led by senior soldier Darlene Owen. Owen has recruited more than 20 women from the corps and other local churches to knit lap blankets and shawls for people living in retirement homes and long-term care facilities in town. Her goal is to collect between 400 and 500 items. The idea for a blanket ministry came to Owen over a year ago when she bought a blanket for her mother who was living in a home before she passed away. The blanket was a great source of comfort for her mother, and Owen saw that many people could benefit from having one. “We gave out 50 lap blankets last Christmas to one of the nursing homes and they loved them—you should have seen the smiles on their faces,” she says. “And I thought, ‘Next year I want everybody to get one.’ ” The corps has an ongoing ministry at five care homes in Whitby, where they conduct monthly services. The blankets and shawls will be given out during services in December as 16 I December 2013 I Salvationist
always take a photo of all the volunteers and then use that picture to make a calendar, which is given to everyone who helped. “We don’t have any motive,” he says. “We just enjoy doing it. We’re lucky we have family, friends and food on our table, and we’re just giving back.” Since his first Christmas dinner, Romano has expanded his involvement with the Army, preparing food for Easter and Booth Centre fundraisers. “If anyone ever asks us, ‘Who would you donate to?’ The Salvation Army is the first thing that comes to mind,” he says. “It’s a great organization.”
part of Sunshine Bags. These bags, which bear the Army crest, will also include a copy of Salvationist, a tract, Salvation Army socks and Kleenex. “We want to show our love for them, and that Jesus loves them, too,” Owen says. All of the wool used to create the blankets and shawls has been donated by local businesses. Owen expects the ministry to continue beyond Christmas, as many people have stepped forward and offered to continue knitting.
Darlene Owen (right) and Betty Stride inspect a few of the hundreds of lap blankets that will be handed out this Christmas
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Give WORDS OF LIFE to your loved ones this Christmas JANUARY-APRIL 2014 ISSUE NOW AVAILABLE! Take time with the Father daily as you meditate upon his Word. Ask Jesus to interpret his Word and speak to your heart. Open yourself to the Spirit as he brings inspiration. Our theme during 2014 in Words of Life is “Love.” This edition specifically looks at “God’s Unconditional Love.” We see God’s love evident from the beginning of time, remaining through the life of Jacob and his children, the 12 tribes of Israel, who later wandered through the wilderness under Moses’ leadership. We then witness the beautiful love story of Ruth before, in the New Testament, considering the lives of other women whose love for God was a strong reality. Guest writer Major Corinne GossauerPeroz leads us into Easter. May we all rediscover God’s unconditional love as we take time to bask in his presence. $6.99 plus shipping and handling The Salvation Army Supplies and Purchasing • 416-422-6100 email@example.com • SalvationArmy.ca/Store
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Right at Home A simple gesture linked the clients of the Maxwell Meighen Centre in Toronto to a church family
BY KEN RAMSTEAD, EDITOR, FAITH & FRIENDS AND FOI & VIE
y father lived by the maxim, ‘Never go to church in an empty car,’ ” smiles Major Phillip Birt, chaplain at the Maxwell Meighen Centre, a Salvation Army residence for homeless men in Toronto. “That meant we usually ended up taking two cars when I was growing up. Mom drove us seven boys while Dad drove all those who wanted to go to church with us! It made for a hectic Sunday morning but we wouldn’t have had it any other way.” Major Birt took his father’s example to heart when he and his wife, Major Wavey Birt, became Salvation Army officers and then chaplains at Maxwell Meighen. But even he never expected a simple act of kindness would come to affect so many, both at Maxwell Meighen and beyond its walls in three neighbouring Salvation Army facilities. Belonging When asked, Major Birt is hard-pressed to remember exactly when the bridge from Maxwell Meighen to neighbouring Army facilities was first erected, but he would have to pinpoint a men’s fellowship at Whitby Community Church, Ont., a few years ago, when he took some men from Maxwell Meighen so that they could participate. “A little while later,” says Major Birt, “North Toronto Community Church had a similar breakfast, and so I drove a bunch of men there from Maxwell Meighen. It seemed only natural to make the transition from North Toronto’s Saturday morning breakfast to their Sunday morning services, so I brought the same men to church the next day, and it’s become a tradition now.” And the North Toronto congregation made them feel welcome. For one of these men, that welcome was a particular relief. Kevin Murphy was no stranger to North Toronto. Before he was a graduate 18 I December 2013 I Salvationist
“Nothing is an accident where God is concerned,” says Mjr Phillip Birt, chaplain at the Maxwell Meighen Centre in Toronto
of the Turning Point program at Maxwell Meighen, Murphy had regularly showed up at North Toronto for the free lunches they’d hand out. “I spent two years of my drug life there,” he says, “and a part of me had always felt guilty for taking advantage of what they offered, so while North Toronto seemed a good place to start my church life, that first morning was a little nerve-wracking.” He needn’t have worried. “North Toronto Community Church is a church where everyone is welcome,” states Captain Rick Zelinsky, corps officer, “and one of our missional values is our diversity, undergirded by the welcoming and accepting nature of the people here. On any given Sunday, you will find people from a variety of back-
grounds and life experiences, and so the people who receive care at Maxwell Meighen are an extension of who we are.” Major Birt agrees. “I’ve seen times when we’ve been in our seats and an arm will stretch out across the aisle. A retired officer will say, ‘Hi, I’m Bram, and you are?’ The chap will answer back without realizing that General Bramwell Tillsley (Rtd) has just welcomed someone new to church.” “It’s a subtle distinction,” continues Captain Zelinsky, “but the men from Maxwell Meighen don’t come to our church; rather, this is the church to which they belong.” Bridge to Bloor Shortly after that first visit to North Toronto, one of the Maxwell Meighen
“Leave the past in the past,” advises the Warehouse Mission’s Cpt Ron Farr (right), here with Mike Semchyshyn, a graduate of Maxwell Meighen
Maxwell Meighen graduate Kevin Murphy found a home at North Toronto CC
clients graduated from the Turning Point program, found a place to live and asked Major Birt if he could drive him there. As it happened, his new apartment was situated near Bloor Central Corps, where Major Douglas Hammond serves as corps officer with his wife, Major Karen Hammond. “It’s just down the street,” Major Birt told the client. “You have to go on Sunday.” And to make sure that he actually did, he texted him the Saturday before and told a few of the other clients at the centre, “Tomorrow we’re not going to North Toronto, we’re going to Bloor.” “So we arrived Sunday morning and our friend was standing outside the door hesitating about whether to go in or not,” Major Birt continues. “We got out of the van and we all paraded in.” To Major Douglas Hammond’s surprise, he saw new faces all across the front row that morning. “One strength of Bloor Central is our ability to make visitors feel welcome,” says Major Hammond, “and that certainly includes those visiting from Salvation Army shelters in the area. There are occasions when these individuals will find low-cost housing in our area and maintain contact with Bloor Central after they have left the
shelter. Many end up taking part in our recovery Bible study, community meals or Sunday services. We consider our corps a resource where residents can find support in the community.” Not only has the man become a part of the corps but he and Major Hammond play squash on a regular basis. “So that integration has successfully taken place and again, as at North Toronto, the people have welcomed him,” says Major Birt. Neighbourhood Support One Sunday, the Birts could not attend North Toronto to worship with the clients as they planned to be away. “We’d recently been the guests of Captain Ron and Aux-Captain Linda Farr at the Warehouse Mission’s Good Friday services in downtown Toronto,” Major Birt says, “so we told the men, ‘Just walk up the street.’ They did, and now a number of them not only attend on a regular basis but also volunteer their services. “ ‘It’s a great way to spend the Sunday, the whole Sunday there,’ they report.” Byron Scott, a graduate of Turning Point, asked his counsellor what else he could do to aid his recovery and avoid a relapse. The counsellor suggested volunteering. As a result, Scott arrives at the Warehouse Mission early Sunday morning and cooks and serves the clients their noontime meal. “It’s the first time I have given something back in my life without expecting anything,” he says. “One of our mottos at the Warehouse is ‘Leave the past in the past,’ and this translates into an accepting and open environment,” says Captain Ron Farr. “Because many of the Warehouse
Mission’s members have been institutionalized, have addictions, mental health or street involvement in their past, Maxwell Meighen’s clients are immediately accepted as part of the community, and we provide long-term neighbourhood support.” Ordained Appointment How does news of the Army services spread at Maxwell Meighen? Word of mouth, replies Major Birt. “The guys talk among themselves when they return to Maxwell Meighen. They’ll mention it during their journalizing sessions on Monday, and you can be sure that if something’s happened at North Toronto the day before—a baby dedication or an enrolment, for example—it’ll get talked about the next day. These are exciting moments for these guys and they really love it. “We often talk about integrated mission but these folks are living it, here at Maxwell Meighen and outside these walls, at Bloor Central, North Toronto and the Warehouse Mission,” explains Major Birt. “They’re attending church, they’re feeling welcomed and giving back. And the congregation, in turn, gets its own sense of mission. This is what integrated mission is all about. “Being a chauffeur was never a part of my job description as chaplain,” he laughs, “but nothing is an accident where God is concerned, and it humbles me to think that he would use my wife and me in our ministry here to reach men for him and the kingdom, to encourage them and to help them on their spiritual journey. That God would use us this way certainly confirms that we are in the right place at the right time. This is a God-ordained appointment.”
Maxwell Meighen helps clients find new life in the greater community Salvationist I December 2013 I 19
Photo: © Ingimage.com
hen Amanda was growing up in London, Ont., her mother was an alcoholic. In and out of foster care until she was 14, Amanda then ran away and wound up living on the streets. Becoming an escort was as simple as making a phone call to a number she found in the classified ads in the local newspaper. It seemed like an easy way to make money. But from there, her life followed a pattern all too common among women caught in the sex trade. “I got into drugs and partying and it was like a really bad train wreck,” she says. “I kept doing drugs because it made it easier not to think about what I was doing. I could forget about it—I couldn’t feel it anymore.” Now clean for four years, Amanda has put that life behind her, and she’s a regular at Cornerstone, a Salvation Army group-based program for women who are or have been involved with the sex industry. “Because of my experiences with The Salvation Army, I look at life differently now,” she says. “I see people differently, too, because I know that there are people out there who are experiencing what I am and that I’m not alone. “It’s helped me become a better person because I believe in myself,” she adds. “I don’t think I could have made it without them—the best years of my life have been at The Salvation Army doing these groups with other women.”
Into the Light
In London, Ont., Cornerstone and the John School address the causes of prostitution and provide a way out BY KRISTIN OSTENSEN, STAFF WRITER
20 I December 2013 I Salvationist
An Open Door Cornerstone has been operating in London since 2007, when the Crown approached the Army’s correctional and justice services and asked if they could develop a community-based diversion program. Led by Michelle Hines, program co-ordinator, and Aura Burditt, outreach worker, Cornerstone is a support group for anyone who is or has been in the sex trade. The weekly meetings cover a variety of topics, including addictions, health care, relationships, building self-esteem, safety, parenting and dealing with emotions such as grief and anger. The women can also meet with Burditt or Hines one-on-one for counselling or help with practical needs such as clothing and housing. And many women attend Soul Food, a weekly supper and Bible study program, and Journey, a weekend retreat program.
Most of the women in Cornerstone are facing prostitution charges; if they successfully complete the program, the charges are dropped. Having an alternative to jail is important, as incarceration fails to address any of the issues surrounding prostitution. “Custody is punitive and we’re restorative,” explains Burditt. “A lot of the women are homeless, drug-addicted and have mental health issues,” says Julia Parker, operational director, correctional and justice services. “Cornerstone looks at their choices and their barriers. We ask, how can we provide them with tools for getting out? How can we give them support?” Lee-Ann admits that when she first came to Cornerstone, she had a chip on her shoulder. “I thought I would be judged,” she says, “but I got to know them, and they don’t judge you. I felt comfortable.” Before she was arrested by an undercover police officer in 2009, Lee-Ann worked the streets every night, making enough to survive and support her drug and alcohol addiction. The arrest could have been just another mark on her record, but instead of sending her to jail, the judge gave Lee-Ann the option of going to Cornerstone. “It was kind of a relief to get caught,” she says. “That’s when I opened my eyes.” Now 56, Lee-Ann got her start in the sex trade at 17, working out of a local hotel. Over the years, she has faced violence on numerous occasions, from “boyfriends” who acted as pimps, encouraging her to stay in the trade and taking all her money, as well as johns. “One night, this guy took me out to no man’s land, outside London, and said, ‘I could kill you right now and no one would ever find you,’ ” she recalls. “I lied and told him that someone had taken down his licence plate number and he turned around. I was lucky he believed me.” Lee-Ann successfully completed the Cornerstone program and had her charges withdrawn, but she continues to attend the weekly meetings. “I don’t have to be here now and I choose to come because Michelle and Aura are a great support, no matter what,” she says. “If you need something, they’ll try to help you get it.” Grateful for the help she has received, Lee-Ann now volunteers with the Army’s correctional and justice services. “They’ve done me a world of good,
so I thought maybe I could pass that on to somebody else,” she says. “I’ve been there, I’ve done it, and sometimes it’s easier to talk to someone who’s been on that road.” A Society Problem While Cornerstone helps women on the “supply” side of the sex trade, the Army’s John School provides education on the “demand” side. Similar to Cornerstone, the John School is a diversion program for first-time offenders who have been caught purchasing sex; if they complete the program, the charges against them are withdrawn. Operating since 2010, the school is a one-day program that focuses on the harms of prostitution. The day is led by a panel of speakers who talk about how the sex trade affects the community—for example, a business owner speaks about the negative impact on businesses and
“It was kind of a relief to get caught. That’s when I opened my eyes” residents in the east end, where much of the activity takes place, a representative from the health department talks about sexually transmitted diseases, and Stan Burditt from MAST (Men Against Sexual Trafficking) explains the link between prostitution and human trafficking. “We’re trying to get the men to understand that what they’re contributing to is not just an easy exchange between two people who are consenting to the transaction, but quite often there are a lot of other things going on behind the scenes that they may not be aware of,” says Burditt. By focusing on the harms of prostitution, the John School goes beyond blame and looks at the big picture. “This isn’t just the man’s problem; it’s a society problem,” says Parker. “They’re socialized to think that sex is a right, that it’s OK to pay money for sex. We show them, ‘This could be your daughter, your sister, your nephew, your neighbour.’ ”
Since the program began, more than 80 men have participated, and the feedback the Army has received has been very positive. “I now know about the violence that pimps do to the women in the sex industry,” says one participant. “At first I didn’t see the connection between johns and pimps.” “I found the program quite educational and eye-opening,” says another. “It made me think about what I was doing and why I am not going to do it again.” “By the time they leave the John School, they start to see that this is an activity that causes a great deal of harm, not only to themselves and their families, but to the community and the women involved,” says Burditt, “and when that ‘aha’ moment happens, I’ve seen tears. They’re so grateful to have been given a chance to put this chapter of their lives behind them.” New Life Both Cornerstone and the John School aim to deal with the root causes of prostitution and provide a way out. For the women, that often means addressing their need for housing, stability, addictions support, education and a new source of income. “Many of them are on the street at the age of 13 or 14, so they don’t know how to do anything else to get by,” says Burditt. “We help them find a way to survive without prostitution.” Lee-Ann is currently in school upgrading with the plan to eventually become a personal support worker, while Amanda is finishing high school and training to become a hairdresser. “I’m going to take some business courses, too, because I want to open up a boutique that caters to women who are getting married—a one-stop shop,” Amanda smiles. Since leaving her old life behind, Amanda has also been able to re-establish relationships with her daughters, whom she sees every other weekend. “There’s no way I would have that if I had continued to do what I did,” she says. “They’re really proud of me for going back to school. When I showed them my marks, they said, ‘Right on, Mom—that’s awesome.’ “I’m getting my life together now,” she adds. “Even though I still struggle, I can tolerate things a little easier because I know I always have a place to go. I think that’s what Cornerstone is all about.” Salvationist I December 2013 I 21
Restoration Work A Harbour Light resident and employee explains how God turned his messy life into a message
BY MELISSA YUE WALLACE, FEATURES EDITOR
a l k i ng a round The Salvation Army Harbour Light Centre’s various facilities in Vancouver, you’ll find evidence of Bernie Loree’s handiwork. From renovations to the 44-suite apartment complex for lowincome residents to the general upkeep of four shelters, a chapel, nurses’ clinic, drop-in and treatment centres, Loree has repaired numerous fixtures and furnishings. But if you ask him, the real restoration work began the day he entered Harbour Light’s detox centre, 15 years ago.
Search for a Higher Power When Loree was younger, he lived with a “family of alcoholics” and it wasn’t a surprise that he picked up the habit as he got older. “I was never introduced to God back then,” he says. “Alcohol and drugs were my higher power for many years.” After spending time in prison, hospital and treatment centres, Loree sobered up shortly before his son was born in 1984, though his wife continued drinking and using drugs. The couple eventually separated and Loree’s son stayed with him. But when his son turned 14, he asked to return to live with his mother. Loree, feeling hurt and rejected, suffered a relapse. He was two months short of 15 years of clean time. “When I let my son go, it was like the bottom dropped out of my life and I took a bad attitude about it,” he says. Loree ended up at the detox centre at Harbour Light. It was there that Loree met other recovering addicts who had been in similar situations and talked with caring staff workers, such as the centre’s former executive director, Major Sam Fame. “At first, Bernie thought he knew it all in relation to his treatment because of all those years of clean time,” says Major Fame, who worked at Harbour Light for 15 years before he retired in 22 I December 2013 I Salvationist
Bernie Loree tends to Harbour Light’s garden on the second floor of the detox centre
2006. “He was angry, obnoxious and trying to tell staff what to do. “We extend lots of compassion on the one end to clients who want recovery, but we balance it with consequences, language an addict understands. When Bernie faced the reality of his need for help, he settled down.” After detox, clients enter a threemonth treatment program that includes group therapy, education and one-on-one counselling. On weekdays, clients share in a 15-minute devotional time led by another client, counsellor or staff mem-
ber for encouragement. They are also required to participate in work therapy, where they provide daily meals to people on the street. Doing this encourages homeless individuals to consider getting help. Clients graduating from the treatment program can then either move on or continue in the residential supportive care program for an additional three to 12 months. During this period, clients can apply to live at the centre’s affordable housing complex and, with 10 to 12 months of clean time, clients can apply
for a job at the centre. With treatment, affordable housing and job opportunities, maintaining ongoing recovery is far more achievable than without this continuum of care. Blessings in Disguise After 10 months in the program, Loree moved into Harbour Light’s apartment complex and began working as a contractor for them, a job he has held ever since. A journeyman in the trades of carpentry, insulation and glazing, Loree is pleased that he lives and works in a place where his skills can benefit others. “During the program, I began having an open mind about God and miracles started to happen—the obsession and compulsion to drink was lifted and it helped me to have faith that there really was something to this God. “I look at all the nightmares I went through as blessings in disguise,” says Loree. “I know that all the things that went wrong in my life brought me to a place where I’d be willing to surrender to God.” While at work and through speaking engagements at retreats and recovery groups, Loree has been able to find peace with his past and offer encouragement to those who feel like they can’t turn their lives around. Another way Loree has contributed to Harbour Light is by serving meals as a volunteer on Christmas Day, a tradition he has kept since he arrived at the centre. “I believe God has me where I can be of the most use,” he says. “At first, my past was a big nightmare—it wasn’t a pretty sight. But I’ve been able to use that in a really positive way to help others by sharing my story.” Relationships That Last Loree and Major Fame continued to keep in touch after his retirement. When Major Fame’s daughter, who had volunteered at Harbour Light while dealing with health issues, passed away in 2009, Loree grieved with his friend. “He was there to provide me with comfort and love and visited me at least once a month,” says Major Fame. “We talked a lot about faith and how that plays into our lives. Faith and recovery go hand in hand.” Since his retirement, Major Fame has come across other former clients at churches who approach and update him on their recovery efforts. Sometimes that includes an apology for a relapse.
“I stop them right there and say, ‘I’m not here to judge you. I’m just glad you picked up the pieces and are back on your journey,’ ” he says. “Our hearts are welded in with the people at Harbour Light and behind every face, there’s a story that people don’t always see. “We love the people—even when they falter or fail—we stand alongside them because, in many cases, we’re their family.” For Loree, the acceptance, love and forgiveness he experienced at Harbour Light changed his life. “There were some vitally important ingredients in my recovery, starting with the unconditional love from staff and clients at Harbour Light,” says Loree. “Having a home group and sponsor, doing the steps and being involved in service work to give back also played a part, but on top of it all was my relationship with God. “My prayers every night are for
Loree and Mjr Sam Fame at a fundraising gala for Harbour Light in October
people who suffer—that they can reach a place where they’re able to open their hearts to the love of God. If they’re able to do that, they’re going to be blessed in their lives as well.”
Semaine de prière
Week of Prayer
pour l’unité chrétienne
for Christian Unity
Has Christ been divided?
Le Christ a-t-il été divisé?
January 18–25 weekofprayer.ca | semainedepreiere.ca Salvationist I December 2013 I 23
One Light Still Shines
by Marie Monville In 2006, Charles Carl Roberts shot 10 young girls at an Amish schoolhouse in Pennsylvania, killing five, before committing suicide. It was a shocking tragedy for all involved, including the shooter’s wife, Marie Monville. Within a moment, Monville realized that life, as she knew it, was over. But what she never anticipated was that in the midst of this tragedy she would have a tangible encounter with God. “While I couldn’t figure out how God was going to come to rescue us or what he was going to do in my life, I knew that he loved me, and I knew I had nothing to lose by trusting the Lord,” she tells the Christian Post. In One Light Still Shines, Monville tells her story for the first time. While marked by sorrow and destruction, her story is also one of compassion, forgiveness and redemption. Part of her restoration came from the same Amish community her husband attacked, as they comforted her and related to her pain in a unique way. One Light Still Shines reveals three love stories: the love of a devoted wife for a husband in pain, the incomprehensible love of God in the aftermath of destruction and the redemptive love of Christ that is available to everyone.
In this new film, competitive sportscaster Bruce Dalt is all about winning. He wants his wife to win their neighbourhood’s Christmas decorating contest and his son, Jason, to be the star of his basketball team. But whe n B r uc e gets into a scuffle with Jason’s c o a c h , h e ’s “ s e n t e n c e d” to managing a Salvation Army kettle during the holidays. At first he finds this humiliating, but as he encounters the people behind the kettle, his life is transformed. 24 I December 2013 I Salvationist
Little Black Sheep
by Ashley Cleveland With eight critically acclaimed albums and three Grammy Awards to her name, Ashley Cleveland is a successful Christian singer and songw riter. But as a young woman from a deeply f lawed family, Cleveland had little hope she would ever amount to anything. If there was trouble, near or far, she found it. In the midst of the chaos she discovered music, something she had a natural gift for and the one thing that engendered a positive response from others. She embarked on a career as a recording artist, but her addictions grew, bringing her to a point of crisis. And in that crisis, she encountered a forgiving God who was relentlessly faithful. In Little Black Sheep, Cleveland shares how, little by little, God healed her and transformed her desires, until she saw that it was her brokenness itself that God wanted to use. This powerful memoir reminds us that even in the lowest times of our lives, beauty can shine through.
Coffee with Jesus
by David J. Wilkie What if Jesus were on Earth today and available for a morning chat over a cup of joe? In Coffee with Jesus, an enormously popular online comic strip, David J. Wilkie imagines short conversations between Jesus and four of his friends, Lisa, Carl, Ann and Kevin (Satan also occasionally makes an appearance). Irreverent at times, but insightful, these comics cover current events and issues, as well as classic questions about faith
by Jim Henderson and Matt Casper What does an atheist think about church? Pastor Jim Henderson decided that the best way to find out was to ask and the result was Jim and Casper Go t o C hurch , which chronicles Henderson’s and M a t t C a s p e r ’s experiences visiting churches across America. In Saving Casper, this spiritual odd couple return for a new conversation about conversion. Many Christians have friends like Casper—people who’ve heard the gospel but still say no—so what happens next? Henderson and Casper reveal the surprising answers to questions like: What can an atheist teach us about how to share God with those who don’t believe? What have well-meaning Christians said to Casper that has helped—or hurt—their cause? What, if anything, might bring Casper and other nonbelievers to faith? Saving Casper is an insightful look at evangelism today and the “conversion conversation.”
and life. Coffee with Jesus brings humour and satire to some of life’s biggest questions, and it isn’t afraid to go after some of Christian culture’s “sacred cows.” This new coffeetable book features classic entries and all-new, exclusive material, including new characters and “behind the strip” reflections on life, faith and art.
Going beyond the latest trends in Christian culture BY KRISTIN OSTENSEN, STAFF WRITER make faith appear more palatable or hip. Second, there’s the tendency to apply the marketing machine to Christian products. So it’s not enough to see the latest Christian movie—we’ve got to have the soundtrack, the companion book and the inspirational fridge magnet.
There’s a problem with making Christianity “fashionable”: fashions come and go
animal-print Bibles again, am I buying it because I want to be trendy or cool, or because I want to better engage with the Word of God? Equally important, is this product substantial enough to fulfil a higher purpose? Does it have real meat to it or is it feel-good cotton candy? Could this money be better spent elsewhere? What if, instead of spending $24.99 on a leopard-print Bible, I gave that money to the food bank or Gifts of Hope? What would do the most good in the world? Is my faith something I consume, or is it something I do? When I was a teen, my mom came home from the Christian bookstore one
Photo: © iStockphoto.com/DNY59
hree Stylish New Bibles Excite Readers about God’s Word in a Whole New Way.” The subject line of the e-mail caught my attention, so I opened it, wondering what I would find inside. It was a press release from a leading Christian publisher, advertising three new animal-print Bibles. Aimed at “kids and teens who’ve always got their eyes on the latest trends,” the press release claimed the Bibles would be a “great option for fashionistas who are on the hunt for something new to flaunt at school.” I have to admit I was a bit stunned. As the Cross Culture editor, I sift through press releases and product catalogues all the time, looking for interesting and faith-enriching items to include on these pages. These new Bibles would not be making the cut. This product and its press release illustrate one of the great dangers of Christian consumer culture today. The idea that one would “flaunt” a Bible as a fashion statement is, frankly, antithetical to Christianity—a far cry from the example of Christ who, though God, humbled himself and “made himself nothing” (see Philippians 2:7-8). Being a Christian is clearly not about flaunting anything or trying to look “cool.” If I give the marketers behind the animal-print Bibles the benefit of the doubt, I can appreciate their intent to bring the gospel to young readers. But there’s a problem with making Christianity “fashionable”: fashions come and go. A faith rooted in fashion is shallow and disposable, something that can be discarded as easily as it is picked up. Perhaps the animal-print Bible is an extreme example. But the idea that our Christianity needs to keep up with the “latest trends”—and the consumerist attitude that goes along with it—is disturbingly prevalent. Typically, it manifests itself in two ways. First, there’s the tendency to take something popular in the “secular” world and “Christianize” it, usually to
Maybe you can judge a book by its cover …
Essentially, it’s the tendency to jump on the latest bandwagon without really stopping and thinking critically about why. And that’s really the key in all this— why. Many of these things aren’t necessarily bad in themselves. But asking why can help us separate the wheat from the chaff. Here are a few “why” questions to ask when contemplating a new purchase: Why am I buying this? What is its purpose? To use the example of the
day with a Bible for me. It had a funky pink cover—definitely not as “cool” as a zebra print, but it had a certain mid90s chic. But that’s not why I picked it up and read it. It was one of those life-application Bibles with short, topical essays and stories from other teens that helped me feel as if I could apply the Bible to my ordinary life. It wasn’t trendy; it was timely. And, most importantly, it helped me discover the gospel—a timeless message that transcends all trends. Salvationist I December 2013 I 25
ENROLMENTS AND RECOGNITION
ST. GEORGE’S, BERMUDA—Honouring the past and looking to the future, St. George’s Corps retires Phyllis Basden as home league secretary and commissions Carolyn Swan as the new home league secretary to carry on the ministry. From left, Alfred Esdaille, colour sergeant; Carolyn Swan; Phyllis Basden; Mjr Wendy Broome, CO; Mjr Brenda Critch, DDWM, Bermuda Div. OSHAWA, ONT.— Mjr Robert Reid, CO, we l co m e s Patricia Sheehan and Kim Wright as Oshawa Temple’s newest adherents. The two women came to the corps through the Army’s community and family services. During the same service, Mjr Reid recognized and prayed for 17 families who have recently made Oshawa Temple their church home.
BIRCHY BAY, N.L.—Ashley Foster is enrolled as a senior soldier during 100th anniversary celebrations at Birchy Bay Corps. From left, CSM Ron Layte; Ashley Foster; Cpt Beverley Dart-Stokes, CO; Cpt Anthony Stokes, CO. CHANNEL-PORT AUX BASQUES, N.L.—A certificate of appreciation is presented to Marion Strickland for 10 years of faithful volunteering at the Army’s thrift store. Celebrating with her are Cpt Sean Furey, community and family services officer, and Les Strickland, Marion’s husband. CHANNEL-PORT AUX BASQUES, N.L.—The corps family in ChannelPort aux Basques celebrates the enrolment of Howard Farrell as a senior soldier. From lef t, Cpt Sean Furey, community and family services officer; Howard Farrell; Les Strickland, holding the flag; Mjr Marilyn Furey, CO.
OSHAWA, ONT.—Three young people publicly declare their commitment to God as they are enrolled as senior soldiers at Oshawa Temple. From left, Mjr Dana Reid, CO; RS Kevin Thompson; Kaylin Frost; Katherine Burditt; Charlie Ball, colour sergeant; Alexandria Gerard.
FREDERICTON—Marlene Russell receives a certificate of appreciation at Fredericton CC as she retires following 35 years of banding. Making the presentation is her husband, BM Bill Russell. 26 I December 2013 I Salvationist
KENTVILLE, N.S.—For the past 30 years, the Saints & Sinners Motorcycle Club has sponsored a “Christmas in July” event to raise money and collect toys to help the less fortunate. The Salvation Army in Kentville is pleased to receive $950 and toys to assist with its Christmas effort this year. From left, Edith Wheaton, “Santa” Peter Stevenson, Skip Stewart, William Sansom.
Resurgence of Banding in Fredericton GLENCAIRN, ONT.— Tom Cook receives a certificate marking his 20th anniversary of faithful service as corps sergeant-major at Hope Acres CC. Making the presentation is Aux-Cpt Micheline Hardy, CO.
FREDERICTON—Banding at Fredericton CC is experiencing a rebirth, thanks to a new beginner’s band for adults. The band is led by David Rowsell, a retired music teacher and former long-time bandmaster at St. John’s Temple, N.L. Rowsell started the band in September 2012, following a discussion with corps leaders about how to ensure a future for banding at Fredericton. Twelve adults signed up for the new beginner’s band, doubling the number of people involved with banding at the corps. “The response among the corps has been excellent, as the band has created much excitement for the future,” says Rowsell. “The new band members have responded with enthusiasm and welcomed the opportunity to learn.” The beginner’s band made its debut during a special band weekend this past summer, playing all the songs in the morning service. “The band members and I were delighted with this and it ended the first year of the adult beginner’s band on a very positive note,” says Rowsell. As the band progresses through its second year, members will be given further training and then an opportunity to move into the senior band.
RICHMOND HILL, ONT.—The corps family at Richmond Hill CC celebrates the enrolment of seven senior soldiers and one adherent. From left, Mjr Beth Pearo, CO; Roy Mathers, senior soldier; Olga Mathers, adherent; Josephine Kwan, John Rawlins, Julia Rawlins, Jessica Pearo, Meghan Pearo, Melanie McInnes, senior soldiers; Mjr David Pearo, CO.
TRIBUTE ST. JOHN’S, N.L.—Born in 1927, Margaret Pike was a lifelong Salvationist and member of St. John’s Citadel. She was a songster at the former Adelaide St. Corps and at St. John’s Citadel, served as the treasurer of the young people’s corps, as treasurer for the Glenbrook Auxiliary for 14 years and was a member of the Married Couples’ Club, New Creations and Young at Heart. She will be recalled for her strong faith in God, commitment to family and friends, and love of people. Margaret is lovingly remembered by her son, Frazer (Betty); daughter, Edwina (Carl); grandchildren Bradley, Shanna, Melissa.
The adult beginner’s band at Fredericton CC
Guidelines for Tributes Salvationist will print brief tributes, at no cost, as space permits. They should be received within two months of the promotion to glory and include: community where the individual resided; conversion to Christ; corps involvement; Christian ministry and survivors. We reserve the right to edit all submissions. High-resolution digital photos are acceptable. Clear, original photos may be submitted and will be returned. Send to Salvationist, 2 Overlea Blvd., Toronto ON M4H 1P4 or e-mail salvationist@ can.salvationarmy.org.
TERRITORIAL Birth Lts David/Laura Hickman, daughter, Lily Elizabeth, Sep 27 Appointments Mjr Katherine Dickens, spiritual care co-ordinator, Golden West Centennial Lodge, Winnipeg, Prairie Div; Cpt Steven Cameron, Living Hope CC of The Salvation Army, Winnipeg, Prairie Div; Mjr Pauline Gruer-Caulfield, assistant records officer, personnel department, THQ Retirements Mjrs Wilbert/Joan Hopkins, last appointment: Hare Bay, N.L. Div
Promoted to glory Mrs Cpt Susie Eveleigh, from Clarenville, N.L., Oct 1; Mjr Cyril Janes, from Cambridge, Ont., Oct 3; Mjr Lillian Jewer, from Halifax, Oct 7; Mjr Roy Wombold, from Edmonton, Oct 11
Commissioners Brian and Rosalie Peddle Dec 2 Salvation Army Historical Society meeting, Toronto; Dec 3 retired officers’ Christmas luncheon, Toronto, Ont. CE Div; Dec 5-10 commissioning events, Bogota, Colombia, Latin America North Tty; Dec 14 Christmas With The Salvation Army, Roy Thomson Hall, Toronto Colonels Mark and Sharon Tillsley
Dec 1 Meadowlands, Hamilton, Ont. GL Div; Dec 3 retired officers’ Christmas luncheon, Toronto, Ont. CE Div; Dec 6 retired officers’ Christmas luncheon, Belleville, Ont. CE Div; Dec 7 retired officers’ Christmas luncheon, Ottawa, Ont. CE Div; Dec 11 Christmas service, Maxwell Meighen Centre, Toronto, Ont. CE Div; Dec 14 Christmas With The Salvation Army, Roy Thomson Hall, Toronto Canadian Staff Band Dec 7 Toronto Star Christmas carol concerts, St. Paul’s Church, Toronto; Dec 8 community Christmas concert, Richmond Hill, Ont.; Dec 14 Christmas With The Salvation Army, Roy Thomson Hall, Toronto Salvationist I December 2013 I 27
The Disrespected Heir Be wary of personal agendas that hinder God’s commands
Photo: © Shutterstockphoto.com/CardensDesign
BY MAJOR FRED ASH
A landowner built a housing subdivision and appointed property managers to look after it. After a time he sent an employee from head office to collect income from his investment. But the property managers beat him and sent him away emptyhanded. He sent another employee, but they treated that one disgracefully and sent him away with nothing. The man sent a third employee, and they beat him and threw him out on the street. The owner of the subdivision said, “I will send my son, whom I love. They will respect him.” But when the property managers saw the son, they began to conspire together. “This is the heir to the property,” they said. “Let’s kill him and take the houses for ourselves.” So they threw him off the land and killed him. What do you think the owner of the subdivision will do to them? He will have them put to death and will give his investment to others to manage.
o single parable tells the whole gospel story. Each parable zeros in on one or two aspects of
28 I December 2013 I Salvationist
the gospel and sheds light on specific teaching that Jesus was presenting. The Parable of the Tenants (see Luke 20:9-19) focuses our thoughts on the Advent of Christ. The key lies in verse 13 where the owner says, “I will send my son.” Christmas is the time of year when we celebrate the coming of Jesus Christ into the world. It is often referred to as the season of Advent (which, translated from the Latin word, adventus, means “coming”). In this parable, Jesus puts his Advent into historical perspective. The landowner in this parable is God. The employees from head office represent all the prophets and teachers whom God sent to the nation of Israel throughout the Old Testament times. Many of those prophets and teachers were rejected and killed by Israel’s leaders. This is why the teachers of the law and the chief priests looked for a way to arrest Jesus after he told this parable, because they knew he had spoken this parable against them (see Luke 20:19). Jesus was the last in a series of
people sent by God to the nation of Israel. Jesus, however, was different from all the others. Those who came before him were ordinary men. They were servants of God, whereas Jesus was the Son of God. The writer of the Book of Hebrews says this: “In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things” (Hebrews 1:1-2). There is no mistaking that through this parable Jesus is saying that he is the Son of God. This parable also shows that Jesus knew exactly what his coming would mean for him personally. Just as all the servants of God who came before Jesus were rejected, Jesus also would be rejected. Jesus knew that he would be killed by Israel’s own leaders. The third teaching of this parable is the doom that faces those who cast aside God’s call. The nation of Israel was to be God’s chosen people to light a path for the world to move toward God. Israel refused to accept that call. Its leaders killed the prophets and teachers sent to them and eventually killed their Messiah. As a result, the privilege of being God’s light to the world was taken from them and given to the Gentiles who believed in Jesus. That is what this parable meant to those who originally heard it, but what relevance does it have for us? Plenty. Any church that does not accept its calling faces the same judgment as Israel. Jesus came as the Saviour of the world. It is our responsibility and privilege to proclaim this good news to everyone, everywhere. Any congregation that turns its back on this message and tries to turn the church into a human organization with its own agenda is rejecting Christ. Such people are trampling the Son of God underfoot, treating as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and are insulting the Spirit of grace (see Hebrews 10:29). This Advent season, let us not only celebrate the coming of the Son of God, but also acknowledge his lordship and accept our calling to proclaim the good news to all. Major Fred Ash is a retired Salvation Army officer, freelance writer and editor living in Barrie, Ont.
Our good deeds point to the One whom we worship BY MAJOR RANDY C. HICKS
t should come as no surprise that more people participate in worship activities at Christmas than on other occasions. Whether it’s the traditional Christmas Eve candlelight service, Handel’s Messiah or a festive program put on by the Sunday school kids, people are drawn in to be a part of it all. To the non-religious, the idea of worship, at any time of the year, may seem antiquated. Then again, it is! For as long as humanity has been recording its existence you will find evidence of the search for the divine—something or someone greater than us—at sacred or holy grounds, shrines, temples and, in more recent centuries, churches and mosques. Christians believe that the Divine searches for us. We believe that God cre-
ated us and wants what is best for us. We believe that the ultimate demonstration of his love for us is expressed in what we call the Incarnation, God becoming one of us through his Son. Jesus was born to Mary and Joseph in the tiny village of Bethlehem, upstaging God-adoring angels and curiously reverent shepherds, and later joined by gift-giving Wise Men. The world still commemorates the event we call Christmas. We believe that Jesus reconnects us to God in the experience known as salvation, and this relationship greatly enables and enhances our worship experience. Adoration, reverence and gift giving are all elements of worship. In its simplest form, to worship is to ascribe worth or value to something or someone—worth-ship!
My Salvation Army worship experience has involved congregational and special music, Bible reading, spoken testimonials, prayer and preaching. Many of these elements can be found in an Army meeting anywhere in the world, as well as in practically any Christian church. Although the word “worship” is generally reserved to describe sacred practice on the part of a congregation or individual, the Army has also seen the value of worshipping through social interaction and mission in our communities. We are not the originators of this understanding, nor are we alone in this belief. Jesus said, “You are the light of the world ... let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father” (Matthew 5:14, 16 NLT). Echoes of the belief that worship expresses itself in mission are found in numerous sources and teachings throughout church history. In Secondhand Jesus, Glenn Packiam writes: “Worship plays out in our lives, beyond the worship service, in how we live. To really grasp the relationship that is offered to us in Christ, we must think of the Christian life not as work, but as worship. Worship is the language of love, and it is the only way to respond to the love we have been shown.” In Worship, Community and the Triune God of Grace, James B. Torrance speaks of worship and mission of the church as the gift of participating through the Holy Spirit in the incarnate Son’s communion with the Father and the Son’s mission from the Father to the world. Worship and mission are gifts from the Spirit to enable us to participate in kingdom life. It’s Christmastime! Salvation Army “light shining” is at the forefront of what we do this season. As you minister to others through carolling, kettles, hampers, toys, concerts, turkey dinners and pageants, remember that you are sharing the gift of love—worship (heart to God) and mission (hand to man). Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to people of goodwill. We praise you, we bless you, we adore you, we glorify you, We give you thanks for your great glory. —Gloria in Excelsis Deo Major Randy C. Hicks is the corps officer at North York Temple in the Ontario Central-East Division. Salvationist I December 2013 I 29
TIES THAT BIND
Defending Women’s Rights What my teenager shared on Facebook revealed a heart for those who suffer
t’s Your Fault was the title of the video my 15-year-old son posted on Facebook. I was intrigued. I always like to see what my kids are interested in. As I clicked on the link, I wondered whether I would soon be subjecting myself to silly jokes, some type of indie rock music or a Minecraft video. The clip began with a young Indian woman talking about how women were to blame for the abuse and rape they suffered. Of course, the video was sarcastic and left quite an impression. But what struck me most was that it was my son who was sharing it. I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised, though I shouldn’t have been. Earlier this year, his s oc i a l st ud ie s te ac her presented the class with optional topics for an essay on the Industrial Revolution. Rather than choose child labour as his teacher had suggested, he chose to write about women’s suffrage. For some reason this particular subject sparked an interest in him. Perhaps my unique role as a Salvation Army officer and our discussions around women and leadership in The Salvation Army fed his interest. He knows there are only a handful of married women officers that are in leadership positions in our organization. Whatever the reason, I’m just thankful he “gets” it. Our 30 I December 2013 I Salvationist
future, as a society that treats women with respect and dignity with all the rights and privileges afforded to men, depends upon young men “getting” it. As I watched the video he shared, I couldn’t help but think that we’ve not come very far in 2,000 years. It has only been in the last century that attitudes toward women have improved, and then mostly in western culture. Still today, in many places around the world, women are denied education, treated as property and suffer horrendous conditions as slaves, sexual and otherwise. Malala Yousafzai is a perfect example. Now a Nobel Laureate, she opened the door on a world that is very different than ours. The 16-year-old survived a brutal assault, shot by the Taliban simply for wanting an education and daring to step onto a bus to go to school. Her courage is an inspiration, a voice calling out in the desert. As we sit in our comfortable place in society, it’s easy to forget that our sisters around the world still suffer. I’m also reminded of a not her young wom a n raised in a society where women had no voice. Mary took a risk to carry God’s Son in a culture that would have stoned her to death for breaking her betrothal vow if not for the protection of a man named Joseph. That she escaped the punishment
Photo: Heidi Ram
BY MAJOR KATHIE CHIU
Village girls join hands in solidarity in the city of Lahore, Pakistan
adultery carried for women is a miracle of God. Her culture blamed women when they were raped; adultery was a one-way street with the woman suffering the punishment. Women responsible for bringing the sin of disobedience into the world were barred from the temple, deemed unclean on a regular basis, not worthy of learning the Talmud and Torah, and not recognized as citizens in their own right. But even then, women broke through as Jesus highlighted their contribution to the world. He redeemed them. He lifted them from their place of powerlessness and entrusted them with the message that makes our faith so unique among others—our God is alive. Our God lives. Our redeemer lives.
The culture of Mary’s people 2,000 years ago is not much different than many cultures today. At times we feel a sense of powerlessness in our lives, but it is nothing compared to the powerlessness that is a reality for women around the world today. However, there is hope when our young men and women stand up for the rights of others and spread the message of freedom, equality before God and redemption in Jesus. Although It’s Your Fault talked about the rape and abuse women in India face, it highlights a desperate need of people around the world— the need to hear Jesus say, “You are redeemed.” Major Kathie Chiu is the executive director of Victoria’s Addictions and Rehabilitation Centre.
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