Is There Really a “War” on Christmas?
The Road to Bethlehem: Five Journeys of Faith
Territory Welcomes Joyful Intercessors
THE VOICE OF THE ARMY
The Gift of Salvation
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Salvationist December 2015 • Volume 10, Number 12
5 Inbox 6 Frontlines
Get more online
19 Leading Edge
Visit salvationist.ca to add your comments and read web-exclusive articles
A Change for the Better by Major Mona Moore
22 Spiritual Life
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In Good Company by Major David Ivany
25 Cross Culture 27 People & Places
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30 Salvation Stories My Damascus Encounter by Valéry Nabi
Columns 4 Editorial All I Want for Christmas … by Geoff Moulton
Features 9 Joyful Intercessors Welcomed Nineteen cadets and two auxiliary-captains begin training by Major Glenys Pilgrim
10 The Gift of Salvation
The First Noel by Commissioner Susan McMillan
From swaddling clothes to crown of thorns, Christ fulfilled God’s eternal plan by General André Cox
23 Talking Points
13 Good Tidings
Happy Holidays by Major Juan Burry
24 Ties That Bind Remembering Anita by Major Kathie Chiu
From rural Saskatchewan to balmy Bermuda, The Salvation Army brings joy at Christmastime by Captain Ed Dean, Beverly Daniels, Major Lorraine Shea, Captain Anne-Marie Dagenais, Lieutenant Kristen Jackson-Dockeray
@Salvationist Follow us on Twitter for the Army’s breaking news. Use hashtag #SalvationArmy for your own updates and photos Cover photo: © ginosphotos/ iStock.com
Read and share it! Christmas 2015
frıends Inspiration for Living
16 The Road to Bethlehem Five journeys at the heart of Christmas by Roy R. Jeal, Major Shari Russell, Captain Mark Braye, Major Wil Brown-Ratcliffe, Lieutenant Kristen Jackson-Dockeray
20 Safe House Bethany Home provides a stable and nurturing environment for teen girls in crisis by Kristin Ostensen
A Salvation Army airlift helps families in Canada’s north Awakens: TheStarForce Wars Returns
A Son’s Last Christmas Wish
December 2015 3
All I Want for Christmas …
hat’s the best Christmas gift you’ve ever received? I remember a few from my childhood: Star Wars toys, a Smash-Up Derby car set, a Stretch Armstrong action figure and a “book” of flavoured Life Savers. Of course, there were the joke gifts as well. My parents stuffed our stockings with oranges and apples in a futile effort to curb the candy binge. And my dad always got the mandatory pair of Army-regulation black socks. These days, I don’t recognize most of the items in my kids’ letters to Santa (though Star Wars is back on the list!). However, I love that on Christmas morning they will share the same excitement and wonder I felt as a child. For the past few years, the editorial department has volunteered an afternoon at Railside, The Salvation Army’s toy distribution centre in Toronto. This is something the team looks forward to every Christmas, seizing an opportunity to contribute to the Army’s mission in a hands-on way. Finding a Tickle Me Elmo or Hot Wheels set at the bottom of the bin is loads of fun. It makes us feel like kids again. And it’s comforting to know that Salvationist
is a monthly publication of The Salvation Army Canada and Bermuda Territory André Cox General Commissioner Susan McMillan Territorial Commander Lt-Colonel Jim Champ Secretary for Communications Geoff Moulton Editor-in-Chief Giselle Randall Features Editor (416-467-3185) Pamela Richardson News Editor, Production Co-ordinator, Copy Editor (416-422-6112) Kristin Ostensen Associate Editor and Staff Writer 4 December 2015 Salvationist
The editorial team sorts Christmas toys
The Salvation Army is giving children across the territory a Christmas they might not otherwise experience. Christmas is about expectation—not just for toys, but for the gift, the coming of our Saviour, Jesus. In this issue of Salvationist, General André Cox urges us to both examine our hearts and rejoice as we celebrate the One who “changed the course of human history” (page 10). Elsewhere, you can enjoy Christmas reflections by Army personnel who recall touching moments of ministry (page 13).
Timothy Cheng Senior Graphic Designer Brandon Laird Design and Media Specialist 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, New International Version (NIV) © 2011. All articles are copyright The Salvation Army Canada and Bermuda Territory and can be reprinted only with written permission.
Take a journey with key players from the biblical story as we study the events leading up to Christ’s birth (page 16). And consider Major Juan Burry’s thoughtprovoking column on the best way to keep Christ in Christmas (page 23). Finally, in the hustle and bustle of this season, take time to reflect on God’s greatest gift in Jesus. Joy to the world, the Lord has come! GEOFF MOULTON Editor-in-Chief
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.
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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 facebook.com/salvationistmagazine twitter.com/salvationist youtube.com/salvationistmagazine instagram.com/salvationistmagazine
INBOX On the War Path I am responding to Michael W. Boyce’s review of War Room (salvationist.ca/war-room). The movie may not have been everything that you hoped and dreamed, but it brings out talking points for congregations, youth groups and couples on the importance of prayer and good family values. You noted it will not hold up as a good movie, but if one family is brought together, one boy learns how to be a good dad or 50 people are saved out of the thousands of people who see the movie, how will such “Christian movies” be reviewed in heaven? Tom Perks I found the review to be fair, only pointing out the obvious— that while this is a feel-good movie for Christians, it isn’t necessarily a cinematic gem or a movie to invite your non-Christian friends to. The review is certainly not an attack on traditional Christian values or an attempt to discredit Christian filmmakers. Having watched all of the Kendrick brothers’ films, I, too, find them uplifting and encouraging—but that does not mean they are excellent movies in terms of their plot and character development. David Cole A Salute Just Cause I am writing about the article on three Australian church minisI ters and the Salvation Army officer arrested for civil disobedience (“Just Cause,” August 2015). As an Australian Salvationist, I and many others were proud of the stand taken. Most people in Australia are very saddened, even disgusted, that our government has young children of asylum seekers in detention—some for years. Our government has such a hard line on this and is deaf to any humanitarian voice. The Salvation Army is highly thought of in Australia and I did not hear of any negative responses from the public. I salute these brave men and women. Maybe in these days the Army should speak out on political issues that are inhumane. Olive Sant POINT COUNTERPOINT
In this series, Colonel Bob Ward, who retired in 2013 as the territorial commander in Pakistan, and Major Amy Reardon, corps officer at Seattle Temple in Washington, U.S.A., discuss issues of the day. DEAR AMY,
recently read about an Australian officer, Captain Craig Farrell, who was arrested, along with five other church leaders and members, for occupying a government official’s office to protest the detention of hundreds of children of asylum seekers. Farrell said they staged a peaceful sit-in, during which they asked the minister to “push for Labor [the ruling party] to change its policy” toward holding children in detention centres and adopt a more compassionate approach to dealing with refugees. The other ministers wore their official collars, the captain his Army uniform. At the end of the day, they were arrested for refusing to vacate the office, spent a few hours in jail and were then freed on bail. Shortly after, each was found guilty and fined $200. Someone passed a collection plate around the packed courthouse, from which their fines were paid. My reaction to this news was mixed. As a former territorial leader, I would have been mortified if one of my officers or employees had flaunted the law in full Salvation Army uniform, bringing disrepute on our beloved organization and potentially impacting donations or government funding for our other projects. And the resulting criminal record could limit their options in future appointments. In addition, this activity smacks of party politics, which is anathema to the Army as an apolitical organization. However, my initial mortification was tempered by memories of our time in South Africa, where we served for seven years in the immediate post-apartheid era. A major victory for justice had been won, symbolized by the election of Nelson Mandela as president following the country’s first free and fair election. The church was acknowledged as having been complicit in apartheid, but also helpful in the struggle for justice. The S a lvat ion A r my
contributed to mitigating some of the excesses of apartheid. A Canadian was responsible for integrating the African and European training colleges, despite this action being illegal at the time. Following the end of apartheid, our leadership was one of the first religious organizations to make a submission to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The Salvation Army, then led by Commissioner (Dr.) Paul du Plessis, essentially admitted that we should have done more, and that we abused our apolitical stance by using it as “an excuse for silence when we should be prepared to speak prophetically and fearlessly on matters of injustice.” He followed by saying, “With people of all kinds of political persuasion in our ranks, we chose to remain silent, a sin of omission which we deeply regret.” Fortunately, the Australian officer received permission from territorial headquarters to participate in the protest. But what if permission wasn’t forthcoming despite the urgent need to correct an injustice? I suggest that civil disobedience is acceptable as a final resort in the pursuit of justice, particularly on behalf of specific groups or minorities that are systematically marginalized or persecuted. The targets could be direct public policy, in the case of the apartheid system, or a system incapable of dealing with the challenge of minorities, such as the treatment of an aboriginal population or a sudden influx of undocumented refugees. My position is that when justice is finally achieved, those who benefit will remember their friends in the struggle. When a soldier or officer risks arrest, or worse, while wearing the Salvation Army uniform, it will be remembered when justice is achieved. If we want to be seen as
Illustration: © iStock.com/soberve
Should Salvationists participate in civil disobedience?
22 • August 2015 • Salvationist
Gender Questions Transcending Prejudice It was with dismay that I read Major O Juan Burry’s article (“Transcending Prejudice,” October 2015), which included a photo of Caitlyn Jenner. Major Burry asks, “Is gender important to God?” The comments he makes in reply seem to imply that it is not. He states further that “gender is inconsequential.” We believe that it is important to God. In creation, he gave to the earth Adam (man) and Eve (woman). Throughout the Old Testament, this concept of a family would be headed by a man TALKING POINTS
Is gender important to God?
Photo: © Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP
BY MAJOR JUAN BURRY
ne of the biggest news stories of 2015 was Caitlyn Jenner coming out as a transgender woman. In an interview with television reporter Diane Sawyer, Jenner—a gold medal-winning Olympic athlete, formerly known as Bruce Jenner—revealed she had dealt with gender dysphoria during adolescence and was, “for all intents and purposes … a woman.” That announcement thrust Caitlyn into the limelight and she has arguably become the most famous transgender person in the world. The subject of gender identity and reassignment has become a hot topic of conversation in our society, including in the church. Over the last few months, I have read numerous articles, blogs and social media posts that have weighed in on this issue. I avoided becoming involved in these online debates, not because I feared taking one side or the other, but because I felt uninformed about the issue. I have done a lot of reading on LGBT issues and have gay and lesbian friends and colleagues. But gender identification is not the same thing as sexual orientation. Even though, for the sake of advocacy and mutual support, transgender people are grouped together with people who identify as non-heterosexual (the “T” in LGBT), being transgender is independent of sexual attraction. Transgender people may be heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual or asexual. While I had to admit I wasn’t well informed on this issue and had not been an ardent supporter of the transgender community in any tangible way, I didn’t feel scandalized by Caitlyn’s story. I’ve never been hung up on gender identification or gender roles. My wife and I have never conformed to traditional gender roles, either as marital partners, parents or officers. I don’t consider myself the “head of the household” because I am male. I may have paid lip service to that idea as a young officer, but I knew it wasn’t accurate in practice. As far as our children go, we have been equally involved in their lives. I haven’t
Caitlyn Jenner accepts the Arthur Ashe award for courage at the ESPY Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles
shied away from anything because it is a “woman’s job.” If we bring anything different to the table as parents, and as officers, it is because of our individual aptitudes and abilities, irrespective of gender. So, on the one hand, because of my general “gender blindness,” Caitlyn’s story didn’t shock or disgust me. On the other hand, because of that same blindness, I have to admit that I can’t fully understand it, either. It’s hard to imagine what it would feel like to believe your gender doesn’t match your physical body. Gender is not about one’s biological sex. According to the American Psychological Association, “gender refers to the attitudes, feelings and behaviours that a given culture associates with a person’s biological sex.” People may identify as transgender when their biological sex doesn’t match their gender identification. But what does it mean to be male or female in our culture? Are there any attitudes or feelings that remain solely feminine in nature? Are there behaviours in our society that we can say are exclusively masculine? One of the things I have learned in recent years is that gender cannot be an “either/or” approach. Instead, it’s helpful to look at
it as a spectrum. So I’m a little saddened and confused when I hear that people feel the need to change their physical bodies in order to fit a set of societal expectations, which is essentially what gender is. When I feel that way for Caitlyn, I have to remind myself that I cannot possibly understand her struggle. I try to put myself in her shoes and empathize with her. When I do that, I come back to my original premise that gender is mostly inconsequential. I know there are many Christians who disagree with this approach and still see traditional gender roles as very important. But when Paul wrote to the Galatians, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28, emphasis mine), I think it meant something more than just being equal. I think it meant that these things are not important to God. My gender identification is no more important to him than my ethnic origin or economic status. So if it isn’t important to him, why is it important to us? Major Juan Burry is the executive director of Rotary Hospice House in Richmond, B.C. Salvationist
and a woman. The New Testament begins with Joseph (man) and Mary (woman), who gave birth to our Saviour, Jesus Christ. The major writes, “I have never been hung up on gender,” which is opposite to the Army’s teaching and the Bible. I feel ashamed to think that this article will be read by hundreds of Christians who will wonder if the Army, a holiness movement, has changed its position on moral issues. Lt-Colonel Robert Chapman Salvationist deserves much praise for the ministry it accomplishes through the written word. The front page calls it, “The Voice of the Army.” That caption places a huge responsibility on the editor and the contributors. I take strong exception to the article by Major Juan Burry, which mishandles Scripture and blatantly puts before us a picture of Caitlyn Jenner. We do not need to publicize this issue and ask questions as to its place of righteousness in Scripture. Major Burry states, “I think these things are not important to God. My gender identification is no more important to him than my ethnic origin or economic status. So if it isn’t important to him, why is it important to us?” God did make us male and female. It must be important to him. Major Burry quotes the American Psychological Association in an attempt to have his readers stray from the living Word and give more credibility to the words of men. We would better serve the Lord and humanity by offering sound biblical teaching on these issues. Major L. Wayne Green Humble Service I picked up the September issue of Salvationist today. After taking in A Worldwide the attractive art work, pictures and Army articles, I would like to thank you for the relevant, insightful, hope-giving material that left me with a feeling of thanksgiving to God for all he has done through the faithful, humble service of our people from coast to coast. You have given facts that present a picture of a work done by ordinary people used by God to make a difference in the lives of the “whosoever.” Lt-Colonel Dorothy Brown Finding Your Prayer Style is Like a Day at the Beach
Congress Delegates Share Their Experiences
No Kidding: When Your Children Drive You Crazy
THE VOICE OF THE ARMY
Boundless Congress unites 15,000 Salvationists at London’s O2 arena
A quick thanks for the November issue, with its focus on relationships and the many ways they are represented in our community/church today (married, single, divorced). Personally, I appreciated the narrative of these articles as opposed to focusing on “how to” engage these groups of people in church life. Great edition! Captain Deana Zelinsky
PTSD Survivor Finds Peace as Salvation Soldier
God Keep Our Land: After the Election
Untying the Knot: When Divorce Hits Home
THE VOICE OF THE ARMY
Holier Matrimony Two Salvationist couples share secrets of a successful marriage
All letters must include name, address and phone number or e-mail address where the writer can be contacted. Letters may be edited for length and clarity, and may be published in any medium. Salvationist December 2015 5
Beauty Day Builds Confidence in Quebec
Moncton Childhood Development Centre Expands
aison Charlotte, The Salvation Army’s women’s shelter in Quebec City, held a special “beauty day” for residents in September. “This initiative aims to improve the self-esteem of the women at our shelter by giving them an opportunity to feel pampered,” says Marie-Hélène Piaud, development co-ordinator and volunteer co-ordinator. The women enjoyed the services of professional hairdresser Jasmine Plamondon and beautician Audrey Pelchat. The event culminated in a photo shoot with photographer Valérie Cliche, who took portraits of the women, and the day concluded with a dinner for the women who took part in the beauty day. The women’s portraits were presented at a dinner held at the Bistro Les Trois Garçons in October. A dozen businesswomen from the Quebec City region acted as waitresses for the event, serving a table of guests. This event brought together more than 100 businesspeople to raise funds for Maison Charlotte.
Jasmine Plamondon, volunteer hairdresser, treats Mireille Bouchard, a resident of Maison Charlotte, to a new hairdo
6 December 2015 Salvationist
Children gather for the official reopening of Small Blessings
early 200 people gathered on September 26 for the official reopening of The Salvation Army’s Small Blessings Early Childhood Development Centre in Moncton, N.B., after recent renovations. The newly expanded facility will increase available full-time childcare spaces by 31, after-school spaces by 30, and overall service capacity by 50 percent, for a total enrolment of 192 children. In the after-school program, there will be newly developed curriculum in key areas, such as physical education, science, arts and culture, entrepreneurship and more. The Honourable Cathy Rogers, New Brunswick’s minister of social development, and minister of healthy and inclusive communities, lauded the Army for its work in this area: “I am very aware what The Salvation Army has done for this community as my children attended Small Blessings. Investing in children is
something I believe in. Thanks to The Salvation Army for all that you do.” Plans are underway for enhanced and expanded programs that would include emergency and disaster response services, free income tax clinics, a community kitchen and workshops and seminars on such important issues as parenting, nutrition, anti-bullying, drug prevention and budgeting. “It is a day of rejoicing,” said LtColonel Joan Canning, assistant secretary for personnel—strategic initiatives. “Today we stand in front of this state-ofthe-art facility with Moncton children in mind, children who will be the leaders of tomorrow.” This $1.5-million expansion was made possible through the generous support and contributions from The Salvation Army, members of the local congregation, families of Small Blessings and former Small Blessings alumni, local business, government agencies and friends throughout the Moncton community. To e v e r y o n e involved in helping in a ny way, Lorraine Veysey, director of Small Blessings, says, “We simply could not have done it without you.” Salvation Army leaders open the newly renovated centre
Winnipeg Art Exhibition Fosters Creativity
dults with disabilities had an opportunity to show off their artistic skills at Community Venture’s annual art show and bake sale in Winnipeg. “The art show is meaningful for all involved,” explains Stacy Armstrong, co-ordinator of day services. “The members take great pride in their art. Some pieces that they’ve created took hours of hard work, focus and often teamwork. It’s a fantastic way for them to express themselves creatively, especially when they may not have the words to do so.” Over a period of three or four months, Community Venture members and staff collaborate on ideas for art, crafts and baking items. Staff find ways to support each member’s independence to express themselves creatively, and work with each artist’s strengths and challenges. For instance, a sewing craft may involve staff working hand-over-hand with a member to cut out and pin the fabric pieces, then guiding the fabric through the sewing machine as the member works the foot pedal with their hand.
The well-attended art show and bake sale raised $1,300 for Community Venture programming
Those attending the exhibition had the opportunity to take home a work of art in return for a goodwill offering. This year’s show and sale raised $1,300, making it the biggest and most successful to date. All of the proceeds support Community Venture programming.
Community Venture member Kathie proudly displays her artwork
Territory Responds to Government on Physician-Assisted Dying
t the beginning of 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the country’s legislation governing physician-assisted suicide contravened the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Supreme Court gave Parliament one year to introduce new legislation and the government established an expert panel to receive submissions from Canadians regarding the way forward. The Salvation Army believes that euthanasia and assisted suicide are morally wrong, and holds that they should continue to be illegal under Canadian law. In view of the Army’s position statement on this issue, Colonel Mark Tillsley, chief secretary, requested
that the territory make a submission to the panel, expressing our concern and providing input on pending new legislation. “As a faith-based social services provider, The Salvation Army can offer a unique perspective on this issue,” says Jessica McKeachie, public affairs director. “We work with some of the most vulnerable and marginalized people in the country, often as direct care providers through our hospitals, hospices and long-term care facilities.” McKeachie is chair of a small committee established to address this issue on the Army’s behalf. The committee also includes James Read, executive director of the Army’s Ethics Centre;
Mary Ellen Eberlin, social services secretary; Lt-Colonel Fred Waters, secretary for program; and Lt-Colonel Jim Champ, secretary for communications. Guided by the territorial and international position statements, the committee has drafted a submission addressing four key issues put forth by the expert panel: forms of physicianassisted dying; eligibility criteria; risks to individuals and society associated with physician-assisted dying; and safeguards to address risks. “It is hoped that our submission will help the panel with their difficult task of crafting a report for the federal government,” says McKeachie. Read the Army’s submission at salvationist.ca. Salvationist December 2015 7
Rural Roundtable Meets in Maritimes
ver the past three years, representatives from each division across the Canada and Bermuda Territory have met for the territorial rural roundtable, and concluded their discussions with a final meeting in Halifax and in Bridgetown, N.S., in October. “The roundtable’s goal has been to bring to light the unique issues facing our rural ministry units and what we can do together to help address these issues,” explains Captain Mark Dalley, corps officer, Listowel, Ont., and territorial rural ministries consultant.
The focus of these meetings has been around four key issues and the unique ways in which they are experienced in a rural setting: the multitasking fatigue experienced by rural leaders; the importance of strong partnerships, both within the Army and with those in our communities; the immense challenges of leadership development; and the importance of creativity and clarity in circuit, satellite and outpost ministries. The purpose of the final meeting in Nova Scotia was to visit the front lines of rural ministry and to begin turning the research and discussions of the past three years into a series of recommendations. These recommendations will be finalized early in 2016. “It is the hope of the roundtable that, through these recommendations, there will be a greater awareness of the issues faced by our rural ministry units,” says Captain Dalley. “It is our prayer that The Salvation Army will continue to see God’s kingdom established across our territory in rural settings and beyond.”
Leading the Way in Newfoundland
Divisional representatives attend the territorial rural ministries roundtable
Bermuda Army Offers Shelter During Storm
hen hurricane Joaquin threatened to sweep over the island of Bermuda in October, The Salvation Army mobilized its emergency disaster services team and opened an emergency shelter for people needing a safe place to escape the storm. The Army operated the shelter at a local school for the duration of the storm. Around 60 people made use of the facility in that 25-hour period. “We had a team outside encouraging all of those experiencing homelessness to utilize our shelter before the conditions got too bad,” says Major Frank Pittman, divisional commander, Bermuda Division. “Lionel Cann, our shelter director, knows them all by name and was able to find them and get them to safety.” Salvationists from local Army corps took care of food services at the emergency shelter, from cooking to serving and cleaning up. The island was fortunate—the storm turned away from Bermuda about an hour before it was due to arrive. However, winds remained high and there were power outages throughout the island. 8 December 2015 Salvationist
athering at the Army’s Twin Ponds Camp near Gander, N.L., a capacity crowd of more than 230 Salvationists attended a lay leadership conference for the Newfoundland and Labrador Division in September. Under the theme Cultivate, lay leaders from across the division were invited to participate to gain foundational skills in Christian leadership and character. The conference was organized by Major Sandra Stokes, area commander, Newfoundland and Labrador Division. “Together with many workshop presenters, I had the privilege, along with my wife, Major Brenda Allen, to share in keynote presentations, as well as workshops in discipleship and leadership,” says Major David Allen, training principal at the College for Officer Training in Winnipeg. “It truly was an incredible conference.”
Officers and lay leaders gather for a leadership conference in the N.L. Div
Canada and Bermuda Welcome
Joyful Intercessors Session
Cadets and auxiliary-captains are introduced in Winnipeg
Photos: Carson Samson
n Sunday, September 20, the Canada and Bermuda Territor y welcomed the Joyful Intercessors Session (2015-2017) to the College for Officer Training (CFOT) at a lively service held at Elim Chapel in Winnipeg. The congregation stood to greet the 19 new cadets and two auxiliary-captains with warm smiles and hand clapping as they entered the chapel behind their sessional flag, while Winnipeg’s Heritage Park Temple Band filled the air with celebratory music. Along with the Messengers of Light Session (20142016), these cadets will study at CFOT for the next two years to be commissioned as Salvation Army officers in June 2017. Major David Allen, training principal, greeted the Joyful Intercessors with a football in hand, highlighting the 103rd annual Grey Cup, held in Winnipeg. He compared the cadets’ arrival at CFOT to the common play of a “hand-off ” in a football game: the cadets, in their local corps settings, have been “called, cultivated and identified,” said Major Allen, administered by the secretary for candidates and now “handed off” to CFOT for further equipping for service. After Major Allen’s welcome, the Joyful Intercessors presented their sessional song, reminding all in attendance that “the joy of the Lord is our strength.” In her sermon, Commissioner Susan McMillan, territorial commander, drew attention to the second part of the cadets’ sessional name—“intercessors”—emphasizing the importance of interceding and advocating for others. Commissioner McMillan challenged the cadets and congregation, saying, “We need to be ready to inconvenience ourselves,” that “the mission will be uncomfortable, difficult” and we should “pray more fervently, more often.” Opportunity was given for people to personally reflect and respond, and several knelt at the front of the chapel and were supported by those who came to pray with them. Major Brenda Allen, director of spiritual formation at the CFOT, invited
BY MAJOR GLENYS PILGRIM
Mjr David Allen greets the new officers-in-training
Cdts Lisa and Chad Cole
the congregation to participate in intercessory prayer for the Joyful Intercessors. Baskets were distributed throughout the congregation with prayer cards that included pictures of the cadets. With all cadets standing, the congregation joined in singing a prayer over them, Father, Hear the Prayer We Offer. Territorial and divisional leaders, along with CFOT staff and the Messengers of Light, formed a prayer covering with their hands extended over the Joyful Intercessors. While prayers were offered audibly and silently, hearts were moved by the presence and power of God. On Sunday morning, the Joyful Intercessors and Messengers of Light, along with their families, CFOT staff and territorial leaders, gathered in the chapel of Booth University College for
a family worship service. Commissioner Susan McMillan, supported by Colonels Mark and Sharon Tillsley, chief secretary and territorial secretary for women’s ministries, greeted the new cadets. The service provided opportunity for both rejoicing and reflection, as those gathered sang Joy in The Salvation Army, as well as What Can I Do and Take My Life and Let It Be/I Am Yours. Speaking from Matthew 13:44-52, Commissioner McMillan encouraged the Joyful Intercessors to embrace “the joy of serving.” Major Glenys Pilgrim is the director of personnel at the CFOT in Winnipeg.
More photos available at facebook. com/salvationistmagazine. Salvationist
December 2015 9
The Gift of Salvation From swaddling clothes to crown of thorns, Christ fulfilled God’s eternal plan
Photo: © ginosphotos/iStock.com
BY GENERAL ANDRÉ COX
10 December 2015 Salvationist
t is with hearts filled with thanksgiving and praise to God that we should enter this Christmas season. I hope we will all take time to reflect and contemplate the everlasting love and eternal plan of salvation that God has prepared since the beginning of time for all mankind. We certainly have had ample opportunity to reflect on the boundless love of God to The Salvation Army throughout this milestone year of the 150th anniversary celebrations. Once again, now, we think of the extravagant love of God who gave us the greatest gift of all, knowing full well that most of us would not realize the value. Isaiah wrote: “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem” (Isaiah 53:2-3). Despite it all, God still went ahead with his plan of salvation for the world! That is why Christmas is such a special time. The extraordinary revelation is that God sees things differently from us. One of the first things Mary says in her song of thanksgiving to God is: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant” (Luke 1:46-48). We see here a clear distinction between the values of God and those of mankind. God is ready to give his all to save men and women like you and me. God is the God of eternity, he is the Almighty and yet he shows his love and concern for weak, imperfect human beings. The subject of great joy expressed by Mary is a subject of great joy for us all. Yet she continues with another outpouring of thanksgiving and joy: “For the
Mighty One has done great things for me” (Luke 1:49). One of the elements of the Christmas story which never ceases to amaze me is to think that God is such a great and powerful being, yet he still is interested in us. That is why Mary rejoices and why we should rejoice as we look forward to celebrating the coming of Christ that changed the course of human history. God is ready to stoop down and even to use imperfect men and women to accomplish his plan. Despite his power, God is happy to show mercy to the small, insignificant and imperfect people that we are. People give honour and glory to what appears to be powerful and wealthy in this world. God does exactly the opposite. God looks at humanity with love and mercy, which is what the story of Christmas is all about. God turns the value scales upside down and shows his love for the small, the humble and the seemingly insignificant. We need to examine our hearts as we prepare for Christmas so we can eliminate all thoughts of pride and any spirit of materialism because, in reality, whether we are princes or paupers—or the General of The Salvation Army—we are pretty insignificant! Christmas is about the fact that God came specifically to establish a relationship with us, and his glory is manifested in the lives of ordinary humble people. Christmas is a time of great joy and peace for all mankind. I pray that we will experience the wonder of that reality in our lives this Christmastime and that we will show it wherever we are!
God turns the value scales upside down and shows his love for the seemingly insignificant
General André Cox is the international leader of The Salvation Army.
Salvationist December 2015 11
The First Noel In a world of violence and pain, Jesus came to bring peace BY COMMISSIONER SUSAN McMILLAN
Many died in the process. Many more suffer from hunger, lack of shelter and being constantly on the move. An earthquake in Chile, school shootings in the United States, floods along the eastern seaboard of North America and forest fires in the west. Add in a few tropical storms, drought, a tsunami … well, you see my point. The world that needed a Saviour—a Prince of Peace—on that first Christmas night is the same world that needs him now. And the wonder of it all is that he came to earth to bring peace for everyone—not just those of the first century, but people of all nations and all races, in all times.
Photo: Brandon Laird
The world that needed a Saviour on that first Christmas night is the same world that needs him now
s I began to write this article, I tried to imagine the first Christmas. Christmas carols and TV shows paint a picture of a serene “peace on earth” experience—shiny angels, gentle shepherds, fluffy lambs, stately Wise Men and a little baby who doesn’t make a sound. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized what a poor representation of the time that must be. Jesus wouldn’t have needed to bring “peace on earth” if that were the reality already. History tells us that Israel was suffering under the oppression of Roman conquerors. Not only that, but many civil servants were corrupt, profiting from their position. The religious leaders were also looking for ways to take advantage of the faithful and had allowed the temple 12 December 2015 Salvationist
Chilean Nativity set from the personal collection of Commissioner Susan McMillan
to become a marketplace for unethical business practices. People who were infirm or disabled were shunned, as though they were a danger to others. Women and children were treated as belongings rather than as people. Many were destitute, especially when they ended up alone, widowed or abandoned. People were trafficked, sold into slavery. The vulnerable were left on their own to try to survive. It wasn’t much like the softened Christmas image we tend to create—in fact, it was a lot more like the reality of the world today. Just think about the past year or so. Ebola ravaged the nation of Liberia. A human tide of refugees flooded Europe as people fled conditions so bad they were willing to risk anything for a chance at a better future.
In Scripture, we read: “For God says, ‘At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.’ Indeed, the ‘right time’ is now. Today is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2 NLT). The time to change your outlook is now. The time to receive Jesus into your heart—the baby born to be the Saviour of the world—is now. Why not make this Christmas the one that has real meaning for you, the one when you join forces with the Prince of Peace? While the storms may continue to rage and while there may continue to be strife in the world, in your heart you will know peace as you walk with Christ. Is there hope for our world? Of course there is! And his name is Jesus, Prince of Peace, for all time. Commissioner Susan McMillan is the territorial commander of the Canada and Bermuda Territory. Follow her at facebook.com/ susanmcmillantc and twitter.com/ salvationarmytc.
Good Tidings From rural Saskatchewan to balmy Bermuda, The Salvation Army brings joy at Christmastime “Welcome to Hotel Dean” BY CAPTAIN ED DEAN Corps officer, Maple Creek, Sask.
n December 26, 2009, I received a call from the RCMP to help someone on the highway who had hit a deer and could no longer travel because their vehicle was damaged. I went to respond only to find out that it was a family of five—a mom, dad and three children. All of the hotels in Maple Creek were closed because of the Christmas holidays, and they had no money. Now, what do you do when someone has no place to go? You find a place for them. And so they came to “Hotel Dean” at three in the morning on that Boxing Day. They stayed with us for four days
and we shared Christmas with them. We always do turkey and stuffing, so we introduced them to some of the traditions we do with our leftovers. (I’m from a big family, so it’s nothing for me to get a 12- or 14-kilogram turkey.) We shared bedrooms, we shared food, we shared a little bit of everything. But within the first day of their staying with us, I picked up through the children that things were not right. They told me that they had been forced to leave their home in Alberta by their father. They were new Canadians—English was not their first language and they didn’t know anybody here. So the next day, I sent him on a bus back to Alberta, while the mother and children stayed a few more days. I wanted to protect the
family and make sure they were safe. Then I sent them in the opposite direction, to a Salvation Army shelter in Ontario. I followed up with her about six months later—she had an apartment, was working, and was getting the family established again. My encounter with that family really hit home because, when I was a child more than 40 years ago, The Salvation Army brought Christmas dinner to my family—long before I was ever involved with the Army. My parents had just separated, and we would not have had Christmas without the Army’s help. To me, Christmas is a very important time of the year. If I have the opportunity, I’m going to make the best Christmas I can for anybody who’s around me. Salvationist
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BY BEVERLY DANIELS Executive director, Bermuda Community Services, Hamilton, Bermuda
Photo: © Kreus/Stock.Adobe.com
he beautiful island of Bermuda— known to residents and visitors alike as the paradise isle. But with poverty on the rise, it’s far from paradise for many of the people who live here. I had a conversation recently with a man named Gregory Peers, who no longer sees Bermuda as the paradise isle. Gregory is a 39-year-old single father with three children under the age of 13. He is a regular client at our food bank and has been the recipient of a Christmas hamper for the past three years. Before coming to the Army, he found himself constantly borrowing and returning money to friends who came to his assistance when he was a little short. It was one of his friends who directed him to the Army. He told me that the Army has been a lifeline for him, a resource that he feels has helped him to keep from losing hope. Gregory is a man with an impeccable work ethic, so he believes that it is important for him to do as much as possible to support his family. He sees The Salvation Army as a partner in ensuring that there is sufficient food for his children’s lunches and for the evening meal that he prepares for them when they are in his care. Gregory told me that he has never felt devalued or shamed when he has come to us for assistance. In fact, he began to look forward to special occasions such as Christmas, Bermuda’s annual Cup Match and back-to-school, when particular efforts were made by the family services team to make each bag of
14 December 2015 Salvationist
items unique to the family being helped. For Gregory, receiving a Christmas hamper for the first time was an unforgettable experience. With excitement and gratitude in his voice, he told me about the DVD and the toys he received for each of his children, making it possible for all of them to celebrate Christmas in style. The turkey and other fixings were like icing on the cake. With the changing economy, Bermuda is no longer a paradise. But I hope that Gregory will always be able to keep his head up high and have hope, knowing that The Salvation Army will be there to help him and his family.
An Unforgettable Gift
BY MAJOR LORRAINE SHEA Assistant executive director, community and family services, Strathroy, Ont.
t was at our Christmas hamper distribution day, last year. In the lead-up to Christmas, we received an anonymous donation of some brand-new bikes. We didn’t know how we were going to distribute them, but we wanted to be fair to everybody, so we categorized the bikes by age and drew names. When that family came to pick up their hamper, we would inform them that they were a recipient of a new bike for their child. One of the recipients ended up being a mom who had come to us for assistance earlier that fall. She almost didn’t register for Christmas assistance—she was embarrassed to ask for assistance in the first place, and she didn’t know if she
qualified for a Christmas hamper. But when we looked at her circumstances and saw how much she was struggling, we encouraged her to register and she did. When the time came and she came to my table, I said to her, “You’re going to receive a bike today.” She couldn’t believe it. “Are you sure?” she asked, and I said, “Yes, I’m sure. We have a bike for your child, if you’re willing to take it.” And at that point, she started crying. “You don’t know how much this means to me,” she said, “because I can’t afford these things, and I know how happy my little girl is going to be when she sees a bike for her on Christmas.” When I looked around the room, all of our staff and volunteers were in tears, too. In that moment, I realized that, no matter what happens, God is in control. He led this woman to us, and we were able to provide assistance, even though she felt unworthy of it. She has come back to us since, and she still speaks about the bike she received for her daughter.
Giving Hope on Christmas Eve
BY CAPTAIN ANNE-MARIE DAGENAIS Corps officer, Sherbrooke Community Church, Que.
iving hope today! That is a great slogan for our territory—one that means a lot to me personally. But what does it mean in Sherbrooke, Que., on Christmas Eve?
As the local Salvation Army officer, it means waking up to a wonderful phone call, letting me know that we’ve received a donation of apples and oranges just in time for Christmas. By 7 a.m., I am driving the corps van, enjoying the smell of fresh fruit, and thanking God for providing this blessing for the people we serve, so many of whom would have nothing to celebrate Christmas. I arrive at the office with the fruit, happy to give it all away later that day. Then I head to the kitchen, where we begin dinner preparations—turkey, stuffing, gravy, potatoes, pie and more for 125 people. Volunteers set up tables, creating a lovely festive atmosphere, and before we know it, it’s 4 p.m. and the Christmas party begins. We have a band—piano, drums and violin—greeting people with music, and the room is filled with smiling faces. Before the dinner begins, a choir sings a few Christmas songs. Decked out in red and green, most of these choristers are people who come to our soup kitchen. Then we share the gospel and a prayer and the dinner begins. The volunteers serve the people one by one and wish them “Merry Christmas.” While our people are enjoying this delicious meal, I take a volunteer with me and go out to deliver Christmas dinner to people who are not able to leave their homes. I knock at one door and an elderly man answers. His small apartment is nearly empty. With one hand, he takes the dinner from us, and with the other he holds up his pants, having no belt. He thanks us for the food, and as we leave, begins eating his dinner by the window. We go back to the church, hand out gifts and clean up before closing for the night. I go home and, as I reflect on the day, begin to cry—not because of sadness, but because this is what it means to give hope today. I remember the elderly man we served, who was alone in his home on Christmas Eve—on that night, God
provided food and hope to him. And I am reminded of Hosea 2:15, which says that God is the only one who can make a valley of trouble into a door of hope.
All the Little Children
BY LIEUTENANT KRISTEN JACKSON-DOCKERAY Corps officer, Niagara Orchard Community Church, Niagara Falls, Ont.
very year, we do a Christmas musical at our church. We invite children from the community, as well as the corps, to get involved, so we end up with a spectrum of ages and abilities, churched and unchurched. One of the children who participated last year was a young man named Joey, who attends the church with his family. Joey was 14 years old, but due to developmental disabilities, his level of function is similar to that of a toddler. His parents had come to The Salvation Army after being turned away from a number of churches and Sunday schools because of their child’s disability. So when it came time for the Christmas musical, we wanted to make sure that Joey would be included. The theme of our musical last year was ’Twas the Night Before Christmas, and Joey was so excited to be a part of it. Dressed as a gingerbread man and holding title cards with the first and last lines of the poem, Joey walked across the stage to open and close the show. It was an important moment for our church, and for Joey and his family, when he was recognized as a valued member of our congregation, with the capacity to tell the story of Jesus in a way that perhaps none of us do, a way that is new and fresh. It was a moment in which we said, not only, “Joey, come and be a part of us,” but also, “You have something to teach us.” Joey’s mother told me that, despite being excluded from other churches, she took comfort in Jesus’ words in Matthew 19:14: “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Jesus said, let all of the children come to me, including those with disabilities. When Joey walked across the stage last Christmas, that truth was a reality.
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T he Road to
Bethlehem Five journeys at the heart of Christmas
Journey of Anticipation: Mary Visits Elizabeth BY ROY R. JEAL
Illustrations: © AlonzoDesign/iStock.com
his beautiful travel account (see Luke 1:39-56) places in our minds a picture of the meeting of two women, one old, one young, both pregnant with first children. The older, in the culture of her time, is experiencing the removal of the social shame of being barren. She will, finally, have a child. The young woman, a girl really, perhaps about 15 years old, faces the social disgrace of pregnancy while unmarried. Where would a pregnant teen go? Very reasonably, she goes to a trusted female relative, also pregnant. She comes, stays for a while and then leaves. Thoughtful women like Mary and Elizabeth know something about such things. Others, men for example, usually do not. This story of their meeting is sandwiched between longer descriptions about John the Baptist and is meant to help set the stage for the story about Jesus in Luke’s Gospel. We visualize surprising things. Women who were not expected to have children will have them soon. Particularly striking is that Elizabeth and her baby recognize that Mary and her baby are blessed persons. Elizabeth is amazed that she should receive the mother of her Lord in her own home. Perhaps more striking is that Mary comes to her own understanding of what is occurring in her body as she utters the famous poetic words of the Magnificat (see Luke 1:46-55). For both Mary and Elizabeth these are bodily experiences and reactions. They have awareness in their bodily senses that lead them to deep insights of soul and spirit. Mary understands that God is doing something in her body that brings about good for 16 December 2015 Salvationist
her and for the world. This short narration tells us that something new and wonderful was coming into the world. Elizabeth and Mary knew it was powerful. Their experiences gave them insights into the new realities they were encountering. Faithfully, they recognized and confessed that God does things for them. They responded eagerly in body, soul and spirit. Mary did the right thing by engaging in worship, by magnifying the Lord. This story explains something of Christmas: we are reminded that God came in Christ to make things right in a difficult world. This story is a Christmas gift. It draws us to worship.
Journey of Surrender: Mary and Joseph Travel to Bethlehem BY MAJOR SHARI RUSSELL
e are not human beings on a spiritual journey. We are spiritual beings on a human journey,” noted Jesuit philosopher Teilhard de Chardin. A journey entails more than simply arriving at a destination. It encompasses the process along the way: the joy and sorrow, the challenges and successes, things foreseen as well as surprises. At times, journeys are a choice and require commitment; other times, they are a necessity and require obedience. Journeys may be difficult, filled with disappointment, discouragement or disillusionment. Or they may be easy, filled with blessings, bounty and benefits. Perhaps, like Joseph in Luke 2, we have experienced journeys we would rather not embark on. Joseph, a descendent of David with a respected and honourable heritage, chose to journey with Mary, his fiancée, pregnant with a
child who was not his. Joseph considered alternatives that would honour his heritage and reputation: publicly disgrace her or divorce her quietly. But God had a different journey for him—to take Mary as his wife and raise the child as his own. Joseph relinquished his need to defend his character, maintain his reputation and honour his family heritage by choosing to obey God’s leading. Although the circumstances may vary, Joseph’s journey is one to which we can relate. A journey that challenges us to not be “concerned about myself, my career, my future, my name and future, my name and fame,” as Catholic priest and author Henri Nouwen wrote, but to surrender and die to self as we follow the Lord’s example. This process of growing as spiritual beings is not about upward mobility, but about relinquishment and surrender. Joseph chose to let go of disappointment and betrayal and embrace the path of obedience, leading to immense blessing and honour. Although the destination was the same for Mary, the process and her response were different. Mary’s incredulity at the angel’s message quickly transformed into willing submission, as she replied, “I am the Lord’s servant! Let it happen as you have said” (Luke 1:38 CEV). Her words to Elizabeth are a song: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour” (Luke 1:4647). When we respond with willing submission, a song may burst forth as we experience the deep joy that can only be found in the Giver of Life. As we reflect on Mary and Joseph’s journey this season, we may not have a choice about what our journey looks like. But we can respond in obedience, submission and joy in affirmation of God’s boundless love and grace in our lives.
Journey of Worship: The Wise Men Seek Jesus BY CAPTAIN MARK BRAYE
fter Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him’ ” (Matthew 2:1-2). These two verses from the Gospel of Matthew are our introduction to the Magi, these characters we think we know so well. The truth, however, is stranger than fiction. For one thing, they were not kings. They were pagan astrologers, “not too far from what we’d call sorcerers and wizards. Gandalf [from The Lord of the Rings] and Dumbledore [from Harry Potter] are coming to worship the Baby Jesus,” writes David Mathis, executive editor of desiringGod.org. For another thing, they did not visit the newborn Christ. When they finally met Mary and Jesus, Jesus was, perhaps, as old as two years of age. “When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house [not stable], they saw the child [not baby] with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped him” (Matthew 2:10-11). I know this ruins your Nativity set and Christmas carols, but there is still much we can learn from the journey of the Magi. Here are two reflections on their story and interaction with Jesus that can speak to our own spiritual journeys. First, the journey of the Magi shows us that God is bigger than our ideas and theological frameworks about God. At first glance, it seems heretical to talk about pagan sorcerers seeking and worshipping Jesus. They special-
ized in the supernatural—divination, magic and astrology—clearly violating Old Testament laws. Yet God spoke to them. As David Mathis writes, “We really should beware of having a narrower vision of who can come to Jesus than God does. We can be so prone to write off people like this, but God doesn’t. He draws. He woos.” Second, very simply, the journey of the Magi calls us to worship Jesus. They came to worship him. We should worship him. As we sing in the chorus of Angels from the Realms of Glory, “Come and worship, come and worship, worship Christ the new-born King.”
Journey of Terror: The Holy Family Flees to Egypt BY MAJOR WIL BROWN-RATCLIFFE
e is jolted awake. His heart is racing; his body drenched in sweat. He throws off the blanket. A frenzy of panic drives him—he must take those he loves and escape to safety before it is too late. On a moonlit night in August, Abdullah Kurdi, his wife and their two young sons, refugees from Syria, boarded a smuggler’s boat bound for Greece. Centuries before, in the dead of night, Joseph ben Jacob gathered Mary and the child Jesus, and fled to the safety of Egypt. The family, including Jesus the Messiah, were homeless. None of us can forget the nightmarish image that swept across the news of three-year-old Alan Kurdi lying face down on the beach, near the Turkish resort of Bodrum. It’s too hard to look at—we are compelled to turn off the TV, to turn the page.
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In the past few months, countries in Europe have been forced to respond to the tsunami of refugees spilling over their borders, and have found that they’re ill-prepared to cope with the influx of humanity and their needs. In North America, we are able to distance ourselves from the crisis across the ocean, but to do so puts our integrity as Christians at risk. “The Slaughter of the Innocents” is both a contemporary newspaper banner and a Scriptural narrative (see Matthew 2:13-18). The despotic and murderous Herod the Great (73-4 BCE) ordered the death of all the children in Bethlehem under two years of age in a paranoid attempt to obliterate any threat to his throne. Have you ever turned the page in a story to get past the parts that make you uncomfortable? The Nativity, for all its simplicity, was still harsh for Mary, Joseph and the infant Jesus. Our saccharine Christmas pageants—with shepherds in old housecoats and Magi wearing tinfoil crowns—show how disconnected we’ve become from reality. When was the last time you heard the flight to Egypt, when Jesus was a refugee, included as part of Advent readings? This Christmas season, as perhaps like none before, we are seeing the frantic escape of the Holy Family being replayed in real time, by real people. Our connection with Jesus has always been confirmed by the degree to which we identify with other people: “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40). The Holy Spirit engages our hearts and hands to interact with the biblical story, discern the lessons it holds for us, and act in ways that demonstrate we all belong to a global human family. How will you respond to help our brothers and sisters who have nowhere else to run?
Journey of Love: From Heaven to Earth By LIEUTENANT KRISTEN JACKSON-DOCKERAY
e was a defenceless baby lying on some itchy straw, watched by cattle. The first breath that filled his lungs was diffused with the overwhelming stench of animal dung. Small and dirty, Jesus was God’s answer to changing the world. God became a 18 December 2015 Salvationist
baby. The Word of God became flesh. The God of the universe came down and moved into the neighbourhood (see John 1:14). The divine way, it turns out, is a downward way. This baby lying in the itchy manger-crib is not what was expected. The people were waiting for a mighty Messiah; instead they got a baby refugee. They were hoping for a powerful warrior to take over Rome; instead they got a wandering homeless man. He could have saved the world through his mighty power, but he didn’t. Instead, he saved the world through his unreserved submission to the way of downward mobility. God saved the world by committing himself to the downward pull. And it is in this downward pull that we find the power of God. Jesus moved from power to powerlessness, from greatness to smallness, from success to failure, from strength to weakness, from glory to condemnation. This voluntary, self-emptying of power, status and security is a profoundly countercultural message. In a world driven by a pervasive need to gain power on our way to the top, the story of salvation stands in contrast to upward mobility. “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Not when we have figured everything out, not when we are successful, but when we acknowledge our need for God’s grace. When we acknowledge our brokenness. That’s the moment when God says, “Now that is something I can work with.” This downward way is the way of salvation. Downward mobility is the way of God. It is the way of Jesus. It is the way of the cross. It must also be our way as followers of Christ. We, too, must submit to the pull of downward mobility, to become the least, to join those who are at the bottom. The message of Christ in a manger is that the world is conquered through weakness, leastness and struggle. The king of heaven is found in an unclean stable. It is a surprising message and it is an unsettling challenge. In Jesus, God has come to dwell with us. God has shown up and wants to share in our story, even the parts that are the most painful. It is such a simple story—a baby born in unexpected circumstances. It is a divine story, where God resides in the smallness and powerlessness of a baby. It is a story that changed the world.
A Change for the Better
This series of leadership articles, offered by the Territorial Training and Education Council (TTEC), focuses on individuals who reflect The Salvation Army’s commitment to models of leadership that are collaborative, support innovation and achieve accountability. For this article, Major Mona Moore, assistant officer personnel secretary, spoke with Major Margaret McLeod, area commander, Prairie Division, about her experience with leading change.
hen Major Margaret McLeod was appointed to Weston Community Church in Winnipeg, it was time for change. The congregation was warm and welcoming, but there hadn’t been a leadership team in several years. Located in a low-income neighbourhood, the building also housed a community outreach program and a daycare centre. “Those three groups knew of each other, but they didn’t do a lot of communicating,” says Major McLeod. “I wanted to bring everyone to the table to cast a vision for moving forward together.” In Leading Change, John P. Kotter, a professor at Harvard Business School and world-renowned expert in business leadership, outlines an eight-step process for change management: 1. Create a sense of urgency 2. Build a guiding coalition 3. Form a strategic vision 4. Enlist a volunteer army 5. Enable action by removing barriers 6. Generate short-term wins 7. Sustain acceleration 8. Institute change It was clear that change was urgently needed at Weston. Major McLeod’s next
task was to develop leaders who could help guide the congregation in different areas—finance, hospitality, pastoral care, worship, youth and children. Many had not served in this way before, and needed coaching to become comfortable in their new roles. Once these “guiders” were established, Major McLeod asked each of them to dream about what they would like to see happen within their ministry. She posed the same question to the director of the daycare centre and the outreach program. “Then we all gathered to hear what everybody else was dreaming about,” she says. “It created a sense of energy and excitement—it was a new journey for everyone.” What came out of the meeting was the desire for a shared vision of ministry, a way to bring all of the separate programs together. “When the congregational members heard the others saying, ‘We want to be involved,’ the idea came that we could invite the families from the daycare and outreach program to a Christmas service,” says Major McLeod. Rather than a
traditional service, they focused on the symbols of Christmas to introduce the message of Jesus in an approachable way. The community ministry workers were also interested to hear about the Partners in Mission campaign, and participate in raising funds and awareness. “The employees were encouraged by the fact that they were welcomed in, not just Monday to Friday, but they were seeing themselves as part of the bigger picture,” says Major McLeod. In turn, they passed on this vision of the bigger picture to the families they worked with, helping them understand there was more going on in the building than the daycare or outreach. And as the congregation listened to their concerns, they offered support. “For me, those were some of the shortterm wins,” says Major McLeod. “As we opened up communication between all three of those ministries, it led to a new sense of community.” There were challenges to overcome along the way, including limited finances and an undercurrent of doubt. “I had to try to rise above that, to be optimistic and focus on the positive,” says Major McLeod. She also opened the door to new ideas. “Someone put an idea on the table that I wasn’t sure would work. It wasn’t a bad idea, it just wasn’t my idea. But I said, ‘Let’s give it a shot.’ It didn’t work in the end, but I think it said, ‘She’s trusting us with an idea, I was heard.’ ” Major McLeod was appointed to Weston for a year, so she wasn’t able to see the outcome of all the steps toward change. The leadership team is still in place, although some of the members have moved on. “One of the ‘guiders’ stepped down, but found someone to take over,” Major McLeod says. “There are still dreams to dream at Weston, but I think the concept of ownership is anchored there now.” Salvationist December 2015 19
Illustration: © JDawnlnk/iStock.com
Listening to each other can open the door to new ideas
shley has been in the fostercare system since she was three, when she and her siblings were removed from their home because of abuse. As she entered her teen years, her relationship with her foster mother became strained, and when tensions finally boiled over, Ashley suddenly found herself homeless, with nowhere to go. With the help of social services, she came to The Salvation Army’s Bethany Home in Saskatoon, unsure of her future. Having had no time to pack after her mother kicked her out, she spent her first days at Bethany wearing clothes she’d borrowed from her boyfriend. “I was really scared,” admits Ashley, who was 15 years old at the time. “I’m really shy when I meet new people, and then after a while I tend to be more open. But from my first day here, they made me feel so welcome. I was still nervous, but I didn’t feel like any danger was going to come to me.”
Bethany Home provides a stable and nurturing environment for teen girls in crisis
New Normal Since 1938, Bethany Home has offered teenage girls like Ashley short-term emergency housing. Under the direction of Major Lee-Anne Hoeft, the house has 10 private rooms, available for up to three months while a long-term placement is found. During that time, Bethany provides a place of safety and stability. The girls go to school, appointments with doctors and counsellors, after-school activities—all 20 December 2015 Salvationist
Close to Home Located on a quiet side street in Saskatoon, Bethany Home is unassuming; inside, it is warm and inviting. Upstairs, a living room with brightly coloured beanbag chairs gives the girls a place to watch TV or play video games; around the corner there’s a bank of computers for Internet access and homework. Dow n sta i rs, a d i n i ng room, with a spacious kitchen attached, provides a gathering place. That’s where you’ll find Melissa Friesen, who has been the cook at Bethany for the past eight years. Being there at meals and snack times gives Friesen a unique opportunity to get to know the residents. “They come to the kitchen to socialize, more than anything,” she says. “It depends what they went through that day—if they’re happy, they talk to me
BY KRISTIN OSTENSEN
things that would be considered “normal” for girls their age. Yet for many of them, it’s anything but. Referrals to Bethany Home come from family service workers, meaning that most of the girls are wards of the state. Sometimes they have been apprehended by the government, to remove them from an unsafe environment. Other times, the request comes from parents who ask the government to step into a difficult situation. Some of the teens have been missing, couch-surfing or living on the streets until they are found and taken to Bethany. Because of this, it’s not uncommon for girls to arrive with nothing, as Ashley did. “Getting them stable when they come through the doors is a huge part of their being here,” says Shanda Pollard, case manager. If a teen hasn’t been attending school, Bethany helps her begin again. If she is suffering from depression, and hasn’t been on medication or seen her counsellor in six months, Bethany assists her with getting the care she needs. “It usually takes about seven days, and then they’re settled into a routine here.”
Melissa Friesen cooks dinner at Bethany Home
about it. But sometimes they’ll come down and just complain about their day.” As the girls get to know the staff, they’re more willing to trust them and build relationships. “We want our girls to feel like they’re in a family environment here,” says Pollard. “We get kids who have been through abuse and they’re so shut down when they first get here,” says Shannon Johnson, who has worked at Bethany Home for the past 11 years. “But after two or three days of being here, they start opening up, they start trusting. They know that the staff have good intentions. We’re trying to help them out and make sure that they’re going to be OK.” “Shannon has been like a mom to me—nothing less,” says Ashley. “If I’m really happy and hyper and bouncing all over the place, she just goes with it and laughs with me. And if I’m having a terrible day, she’s always there, giving me hugs and if I need to cry, she’ll let me cry on her. She’s a really giving person.” Ashley has stayed at Bethany Home twice—most recently, for 10 weeks earlier this year. While her first stay was arranged by her worker, the second time—after another falling out with her foster mother—she called her worker and requested Bethany. “It was good—it felt like home for me,” she says about her second stay at Bethany. “I feel completely comfortable here, whether I’m staying or just visiting.” Circle of Safety Though Ashley is now in a supported independent living situation, she still carries a piece of Bethany with her wherever she goes. It’s a shoebox she made as part of the home’s art therapy class, which takes place once a week under the direction of Major David Holliday, chaplain for Saskatoon Community Services. Following a topic given to them by Major Holliday, the residents use a variety of mediums—from painting to drawing to clay—to express themselves. “I’m an art freak—I love painting and getting all messy like that,” says Ashley. “Art therapy was great, being able to sit down and have quiet and draw whatever comes to my mind.” As part of the therapy, each of the residents has an opportunity to talk about what they created in a “circle of safety.” “I was shy at first,” says Ashley. “I didn’t want to go up there and talk about
what I drew. But after you do it, it just feels right—you feel like you’re getting something off your chest.” The shoebox Ashley made is an inside-outside box. “On the outside, we made it look like how we think people see us, and then the inside was how we actually feel ourselves,” she explains. “The outside of my box was blue and purple because I’m normally shy—I always have my headphones in and, when I’m at school, I don’t talk to anyone. But if you actually get to know me, I’m this hyper person who never stops talking. The inside was all pink and green and had flowers.” As well as art therapy, Bethany offers spiritual care through activities such as short devotions after meals, and makes
Moving On Now in Grade 12, Ashley hopes to graduate this year and make her part-time job as a horse-riding instructor a full-time career. Helping the girls find stability and move forward with their lives is always the goal, notes Pollard, though defining success is difficult, as every situation and resident is unique. “If we get a girl in here and we know that she runs away a lot, getting her to stay here just for one night is a success,” says Pollard. “The first time she feels comfortable enough to come to my office and sit down and share what’s going on in her life—that’s huge.” Johnson remembers one teen who came to stay at Bethany Home after
Melissa Friesen, Shanda Pollard, Vienna Sawatzky and Shannon Johnson offer compassionate care to the residents of Bethany Home
other spiritual care available to them if requested. For the first time this year, residents had the opportunity to attend their own camp at The Salvation Army’s nearby Beaver Creek Camp. “We’ve always offered the girls the chance to go to one of the Army’s teen camps, but for a lot of them, that’s really out of their comfort zone,” says Pollard. “Our camp is non-threatening and it’s fun for them.” Ashley says she initially felt put off by some of the spiritual care aspects of staying at Bethany. “But then I came to realize that Major Holliday wasn’t trying to put it on us. He was putting it out there—like, you’re not alone. We’re all here for you, God’s here for you. Always believe in something.”
being heavily involved with gangs and drugs. “We asked her to remove her gang bandana, and she said, ‘If you take it from me, I’ll punch you in the face,’ ” she shares. “We let it go, but by the end of that day she had thrown it away, on her own. That showed me that she was going to respect the house, and we were going to make headway with her.” “We meet them where they’re at—not judging them, but accepting them for who they are at that moment in their life,” says Pollard. “And being The Salvation Army, we are different from other homes because we can tell them that somebody loves them. We can say, ‘God loves you.’ It’s a privilege to be able to share that with them.” Salvationist
December 2015 21
In Good Company Growing in intimacy with God through spiritual direction BY MAJOR DAVID IVANY The most important thing in your life is not what you do; it’s who you become. That’s what you will take into eternity.—Dallas Willard
Going Deeper Spiritual direction creates a structured opportunity for spiritual self-care, a space where, in the quiet stillness and company of another, we can grow in intimacy with God. It helps establish a healthy balance between being and doing. It nurtures a deeper spirituality, which can lead to inner freedom and loving service. Spiritual direction is for anyone who desires to deepen their relationship with God, for those in transition, for those seeking wisdom and discernment. It’s important to note that it is not therapy or counselling, although it is confidential. It is not authoritarian or controlling, although it does focus on the individual. Ancient Roots The roots of spiritual direction are found in the early church, when Christians retreated to the desert to find silence and solitude and meet with God. Others followed to seek out their counsel and wisdom. Since then, this ministry has traditionally been offered at monasteries and retreat centres. While once the domain of the Roman Catholic Church, 22 December 2015 Salvationist
Photo: © Susan Chiang/iStock.com
n our digital global village, we are constantly bombarded with information. It’s easy to get distracted by toys and gadgets, to chase after things without eternal value. Jesus said, “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” (Mark 8:36). We are spiritual beings, and we neglect our souls at our peril. So how do we combat the myriad “weapons of mass distraction”? How do we tend our souls? One way I have found helpful is to meet with a spiritual director, someone who helps me pay attention to what God is doing in my life. We are not as strong as we think we are; we need other people, we need someone to listen and understand us.
certified spiritual directors can now be found in most Protestant denominations. Companions on the Journey My spiritual directors have been companions on my spiritual journey. They have listened non-judgmentally. Through them, God has revealed what is most beautiful and valuable in me, allowed me to see the meaning of my inner pain, freed me to be reconciled to my past, and helped me accept my gifts and limits.
to pay attention to your soul, consider meeting with a trained spiritual director. They will share ways to nurture your relationship with God, from meditating on hymns, to quiet walks, to spiritual retreats. The accompanying refreshment is like a life-giving stream, glorifying God, benefitting others and enriching self. I leave you with the words of General Albert Orsborn, who has offered me spiritual direction through his poetry:
We are not as strong as we think we are; we need other people
Light, life and love are in that healing fountain, All I require to cleanse me and restore; Flow through my soul, redeem its desert places, And make a garden there for the Lord I adore.
Spiritual direction has been a gamechanger for me. My directors have helped me connect with my true purpose, potential and personhood in God. In turn, I have had the rich privilege of being God’s conduit in providing the same gift to others. To “listen” another soul into a condition of disclosure and discovery may be the greatest service that any human being ever performs for another. If God is calling you to go deeper,
Major David Ivany is territorial spiritual director and pastoral services officer.
• To obtain a list of spiritual directors in your area, contact Major David Ivany at firstname.lastname@example.org. • For those interested in this topic, Soul Keeping: Caring for the Most Important Part of You by John Ortberg is an excellent introduction.
Happy Holidays Is there a “war” on Christmas?
number of years ago, I was standing at a Salvation Army Christmas kettle in downtown Victoria. As people passed by and dropped change in the bucket, I greeted and thanked them. Sometimes I said, “Merry Christmas,” especially if the donor said it to me first. But most of the time, I went with a universal acknowledgment like “Happy Holidays.” As my shift ended and a staff member from my ministry unit took over, a man wearing a yarmulke dropped in a $20 bill. I thanked him and wished him a “Happy Hanukkah.” He smiled and said, “Merry Christmas.” The employee who came to relieve me seemed bewildered. I knew little about him except that he wanted to work for the Army because it was a Christian organization. As he looked at me, I sensed he was bristling about the last exchange. “Shouldn’t we be saying ‘Merry Christmas’?” he asked. “I mean, we are Christians, after all.” “Who was the greeting for?” I replied. He seemed confused by my question. It made sense to me. “When I wish someone a ‘Merry Christmas,’ I’m saying I hope they have a great Christmas celebration. It’s a neighbourly wish, not a creedal statement,” I told him. “So why would I wish someone a great Christmas when I have no reason to believe they even celebrate it? Is it to antagonize them? Is it to assert the primacy of my faith? Is that what peace and goodwill toward humanity look like?”
Perhaps it wasn’t fair of me to pepper him with questions, but I wanted him to think about the message he was sending. Over the last few years, we’ve heard a lot in the media about a supposed “war” on Christmas. The rhetoric claims that Christ is being pushed out of Christmas, and that this is part of a larger assault on our faith. We often retaliate by blitzing our social media pages with “I’m keeping Christ in Christmas” memes and warn everyone to prepare to hear “Merry Christmas,” whether they celebrate it or not. When you think about it, this whole notion of a war against Christmas (or even our faith for that matter) is kind of silly. It’s peddled by the media and those with a political agenda and we fall for it. Why? Because it appeals to our identity as a persecuted people. For many of us, our faith is built on the notion that to be a Christian is to be mistreated. I heard that message in Sunday school, training college and many times since then. Scripture verses, written to believers in a very different time and place, are taken out of context and applied to us. Being persecuted is seen as a validation of our faith. No wonder we want to see this devil behind every bush. But the fact of the matter is that Christians are more likely to encounter apathy than hostility in our society. If there is such a thing as a war on Christmas, it is likely because of our own doing rather than the efforts of those indifferent toward us. We bemoan the secularization of our religious holiday,
even while we participate in the rampant materialism that comes with it. We allow the deep meaning and message of Christmas to become muted by the crassness of consumerism. But Christmas is a perfect opportunity for Jesus’ subversive message of “others” to draw attention to our unhealthy selfobsession. The Christmas story, in the language of John’s Gospel, is about light coming into our dark world. The story of the Wise Men visiting Jesus reminds us that the light is for all people, not only the Jews, but Gentiles as well. The presence of the shepherds reminds us that the gospel is especially for the poor and marginalized. Jesus’ escape from the clutches of Herod conveys the message that political systems that oppress and exploit people do not have the final say. Christmas is about the advent of a new kingdom of justice and peace on earth. Does persecution happen to believers? Yes. Sometimes it is real and severe. But to pretend what we face in the West is equivalent to real hardship is insulting to those who truly hurt. Let’s stop the self-serving rhetoric of persecution and victimhood. Let us instead bring light into the dark corners of our world. Let’s care for the poor and suffering this month and in the days ahead. That is really keeping Christ in Christmas. Major Juan Burry is the executive director of Rotary Hospice House in Richmond, B.C. This is his last column and we are grateful for his contributions this year. Salvationist December 2015 23
Photo: © alphaspirit/iStock.com
BY MAJOR JUAN BURRY
TIES THAT BIND
Remembering Anita She was an addict and an advocate. She was loved BY MAJOR KATHIE CHIU
remember the day they brought Anita to The Caring Place in Maple Ridge, B.C., after she escaped her captor and rapist. Her gaunt face was all that showed as she lay wrapped in a blanket in the women’s dorm. She was an addict who was drawn to the streets, but the RCMP officer who came to take her statement treated her gently, and pursued her attacker with the full force of the law. He was later tried and convicted. I remember kneeling with her at the mercy seat as she gave her life to Christ. I watched her grow in faith, and make a decision to go into rehab and change the direction of her life. I remember when she asked to sing on the worship team. Her voice was raw and untrained, so we practised together. I placed her beside my daughter, Sarah, so she could follow her lead. Anita was tall and willowy and swayed to the music. I remember when she walked down the aisle to marry a great guy who obviously loved her with all his heart. And I remember dedicating her sweet baby, Shaylee, to the Lord. We watched her grow into a cute but shy girl with curly hair, who adored her mom. I remember the pride I felt when Anita came to work for us the first time. She wanted to give back—a common trait among recovered people. She was intelligent, articulate and had a big heart for those who were homeless and suffering from addiction. Eventually, she became a full-time employee. I remember saying goodbye in 2011 when I was assigned to a new posting. We cried, arms wrapped around each other, promising to keep in touch. I missed everyone I left behind, but Anita had a special place in my heart. I remember the phone call. Things weren’t going well. The marriage wasn’t working. Life is like that. Sometimes the floodgates open, letting in one disappointment or tragedy after another— medical issues, mental illness, loss, 24 December 2015 Salvationist
Anita (right), with Mjr Kathie Chiu’s daughter, Sarah, at a Salvation Army women’s camp in 2011
I’ll never forget the shock I felt when I heard Anita was gone, fatally injured in an accident grief—and we are overwhelmed. And when we hear trite statements, such as “God won’t give us more than we can handle,” we feel like failures. Sometimes we can’t handle it. Sometimes people give up. Sometimes people die. I’ll never forget the first time I saw her after her life began to unravel. The gaunt look on her face, the missing teeth. She lied to me, like addicts do. I knew it. She knew I knew it. I just hugged her and said I loved her. I asked her to come in and get help. Every time I returned to visit, I saw her falling further into the past. I prayed for her. I prayed for the staff at The Caring Place who were reaching out
to her. But even in addiction, after losing everything, she was still taking care of others, advocating for the homeless in her community. I’ll never forget the shock I felt when I heard she was gone, fatally injured in an accident. Her mother and sister made the difficult decision to take her off life support. My husband and I led the memorial service. We sang her favourite worship songs, and friends and family shared stories. They remembered her as a child and talked about her straight-up character, sense of humour and the way she loved her children, family and friends. And they loved her, no matter what happened in her life. More importantly, God loved Anita. Just because someone makes a bad choice, or gives up, or can’t face life, doesn’t mean that he stops loving them. God loves us with an everlasting love— even when we can’t love ourselves. I will never forget Anita. I know we will see each other again. Major Kathie Chiu is the corps officer at Richmond Community Church, B.C.
Photo: © Nejron Photo/stock.Adobe.com
interpretations and challenges viewers about what they think. It’s comfortable with ambiguity; it’s not black and white; it’s not pushing one answer. Some Christians might take issue with your criticisms of faith-based films, noting that they encourage people in their faith. I know lots of people are going to be touched by these films and I’m not saying that nobody should see them. One of the questions I’m asking is, Who are these movies for? If they’re trying to reach people who are outside the church or Christianity, I don’t think they’re going to do that. I think we always need to engage critically with whatever’s presented to us. The Apostle Paul tells us that we need to test everything, whether it’s good or bad, and I’m not going to give a free pass to something just because it says it’s Christian. To be respected in the artistic world, Christian artists need to be good artists.
Faith and Film Michael Boyce reflects on the success of Christian movies and why good art matters
his September, a Christian film called War Room was number 1 at the box office, and has since gone on to become the top-grossing independent evangelical Christian movie ever in North America. Soon after the film’s release, associate editor Kristin Ostensen spoke to Michael Boyce, head of English and film studies at Booth University College in Winnipeg, about the popularity of such Christian films and why creativity is important. Why have War Room and films like it, such as God’s Not Dead and Courageous, been so successful? Evangelical Christians have become very savvy about marketing films. It started with The Passion of the Christ in 2004—the production company actually screened it early for pastors, and educated them about the importance of opening weekends and how box-office success relates to the longevity of a film in the theatre. Many Christians are looking for films that inspire and elevate their beliefs, while others are looking for alternative forms of entertainment that they don’t see in regular movies. Despite their success with audiences, these films have not been popular among critics. I think the reason that they’ve been panned is that most Christian films tend to be too didactic. They’re trying to get the audience to accept a certain world view, and so they sometimes function more like propaganda. The plots are predictable and the characters feel two-dimensional. Why is there this divide between Christian audiences and film critics? I think there has been a real suspicion within the Christian church toward art because art, at its best, is open to multiple
What are some key criteria you use when judging films? Broadly speaking, I look at story and technical skill. For example, in terms of story, did I expect the plot to go in that direction? Is it doing something new? Is the acting good? Are the characters fully realized? And in terms of the technical aspects of moviemaking, I ask questions like, How is it shot? How are the scenes composed? Has the filmmaker used distance and spatial relationships effectively? Can you give me some examples of films that meet your criteria, and would also appeal to Christians? The one that immediately comes to mind is Calvary. It’s a difficult film—it’s gritty and raw—but it’s brilliant and beautiful and I love it. It’s about a priest who is told in the confession booth that he is going to be killed in seven days because he is a good priest, and then it follows the next seven days and how he chooses to continue to engage and serve a community that doesn’t really respect him. It’s not a Focus-on-the-Familyfriendly film, but it asks challenging questions about the idea of the Christian life and what that means. You bring up a good point—I think there’s a lot of hesitancy around films that explore difficult themes, or include violence or sexual scenes. How can we approach films that may be good, but not familyfriendly? I think it can be helpful to watch those kinds of films in a community and dialogue afterward. If you watch something that upsets you, then you can talk about it. It’s an excellent way to engage in more difficult material. But it’s also important to know your own limitations—if you can’t handle swearing and violence, it probably won’t be fruitful for you to force yourself to watch things that are going to upset you. That might be more damaging. Why should Christians care about consuming and producing good art? I think art does something for the person responding to it and the person creating it. Creation is a deeply spiritual act. Christ is the Creator and, to me, as we emulate Christ and live as he lived, creativity is a part of that. Valuing creativity and honouring God, you should always try to consume the best the world has to offer. Salvationist
December 2015 25
It’s Not What You Think
Fanfare and Celebration for the Birth The Canadian Staff Band Just in time for the holiday season, the Canadian Staff Band has released a new Christmas album entitled Fanfare and Celebration for the Birth. It contains mostly newer arrangements, including first recordings of the title track, written especially for this recording by William Pitts; Christ’s Birth by Marcus Venables; and a new arrangement of the choral classic, In the Bleak Midwinter, by Len Ballantine. The album also features two traditional Canadian Christmas carols, Jesous Ahatonhia and Il Est Né. Euphonium, trombone and cornet solos are presented by Steve Pavey, Brendan Rawlins and Kevin Metcalf, respectively. With swing arrangements, haunting melodies and Hollywood-style overtures, this album has something for everyone. Fanfare and Celebration for the Birth will appeal to brass aficionados, who will appreciate the new music and superb playing, as well as those who simply love the sounds of the season. THE CANADIAN STAFF BAND OF THE SALVATION ARMY
BANDMASTER JOHN LAM
The One: Experience Jesus by Carlos Darby, Judah Smith, Charlotte Gambill, Carl Lentz and Gary Clarke We live in an increasingly visual world. With the explosion of sites such as Instagram and Pinterest, and apps such as Snapchat, the massive increase in the visual content we consume is changing the way we relate to the world and to information. Developed for this highly visual generation, The One: Experience Jesus uses powerful, full-colour images to tell the Christian story anew. The book also has a companion app, available for both iPhones and Android phones. Featuring articles and interviews, along with many photos, the book feels more like a magazine or even a coffee-table book than a traditional book. Photos dramatizing the creation story using modern visual styles, for example, offer a new window on a familiar story. The One also brings the Christian story into current language by using The Voice translation throughout. The One includes resources for personal reflection and growth, as well as in-depth group study discussion questions, but its strength lies in making faith personal through reallife stories about the transforming power of Jesus. Written in Q&A and article format, these stories offer a range of experiences from people around the globe—helping readers discover Jesus in a concrete way, and what his message means for day-to-day life. 26 December 2015 Salvationist
Why Christianity is about so much more than going to heaven when you die by Jefferson Bethke In the opening chapter of his new book, bestselling author and spoken-word artist Jefferson Bethke writes, “Christians have the greatest story ever told but we aren’t telling it.” He suggests that that’s because we’ve lost a sense of our primal identity as people created in the image of God. In a culture that continually strips humans of dignity, Bethke writes, we have to return to the understanding that we have inherent worth and value based on who made us, not what we do. Sweeping through both the Old and New Testaments, Bethke explores Christianity as a grand narrative with God at the centre. And in doing so, Bethke reminds readers of the life-changing message of Jesus that turned the world upsidedown—a world that God is putting back together.
IN THE NEWS Army at Sexpo to Demonstrate Dangers of Trafficking At a recent Sexpo event in Johannesburg, South Africa, The Salvation Army found a novel way to show people the dangerous realities of human trafficking—by posing as traffickers. As with previous years, the Army had a stall at the Sexpo, but this year, they divided their space in two: one cubicle for the Army and one for a fake energy drink, called Whipped, where professionally dressed representatives lured people in with the prospect of a glamourous, well-paying job, promoting the drink around the world. Hundreds of people signed up, handing over their personal information without realizing it was a scam. Within minutes of sharing their details, each person received a text message saying, “You have just become one of 21 million people to be lured into human trafficking through false job promises. The Salvation Army set up Whipped to show people how easy it is to become victims of human trafficking. Share your experience and help create awareness.” “Instead of telling people about the dangers of human trafficking like we have been doing at Sexpo over the past few years, we decided to do this social experiment to shock people into realizing the dangers,” Major Carin Holmes, public relations secretary, Southern Africa Territory, told the Saturday Star. “After all their reactions, we explain to them how easy it is to become victims of human trafficking and tell them of many other ruses, such as fake modelling agencies, soccer contracts and others.”
Photo: Courtesy of Saturday Star/ Paballo Thekiso
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MONTREAL—Seven senior soldiers are enrolled at Montreal Citadel by Col Eleanor Shepherd, CO. Front, from left, Anais Acevedo, Maria Leonor Ayluardo Troncoso, Julian Armando Gonzalez Rincon, Rocio del Pilar Parra Ochoa, Oscar Javier Rubiano Bernal, Angela Esperanza Hernandez and Alexandra Cucaita. Back, Garry Garland, holding the flag.
ST. JOHN’S, N.L.—Megan Andrews is enrolled as a senior soldier at St. John’s Citadel, supported by, from left, Tracy Mayo, youth director; Mjr Wilson Janes, Megan’s grandfather, holding the flag; and Mjr Valerie Wheeler, CO.
HORWOOD, N.L.—Commemorating the 110th anniversary of Horwood Corps are, from left, Mjrs Lorne and Ella Hiscock, COs; Tyler Hart; Olive Budden; and Comrs Lennie and Max Feener, guest leaders. RIGHT: Wendy Hart is enrolled as a senior soldier during anniversary celebrations.
GEORGETOWN, ONT.—From left, Brody and Chase Allen are the newest junior soldiers at Georgetown CC. Standing with them, from left, are their mother, Emily Allen, community ministry worker, and Mjrs Darrell and Lise Jackson, COs.
COBOURG, ONT.— Cpts Michael and Carolyn Simpson, COs, welcome Corrine Mueller-Leavitt as the newest senior soldier at Cobourg CC.
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December 2015 27
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ACTON, ONT.—Three staff members at the thrift store in Acton receive certificates in recognition of their faithful service. From left, Serena Blake, five years as a thrift store clerk/worker; Nancy Larose, six years as the thrift store manager; Heather Lambert, 25 years as the administrative secretary/bookkeeper for the thrift store and community and family services; and Mjr Rick Pollard, CO, Acton CC.
Majors Russell and Judith Holland were commissioned in the Ambassadors for Christ Session and retired October 1 following 26 years of ministry as officers. They feel blessed to have served all of their appointments in beautiful British Columbia, primarily in pastoral roles as corps officers, but more recently in community and family services in Vancouver. In 2001, Russ and Judy served on a mission trip to Zimbabwe and enjoyed working with the people there, seeing how little they had in material things, but how strong their faith was in God. In the aftermath of 9/11, they ministered at Ground Zero to the people helping out and affected there. A highlight of their officership was a life-changing trip to the Holy Land. Russ and Judy testify to God’s faithfulness in their lives and acknowledge that he has helped them to be humble, praying people in relationships with congregations, divisional staff, their families and whoever God put in their path. Russ’ life verse is: “In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:6). Judy claims: “Come near to God and he will come near to you” (James 4:8).
ST. ANTHONY, N.L.—Celebrating the 105th anniversary of St. Anthony Corps are, from left, Mjrs Dinzel and Kathleen Baggs, COs; Effie McLean; Tyler Snyder; and Mjr John Goulding, DSPRD, N.L. Div, and Mjr Donna Goulding, guest leaders.
WESLEYVILLE, N.L.—New Wes Valley Corps launches a community care ministries group under the leadership of their newly commissioned CCMS, Mjr Cassie Kean. From left, Mjr Kean; Cyril Tucker; Lt Anne Holden, then CO; Ann Sturge; Jean Best; Beatrice Knee; ACSM Donald Barbour; HLS Cheryl Barbour; Gladys Vivian; Eva Tucker; Youland Vivian; CSM Donna Keats; Susie Fifield; Olga Brown; Jennifer Sturge; Marjorie Pender; Naomi Rowbottom; Louise Kelloway; and Lt Randy Holden, then CO. 28 December 2015 Salvationist
TERRITORIAL Appointments: Cpt Matt Sheils, divisional secretary for spiritual life development, Que. Div (additional responsibility); Cpt Elizabeth Nelson, personnel officer, CFOT, Winnipeg (pro tem); Mjr Rita Pittman, divisional secretary for spiritual life development, Bermuda Div (designation change) Accepted as auxiliary-captains: Carlos/Eva Galvez Retirements: Mjrs Russell/Judith Holland, Mjr Marie Osborne Promoted to glory: Mjr Elaine Perry, from Innisfil, Ont., Sep 15; Mrs. Lt-Col Bessie Hamilton, from London, Ont., Sep 22; Mjr Barbara Gower, from Georgian Bay, Ont., Oct 12; Cpt William Patterson, from Belleville, Ont., Oct 16; Lt-Col Hubert (Hugh) Tilley, from Toronto, Oct 17
CALENDAR Commissioner Susan McMillan: Dec 10 annual Christmas chapel service, Maxwell Meighen Centre, Toronto; Dec 12 Christmas With The Salvation Army, Roy Thomson Hall, Toronto; Dec 19 Christmas celebration service, Hamilton Laotian Corps, Ont; Dec 27 Korean CC, Toronto Colonels Mark and Sharon Tillsley: Dec 5 Santa Shuffle, Toronto; Dec 6 Mississauga Temple CC, Ont.; Dec 8 Hope in the City Breakfast, Vancouver; Dec 12 Christmas With The Salvation Army, Roy Thomson Hall, Toronto; Dec 13 North York Temple, Toronto, and Northridge CC’s Carols of Celebration, Newmarket Theatre, Ont. Canadian Staff Band: Dec 5 Toronto Star Christmas carol concerts, St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Toronto, and concert with Northern Lights Chorus, Metropolitan United Church, Toronto; Dec 9 concert with Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, Yorkminster Park Baptist Church, Toronto; Dec 12 Christmas With The Salvation Army, Roy Thomson Hall, Toronto
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PEOPLE & PLACES
TRIBUTES GREEN VALLEY, ONT.—Ernest Douglas Vickerman was born in 1937 in St. Thomas, Ont., and raised in The Salvation Army there. Encouraged to play a brass instrument by his grandfather, Ernie mastered the euphonium. He worked for CN rail for 45 years, in St. Thomas, London, Ont., Toronto and Montreal. Ernie was a founding member of the re-formed Canadian Staff Band, served as bandmaster at Montreal Citadel and was an integral part of music camps at Lac l’Achigan. He married Vera Williams in 1960, and their daughter, Karen, was always a joy to them. In 1983, Vera lost her battle with cancer. Ernie met Margaret Anne McKnight, also widowed, and they married in 1985. Ernie moved to Westview Bible Church and led the music program and children’s ministry. For the last nine years, he was the worship leader at Faith Community Bible Church. Ernie maintained ties with The Salvation Army, occasionally playing with Montreal Citadel Band, and as a member of Legacy Brass. He is missed by his wife, Margaret Anne McKnight-Vickerman (nee Ralston); mother-in-law, Iva Ralston; children Karen (Scott Gross), Alana (Steve Schmidt), Alison (John Nix), Verna (Grant O’Donnell), Jason McKnight (Susan) and Jared McKnight (Tanya); and 14 grandchildren.
MISSISSAUGA, ONT.—Mrs. Captain Mildred Udell was born in Dollard, Sask., in 1917, and relocated with her family to Grand Prairie, Alta., in 1929. Mildred was invited to The Salvation Army in Grand Prairie where she accepted Christ and was enrolled as a senior soldier. She moved to Toronto in 1937, where she met her husband, Bill, in 1939, at Yorkville Corps. They married in 1940, and in 1949, moved their young family to Huntsville, Ont., where Mildred taught Sunday school and was the home league secretary. In 1966, Mildred and Bill answered the call to officership and served in corps in Ontario and Cape Breton Island, N.S. Retiring from Smiths Falls Corps, Ont., in 1982, Mildred and Bill moved to Toronto where they attended Lakeshore Community Church. Mildred served as the corps secretary, league of mercy secretary and over-60 club treasurer, and enjoyed beating the drum. She greeted everyone with a smile and made them feel welcome at her church. In the last couple of years of her life, she often attended Mississauga’s Erin Mills Corps where she was loved and respected by all. Mildred is survived and fondly remembered by her children Bob (Joan) and Elaine, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
ST. JOHN’S, N.L.—Nathan Osmond was promoted to glory lovingly surrounded by his family and best friend, Carl Alcock. Born to Nathan and Lucretia Osmond in St. John’s in 1919, he accepted the Lord as a very young boy and became a faithful, lifelong Salvationist. The Salvation Army was a huge part of his life. Nathan became a member of the band in 1936 at Adelaide Street Citadel, now St. John’s Citadel, and played for more than 60 years. Throughout the years, he served as songster leader, band sergeant, deputy bandmaster and bandmaster. Following his retirement, Nathan spent winters in St. Petersburg, Florida, where he continued to play in the senior band and volunteer for the Red Shield Campaign. Nathan married the love of his life, Lucy Collins, in 1941, and was a devoted husband until her passing in 2010. Remembered for his quiet witness and as an inspiration to all who knew him, Nathan will be forever missed by his son, David (Marcella); daughter, Renée Osmond, with whom he resided; three grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; brother, Doug Osmond (Phoebe); brother-in-law, Doug Collins (Vera); best friends Carl (Hilda) Alcock and Pearl Oakley.
GANDER, N.L.—Ivy Melvina (Saunders) Wells was born in Hare Bay, N.L., in 1930. Ivy married Theophilus Wells Jr. (Theo) in 1951. She was active in the Hare Bay Corps as a Sunday school teacher, cradle roll sergeant and member of the home league. In 1984, Ivy and Theo moved to Wetaskiwin, Alta., to be close to her son, Kevin, and her grandchildren. While in Alberta, Ivy became involved in the Wetaskiwin Corps, serving with the women’s ministry and teaching Sunday school. When her health started declining in 2011, Ivy and Theo moved to Gander, N.L., from where she was promoted to glory. Ivy will be remembered by her large number of friends for her kindness, love of children and faith in her Lord whom she served for many years. Ivy leaves to mourn her husband of 64 years, Theo; son, Kevin (Marion); grandchildren Stacey (Andy Gainsforth), Tonda (Stephen Costa) and Jandra (Michael Swampy); great-grandchildren Tyson, Sydney and Bella; brother, Wilson (Blanche); sisters Maxine and Marilyn (Gordon Lee); and special family friend, Dora Collins.
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December 2015 29
My Damascus Encounter As a teenager, I looked for trouble. But God was looking for me BY VALÉRY NABI
was born in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, in West Africa—one of the poorest countries in the world. My parents were of modest means, but we always had something to eat and a roof over our heads. I was the second of three boys, and the one that always caused trouble. During my teen years, I had a great deal of anger in me and loved to fight. I got into mischief with a bunch of friends from my neighbourhood. Once, when some kids threatened us, I was so angry that I went home to fetch a kitchen knife to fight them. I took some pleasure in that lifestyle, but when I found myself alone in my bedroom, I felt uneasy and empty. I was afraid of many things, especially of dying. I was born into a Christian family and we went to church every Sunday, but for me it was a place to meet friends and spend time outside the home. Still, I thought following the religious rules protected me, that I was saved. My father registered me in a group of young Christians whose mandate was to make disciples and act as witnesses. I agreed to join the group because I knew some of the members, and especially because the group was making mission trips and I was interested in travelling. A few months later, one of my uncles signed me up for a youth camp, without my consent. I was furious, but God was waiting for me like Saul on the road to Damascus. One evening, during a discussion about death and eternity, I was convicted by the thought that if I were to 30 December 2015 Salvationist
Valéry Nabi, director of community and family services in Montreal, with his wife, Nicole, and children Priscille and Jérémy
die that day, I would not be with God. I repented, confessed my sins and put my faith in the accomplished work of Christ. The Holy Spirit filled my heart and I went home a changed person. My family and friends noticed a difference in my life at all levels. I even stopped abusing people verbally, which had almost become my trademark. I gave up violence and started to have compassion for people. You can’t meet Christ and remain the same. Since my rebirth, I have experienced two extraordinary things: the power of prayer and God’s direction. When I returned from the youth camp, all I wanted to do was pray and talk to God, my Father. I learned that the prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective, and if we do not receive, it is because we did not ask. And I started to see my prayers being answered, in all aspects of my life.
When my wife was pregnant with our second child, a test revealed that one of the baby’s kidneys was larger than the other one. The doctor said we wouldn’t know the extent of the situation until week 32 of the pregnancy. We have a family history of kidney problems, so we began to pray. We persevered until an ultrasound showed that the kidney was normal. God answers prayer. In 2001, I experienced God’s direction when I came to Canada to pursue my education. I didn’t know what program to take, but God guided me toward accounting sciences. After working for another non-profit organization, God opened the door to The Salvation Army. This was not just a job, but a way to minister. Today, I am the director of community and family services in Montreal, and, as I like to say, accounting is my profession but the Army is my vocation.
Christmastime is here! And so are the Christmas issues of Faith & Friends, Foi & Vie (French version of Faith & Friends) and Just for Kids. Each copy contains the biblical account of the first Christmas and stories that tell of God’s love in the lives of real people. Make these magazines part of your Christmas outreach this year: • Give them away at the Christmas kettles • Place copies in food hampers and toy bags • Distribute copies to those who attend outreach dinners • Greet people who attend your carol service with a publication • Pass them out at your local Santa Claus parade
All pre-ordered copies of the Christmas issues are now in ministry units across the territory. Contact your local kettle co-ordinator or corps officer to receive copies to share this season. Additional copies are available from the editorial department while supplies last. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 416-422-6119 for details.
For address changes or subscription information contact (416) 422-6119 or email@example.com. Allow 4-6 weeks for changes. PM 40064794