Salvationist + Faith & Friends December 2020

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How to Share Advent With Your Kids

Kettle Worker Safety During COVID-19

Catching Up With Officers in Singapore


December 2020

Peace on Earth at Christmas

December 2020 • Volume 15, Number 12


DEPARTMENTS 5 Inbox 7 Frontlines 14 Not Called? Something Better by Ken Ramstead

Budding Musicians Praise Montreal’s Blast of Brass

How Churches Can Overcome Loneliness With Friendship

Taking the Temperature: COVID-19 and Kids’ Health

Introducing the Territory’s Gender Equity Advocate


November 2020

Territory Releases New Vision

19 Corps Values

26 Cross Culture FEATURES 10 A People of Peace

4 Editorial Christmas, Quarantined by Geoff Moulton

11 Onward

We are called children of God when we are peacemakers, peace-bringers and peacebuilders. by General Brian Peddle

12 Rereading Christmas Discovering the Nativity through Middle Eastern eyes. by Captain Laura Van Schaick

The Light Has Come by Commissioner Floyd Tidd

15 Forward Thinking

24 Family Matters The Reason for the Season by Captain Bhreagh Rowe

25 Viewpoint

Season two of the Salvationist podcast highlights ministry during COVID-19. Compiled by Leigha Vegh

18 Ring, Christmas Bells

Unwelcome by Darryn Oldford

How The Salvation Army is keeping volunteers safe during COVID-19.


Invisible Chains: The Fight Against Human Trafficking

Why Are Single Women Leaving the Church?


September 2020



Northern Exposure From recovery to reclaiming his Indigenous identity, Cameron Eggie is growing in leadership in Fort St. John


Serving in Singapore Interview with Captains Leonard Heng and Peck Ee Wong


Salvationists from a variety of backgrounds share personal stories and views on diversity

20 Global Focus

27 People & Places

Pastoral Care and Medical Assistance in Dying

Messengers of Reconciliation Welcomed in Virtual Ceremony



Statement is the culmination of extensive consultation, collaboration and prayer

A Treasured Opportunity Interview with Majors Brian and Deborah Coles

What Does Worship in a Pandemic Look Like?

October 2020

Did you know that you can find free back issues of Salvationist and Faith & Friends magazines at the website? Catch up on all the Salvation Army news and features on your tablet or desktop. Also available on the Territorial Archives section of is a searchable record of every War Cry dating back to 1884. Visit Cover: chuwy/DigitalVision Vectors via Getty Images



Delivering Joy


Army Helps


Faith&Friends I N S P I R AT I O N F O R L I V I N G


22 Virtual Ventures The pandemic shutdown didn’t stop The Salvation Army in Winnipeg from connecting with adults with intellectual disabilities. by Giselle Randall

30 Becoming a Better Chioma Pathway of Hope graduate gains confidence after starting new life in Canada. by Christina Clapham


Salvationist  December 2020  3


Christmas, Quarantined


here’s no getting around it. Christmas will look very different this year. The dreaded second wave of coronavirus has forced many corps to stick to virtual services. Family gatherings will be much smaller as people huddle in their “bubbles” to avoid community spread of the virus. Our toy drives, hampers, kettles and other outreach activities all come with strict safety measures. Hopes are high for a vaccine, but even then, it will take time to get everyone to a safe level of immunity. Amid all this tumult, we can still choose to hear the voice of the angels that first Christmas: “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people” (Luke 2:10). Even though we may be physically distant, we still celebrate Emmanuel—Christ with us. We must not let our current situation steal our Christmas joy. It’s worth noting that the players in that first Christmas story were also isolated. Mary and Joseph were shuttled off to the dingy, dirty barn, since the inns were all full. The shepherds kept their lonely watch on the hillside. The Wise Men were preparing for their lengthy, solitary travel across treacherous and barren terrain. It was into a fractured, lonely world that the Christ Child came. Despite the turmoil in our world


is a monthly publication of The Salvation Army Canada and Bermuda Territory Brian Peddle General Commissioner Floyd Tidd Territorial Commander Lt-Colonel John P. Murray Secretary for Communications Geoff Moulton Editor-in-Chief and Literary Secretary Giselle Randall Features Editor (416-467-3185) Pamela Richardson News Editor, Copy Editor and Production Co-ordinator (416-422-6112) Leigha Vegh Associate Editor and Staff Writer 4  December 2020  Salvationist

today, Commissioner Floyd Tidd reminds us that the Christmas message continues to be “peace on earth.” “This baby, wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger, would make peace more than a possibility,” he writes. “Peace was now a certainty” (page 11). General Brian Peddle agrees, noting that by keeping our focus upon God “we are able to experience the peace of God in the storms of life and share that peace with others” (page 10).

Regardless of how you spend your Christmas holiday, I pray that you will know again the peace of Christ and the joy of knowing that God himself descended to earth as a humble babe of Bethlehem, for you and for me. GEOFF MOULTON EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

It was into a fractured, lonely world that the Christ Child came. Elsewhere in this issue of Salvationist, Captain Laura Van Schaick challenges our traditional understanding of the Christmas narrative (page 12), helping us see it through a Middle Eastern lens. And Salvationist Darryn Oldford encourages the church to make room for outsiders so that, like the holy family, people don’t get left out in the cold.

Brandon Laird Senior Graphic Designer Hannah Saley Digital Media Specialist Ada Leung Circulation Co-ordinator Ken Ramstead Contributor Agreement No. 40064794, ISSN 1718-5769. Member, The Canadian Christian Communicators Association. 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.


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: 416-422-6217; email:


Inquire by email for rates at

News, Events and Submissions Editorial lead time is seven weeks prior to an issue’s publication date. No responsibility is assumed to publish, preserve or return unsolicited material. Write to or Salvationist, 2 Overlea Blvd, Toronto ON M4H 1P4.


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.


The Anti-Racism Issue I’m happy to see the Army finally addressing inequality and racism Wonderfully Made in an open forum (“Wonderfully Made,” October 2020). It has been Y a long time in coming—more than 50 years in my lifetime L alone. I’m waiting to see how it is received and acted upon, as there are still many within our church boundaries who require education and acceptance of change. Thank you for taking on such a challenging social issue.

What’s in a Name?

Three things that deserve the label “Christian.”


ris t



Reflections from Salvationists on God’s one human race. COMPILED BY LEIGHA VEGH

ou only need to look at the daily headlines to see the unrest and injustice that still plagues society when it comes to racism. But change is happening, and The Salvation Army is positioned to respond through its ministries and in the life of the church to stand against racism. Our International Positional Statement states that racism is incompatible with the Christian conviction that all people are made in the image of God and are equal in value. The Salvation Army believes the world is enriched by a diversity of cultures and

ethnicities. We are committed to fight against racism wherever it is encountered. For this issue of Salvationist, we reached out to racialized people across the territory to hear their insights and lived experiences with the goal of helping us become more sensitive and inclusive. We want to celebrate the human race in all of its expressions, acknowledging we are all “fearfully and wonderfully made” in the image of God (see Psalm 139:14 and Genesis 1:27).

God’s Beautiful Garden


ike a beautiful garden that blossoms in the spring with flowers of different hues and fragrances, and the gentle welcome of a cool breeze, I am fearfully and wonderfully made. But, imagine being judged by the colour of your skin. Imagine being told to go back to your country. Imagine people thinking that you are uneducated, assuming you do not speak English or that you are poor because you look “different.” These are a few of the things that I have experienced as a young Black person. My name is Lladaneyah Gayle and I came to Canada from Jamaica in 2017 at the age of 10. As a youth, I experienced racism among my peers at school. I was asked if I was poor because I was born in a developing country. I was resented 10 October 2020

as a Black girl for my exceptional performance abilities. My hair was touched in amazement because it was not straight. I was asked why I did not “just brush it” or if it looked that way because I didn’t wash it. I was asked if I was fatherless because the perception is that Black children are from broken homes. I was always seen as the “different” girl. My school wasn’t very diverse and with that came added struggles. In the past, I had always loved and treated people the way I wanted to be treated. In Jamaica, a predominantly Black country, I had peers of different race, colour and status, and it never dawned on me that I was Black, or they were white, or of a different descent. Coming to Canada was my wake-up call to discrimination.

Out of the Box I thoroughly enjoyed this article (“What’s in a Name?” September 2020). I think people are sometimes so scared to examine W their assumptions about their faith that it’s easy to label things as “unchristian” so we can just dispense with the uncomfortable and justify ignoring it. God cannot be contained in a box—even a Christian box. God is much, much bigger than that. God speaks to and through humanity—not only Christians who have publicly professed their beliefs. VIEWPOINT

Lladaneyah Gayle is the co-founder of the Black Youth Empowerment program in the WindsorEssex community


hen I was little, you would usually see me with my nose in a book. While biographies and history books were fascinating, nothing sparked my imagination more than high fantasy. Heroes, adventure, magic—the more fantastical the world, the more interested I was. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis quickly became a favourite. And then came Harry Potter. I have no desire to revisit discussions that have been going on for the past 20 years. If you and your family do not feel comfortable reading the Harry Potter books, I won’t try to convince you otherwise. Still, the whole debate struck me as strange. Both the Harry Potter and Narnia books take place in a magical world, where good ultimately triumphs (spoiler alert) in the battle against evil. Narnia is an allegory, with direct parallels between Aslan and Jesus. One of the main themes of Harry Potter is that the only thing more powerful than evil is sacrificial love. Despite the overlap in moral teaching, The Chronicles of Narnia have been labelled “Christian fiction” while Harry Potter is considered secular. Perhaps it comes down to marketing, rather than an indictment of the content of these books. In my opinion, there are only three things we should ever label “Christian.” The first is people, those who have professed faith in Jesus and do their best to be a light to the world. The second is the church, which describes the believ26 September 2020

Shawn Washington-Purser

ers who gather and not necessarily the building we gather in. While sanctuaries should be treated with reverence, they are only holy places because that is where we choose to come together and worship God. The third and final thing is the Bible, which provides direction and teaching from the mouth of God. Labelling these three things alone as Christian is the only way to keep from watering down the meaning of the word. To be Christian means to confess Christ as Lord. Ascribing the label “Christian” to fantasy books or businesses does not sanctify anything, but rather markets a product in hopes you will buy it.

Ascribing the label “Christian” to fantasy books or businesses does not sanctify anything, but rather markets a product in hopes you will buy it.

There is no such thing as a Christian business. A business can be owned or operated by Christians, use Bible verses or Christian symbols on their packaging or pray for their customers, but if the end goal is financial profit, it is not a Christian enterprise. I am not saying businesses should ignore their faith—1 Corinthians 10:31 says plainly, “Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” What I am saying, however, is if it’s part of a marketing strategy to drum up support by paying

lip service to the Christian community, while underpaying staff, destroying the environment or giving little to charity, it’s not Christian. Additionally, there are businesses in the world today that are masquerading as churches. If the pastor of a megachurch is more concerned about private jets than poverty, it’s clear that the Bible and faith have become products they are trying to sell, and not God’s kingdom on earth. In Scripture, the only time we witness Jesus being angry was when he saw the money-changers in the temple. It wasn’t a momentary decision to flip over the tables and drive the animals out; he spent time beforehand fashioning a whip out of cords. If you have ever braided something by hand, you would know that this is a lengthy process, which would have given Jesus time to think, pray and possibly get angrier. While driving the dove sellers out, he said—or possibly yelled— “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!” (see John 2:16). While this anger is often attributed to the money-changers charging exorbitant fees, preventing some people from practising their faith, it seems clear to me, from the very words of Christ, that Christianity and exploitative economic systems are not supposed to mix. Labelling some fast-food restaurants as Christian because they put Bible verses on their wrapping paper has the added effect of pressuring Christians to eat there, because they are “on our side.” Keep the name “Christian” for the church, the Bible and people—and train people to seek out God in what they read and eat. God is too big to be confined to the pages of a fantasy book or a fast-food menu. Darryn Oldford is a senior soldier in Toronto.


Christine LeBlanc

In All Circumstances Giving thanks while facing hardship is a spiritual practice. BY DARRYN OLDFORD

doesn’t mean ignoring the bad; it means not ignoring the good. As someone who has battled depression and anxiety, I’ve learned a lot about resilience. Resilience doesn’t mean you don’t feel sad or fearful, but that you continue to do what needs to be done despite those feelings. It is a learned skill that only develops with time, practise and mindful awareness. The Bible is filled with stories of resilience, from the Jewish people leaving Egypt with Pharaoh’s army at their back, to Daniel continuing to pray regardless

Photo: fstop123/E+ via Getty Images

There is always something for which to be thankful ... It doesn’t mean ignoring the bad; it means not ignoring the good.


o say this year has been challenging is an understatement. There are, of course, the normal stressors of life. Bills need to be paid. Deadlines at work seem to pop out of nowhere. The polar ice caps continue to melt at an alarmingly high rate. All of this is stressful enough by itself, but now it is set against a backdrop of a global pandemic. I suspect 2020 will be known for years to come as the time when we collectively noticed our hair thinning from worry. Despite this, life continues, and we are expected to celebrate Thanksgiving. It’s been hard to get into a thankful mindset when it seems the world is falling apart. Many of us, myself included, know people who have been sick or died from COVID-19. As social distancing and isolation have become the norm, a lot of people have lost their jobs and face eviction. In Toronto, as in many places, it is expected that you wear a mask while in indoor public spaces and enclosed common areas. Everywhere you look there are reminders that we are living during a pandemic. As Thanksgiving approaches, there is every likelihood that friends and family may not be able to get together to share a meal, especially if someone is medically 22 October 2020

vulnerable. In summary, the world is a pretty dark place right now. It isn’t unreasonable to have difficulty finding things for which to be thankful. If you find yourself consumed with worry or feelings of dread, to the point where it impacts your life and ability to function, please seek out counselling and other mental health resources in your community. Being grateful is not the same thing as being joyful, but both are needed to be thankful. To me, gratitude is the absence of something, while joy is the presence of something. For instance, I’m grateful when I can eat and not feel the pangs of hunger. I’m joyful when the food in front of me is a cinnamon bun with cream cheese frosting. I’m thankful when I’m offered a cinnamon bun when I’m hungry. Similarly, you may be grateful that you aren’t lonely because you have friends, joyful because these friends bring laughter and fun into your life and thankful that your friends bring levity into your life when things look dark. While it’s often easier to feel gratitude than joy in life, especially when times are hard, there is always something for which to be thankful if you look for it. It

of religious persecution, to Esther facing death and deciding to speak out for her people. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says: “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” While it’s easy to give thanks when life is going our way, giving thanks while facing hardship is a spiritual practice that takes work. We can give thanks for the smallest things we might not usually even notice. One practice I’ve found helpful is writing down one positive thing that happens to me every day. It could be something small, such as there was a storm and my power stayed on, or something big, like I got a promotion at work. Even on the worst days, there’s always something for which to be thankful if we look hard enough. At the same time, if you can’t find something to be thankful for during so much turmoil, give yourself some grace. This practice isn’t meant to make you feel worse, but rather to help you notice how God provides, regardless of circumstance. This Thanksgiving may be different, but try to take time to find things that deserve thanksgiving. Know that with every step of faith you take, through good times in life and bad, God is with you. That is well worth celebrating and giving thanks for. Darryn Oldford is a senior soldier in Toronto.


A Spiritual Practice I’m thankful for Darryn Oldford’s article on practising gratitude (“In All Circumstances,” October 2020). I have so much on my mind lately that I’ve been neglecting this. I’ve been praying for help with the decisions I need to make, instead of noticing there are so many things for which to be grateful. Brian Jackson

God at Work Thanks for sharing these beautiful and empowering real-life stories (“Raising the Girl Child,” October 2020). It is great to see the work of The Salvation Army helping these girls to reach their potential in life. There are so many similar stories around the world. Blessings to all those people who work behind the scenes to make this possible. God is at work.

Lt-Col Brenda Murray, director of world missions, with students from The Salvation Army John Gowans Junior and Senior High School in Liberia

modation, regular, nutritious meals and a quality education. Today, Martha holds a master’s degree in social sciences and works for an NGO to empower underprivileged and physically disabled children. “I am so grateful to The Salvation Army,” she says. “They have always stood by my side.”

Raising the Girl Child Education is key to breaking the cycle of poverty. BY KATHY NGUYEN


hree years ago, 14-year-old Naomie could be found on the streets of Salala, a small town in Liberia, selling knick-knacks to earn money. “You will not go to school,” her stepmother said. “You’ll be earning money.” Her mother died five years earlier, and when her father remarried, Naomie’s education was halted. While her father was away for work, her stepmother forbade her to go to school, forcing her to make some income for the household through daily street vending. One day, a friend asked, “Have you ever heard of the Salvation Army John Gowans school?” Naomie visited the campus and told the staff her story, and that she wanted to go back to school. The Girl Child Around the world, 64 million girls are being forced to work—many of them entering the workforce by the age of nine. While there is a direct and proven correlation between education and the reduction of poverty, millions of girls aren’t receiving an education. Instead, 12 million girls are married before the age of 18 and 2.5 million girls under 16 give birth in developing countries every year. For these reasons, the United Nations declared October 11 as International Day

of the Girl Child—a day to celebrate girls everywhere, while acknowledging the challenges they face every day. The Salvation Army recognizes the severe gender gaps around the world, which is why education for girls is a top priority in overseas projects—because of this, we have seen girls from all walks of life break barriers and take charge of their futures. Martha, Bangladesh In a small informal settlement in Gopalganj, Bangladesh, a girl named Martha grew up in a desperately impoverished household. Her father was a daily labourer and couldn’t afford for her to attend school. Like many families in this area, they were near destitute and often struggled to have food on the table. For many children living in such poverty, they are expected to enter the workforce to help sustain the family. At the age of nine, Martha was able to escape this common trajectory through The Salvation Army’s Brighter Futures Children’s Sponsorship Program. This program allowed her to attend the Integrated Children’s Centre, a boarding school for orphaned and vulnerable girls and visually impaired boys. Through sponsorship, her school fees were paid and she received free accom-

Elizabeth, Kenya In a village in Kenya, a little girl named Elizabeth was drawing near her time for marriage. Kenya has the 20th-highest number of child brides in the world—a practice sustained by tradition, gender inequality and poverty. Her father didn’t want Elizabeth to be married at such a young age, but the family was under intense financial pressure. For many families in the developing world, child marriage is seen as the only option to ease financial burdens. Despite his misgivings, marriage seemed like the only option at the time— until he found a local Salvation Army school. He told their story and Elizabeth became a recipient of sponsorship. With school fees paid for, she didn’t have to become a bride. Instead, she became a student. Today, Elizabeth is the principal for The Salvation Army Likoni School for the Blind, empowering children with albinism and visual impairments. Breaking the Cycle For decades, The Salvation Army has helped to uplift girls and amplify their voices. For many girls and successful women around the world, the Army has played an integral part in their journey. Education has given them the chance to break the cycle of poverty. With just a book and a pen, many of these girls grow up to empower others. Three years ago, Naomie was selling knick-knacks on the streets. Today, she is 17 years old and about to embark on her senior year of high school. Her story is only just beginning, but the future looks bright. Kathy Nguyen is the resource media co-ordinator in the world missions department. Salvationist

October 2020


I wholeheartedly agree, Darryn. My biggest pet peeve about this issue is in the labelling of “Christian” music. I couldn’t, and still can’t, get much out of listening to most modern “Christian” music. I won’t go into a lengthy list of reasons why. The music that speaks to me and to the issues happening in me and around me would definitely not be described as “Christian” music. But that’s OK. It’s about finding God where he is, rather than where we’re told he might be. Major Juan Burry

Serving Singles Let’s remove gender bias from this (“All the Single Ladies,” September 2020). The million-dollar question is, what does your corps do to serve the unique needs of the single adults in your corps/church? We don’t need dating advice, or to be relied on to serve. I think churches could do way more to serve the singles.


Photo: Win/


All the Single Ladies Why are women leaving the church at alarmingly high rates? BY CAPTAIN LAURA VAN SCHAICK


atie Gaddini is senior teaching fellow at University College London and affiliated researcher at Cambridge University’s department of sociology. After studying single evangelical women for the past five years, she discovered that, in the United Kingdom, single women are the most likely group to leave the church. Numbers in the United States tell a similar story, as they most likely would in Canada and Bermuda. But why are they leaving? Gaddini indicates that many single Christian women are leaving because they are, well, single. The evangelical church has long exhorted that marriage is God’s design for humankind. The family unit and Christian family values have been promoted and even idolized. Single women are weighed down with questions of “Are you dating anyone?” or “When are you going to settle down and get married?” like it’s a requirement or, at the very least, an expectation. As someone who “settled down” early in life, I’ve been guilty of asking these questions and was confronted about it by a friend. I am thankful for her honesty and have committed to changing my views and words, but this verbiage is still prevalent in

Christian circles and damaging to singles. For Christian women who want to marry, many struggle to find a spouse who shares their Christian faith. The odds don’t work in their favour, with most churches seeing as much as a 4-1 ratio of women to men. At times, the dating competition is enough to push some away. For those who do not want to pursue marriage, even greater exclusions can apply as they continue to feel left out of church programs that revolve primarily around the nuclear family. As young adults, they find themselves grouped with much younger unmarried youth. As they age, many feel expected to fill the role of compulsory childcare provider because they do not have children of their own. The result can be isolating, to say the least. What’s more, single women often reported their voices not being respected in church discussions. Gaddini shares that the word “intimidating” came up often in her interviews with single Christian women as they told her of accusations that had been launched at those who were career-focused rather than family-focused. Many felt that marriage afforded women a certain authority and acceptance within

the church that they otherwise lacked, and this affected their ability to contribute to the church community at a level beyond that of front-line service roles. But by far the most overwhelming factor that Gaddini found causing single women to leave the church is sex. Single women reported struggling with the church’s messaging regarding sexual purity and its unwillingness to discuss human sexuality at its most basic level. Those in their 30s and 40s are too old to relate to messaging regarding abstinence targeted at teens, while messages about intimacy aimed at married couples also don’t resonate. And in mixed-gender settings, some were even accused of being a temptation to the married men present. It’s no wonder single women find it difficult to stay in the church. And while some do—much of Gaddini’s research focused on the courage and strength it took for single Christian women to stay connected to the church—it should raise questions about what the church can do to ensure that everyone feels loved, welcomed and accepted, regardless of marital status. While the Old Testament views marriage as the solution to loneliness (see Genesis 2:18, 24), the New Testament shifts this. It views the church, rather than marriage, as the primary place where human love is best expressed and experienced. Jesus indicated that there is no greater love than sacrificial love toward a friend (see John 15:13). Thus, the answer to belonging is not marriage but the church community that God has called into being, with Jesus as the head, led by the Spirit and marked by mutual, sacrificial love between its members. Loving our single sisters may involve sacrifice. It may involve a shift in our worldview, programs and messages we deliver from the pulpit to ensure our gatherings and language are more inclusive. It may involve engaging in conversation on difficult topics, welcoming singles’ voices and asking them how they can feel more respected. It will most definitely involve learning from our single sisters, asking forgiveness for past ignorance and reconciling broken relationships. If we do this, we will be acting like the church as Jesus intended it to be. Let’s ensure we are creating a safe space for the single women among us. Captain Laura Van Schaick is the divisional secretary for women’s ministries in the Ontario Division. Salvationist

September 2020


Donald Jefcoat

Eva Galvez

Wired World Whether we like it or not, we live in a digital world (“The Social Network,” September 2020). When William Booth founded the Army, I think he asked himself two questions: Where are the people, S and how can I reach them? He found the answers that worked back then, but they don’t really work today. The Army needs to be asking those same questions in today’s world, and perhaps social media is one of the answers. PERSPECTIVES

The Social Network Our media engagement should reflect our faith and values.

Illustration: pressureUA/iStock Editorial via Getty Images Plus


Social media is about sociology and psychology more than technology.—Brian Solis

ocial media is mainstream. People everywhere seem to be constantly connected to their smartphones and tablets as they check local news and weather while uploading photos and videos of their latest adventures. We are a deeply interconnected world thanks to social media and I believe that’s a good thing. The world has become smaller as we share information, learn about new people, places and cultures, and engage with those on the other side of the world in real time. Indeed, every time my wife, Brenda, returns home from one of her overseas trips as the director of world missions, I receive new Facebook “friend” requests as people want to learn more about Brenda and her family. People want to connect with their communities, but they also want to expand their sphere of interest and influence, and today, there are myriad digital platforms to help people do just that. Founded in 2004, Facebook boasts more than 3.8 billion monthly users, 18 September 2020

with the largest followings in India and the United States. Other influential platforms include YouTube and WhatsApp, both citing two billion users, as well as Facebook Messenger and Instagram, with 1.3 billion and one billion users, respectively. And don’t forget Twitter, which enjoys strong engagement with more than 330 million users, sharing in excess of 500 million tweets every day. The sheer volume of content—photos, videos, instant messages and stories—is staggering. Instagram, which was created in October 2010 and is owned by Facebook, reports more than 500 million uploads a day worldwide. And more than 3.5 billion people, almost half the world’s population, are daily social media users, with 91 percent accessing their accounts via smartphones. Users spend an average of three hours every day uploading content and surfing sites. That said, I would be pleased to reduce my daily usage to just three hours, but then again, I am engaged in communications work. The 2010 blockbuster movie, The Social Network, tells the story of Harvard University student Mark Zuckerberg and the creation of Facebook—today, the larg-

est social media platform on the planet. It’s a fascinating film that unpacks the human dynamics in the establishment of the social media site, while foreshadowing the pitfalls and potential for negativity that we see today on many platforms. Social media has had a rapid and profound impact on culture and human behaviour since the advent of the earliest applications in the early 2000s. While we celebrate connecting, sharing and engaging, the medium has also allowed people to hide behind their screens and, in doing so, feel liberated to post unkind comments, share negative or racist tweets and bully others. This is especially problematic within elementary and high school settings. Over the past several years, we have witnessed a growing trend of negative political commentary, with all sides of the political spectrum tearing down their opponents. Recently, we witnessed the viral response to the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The civic unrest seen across the globe in response to Floyd’s death at the hands of police was fuelled by social media—photos, videos and commentary. But what does this all mean for you and me and The Salvation Army? Well, I believe we have a responsibility to engage and respond to ideas and opportunities, but with an added measure of grace, balance and civility. As a former leader and now good friend of mine once told me, “Always take the high road—you’ll never be sorry.” I think this is wise counsel as we consider engaging in “hot button” topics that flood our social media feeds daily. Think before you write. As Salvationists, we need to help set the standard for how we use social media, because everything we post reflects on us not only as individuals, but on the organization. Our social media engagement should reflect our faith and values. In the coming weeks, a new digital media policy will be shared across the territory, accompanied by a series of online workshops. We’re excited about our continued digital growth and engagement with our stakeholders and look forward to connecting with officers and employees as we seek to remain current, engaged and accountable in the world of digital media. Thanks for following us. Let’s stay connected. Lt-Colonel John P. Murray is the territorial secretary for communications.


Tom Ellwood

I have nothing but respect for Captain Laura Van Schaick and the work she does and her passion for women’s ministry. However, I’m sure that it would have been possible and more relevant for this article to have been written by someone who has a lived experience of singleness in the church (and in the Army in particular). The study she outlines is important and highlights some significant issues facing single women in the church. I appreciate the work she is putting into understanding this issue—there are not many who are willing or even give it a second thought—so I applaud her effort. But the last paragraph bothers me. Although I know beyond a shadow of a doubt it is not Laura’s intention, it comes across to me, as a single person, as condescending. Including single women in the life of the church should not be considered a sacrifice. The article mentions opening our ears to the voices of single women but doesn’t do that and instead speaks for us. Captain Jaclyn Wynne

Salvationist  December 2020  5


Captain Jaclyn, I have to agree with you on this. There is lots of merit in this article, but I also struggled to understand the line about sacrifice that you mentioned. Why is it a sacrifice? Also, if not written by a single woman, why not at least seek some input from the voices represented within our own territory? Captain Kristen Gray

I think there is sacrifice involved in some way any time we move away from “the way we’ve always done things.” That’s the way I view the intention of this phrasing, anyway. There is a huge disconnect in everything from church programming to considering one another in our daily lives, realizing that our lived experiences are distinct, and our needs are different. In order to begin recognizing this about one another requires humility and denying self to some extent. It’s a being human thing. As a single woman, I view this article with a measure of optimism as a start that perhaps will help remind or educate some people that this is a specific demographic with unmet needs within the church. For the thinking person, it should also trigger ideas about other closely related demographics with similar challenges. Donna Harris

Thank you to everyone who has read and commented on this article. The scope of feedback reinforces the need to continue this conversation. I’m doing my best to take a listening posture—we need the voices of single women to be heard. In the article, I tried to lean heavily on the research conducted by Gaddini to give voice to the single women who participated in the study and speak of their shared experience. We absolutely need to hear from single Salvationist women as well. To clarify my use of the word sacrifice: I apologize if it made anyone feel as though I thought it would be a hardship to be more inclusive. The exact opposite is true. I used the term to reference the culture of many evangelical churches, rather than my own personal stance. In this context, I think there is sacrifice involved in some way any time we move away from “the way we’ve always done things”—thanks to Donna Harris who correctly identified my intention for this wording. Sacrificing something for a better good isn’t a hardship at all but is a benefit to everyone. For those who have given testimony of your experience of singleness through the comment section, thank you for sharing your story and keeping the conversation going. I’m still listening and learning and repenting and growing. Captain Laura Van Schaick

Northern Exposure From recovery to reclaiming his Indigenous identity, Cameron Eggie is growing in Salvation Army leadership.

Photos: Hope Linzee Photography



ameron Eggie was a transitional housing caseworker at The Salvation Army’s Gateway of Hope in Langley, B.C., when the chaplain at the time, Major Henri Regamey, encouraged him to explore chaplaincy, and mentored him in the process. While completing a certificate in chaplaincy and spiritual care at Booth University College, Eggie was hired at Vancouver Harbour Light on the Downtown Eastside. “On my first day, Major Regamey introduced me to everyone,” says Eggie. “But he didn’t start with the staff—he took me outside to the food line. There were about 200-300 people standing in line for a meal, and he walked me through, shaking every single person’s hand.” As Eggie has grown in leadership within The Salvation Army, that introduction has stayed with him. “It really 8 September 2020


helped shape my idea of what The Salvation Army is all about,” says Eggie. “Beyond our programs and systems, we’re here for this long lunch line of people.” Today, Eggie is the executive director of the Army’s Northern Centre of Hope in Fort St. John, B.C., where he serves along with his wife, Tatjana. “The Salvation Army is an organization with the capacity and depth to help in so many different situations,” he says. “And it’s encouraging to know the community wants us here—it makes you want to do good work.” Downward Spiral Eggie is from Selkirk, Man., a small city just outside Winnipeg. Once a settlement of the Peguis First Nation, the government relocated the reserve about 175 kilometres north in 1907. Eggie’s great-grandfather was forced to choose

Cameron Eggie is the executive director of The Salvation Army’s Northern Centre of Hope in Fort St. John, B.C.

between losing his status, friends and cultural identity or moving to the distant reserve. He chose to stay. In the mid ’90s, Canada determined that the surrender of this land was invalid, and that restitution was necessary. While Eggie has status as a member of the Peguis First Nation, he didn’t grow up with a strong sense of his cultural heritage. “I was disconnected,” he says. “I didn’t have some of the same struggles as others my age whose families did move onto the reserve and I was told, ‘You’re a success.’ ” They lived in a low-income neighbourhood, and many of his friends were involved with drugs and alcohol. With

Leading by Example I found Cameron Eggie’s life story inspiring (“Northern Exposure,” September 2020). I hope you continue to meet people where they are in their lives. You are a blessing for individuals struggling with addiction because you have walked the same path and are able to identify what needs to change to empower them and offer hope in Jesus. Linea Nadine Smith

6  December 2020  Salvationist


Volunteer Services Launches New Website


he Canada and Bermuda Territory’s volunteer services has launched a new website on, paired with a fresh program identity titled “Behind the Shield.” The initiative is intended to encourage volunteer engagement and retention by building a strong feeling of community. “The presence of this identity is a constant reminder to all of us that our volunteers are not simply people on the periphery helping us out,” explains Alice Johansson, territorial manager, volunteer services. “They are individuals who stand proudly with us, behind the shield, transforming the lives of others as well as their own.” The goal of the initiative is to strengthen the identity and cohesion of volunteer services, while providing a platform to better track and analyze successes and areas for improvement. “Evolving how we acquire, manage, evaluate and retain our volunteers is how we improve our ability to better deliver our mission and help those in need,” says Johansson. The new website is designed to house all the information and resources associated with volunteer services for those who work internally. Here, ministry units and corps will also be able to access the most up-to-date material. For all of our volunteer resources, visit Interested in joining the movement of volunteers Behind the Shield? Visit to learn more.

Behind the Shield encourages a strong feeling of community for Salvation Army volunteers

CFOT Virtual Officership Information Weekend


he College for Officer Training (CFOT) in Winnipeg held its first-ever virtual Officership Information Weekend in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in October. Seventy-five delegates gathered using online conferencing under the theme "Kingdom Choices, Kingdom Impact" to engage with one another, listen to preaching and teaching, learn more about what officership means and explore life at CFOT. Saturday began with a lecture by Major Andrew Morgan, training principal, on the philosophy of a CFOT culture of honesty, integrity, transparency and accountability. The afternoon consisted of breakout sessions on various topics relating to the mission of The Salvation Army and understanding the call to officership. Later that evening, delegates took a virtual tour of CFOT and listened to a cadet and officer panel, which included Commissioner Floyd Tidd, territorial commander. The weekend concluded on Sunday morning with a holiness meeting, where Commissioner Tidd thanked the delegates for attending the weekend and asked four questions based on the experience of Abraham: Where am I going? When am I going? How is this possible? And why, God? The commissioner reminded the delegates that while there were no definitive answers, God gave an indication of the response that he required of Abraham as a man of faith. The right response is always to trust and obey. Delegates also gathered in divisional groups to share what they felt God was saying to them throughout the weekend, in a virtual greeting room moderated by Captain Joshua Downer, divisional youth secretary, British Columbia Division.

Government of Canada Provides $11.25 Million for Food Security


he Government of Canada, in partnership with Agri-Food Canada, provided $11.25 million to The Salvation Army in October. With the help of staff and volunteers, the donation was used to ensure Canadians across the territory who are experiencing food insecurity received safe, nutritious and culturally diverse meals. The Salvation Army was able to provide almost one million meals—more than 10 million pounds

of food—reaching over 200,000 households, and provided almost $600,000 in food store gift cards. Salvationist  December 2020  7


Crossroads Holds Grand Reopening Ceremony


socially distanced ribbon-cutting ceremony in October marked the grand reopening of The Salvation Army Crossroads Residential Centre in Saskatoon after a $1.7 million renovation. Elder Frank Badger from Mistawasis First Nation was invited to speak at the ceremony and bless the land Crossroads is on. “I am privileged to pray to our God of history, our God of today, asking his blessing on this new beginning,” he said in his address. The three-phase renovation began in summer 2019. The first phase included expanding the kitchen to be able to serve more meals to the community, shelter and halfway house. A new dining room was also constructed to double as a space for caseworkers and chaplains to meet with clients. The entrance to the building was then expanded for residents to meet with a chaplain or escape the cold. Phase two saw new accessible bedrooms and facilities, such as a lounge and educational room, built on the main floor for clients

with mobility issues. Another renovation during this phase was the installation of a new gazebo outside so residents could enjoy fresh air without having to stand on the street. The final phase included the construction of a new chapel for Sunday worship, which doubles as a multi-purpose room for activities. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it was also used as extra dining space so residents could physically distance while eating.

Other renovations included painting the exterior of the building and installing new outdoor light fixtures. The final touch was a new mural on the side of the building, painted by youth from the Saskatoon Community Youth Arts Programming, a city organization for youth employment engagement. A ribbon-cutting ceremony marks the grand reopening of Crossroads in Saskatoon

Foi & Vie Goes Digital

A A free yard sale welcomes Salvationists back from summer break

Free Yard Sale Helps Fredericton Community


he Salvation Army in Fredericton hosted a fun family Rally Day in October. The event, which welcomed Salvationists back from summer break, included a free yard sale. “The idea came from our desire to want to do more for our food bank clientele by providing another way for our church members to partner directly with us to help those we serve,” says Major Renee Dearing, corps officer, Fredericton Community Church. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, bagged lunches replaced the typical barbecue and children's event format. More than 1,200 items, which included an assortment of home goods, were also given out to 64 families. Those served came from all walks of life, such as individuals living on social assistance or a fixed income, seniors and people with disabilities. “The event gave hope and support by offering additional practical assistance to those who struggled in their time of greatest need,” explains Susan Strickland, community ministries co-ordinator. 8  December 2020  Salvationist

fter two decades of faithfully Foi&Vie serving Quebec Salvationists, the print edition of Foi & Vie will cease monthly publication with the December issue. The inspiring and entertaining content is not being lost, however. Instead, stories from Faith & Friends and Salvationist—as well as original and Salvation Army organizational Harry Read content—will be migrating online to in order to serve as many people in Quebec as possible, Francophones in other places in Canada such as Saskatchewan, Ontario and New Brunswick, and French-speaking Salvationists around the world. Advantages to the new online format include a much wider audience, with French content being available to the worldwide Salvation Army, the centralization of resources in one place, and the social aspect of having a corresponding Salutiste Facebook page where people can interact. Foi & Vie has been a labour of love for many, including former editor Marie-Michèle Roy and Serge Careau’s team of translators at the divisional headquarters in Montreal, a labour that has garnered numerous Canadian Christian Communicators Association (formerly the Canadian Church Press) awards. While it is the end of one chapter in the print area, it is the beginning of a new one in the digital realm. Mission au Costa Rica


Les erreurs du passé






International Salvation Army Launches Learning Pathways

Officers in the India Central Tty give the Salvation Army salute

Partners in Mission Self-Denial Campaign


hile COVID-19 shut down corps and congregations across the territory, the annual Partners in Mission campaign raised $1,703,137.39—an exceptional achievement during a worldwide pandemic. The money raised was sent to International Headquarters for distribution to territories in need, including the 131 countries where the Army operates. “The COVID-19 global pandemic quickly moved us into uncharted waters. Yet, amid these troubling times, we continue to stand together,” says Lt-Colonel Brenda Murray, director, international development. “We thank everyone for their efforts in supporting the international work of The Salvation Army.”


earning Pathways, an online certificate course for Salvationists passionate about engaging in their community, will be launched by International Headquarters (IHQ) early in the new year. The course offers certificate, diploma and degree-level content to help Salvationists deepen their understanding of community engagement, development and project management. Learning Pathways, which uses an integrated mission and faith-based facilitation approach by uniting theology and best practice, also includes practical skills for community engagement and support for course participants’ own personal development. Course materials are available in several languages in addition to English, such as French, Hindi, Portuguese and Swahili. “Community engagement is at the heart of what we do as The Salvation Army,” says Major Joan Münch, capacity development and resource consultant at IHQ. “This course takes us back to our roots and sends us out into the community, right where we need to be.”

School Nutrition Program Partners With Salvation Army


he Ontario School Nutrition Program partnered with The Salvation Army to hand out 1,200 boxes of fresh food items to eight locations across Ontario from April to August. “People in lowincome neighbourhoods needed assistance and we had the resources,” says Trevor McLellan, emergency disaster services (EDS) co-ordinator, Ontario Division. Every Friday, boxes of produce provided by the school nutrition program were delivered to The Salvation Army. The Salvation Army’s EDS trucks handed out the boxes of food, which included fresh items such as potatoes, lettuce, vegetables and fruit.

“Our most vulnerable community members knew that someone cared about what they were going through and that they weren’t alone,” says Heather

Fleming, vice principal at Rick Hansen Public School in Aurora, Ont. “We were happy to fill in the gap for children and families who may have gone hungry during this time of crisis,” says McLennan.

Salvation Army staff serve fresh food from an EDS truck

Salvationist  December 2020  9

A People of Peace We are called children of God when we are peacemakers, peace-bringers and peacebuilders. BY GENERAL BRIAN PEDDLE

Illustration: chuwy/DigitalVision Vectors via Getty Images


he year 2020 has been unique, interesting and challenging. We have lived through a global pandemic, the ramifications of which continue to impact our lives. We have witnessed the best of humanity as communities came together and helped to care for the vulnerable and those who needed to shield. We have seen the worst of humanity as racism cost lives and led to violent protests by demonstrators from varying viewpoints. All of this has combined to both exhilarate and exhaust us throughout this year. It is into our messed-up, complex, ever-changing, uncertain and perplexing world that Jesus comes as the Prince of Peace. Jesus was familiar with prejudice, oppressive political regimes, institutionalized religion and suffering. So, although the man Jesus lived 2,000 years ago, his words still have relevance because he, as the Son of God, has an eternal perspective. So, what did Jesus teach us about peace? In the Sermon on the Mount, as he began his teaching ministry, Jesus said: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9). Then, in preparing his disciples for his departure and the arrival of the promised Holy Spirit, Jesus says: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27). 10  December 2020  Salvationist

This is the same Jesus who spoke to the wind and waves, saying, “Peace, be still!” (Mark 4:39 KJV). To the woman who anointed his feet at Simon’s house, Jesus said, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace” (Luke 7:50). After explaining many things to his disciples, Jesus said,

“We are able to experience the peace of God in the storms of life and share that peace with others.” –General Brian Peddle

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Peace distinguishes the earthly existence of Jesus. In announcing his birth, the angels declared, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests” (Luke 2:14). As Jesus appeared to his followers after the Resurrection he would declare: “Peace be with you!” (John 20:21). If Jesus was so intent on sharing the peace of God with others, we must do the

same, but we cannot share with others what we do not first have for ourselves. Consequently, we need to ensure we are living in relationship with God and receive his peace that is beyond our understanding, yet which keeps our hearts and minds secure in Christ Jesus (see Philippians 4:7). It is from this position of peace, of keeping our focus upon God (see Isaiah 26:3), that we are able to experience the peace of God in the storms of life and share that peace with others. We are called children of God when we are peacemakers, peacebringers and peacebuilders because we share the very essence and nature of God with others. So, in this Advent season and beyond, let us be people of peace. May our very presence bring peace into rooms, situations and lives because we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. May our words be words of peace because we share the words of God. Wherever you are and whatever situation you find yourself in, may you experience the peace of God today.

General Brian Peddle is the international leader of The Salvation Army.


The Light Has Come At the birth of Jesus, the angel choir heralds peace on earth.

Photo: Kevin Smart/DigitalVision Vectors via Getty Images Plus



hen someone greets me at the kettle stand by saying, “I know it’s Christmas when I hear the ringing bells and see the Salvation Army Christmas kettle,” my mind quickly flashes back to a street corner in a northern Ontario town. As a teenager, standing by the kettle in Sudbury in sub-freezing temperatures, I quickly discovered that the only way to keep warm was to enthusiastically ring those bells. Six hours after the shift had ended, when I was home trying to warm up, wrapped in a blanket and drinking hot chocolate, I could still hear those ringing bells. Ringing bells have long been part of the sounds of Christmas. In 1865, the year The Salvation Army began, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow published the poem, Christmas Bells, which later became the well-known carol, I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day. Written while still grieving the tragic death of his wife, the poem reflects the narrator’s despair upon hearing Christmas bells during the American Civil War, in which his son has been seriously wounded: And in despair I bowed my head; “There is no peace on earth,” I said; “For hate is strong,

And mocks the song Of peace on earth, goodwill to men.” In Luke’s account of the birth of Jesus, we are taken to the hills outside of Bethlehem. Here, following the announcement to the shepherds of the birth of Jesus, “ … there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!’ ” (Luke 2:13-14 NKJV). Peace. Peace on earth. This baby, wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger, would make peace more than a possibility. Peace was now a certainty. The birth of Jesus brings the gift of peace with God into our lives and into our world. It also brings peace in our relationships. The message of the angel choir bridges heaven and earth. God, who “is not dead, nor doth he sleep,” as Longfellow declares, is glorified in this moment as heaven touches earth in the birth of Jesus. More than 50 years after the release of Bing Crosby’s I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day, the contemporary Christian music group, Casting Crowns, recorded the carol again. This time, they included a verse left out of Crosby’s

version. Reminded that the message of Christmas confirms that “the wrong shall fail, the right prevail,” the new version continues: Then ringing singing on its way The world revolved from night to day. A voice, a chime, a chant sublime, Of peace on earth, goodwill to men. This Christmas season, there is so much, for so many, that seems uncertain. Peace has become the missing piece. Routines and schedules are anything but routine or scheduled. What the next day may bring is almost as unclear as what day it is. For many, the hope is simply that a new day will follow the night. By the divine design of God, who created, preserves and governs, the world will continue to rotate on its axis. And so, day does continue to follow night. Day after night, day after night. It is into this world, with its times of darkness and seemingly unending night, that the message of Isaiah brings hope. “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined” (Isaiah 9:2 NKJV). This babe, born in Bethlehem, is the dawning light, the Light of the World. Heaven has touched the world and it will never be the same, “revolved from night to day.” This Christmas, let us ring out the message: “A voice, a chime, a chant sublime, of peace on earth, goodwill to men.” May it be so, that those in our communities know it is Christmas when they hear the bells and embrace the invitation to walk in the light of God’s love. Son of God, Son of Man, Word of God incarnate; Suffering Saviour, glorious risen Lord. For God so loved the world, he gave his only Son; No more we walk in darkness, the light has come. (SASB 133)

Commissioner Floyd Tidd is the territorial commander of the Canada and Bermuda Territory. Salvationist  December 2020  11

Rereading Christmas Discovering the Nativity through Middle Eastern eyes.

Photo: Tom Keenan/



ne of my earliest memories as a child is participating in the Christmas pageant at church. I had so desperately wanted to play the angel, dressed all in white, wearing wings and a halo made of silver tinsel. Alas, a tall, lanky blonde was cast in the role, her long golden hair shining in the light of the Christmas tree as she stood, tall and proud, reciting her lines. The adults all told me my role was important, too, and that I should be equally proud. But honestly, I had no desire to ride on a pretend donkey down the centre aisle, flanked by wooden pews and staring eyes. I had no desire to dress all in blue, including a long cloth that covered my frizzy brunette locks. I did not want to carry a doll—I was too old for that! Even the hand-crocheted blanket, which was gifted to me for baby Jesus (“You get to keep it when the play is done!” the kind woman exclaimed as she gave it to me) was not enough to quell my displeasure. I had been cast as Mary. And I was not pleased. Nearly 30 years later, I have come to know and love Mary’s story. But the more I’ve learned, the more I’ve realized 12  December 2020  Salvationist

that her story doesn’t look much like the Christmas pageant of my childhood. Nor does it look much like the porcelain Nativity scene my mom proudly displayed each year beside the television. In many ways, the story of Jesus’ birth has been warped by generations of reading the biblical narrative through Western eyes. Because our culture is so saturated with these distorted representations of the Christmas story, it can be difficult to sort fact from fiction. Look Again For starters, that beautiful, blond, female angel we always picture—the one I so desperately wanted to play? There’s no guarantee this angel was a girl. Granted, angels are spiritual beings and may not have gender at all, but in Scripture, all angels who are identified by name are described as male. Remember the angel, Gabriel, who announced Mary’s unique experience in the first place? The original Greek word used here for angel is a masculine noun. It really should have been my friend, Nathan, dressed up in dazzling white for the pageant. As for my Mary costume, it’s unlikely she would have been wearing blue. Mary

was a peasant, and expensive dyes, such as the colour blue, would likely not have been attainable for someone of her socioeconomic position. Rather, the tradition of Mary wearing blue has come about for a number of symbolic reasons: the colour blue often signifies the Jewish people; blue is seen as a pure colour and symbolizes her virginity; and blue also signifies the holiness and divinity of the child she carries. So, it would have been more appropriate for me to be wearing, say, beige linen. The donkey is another misrepresented aspect of the Christmas story. While many modern versions of the Nativity portray Mary as being carried by a dutiful donkey all the way from Nazareth to Bethlehem, it’s improbable this was the case. Not only would it have been rather uncomfortable for a pregnant woman to travel in this way, there’s absolutely no mention of Mary doing anything but walking in both biblical accounts of the Christmas story. But it’s not learning the truth about the colour of Mary’s wardrobe or her form of transportation that has captivated me all these years later. Rather, it’s her experience in Bethlehem that has touched my mother-heart. A Home Birth The Christmas after giving birth to my first child, I began to wrestle with the traditional Christmas story that presented Mary giving birth with no support in an unknown town. I could not have imagined labouring without the emotional and physical support of loved ones around me. I knew that God had asked Mary to take on a challenging role in birthing and raising the Messiah, but the thought of her enduring the birth on her own broke my heart. I started to explore Mary’s story in detail and discovered there was a lot of debate about what happened the night Mary gave birth to Jesus. Some held to the traditional view that I had been raised to believe—upon arriving in Bethlehem, there was no vacancy at

rates this likely reality. Following their own encounter with a host of angels, they hurried to Bethlehem to see this child that has been born. Following their visit, they shared their good news with everyone they met, and all were amazed. As the text says, they “made known what had been told them about this child” (Luke 2:17 NRSV). Keeping in mind how important hospitality was in ancient Middle Eastern culture, had these shepherds found the

The Christmas after giving birth to my first child, I began to wrestle with the traditional Christmas story. promised Messiah in anything but perfectly adequate accommodations, they would probably have invited Mary and Joseph to their homes so their wives could care for the new mother. They most definitely would not be spreading word of the Messiah knowing that God’s promised Saviour was sitting in a barn. Humble Beginnings None of this should detract from the humble beginnings of our Servant King. While Mary, and Jesus, were adequately cared for that first Christmas, the reality

is that Jesus was still born in a common village home and was first visited by lowly shepherds. He was also visited by the rich and wise. Matthew’s story tells of Wise Men coming from the East to visit the promised Messiah. But here’s where we often get things wrong again. While the Bible says they brought three gifts: gold, frankincense and myrrh, nowhere does it say that there were three men. There could have been a whole trove of them, or only two—we’re just not sure. It’s also incredibly unlikely that the Wise Men arrived the night Jesus was born. Matthew 2:1 simply tells us that, “In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, Wise Men from the East came to Jerusalem” (NRSV). It would have taken some time for them to stop off in Jerusalem (which they did after Jesus was born) and then make their way to Bethlehem. We also know that King Herod issued the killing of all boys under the age of two, not only infants. All this evidence points to the Wise Men not being on the scene that first Christmas night. Perhaps it is time to start rewriting our traditional pageants to better reflect the truth of that first Christmas. As we do so, the story will not be diminished. Instead, it will truly reflect the blessing and wonder, beauty and hope that we have all come to expect at Christmastime. Captain Laura Van Schaick is the divisional secretary for women’s ministries in the Ontario Division.

Photo: Petter Berg/

the local hotel, and so Mary had given birth alone, in what I had pictured as a typical barn. Others claimed there were no free-standing barns in Bethlehem at the time, suggesting instead that Jesus was born in a cave. And then I discovered a completely different interpretation of the text in Luke 2. Biblical scholar Kenneth E. Bailey, who lived and studied in the Middle East for several decades, presents a fascinating argument for a different-looking Nativity in his book, Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes. Bailey reminds us that Joseph was from the family line of King David and, as such, would have been warmly welcomed almost anywhere in Bethlehem, the “City of David.” In the biblical text, the time spent in Bethlehem between their arrival and the birth of Jesus is not specified. Luke 2:6 says, “While they were [in Bethlehem], the time came for her to deliver her child” (NRSV). This is a far cry from saying, “as soon as they arrived” the time came for her to deliver. Bailey suggests there would surely have been enough time to find shelter in a town where most homes would have welcomed Joseph and his wife. Typical first-century Judean homes had only two rooms: the main living chamber for the family, and a second room exclusively for guests. As a descendant of King David, even if all the guest rooms were taken by other pilgrims, Joseph would still have been welcomed into a family’s main living quarters. What’s more, Bailey points out that there isn’t a culture on earth where a woman giving birth isn’t given special attention. And in ancient Judea, where hospitality was held in such high regard, it would have been shameful not to assist Mary in the birth of her first-born child. It’s most likely, then, that Mary did not give birth in a barn or in a cave. Rather, she probably gave birth in a traditional Middle Eastern home, where the family cow, donkey and a few sheep were housed during the night along with the family. It’s possible that the guest room was filled, and so Mary and Joseph stayed with the family who lived there permanently. Doesn’t this paint a beautiful picture? Mary, not isolated or alone on that first Christmas, but welcomed into the main family room for a home birth, surrounded and supported by Joseph’s extended family. The arrival of the shepherds corrobo-

Salvationist  December 2020  13


Something Better Major Everett Barrow’s call to officership was more a whisper than a lightning bolt, but it was no less powerful. BY KEN RAMSTEAD


“I’m loving being a corps officer again!” says Mjr Everett Barrow

hen people hear the story about how I became an officer, some ask me, ‘Was that a calling?’ ” says Major Everett Barrow. “Yes, it was,” he replies. “God didn’t have to shout. But I had to be attentive and realize that God was saying something to me.” Stepping Back A fourth-generation Salvationist, Major Barrow’s home corps was Gambo, N.L., which was composed of many young people responding to the call of God. In fact, at this point, Gambo has produced more than 30 Salvation Army officers. “We were in an environment where people were talking about a call to officership all the time, which caused me to think,” he reflects. “And observing cadets during corps visits opened my eyes to the possibility.” Major Barrow had attended university for a year but didn’t feel content. Switching to accounting, the young man worked at a bank for two more years but knew it wasn’t for him. “While I enjoyed it, it wasn’t fulfilling,” he says. “I wasn’t finding meaning in what I was doing. I needed to step back from everything. “Then, God said, ‘No, there’s something different.’ There was a calmness about it, a peace and an affirmation.” Supporting Broken Lives “When I made my commitment, it wasn’t a struggle, it wasn’t a lightning bolt on the road to Damascus,” he explains. “It was just an awareness that came to me that the Lord had something better in mind, and this promise seemed to be the natural path to follow. Officership was the direction that God was moving me toward.” During more than four decades in ministry, Major Barrow viewed the world with different eyes and saw how he could make a difference as an officer. “I got to live out the gospel daily in a very practical way,” he says. “Not only was I preaching the gospel, but I was 14  December 2020  Salvationist

helping and supporting people whose lives had been broken.” Calmness “I’ve no doubt at all that I was called,” reflects Major Barrow on his 43-yearcareer. And while he feels that officership is one way of responding to the call of God on one’s life, it is not the only way. “For some people, they might make the best doctor or best nurse,” he believes, “and God needs them in that hospital as the doctor or nurse rather than the chaplain.” The questions Major Barrow would ask of anyone considering officership are: • What’s your level of contentment in what you’re doing today? • Do you feel fulfilled? • Do you see yourself doing this for the rest of your life? “If the answer to the last question is no,” Major Barrow continues, “then maybe God is saying something else to you, and I would want to be listening to God through all of it. “I do think that there is a need to surrender to whatever it is the Lord wants

Not only was I preaching the gospel, but I was helping and supporting people whose lives had been broken. Major Everett Barrow

us to do. I found there is a calmness that wasn’t there before.” Going Strong Though he retired earlier this year, Major Barrow has started a new chapter in his life at East Toronto Corps. “I’m loving being a corps officer again!” he smiles. “I guess it is a testimony to my career. I’ve always enjoyed being an officer, and when I knew I was retiring, I realized that I would get restless after two or three weeks. Corps ministry has always been my greatest love, so when the opportunity came to serve post-retirement, I jumped at the chance. It’s given me new energy. “I could keep going for years.”

Forward Thinking Season two of the Salvationist podcast highlights ministry during COVID-19. COMPILED BY LEIGHA VEGH


ince 1865, The Salvation Army has soldiered on through wars, natural disasters—and yes, even a pandemic. During the Spanish flu from 1918-1920, Salvation Army personnel helped nurse the sick, cleaned hospitals and provided encouragement to soldiers, according to The War Cry. As we face another global pandemic, this time COVID-19, the need to continue serving those experiencing poverty, hunger, homelessness and other vulnerabilities is as important as ever. Season two of the Salvationist podcast addresses the question of how we do mission during a pandemic. In the six-part series, host Brandon Laird speaks with a diverse group of guests, from our territorial leaders to corps officers to employees, to unpack how ministry units and corps are continuing their ministry safely across the territory. Here is a collection of highlights from the Salvationist: Mission in a Pandemic podcast. To listen to the episodes in full, visit

Commissioner Tracey Tidd: COVID-19 has

Episode one: Commissioners Floyd and Tracey Tidd, territorial leaders Brandon Laird: How does Mobilize 2.0, The Salvation Army’s new transformation project in Canada and Bermuda, fit into the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic? Commissioner Floyd Tidd: The future of

The Salvation Army is a conversation many of us have been having for decades, and certainly in recent years. Mobilize 2.0 is a season in the history of The Salvation Army in Canada and Bermuda that builds on the last five years’ emphasis on seven strategic priorities under Commissioner Susan McMillan and the banner Mobilize. Mobilize 2.0 emphasizes two key points: inspired for mission and positioned for growth. We built that project plan just as COVID-19 was beginning to sweep across the territory. That might have surprised us, but I am confident that it did not surprise God.

added to the opportunity for us as a territory to not only prepare for change, but to be changed. It’s caused us to stop some things that we were currently doing and increase our work and efforts in other areas during the pandemic. We may not have been able to gather for worship, but I truly believe that we have gathered for mission in our centres, in our longterm care homes, our shelters, our family services and, most of all, our neighbourhoods. I believe we have more time to listen and to see what God is doing. Mobilize 2.0 is about seeking a fresh move of God, by his Spirit—just being able to slow down and seek after God. Mobilize 2.0 is about positioning for growth, to see what God is doing and what do we need to do to join him in that.

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Episode two: Claire Dunmore, community engagement secretary Brandon Laird: The COVID-19 pandemic struck just as the new Pathway of Hope program was starting to grow across the territory. What safeguards were put into place to open safely? Claire Dunmore: We have been

intentional about reigniting the concept for Pathway of Hope. Throughout the pandemic, I always said, “Keep connected with people.” Whether that be to give someone a phone call or send a postcard, many ministry units across the territory were able to do that. For example, if a staff member worked with a client for several months before COVID hit, they could pick up the phone and ask them how they are doing, just to let them know that they were being thought of. BL: Can you share an inspirational story from the Pathway of Hope program during the pandemic? CD: One mother with two girls, ages

five and 10, came to The Salvation Army for a food hamper. In her first appointment with a caseworker, she talked about her struggles of relocating from one province to another, and not knowing the systems or what was available to her and her children. She set some goals through Pathway of Hope for employment and education. She was referred to the local job agency and within five weeks of being in the Pathway of Hope program and submitting some resumés, she found a job. Her second goal was education, so she worked with the caseworker to discuss what kind of options were available to her. Soon after, she started a medical assistant program.

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Episode three: Craig Lewis, territorial music and gospel arts secretary Brandon Laird: How has the pandemic changed the way we worship in The Salvation Army? Craig Lewis: The first thing it changed is

that we couldn’t meet in person. This was the biggest shock for many of us as we began the season of isolation and couldn’t worship together. Then, when The Salvation Army started doing online church services, what we missed was the act of singing together. In worship, singing is a time when we declare our faith. The rest of the service is about absorbing, meditating and contemplating. But when we sing, it’s a physical activity where we affirm our faith. Some people are starting to meet indoors again, but singing still isn’t safe yet. So how do we still worship and have those moments of participation when we can’t verbally sing like we used to? BL: How are online services transforming the reach of The Salvation Army’s ministry? CL: We are still figuring out how

to use online services to reach the marginalized and the older congregations. To be a transforming ministry using technology, we need to figure out how to reach a broader audience. People still need that personal invitation to join the service. We’re starting to take those first few steps. There’s nothing like a pandemic to make us take those steps. There’s technology that can help us do that, but it can’t all be about technology. It’s a great time for us to think differently than we always have about getting people just to walk through our doors. In some sense, it’s forcing us to get out of our church, even virtually right now, and figure out how we reach our community.

Episode four: Tracy Fattore, chief risk officer Brandon Laird: What has The Salvation Army in Canada and Bermuda been doing to reopen ministry units safely? Tracy Fattore: Since the beginning of the pandemic, a territorial COVID

response team, which is managed under the leadership of Colonel Edward Hill, chief secretary, was initiated. This response team meets regularly and oversees the reopening processes across the territory. The group is made up of members of the territorial risk management committee, as well as leaders from National Recycling Operations, property department, social services, information technology, emergency disaster services and employee relations. An executive committee of the territorial commander has also been meeting regularly to review issues and potential solutions. This group meets to discuss topics such as personal protective equipment availability, opportunities for government grants and other issues that might be arising across the territory. BL: How is The Salvation Army mitigating risk that comes with reopening? TF: Safety comes first. This means

the safety of our employees, officers, clients and volunteers by ensuring that provincial and local health requirements are being met. We’re also looking for compliance with our territorial policies. We’ve developed some Frequently Asked Questions for employee, staff and volunteer screening to ensure that people who offer services or provide a place to worship don’t have COVID. We’re also screening people that use our services to ensure they aren’t ill. We’ve implemented these FAQs for our officers as well, because these are very complicated issues and we want to provide as much support as we can.

BL: What does the new normal look like for The Salvation Army? TF: The new normal requires us to be

very diligent and ensure that we are continuing to monitor and comply with the public health guidelines. It requires us to be flexible and nimble because we expect to see increased COVID activity with a second wave.

Episode five: Major Terence Hale, territorial children and youth secretary, and Major Carson Decker, divisional youth secretary, Maritime Division

normal. It needs to be what moves us forward, and then we will know the path to walk in. In Isaiah, it tells us that we will hear a voice and a whisper from the Spirit saying, “This is the way; walk in it,” when we acknowledge the holiness of God (see Isaiah 30:21). CD: There’s a quote that really

resonates with me. When the church is in mission, it is the true church. As a follower of Jesus, I want to be engaged in that mission. I’ve recommitted to ensuring that everything I do from the office of the divisional youth secretary is to develop and invest in Christcentred, others-focused disciples. It’s a daunting task, but it’s not impossible because the Spirit of God is with us, before us, behind us and journeying with us. Nothing is too difficult for him. I’m saying to the Spirit, use me however you want to, I want to be involved in kingdom business.

Brandon Laird: What is the greatest need for youth during the pandemic and how is The Salvation Army helping them? Major Carson Decker: While I see a

resilience in young people, there is still a need to be in community with each other. We’re not an island unto ourselves. We desperately need the influence, encouragement and support of one another. Major Terence Hale: I think the time for

superficial relationships is long gone. The pandemic has been driving us into intentionality in what we’re doing. We need to forego superficial relationships for ones that are deep and meaningful. This need has been heightened in the pandemic, as some of our young people have been severely disconnected and forced to lose a lot of their relationships. BL: Months into the pandemic, what is God saying to us? TH: God is telling me to lean in close,

because we can’t waste our leadership. I believe there are three things that should make up the new normal of our ministries. Number one is worship. The second is evangelism: we need to get young people introduced to Jesus Christ, and have those young people introducing other people to him. Finally, holiness needs to be the new

There’s also the concern of those who have no internet access, or no device in order to join with us online. One Salvationist held her phone up to her computer speakers during a Sunday livestream so her sister, who doesn’t have a computer, could listen in. Major Heather Samuel: Another challenge

has been doing the pastoral visitation. We’ve had a few people who have had to enter hospital and we cannot visit with them there. Doing our regular visitation with our congregation has been difficult, as well, because there are a number who are in the higher risk category and they’re hesitant to even do a porch visit. BL: What new opportunities or innovations have come from this time? HS: There has been innovation in

the way we reach out to people, for example dropping off home-baked goods, instead of doing an in-home visit. Looking back to some of the things that were done pre-COVID, but even pre-technology days, it’s that personal touch that is still really important. NS: We haven’t done anything

Episode six: Major Heather Samuel and Captain Nicholas Samuel, corps officers, London Citadel, Ont. Brandon Laird: What are some of the challenges that you’ve faced during the COVID-19 season? Captain Nicholas Samuel: I think the biggest

challenge was the shock of the change of everything. For the online ministry on Sunday, for example, the biggest change has been the amount of time it takes to put a service together. Gone are the days where we would do our usual preparation during the week, worship together for an hour and a half with the congregation, and fellowship with each other. Now, we spend an entire evening recording different takes of various parts of the worship team or ensemble, and then the sermon and meeting, because only so many people can be in the same room at the same time with each other. That process takes a few hours one evening, and then a day and a half of editing for the tech team after.

amazingly groundbreaking or astoundingly new. It’s just been a case of we’ll try it and if it works, it works. If it doesn’t, then we’ll try something else and explore it. We’re trying to maintain a regular pattern to our season while we do things differently, such as sharing ministry with people online while keeping our mission of reaching people to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. Check out the bonus podcast on “Generous Living” with Tharwat Eskander, stewardship consultant, corps mission resource department, and Major Wendy Mouland, corps officer, Southlands Community Church, Winnipeg, at podcast. Interviews have been edited for space and clarity.

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Ring, Christmas Bells How The Salvation Army is keeping volunteers safe during COVID-19.

1. Training. Before reporting for a shift, bell-ringers across Canada and Bermuda will be provided with training on how to safely perform their duties and engage with the public in today’s COVID-19 environment. Bell-ringers are encouraged to first consider the risk to his or her personal health as well as that of his or her family before committing to volunteer. If bell-ringers decide not to ring this year, it is no reflection of one’s ability to serve as a bell-ringer in the future. 18  December 2020  Salvationist

4. Following social distancing recommendations. Bell-ringers will be instructed to maintain social distancing, remaining two metres or more from customers and donors at all times. As an individual approaches the kettle, bell-ringers will not have any physical contact with them or their donations. Instead, bell-ringers will be trained to ask for people to place their donations directly into the kettle.

2. Following health and safety guidelines. The Christmas kettle program will adhere to all Salvation Army policies and protocols, provincial ministry of health and local public health guidelines, and asks that bell-ringers follow the guidelines, too, when volunteering at the red kettle. If a volunteer is exhibiting symptoms or has had any known exposure to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the 14 days preceding a shift, they should inform The Salvation Army so a replacement can be found. It’s important for bell-ringers to get well and not potentially expose others to COVID-19. 3. Providing personal protective equipment (PPE). All bell-ringers will be required to wear a face mask at all times while at the kettle, and The Salvation Army will provide bell-ringers with masks for their kettle shifts.

5. Cleaning equipment regularly. All kettle equipment will be cleaned prior to each shift. At the end of a kettle shift, bellringers will be asked to clean the bell with provided disinfectant spray or wipes so it is clean and ready for the next bellringer to use. Different kettle locations might require additional safety measures that the area’s kettle co-ordinator will discuss with volunteers, and if volunteers have any questions or concerns about COVID-19 or the safety precautions The Salvation Army is taking, they can contact their local Salvation Army for more information. 6. Embracing digital options for giving. Many of The Salvation Army’s kettle stands across Canada have a touchless, cashless donation option with tiptap, which offers a tap-and-go payment. This is a safe way to give and it’s also great for those who don’t carry cash. Adapted from

Photo: Tony Cicero


ften you hear it before you see it—the bell-ringing coming from a volunteer standing at a Salvation Army kettle. Every year, the sight and sound of the bells are part of the Christmas experience, an opportunity to give back during the hustle and bustle of holiday preparations. The Salvation Army turns to the Christmas kettle campaign to raise funds needed to support programs and services for those who need a leg up. It all started in San Francisco in 1891, when Captain Joseph McFee rang the bell to “keep the pot boiling” for those in need by standing at the San Francisco ferry landing. Today, the need is still great, and with millions feeling the impacts of COVID-19, leaders expect the need to grow exponentially. Bell-ringers are a key part of how The Salvation Army helps people who have fallen on hard times—many of whom have never had to ask for help before. Like many aspects of 2020, bell-ringing will look different this year, too. The Salvation Army has created bell-ringer COVID-19 guidelines and safety protocols to ensure safety, while making it possible for The Salvation Army to keep food on the table, the roof over families’ heads, the lights on and more for those in need. Last year, funds raised at the kettle helped The Salvation Army in Canada and Bermuda serve 1.9 million people. Here’s how The Salvation Army will keep bell-ringers—along with the customers and associates working at kettle locations—safe this year.


A Treasured Opportunity With 27 years of experience as corps officers, Majors Brian and Deborah Coles discuss the joys and challenges of ministry.

DC: Moving away from people I love and

moving our kids from people and places they loved was hard, especially once they were a little older. Another challenge is finding and developing leaders.

How has the role of a corps officer changed? DC: The world has changed a lot in the

Mjrs Brian and Deborah Coles are the corps officers at Southmount Citadel in Vancouver


ajors Brian and Deborah Coles were commissioned in 1989 as part of the Ambassadors for Christ Session from the College for Officer Training (CFOT) in Toronto. Since that time, 27 of their 31 years of service as Salvation Army officers have been spent in corps appointments. News editor Pamela Richardson caught up with them in their current appointment as corps officers at Southmount Citadel in Vancouver to ask them to share their thoughts on the important role of the corps officer and some of their fondest memories of ministry. When did you recognize the call to officership? Major Brian Coles: My call to officership

was a gradual calling. Over several years following the rededication of my life to the Lord, I had an increasing sense of dissatisfaction with what I was doing in life concurrent with an increasing awareness that the Holy Spirit was leading me to be involved in ministry. Meeting my soon-to-be wife, who also sensed God’s call on her life to ministry, sealed the deal, so to speak, for us both. Major Deborah Coles: I knew I was meant

to be an officer from about the age of 12. My parents were my examples; they practised at home what they preached

on Sunday. But my dad always said, “If you can be anything else, don’t be an officer,” meaning he wanted us to be sure of our calling. Being an officer is not like a “regular” job. Where have you served across the territory? BC: We have served as corps officers from

coast to coast, beginning in Dartmouth, N.S., to our current appointment at Southmount Citadel in Vancouver. We also served for four years on the staff at the CFOT in Toronto.

What has been your biggest joy in serving as a corps officer? BC: My biggest joy has been to teach and

preach God’s Word and see people grow and mature in the faith. DC: I like being able to spend time pre-

paring sermons and Bible studies. This is a privilege; many who work at other jobs just don’t have that time. I also appreciate the flexibility of being in corps. Every day is different, and it’s wonderful to work side-by-side with my husband, my best friend.

What has been your biggest challenge? BC: My biggest challenge has been

keeping up with all the changes on the administrative side of the work.

past 30 years, but corps officership remains basically the same in that you are a “generalist,” rather than a “specialist,” in any field. What has changed is the number of additional expectations being placed on a corps officer. A day could include leading a chapel service at a care home, preparing a sermon, doing administrative work and visiting a hospital. Added to that are such things as completing a degree; learning about issues from human trafficking to missing Indigenous women to orphans to homelessness, and perhaps preaching about them; sorting toys, standing by kettles, helping with the Santa Shuffle and packing Christmas hampers; participating in various corps ministries; and keeping the corps building in good shape, just to name a few. The pandemic has certainly affected our ministry, as well. We can’t meet for fellowship in the usual ways and preparing for Sunday worship includes cleaning, physical distancing and temperature-taking.

What is your fondest memory of ministry? BC: My fondest memory of ministry is

getting to do what we do with my best friend, who also happens to be my wife, Deborah. DC: One of my fondest memories of min-

istry is seeing each of my kids enrolled, along with other corps kids, as junior soldiers. Being in a hospital in the presence of death and life is an awesome and holy experience. Being asked to officiate at a wedding or the dedication of a baby gives much joy, and I treasure opportunities to lead someone to Christ.

What advice would you give to newly commissioned officers? BC: Love your people, and remember

that ministry is like running a marathon, not a sprint. DC: If you are going to be an officer, be a

happy one. And take a Sabbath day as a spiritual discipline.

Salvationist  December 2020  Salvationist 2020 19


Serving in Singapore After a decade in Canada, Salvation Army officers return to their home country to equip cadets. Cpts Peck Ee Wong and Leonard Heng serve at the School for Officer Training in Singapore. Here they help distribute care packages to people in transitional housing

ministry, teaching and administration to care for the cadets and help guide them in their academics (head), spiritual formation (heart) and ministry (hand) while they’re in this phase of training and equipping. What was it like to return “home,” but with a different perspective?


n Singapore, Captains Leonard Heng and Peck Ee Wong were familiar with The Salvation Army as a charitable organization, but not as a church. In 2006, they moved to Canada, where they eventually became officers, and in 2016, they returned to Singapore as international personnel. Today, Captain Heng is the training principal and Captain Wong is the integrated training officer at the School for Officer Training (SFOT). Features editor Giselle Randall spoke to Captain Wong to learn about their lives and ministry in Singapore. Can you share your journey to officership?

After we moved to Toronto, Leonard enquired about volunteer opportunities and was directed to Scarborough Citadel. They were looking for a multicultural ministries co-ordinator, and Major Everett Barrow, the corps officer at the time, offered him the position. I joined him later as the family services co-ordinator. We saw the need to belong and so we were enrolled as soldiers. It was Major Barrow who first spoke to us about officership, encouraging us with these words of wisdom: “You 20  December 2020  Salvationist

guys need to get out of your comfort zone.” I was hesitant at first, but with Leonard’s encouragement and Major Everett’s assurance of God’s faithful guidance and provision, we embarked on the journey. Indeed, over these years of training and ministry, God has never failed in seeing to our every need. We entered the field-based tailored training program at the College for Officer Training (CFOT) in 2011 and were assigned as cadets to North Toronto Community Church and then Agincourt Temple Community Church in Toronto. We were commissioned in 2013 and continued to serve at Agincourt Temple for a year, followed by two years at Peace River Community Church in Alberta, before we were transferred to Singapore. Why did you apply for international service?

We see serving overseas as a missions opportunity to share Jesus with people, and we wanted to experience Salvation Army ministry in the Singaporean context. It is our privilege to be on staff at SFOT, where we can use our gifts in pastoral

After a decade of living in Canada, you could call it reverse culture shock. Many places and neighbourhoods once familiar to us had changed, and it was harder to get around some of them. The population density has increased by a great measure; the malls, subway trains, buses and all other public places are a lot more crowded. People in general are more “productivity” driven than ever before. We also noticed the widening gap between the haves and the havenots. Those with less education have fewer opportunities, and with limited income must work very hard to make ends meet. Their children are not as privileged as the others in school, as their parents are unable to afford all the extras, including tutoring classes to help them raise their academic level. It’s a vicious cycle. How does The Salvation Army reach out to the community?

In my first appointment as the corps officer at William Booth Corps (WBC), we were involved in the community in several ways. I always enjoyed our time at a monthly women’s ministries event, where we shared fellowship, recipes and crafts—such as lanternmaking, Chinese calligraphy and making mooncakes for the midautumn festival—with one another. We ministered to seniors, who are increasingly sidelined in a culture with an overwhelming focus on productivity, efficiency and


technology. Due to their age and growing physical immobility, they may also suffer neglect by their children. We offered a monthly program of simple exercises, sing-along sessions, gospel videos and lunch. We were also involved at Carehaven, a residential shelter for domestic helpers in crisis. In Singapore, there are many domestic helpers from the Philippines, India, Myanmar and Indonesia, and sometimes they are caught in challenging circumstances. Twice a month, we prepared an inspirational talk, games, crafts and snacks to offer them some relief and encouragement. In September, I moved out of the corps to join Leonard at SFOT, but WBC continues to reach out to the community, except for the current interruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

We noticed the widening gap between the haves and the have-nots. How has the pandemic affected the Army’s ministry?

Due to the current situation, we are not allowed into Carehaven, but the women are now watching our online Sunday meetings. Two of our corps members have resumed their Chinese and English classes among the helpers. We are thankful to the Lord that one of the helpers from Cambodia has made a decision for soldiership, and we are looking for a way to enrol her even though we still can’t physically gather. She has also expressed her desire for officership, and we’re hoping that she can do so under the Korean Territory when she returns to Cambodia.

Members of William Booth Corps lead a Christmas program at Carehaven, a shelter for domestic helpers

intertwine as one. We are to emulate the spirit of Christ in embracing others that they may come to know God’s love and salvation in a practical way. Even now at SFOT, we continue to practise integrated mission as trainers and cadets lend help in catering to the needs of Malaysian workers who are stranded here in Singapore and can’t go home due to border restrictions. We also help with transporting the homeless to venues for transitional housing. With willing hearts toward God’s call to specific projects and purposes, there is no limit to what one can do, whether it be a corps or centre. Why is theological education so important?

In this territory, we are particularly in need of more Singaporeans who will respond to God’s call to officership. Indeed, the harvest is ready, and we need more labourers, especially those who are willing to be trained and equipped. Churchgoers in Singapore are generally well educated and informed.

Our officers need to have a strong theological foundation not only to teach, disciple and equip corps members as disciplers of others, but also to convince those outside our walls that Christianity is not just a religion that we are propagating. They need to know that our faith and understanding of God’s Word rests on solid ground, that it makes sense and is practical in meeting the challenges of daily living in this fast-changing world. What gives you hope as you participate in God’s mission?

We have God’s assurance that his plans and purposes for this world cannot be thwarted despite the odds, including COVID-19. We cannot rest our trust in humankind, institutions and governments to improve our lot or offer answers to our social, political and emotional problems. Jesus is our only hope and answer. We believe that when all is done and over with in this earthly world, what awaits us is our celestial home and God’s presence. For these reasons, we count it our privilege to be in partnership with God in fulfilling Christ’s mission for the lost, the last and the least.

How do you understand integrated mission, and how do you live it out in your context?

Integrated mission is to extend what we do in our corps to ministries at our centres, as well as in our community. There should not be any dichotomy in what we do in our corps and the community; ministries should

Cpt Heng oversees transport to transitional housing for people experiencing homelessness

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Virtual Ventures The pandemic shutdown didn’t stop The Salvation Army in Winnipeg from connecting with adults with intellectual disabilities. BY GISELLE RANDALL


n March, as cases of COVID-19 started to climb in Manitoba, the province issued a public health order to close non-critical businesses. The Salvation Army’s Community Venture (CV) in Winnipeg, which supports adults living with intellectual disabilities through residential homes, outreach and day programs, remained open as an essential service, even as it adapted to the new provincial restrictions. “From March to August, about 95 percent of our members stayed home,” says Kim Park, executive director. “We knew their physical and medical needs would be looked after, but our concern was their mental health. We knew it would be hard for some of them to understand why they were suddenly not allowed to leave their home and, in some

situations, to see family or friends.” Community Venture offers day programs at six locations, for 154 members. For many, it provides structure, a sense of purpose and community. “Our question was, how can we help people feel connected—not only with us as staff, but with their friends?” says Park. “That connection to community is really important, so we started experimenting with different ways to keep in touch and move our activities online.” “I felt sad because I didn’t see my friends for a long time,” says Dennis, who attends the CV South day program. “It made me feel a lot better to talk to them on the computer.” “We are Their Community” Before the pandemic, people started to

arrive at their day program around 8 a.m. The day followed a predictable pattern: a morning activity with a break, lunch and an afternoon activity. Members signed up for activities in three general areas based on their interests: an educational track to learn life skills, volunteer placements to gain work experience and recreation. “Our members are used to getting up at a certain time, catching their bus and coming to a scheduled program,” says Cheryl Marrone, co-ordinator of day services—CV Booth. “Some have been in this routine for more than 20 years,” adds Crystal Ryland, co-ordinator of day services—CV South. “This is what they do, where they come every day. Some have family and other social connections, but for many, we are their community.” “And that was all thrown out the window,” continues Marrone. “For a lot of the people we support, it was very hard to just stop coming to the program.” “We didn’t want them to feel isolated,” says Ryland. “So much of what we do is based on relationships, and we wanted to maintain that connection. We decided to take our regular schedule and try to do it through a computer screen.” Zoomtastic Each location did things a little differently. At first, Ryland’s team tried to bring people together through FaceTime, but soon realized it didn’t work well for a large group. Zoom was better, but the times didn’t fit everyone’s schedule. “We settled on using Zoom, so it could be live and interactive, and then posting a recording on YouTube, so members could watch it later if they missed it,” says Ryland. Every day, the staff led three fun and creative activities. With a monitor facing the staff person so they could see everyone, members were able to talk and ask quesAshley attends the Community Venture day program in Winnipeg, which continued to stay in touch with members during the COVID-19 shutdown. Here, she poses with fun paper cutouts of the staff as superheroes

22  December 2020  Salvationist

tions as if they were sitting at the same table. On average, about 12-15 people joined each Zoom call, participating in everything from arts and crafts to mad science experiments to karaoke. They listened to stories read in front of a crackling fire (on a screen), learned new recipes in the food studio and played giant board games. Dennis, who continued to attend the program throughout the restrictions, helped adapt Snakes and Ladders for a COVID-19 context (wash your hands— move up; bite your nails—move down). He also led morning stretches and shared jokes (Why shouldn’t you write with a broken pencil? Because it’s pointless). Several times a week, there was also a chat group at the end of the day, so members could catch up with each other. “It made me happy to see my friends,” Dennis says. “If there hadn’t been Zoom calls, I’d be really upset.” Fun “To Go” At the CV Booth location, they focused on creating content for YouTube. “A lot of the staff here are musical, so they started a band and put on shows,” says Marrone. “Our members love singing, so we’d send home lyrics so they could sing along at home.” Every week, they dropped off a package with instructions and all the supplies needed to make a craft or recipe—with enough for roommates, as well—to each member’s home, also giving them a chance to check in on everyone. Then they shared a how-to video for the activity and encouraged members to send in pictures of what they made.

One week, Marrone included photos of the staff, attached to paper cutouts of superheroes, glued to popsicle sticks. “We said, ‘Take a picture of the staff person doing something with you!’ ” she says. “The members sent us photos of drinking coffee and eating breakfast with them. It was a fun way to keep in touch.” They also let members know they were thinking about them on birthdays. “We made sure we still celebrated everyone,” she says. “We decorated our vehicles and did drive bys. They loved that.” Some locations also facilitated physically distanced backyard gatherings for members. Care and Comfort Another significant part of helping members through this time was spiritual care. Major Shelly Rands, chaplain at Community Venture, experimented with different ways of offering chapel— sometimes as a Zoom call, sometimes by posting a video on YouTube. For their community choir, she sent out a list of songs with links to videos for members to practise on their own. During the months of restrictions, Community Venture was saddened by the loss of a few members. “When they heard news that one of their friends had passed away, it was hard for our members not to be able to see anyone,” says Park. “It was so important that Major Shelly was able to connect. She called and sent messages and cards.” Staying Connected The response from families and care providers was positive and enthusiastic.

During the pandemic shutdown, Community Venture dropped off a package to every member each week with instructions and all the supplies needed to make a recipe or craft

“We received so many phone calls and emails thanking us,” says Marrone. “Parents would say, ‘We were running out of ideas of what to do—the “to go” package was so helpful.’ ” “And they told us that the members looked forward to the activities—there were certain things they would watch for and anxiously anticipate,” says Ryland. “They loved seeing the staff, interacting with their peers and participating in familiar activities.” “As a ministry unit within The Salvation Army, we’re here to serve the most vulnerable,” says Park. “We provide opportunities and support so that everyone can reach their full potential and achieve the personal goals they have set for their own life. “During the pandemic, we knew developing ways to stay connected would allow that growth to continue, even in these difficult times. But more importantly, we knew maintaining relationships with our members would have an impact on their mental health, when natural interactions outside their homes were limited. So whatever we could get them to engage in, we tried it!” Crystal Ryland, Dennis and Mjr Shelly Rands spend time together at Community Venture

Salvationist  December 2020  23


Photo: Natalia Bodrova/iStock via Getty Images Plus

the heartbeat of Advent. This may seem like a lot. It may even seem like it would go over our children’s abilities to understand. But we have a responsibility to raise our children in the way they should go, so they will never depart from these biblical truths. We need to teach our kids our rich traditions without dumbing them down. How? By taking the time to help our littles understand what all of this actually means. For many families, Advent is something you “do” at church, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are some things you can do at home: • Make your own Advent calendar and fill it with Scripture and treats. • Read through a verse of the Christmas story each morning at breakfast. • Create a prayer garland with the name of a family member or friend to pray for each day of Advent.

The Reason for the Season Advent traditions can help our kids to understand the meaning of Christmas. BY CAPTAIN BHREAGH ROWE


hen you think back on your childhood, what are some of your fondest Christmas memories? Baking cookies, decorating the tree or gathering with family? Listening to Christmas music? Waiting impatiently for Santa to come down the chimney? These cultural traditions are so much fun, and Santa is a popular guy in our house, but we don’t—scratch that—we can’t forget the real reason for the season. We need to make sure our kids know how the birth of Jesus fits into God’s amazing plan. One of the best ways we can help our kids grow up to know, without a doubt, what Christmas is really about, is to help them practise some of our rich Christian traditions that foster an environment of deep spiritual formation and growth for the whole family—such as Advent. So, what is Advent, why do we participate in it each year and how do we bring our kids along? It’s not just a calendar counting down the days until Christmas with chocolate and candies. It’s so much more. Advent is 24  December 2020  Salvationist

the season that comes before Christmas in the Christian calendar, a time of expectant waiting and preparation. Historically, Advent was a time to remember and anticipate. During Advent, the church remembered one of the essential beliefs in the Christian faith, the Incarnation of Christ. God became human, was born in a barn and lived among us. Advent was a time to remember that God is with us, but also that he died, rose three days later and promised to return. Advent means the same things today, but like many of our Christian traditions, it sometimes gets overshadowed. During Advent, we still remember that beautiful truth—Emmanuel, God with us. Not only did Jesus come to live with us, but he came to offer his life for us, as a model of how we should live and as a sacrifice for our sins. Whosoever believes in him will have eternal life—will live forever with him. We still anticipate during Advent. We anticipate his promised return—Jesus came, and he will come again. This is still

• Add a new paper ornament to your Christmas tree every day. • Create your own Nativity scene with Play-Doh or paper, cardboard or sticks. • Design your own Advent wreath and light candles each week. • Try a reverse Advent calendar and donate something every day instead of receiving a treat. Advent is the posture we take before Christmas, as we remember that God sent his Son to die for us and is with us. This is a big deal. Our God stepped down from his throne because he loves you and your littles more than words can even express. He humbled himself and was born in a barn among sheep and donkeys, simply because he loves us. We celebrate the birth of our Saviour—the one so long-awaited, the one who would save us from our sins— at Christmas. Enjoy your trees and decorations. Leave your milk and cookies for Santa. Celebrate like mad this Christmas (because we all know 2020 needs a whole lot of joy). But do all of that while raising biblically literate kids who can be in the world, but not of the world, because they hold deeply to the truth that God is with them. Captain Bhreagh Rowe is the community ministries officer at St. Albert Church and Community Centre in Edmonton.


Unwelcome Are we making room for outsiders? BY DARRYN OLDFORD

Photo: SDI Productions/E+ via Getty Images

I have been told not only that I was sitting in the wrong spot but then asked, rather gruffly, to move.


here’s one part of the Christmas story that bothers me: Mary and Joseph arrive in Bethlehem, and there is no guest room available. The fact that the Saviour of humanity, who has prepared a place for us in heaven, couldn’t find an adequate place to safely come into the world speaks volumes about our species. Hospitality is a much bigger concept than just the travel industry. It is the social contract we follow to make sure we have good relationships with those outside our nuclear families. Strangers should be treated with courtesy and respect, as any of us could be a stranger in a strange land at some point. The rules for hospitality change from culture to culture, but as someone who has lived in a few countries, I can say that kindness and thoughtfulness are always appreciated. Each church has its own culture and, unfortunately, I have had the misfortune of attending some congregations where people chose not to make room for outsiders in three key ways. In the hierarchy of problems facing the world, including climate change, racism, the pandemic and poverty, having

someone sit in your spot at church is far down the list. And yet, on more than one occasion while visiting a new church, I have been told not only that I was sitting in the wrong spot but then asked, rather gruffly, to move. While I have been described by some as a “dyed-in-the-wool Christian,” and so these embarrassing moments don’t prevent me from going to church, take a moment to imagine what it would be like if that happened to an unchurched person. You’re curious about Jesus and want to be part of a community that explores faith and how to minister to society. You’re anxiously sitting in a pew, minding your own business, when someone approaches. You smile, hoping to be welcomed to the congregation, only to be met by an annoyed parishioner telling you to move. How likely are you to come back if the followers of a God, who supposedly forgives people from sin, don’t even deign to forgive you for a minor annoyance? New people coming to a church is something to celebrate, not just tolerate. Remember that, for some, this is their first-ever experience with Christianity

and act accordingly. Second, a church may not be making room if there are no opportunities for leadership or ministry. I believe that a fundamental part of human nature is a desire to contribute, especially as part of a team, toward the common good. People have varying degrees of time and energy to dedicate to a church, but we all feel part of something bigger than ourselves when we help. Problems arise, then, when people’s talents and abilities go unused because existing church ministries are at capacity. Whether your strength lies in teaching, music, packing food hampers or vacuuming the sanctuary, there are those who are expected to sit in a congregation week after week, contributing nothing but a tithe. Meanwhile, volunteers at some churches are so stressed and overworked they start to burn out. The best churches, I find, are those who make room for you to join in ministry, but also to scale back your involvement as needed. This involves planning, preparation and trusting in God that things will work out as they should. The third and final way I see churches failing to make room is by expecting everyone to conform to the same beliefs. There is no room for differing opinions or discussion, rather a general feeling of, “This is what we think. Believe it or leave.” This “love it or leave it” approach does not take into account those who genuinely love their church and wish to stay, but desire to have the tough conversations about the role of the church in the world, precisely because they love their church. Making room for respectful dialogue, where we recognize differing opinions but can continue loving and worshipping together, is vital to church health and growth. Hebrews 13:2 is one of my favourite Scripture verses. It says, “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” We are all made in the image of God. Showing thoughtfulness and kindness to the strangers in our church is to show our love for God. And who knows? Maybe one day the stranger sitting in your seat will be Jesus himself. Darryn Oldford is a senior soldier in Regina. Salvationist  December 2020  25



slavery, discontentment, hurt and misery. However, this place of despair doesn’t have to be the end of the story. Like Gomer, we have been purchased from our slavery; however, our ransom price was much higher. Rather than being weighed in silver, it was weighed in blood—perfect, innocent blood that could only come from a divine Saviour. It was a sacrifice that was freely given to ensure the restoration of a lost love.

Human Hearts: How Much More Ballerinas in a film produced by The Salvation Army showcase God’s love as found in Hosea. BY MAJOR JONNETTE MULCH


he short film, Human Hearts, produced by The Salvation Army U.S.A. Western Territory, begins backstage at the fictional Salvatore High School, as ballerinas get ready for a fall dance recital. One ballerina peeks through the curtain to see two empty chairs in the audience. Disappointed, she turns and gives a snooty look to another ballerina who is sitting in the corner fighting nerves. This ballerina ends up falling during the performance and hobbles her way through the remainder of it. After the show, she is embraced by her parents, who also give her a bouquet of roses. The girl looks over and notices that the ballerina who gave her a mean glance earlier is by herself—sad and alone. She makes her way over, hands her one of the roses from her bouquet and smiles. While on the surface the film showcases the trifles of high school ballerinas, it calls our attention to the Book of Hosea, which is a story of the unfaithfulness of God’s people and his unconditional love for them. In the following reflection, adapted from The Salvation Army’s Caring magazine, Major Jonnette Mulch takes us through a study of Hosea to help viewers ask questions such as, can we replace hatred with love? Can we give forgiveness where there is wrong? And can we show kindness where there is hurt? Begin by watching Human Hearts at 26  December 2020  Salvationist

Behind the Scenes From 1967 to 1990, General John Gowans and General John Larsson, the 16th and 17th international leaders of The Salvation Army respectively, wrote 10 musical plays—each one presenting a specific message promoting the Army’s message and goals. The song, How Much More, is from the second musical, Hosea, which presents the story of the Old Testament prophet’s faithfulness and forgiveness toward his unfaithful wife, and relates this to God’s forgiveness of his people who had broken their promises to him. The short film, Human Hearts, based on How Much More and inspired by the Book of Hosea, challenges us to think about what we have been given and what we can, in turn, give to others. Between the Lines In Hosea 1-3, the prophet Hosea was married to Gomer. Hosea was a righteous, godly and just man, so Gomer had no excuse to leave him. But she did, landing herself in slavery and bondage to another, ungodly master. Hosea chose Gomer despite her sin. It went against all logic that Hosea, a prophet of the most holy God, would take her back after she left him. Read Hosea 1:2. What did God ask Hosea to do that we might find strange? What was the purpose of this request?

While sin looks attractive and promises much, it gives little and generally leads to

Think about why God would want to redeem you. Why did Jesus pay the ultimate price for your redemption?

Hosea and Gomer’s story is the story of God and Israel. It is also our story. He chose and adopted us as sons and daughters, despite our sin. When we found ourselves stuck in bondage and chains we never intended—insecurity, discontentment, fear, addiction—God freed us. When we, like Gomer, were enslaved to sin, God bought us back. By our own nature, we threw God’s love away—but he redeemed us from slavery. Christ, the great redeemer, paid the price for our freedom with his own precious blood. Hosea was a faithful husband; Gomer was an unfaithful wife. God is the faithful lover of our souls. We are often faithless and prone to wander. What similarities do you see in Hosea and Jesus? Why does God continue to give his unconditional love to a people who continually throw it away?

The Take-away The Book of Hosea assures us that God’s love for us is unconditional. We find a beautiful picture in the last part of Hosea of God’s love once again not only restoring his children but forgiving their sin when they turn back to him with a repentant heart. We only need to look into the mirror to see a reflection of those same Israelites. It is only by remembering how much God has done for us that we will be able to avoid rejecting the one who can forgive our sin and give us eternal life, instead of the spiritual death that we all deserve. The Book of Hosea shows us that God doesn’t give up on his children. If we have a sorrowful heart that is full of repentance, God will bring us back to himself and we can bask in his neverending love for us. Major Jonnette Mulch is the assistant program secretary for corps ministries in the U.S.A. Western Territory.


OTTAWA—Volunteers and staff at Ottawa Citadel, including several young people from the corps, assembled 400 care packages for distribution to people in need during the pandemic. The volunteers, of all ages from the community and corps family, created 200 packages for seniors and newcomers that contained hygiene products and puzzle games. The other 200 were put together for youth and families, with hygiene products, and toys and games for families. “Many individuals and families we serve at our food bank are facing COVID-19 related challenges, including job loss, physical illness, fear, anxiety and depression,” says Cpt Graciela Arkell, community ministries officer and CO. “This is a way to provide some relief from these challenges and bring a little happiness.” Care packages were distributed in food hampers and through physically distanced door-to-door deliveries. A grant from the Ottawa Community Foundation helped fund the care packages.

OTTAWA—Using grant money received from the Rogers Foundation, Sharon Dean, CCM co-ordinator at Barrhaven Church, and some of her friends purchased items and assembled monthly care kits for distribution to participants of the corps’ Sunshine Club for seniors and others in the community who are isolated at home or in long-term care homes during the pandemic. The packages contained a variety of activities to help pass the time, including word search puzzles and adult colouring books with markers. The Sunshine Club has been operating at the corps since 1971, bringing seniors together twice a month for fellowship, fun, food and spiritual support. From left, Sharon Dean delivers a care kit to Linda Hansen outside the apartment building where Linda lives.

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Salvationist  December 2020  27


Special Christmas Offer

Inspiration for a Man Cave by Major Fred Ash From now until December 31, 2020

Save 20% on the single copy price and receive free shipping on orders of two or more to the same address. That’s just $10 each! Encourage the men of faith in your life this Christmas with 100 inspirational readings about construction, fishing, boating, gardening and cars, and the biblical topics of faith, courage, love, forgiveness, and more! To purchase contact

Thank you for your contribution to the 2020 Partners in Mission Campaign.

TOGETHER, WE RAISED $1.7 MILLION! Partners in Mission Self-Denial funds are distributed by The Salvation Army International Headquarters to support the international ministry of The Salvation Army. To learn more, visit:

28  December 2020  Salvationist

KIRKLAND LAKE, ONT.—The community of Kirkland Lake stepped up to support the Army’s food bank by raising $19,524.50 through the Tim Hortons Smile Cookie Campaign. “That’s enough to supply food hampers for two months for 170 households in need,” says Aux-Cpt Robbie Donaldson (right), community and spiritual care co-ordinator, seen here accepting a cheque from Tim Hortons staff.

EDMONTON—Sam Heintzman celebrates his enrolment as a senior soldier at Edmonton Temple with his parents, Brad and Barb Heintzman, and sister, Anna Heintzman.


GET THE PICTURE! KINGSTON, ONT.—Pearce Eeke is enrolled as a junior solider at Rideau Heights Corps. From left, Elaine Pedlar, who taught the preparation classes; Pearce Eeke; Dennis Chadwick, holding the flag; and Lts Kristie and Thomas Marsh, COs. (Photo taken before COVID-19.)

TRIBUTES TORONTO—Mrs. Major Ruth Watkin (nee Alderman) was born at Ottawa Grace Hospital in 1924 to officer parents. Ruth trained as a lab technician at Windsor Grace Hospital, Ont., and worked at Toronto Grace Hospital. Commissioned as an officer in 1946 in the Challengers Session, Ruth eventually met and married Fred Watkin while he was attending university in London, Ont. They returned to officership with a young daughter and then welcomed five more children. Ruth and Fred served in corps appointments, at the training college in Toronto, as divisional secretary, and in the education department at territorial headquarters, from where they retired in 1989. Settling in Orillia, Ont., they wintered in Florida for 13 years until Fred had a stroke. They relocated to Sutton, Ont., and enjoyed attending Georgina Community Church before moving to the Meighen Retirement Residence in Toronto. Ruth loved working with people and facilitated women’s groups for many years. She was very creative and painted more than 55 oil canvases later in life. Predeceased by her daughter, Beth, and husband, Fred, Ruth is missed by her family, Joan (David), Lyn (Ken), Jay, Fred (Pam) and Sharon (Max); 12 grandchildren; 15 great-grandchildren; and seven great-great grandchildren. WINNIPEG—Alexander George Watkinson was born in 1926 in Barking, England, and as a young child was taken to The Salvation Army by his sister, Brigadier Joan Sercombe. Since that time, music was always a major part of Alex’s life. During the Second World War, he proudly served in the Royal Marine Band, playing the trombone. Alex moved to Owen Sound, Ont., with his wife, Maureen, and their children, Nicola, Catrina and Mark. Lisa was born several years later. Alex was active in the band and served as the corps sergeant-major. Following Maureen’s untimely promotion to glory, Alex met Shirley. Their friendship grew and they were married, adding three more children to the family: Steve, Brenda and Karin. They travelled to Winnipeg in 1997 to work with those affected by the Red River flood and decided to stay. Alex volunteered at the Army’s Camp Woodlands for many years and attended Winnipeg’s Hampton Citadel, where he played in the band and served as the corps sergeant-major. In his later years, Alex attended Heritage Park Temple in Winnipeg, where he was a faithful supporter of the young people of the corps. WINNIPEG—Jim Dunphy was an active soldier at Heritage Park Temple in Winnipeg and was faithfully involved in various corps programs. He was especially dedicated to the annual Christmas kettle campaign, which revealed his heart for showing the love of Jesus to the community. Jim is remembered and honoured by his wife, Norma; sister, Bonnie Thornton (Wayne); nephews Jeff, Jon and Joel; stepson, Tony Caissie (Lisa); and beloved grandson, Brady Caissie.

Share the great things being done in your part of the territory to support people during the pandemic. Send us your news and photos highlighting the many ways the Army is living out its mission in your community. • Set your digital camera at the highest quality/size settings and forward the original photo files (high-resolution JPGs) to • Most cellphones take high-quality photos these days, and if you forward the files directly from the phone to (at the largest size possible), we should be able to use them. • Make sure the pictures are in focus and not too dark. • Ensure all federal and provincial guidelines and protocols for physical distancing are followed when taking photos. • Ensure that the people in the photo are aware that their picture may be used in print and/or online. Permission from a parent or guardian must be obtained for the publication of a child’s photo. Photo release forms are available from the editorial department. • Identify everyone in the photo, including their position or responsibility in your ministry. • Be creative and add some originality to your photos. Help us to portray your ministry in a fresh and exciting way.

GAZETTE TERRITORIAL Designation changes: Lt-Col Lynn Armstrong, territorial secretary for mission; Lt-Col Brenda Murray, director, international development; Mjr Alison Cowling, assistant mission secretary, administration; Mjr Glenda Davis, territorial social mission secretary; Mjr Terence Hale, territorial children and youth secretary; Mjr Mark Wagner, corps mission resource secretary; Jan 1—Mjr Sandra Stokes, assistant mission secretary, corps Long service: 25 years—Mjr Catherine Skillin Retirement: Dec 1—Mjr Carson Durdle Promoted to glory: Mrs. Mjr Dorothy McMillan, Oct 17

CALENDAR Commissioners Floyd and Tracey Tidd: Dec 10 National Advisory Board Executive Conference (virtual); Dec 10 Territorial Executive Conference (virtual); Dec 16 annual Christmas chapel and memorial, Maxwell Meighen Centre, Toronto (virtual) Canadian Staff Band: Dec 12 Virtual Christmas With The Salvation Army, Roy Thomson Hall ( Canadian Staff Songsters: Dec 8 Virtual Stockport Community Carol Concert, sponsored by Stockport Citadel, U.K. ( stockport-community-carol-concert-tickets-123029050201?fb); Dec 12 Virtual Christmas With The Salvation Army, Roy Thomson Hall (salvationist. ca/christmas) Salvationist  December 2020  29

Becoming a Better Chioma Pathway of Hope graduate gains confidence after starting new life in Canada. BY CHRISTINA CLAPHAM From left, Chioma receives a certificate of participation from Priscilla Hibbert, caseworker, recognizing her completion of the Pathway of Hope program

dous growth. She connected with a parenting group, which was a source of strength for her and her daughter. She also added a fourth goal of going back to school for nursing. Pathway of Hope staff helped with the application process, and Chioma was accepted into two nursing programs—one of which she accepted and started in fall 2020.


very year, Canada opens its door to thousands of immigrants, each with a dream of making a better life for themselves and their families. Settling in a new country is challenging, and lacking the knowledge to navigate the system makes it even more difficult. Chioma, a young single mother who arrived in Alberta from Nigeria with her eightyear-old daughter, faced a similar woe. Lonely and financially constrained, she was uncertain of her next steps. One day, Chioma met a friend who told her about The Salvation Army's Edmonton Centre of Hope and how she could be helped by the staff there. Despite feeling downcast, she mustered up the courage to visit the centre where she was met by one of the managers. Chioma was introduced to the Pathway of Hope and assigned a caseworker to assist her with the transition to her new life in Canada. After receiving an overview of the program and learning how it would help to secure a better future for her and her daughter, Chioma was ecstatic. She would no longer have to struggle to figure out everything by herself. Enthusiastically, she enrolled in the program. Chioma began setting goals, such as getting her international teaching education evaluated in Alberta, becoming gainfully employed and acquiring new 30  December 2020  Salvationist

Christina Clapham is the Pathway of Hope regional co-ordinator for the Alberta and Northern Territories, British Columbia and Quebec divisions..

parenting skills for raising her daughter in the Canadian culture. “I came into the Pathway of Hope program unsure of what lay ahead, but hopeful that it would be something amazing,” she recalls. The Pathway of Hope assessment tools were instrumental in tracking Chioma’s progress. After meeting with her caseworker for the first session, Chioma felt as though she had gained a new family and no longer felt alone or afraid. She was also introduced to the rest of the team, including a spiritual care worker, who played an integral part in her new journey. “I gained a better understanding of myself; I grew in confidence and spirituality,” she says. Within her first month of enrolment in the program, the young mother’s success was undeniable. “I gained a support system and became a better Chioma,” she recalls. Some of those achievements included finding casual employment in the Edmonton public school system and receiving a teaching certification by the Alberta Teachers’ Association. After a one-month contract position at an Edmonton public school, she was offered a full-time job. Chioma immediately shared the great news with her Pathway of Hope family at the Edmonton Centre of Hope. Chioma’s journey through Pathway of Hope was one marked by tremen-

Pathway of Hope Fast Facts In Canada, one out of seven people live in poverty. Many factors contribute to this problem: lack of employment, income, housing, food and childcare. Through Pathway of Hope, participants set goals to make positive change happen in their lives. • 82% of participants experienced increased stability within an average of seven months • 74% of participants experienced increased hope • 60% of participants strongly agree that their faith or spiritual beliefs increased • 76% of participants strongly agree that they have made a connection to a faith or spiritual community • 59% of the goals set in Pathway of Hope (including employment, education, financial stability and health care) have ended in successful achievement in an average of four months • Over 160 households have been served, including more than 210 children To learn more about Pathway of Hope, visit Statistics taken from the 2019 Pathway of Hope Impact Report.

What Do All of These Officers Have In Common?

They All Graduated with a Degree from Booth University College

Preparing the Army to give hope today and tomorrow Class of Booth UC, page 2 of many...





7:30 PM EST






Holiday Aid


Delivering Joy


Army Helps


Faith&Friends I N S P I R AT I O N F O R L I V I N G



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of to Mar d se a re p le a a Na z a re th f o th ir b th e rn announce o b Jesus was baby boy. ether 25 in a B e b em on Dec th b le d u e to g n le h e m st a ri u d s f room shortage o ason. Special se the census ds, the shepher thank s to d the angelic an be Wise Men iries should choir. Inqu Egypt where to forwarded relocated for as the family h ns. o as re safety

Obviously, this notice never appeared in any newspaper classifieds of the time. Of course, there were no newspapers in the ancient world. But even if there had been, the birth of a humble carpenter’s son would have still passed relatively unnoticed.

For such an unheralded event, Jesus’ birth, life, death and Resurrection have resonated down through the ages. Why? Jesus gave us the promise of eternal life. “I have come as a light to shine in this dark world,” He said (John 12:46 NLT). His message of love, salvation and forgiveness can be yours this holiday season.

To learn more about the Nativity story, visit our website ( or contact us at: The Salvation Army Editorial Department, 2 Overlea Blvd., Toronto ON M4H 1P4

December 2020




Behind every person who gives to the Army is a story of why they do it. COMMON GROUND 6 Tree of Hope

Cheryl Davies is determined that children enjoy a bright Christmas. FAITH BUILDERS 8 Soul Survivor

Soul, in theatres now, is a computeranimated Disney-Pixar film that addresses issues of the afterlife. FEATURES

9 Holiday Aid


Delivering Joy


Army Helps


Faith&Friends I N S P I R AT I O N F O R L I V I N G





“I’m Not Alone”

The Salvation Army’s red kettle is a symbol of hope for those in need.

The Bells of Our Conscience

Jacob’s Bell reminds us how important The Salvation Army is for thousands of families in need.

My Christmas Miracle

Helped by The Salvation Army, Angela has given back. SOMEONE CARES

Cover illustration: Thomas Hallman

16 Come From Away On

Christmas Day When airline passengers were stranded, The Salvation Army pitched in to help. LITE STUFF 20 Eating Healthy With Erin

Sudoku, Quick Quiz, Word Search.


NIFTY THRIFTY 23 Perfectly Ugly!

How to shop for the cutest “ugly” Christmas sweaters.  I  DECEMBER 2020




Real-life Miracles


ur cover story in this Christmas issue of Faith & Friends is a review of Jacob’s Bell, written by John Snyder. Set during the closing days of the Second World War, the novel deals with a man who, at one time, had health, wealth and power. But it is all taken away from Jacob one stormy New Year’s Eve. Destitute and alone, he is befriended by two Salvation Army pastors. Reluctantly, Jacob volunteers to ring a bell for the Army at Christmastime, and his life begins to change for the better as he mans the kettle during a busy holiday season. Jacob’s Bell may be fiction but the reality is that, across Canada and Bermuda, The Salvation Army performs real-life miracles—at least, they seem like miracles to me. Feeding the hungry, helping the addicted, giving comfort to those who are incarcerated, these are no mean feats. The Salvation Army is making a miraculous difference each and every day for thousands, here and around the world. But The Salvation Army could not do what they do without your help. So when you pass a Salvation Army kettle, maybe with a real-life Jacob happily ringing his bell, please give generously. Elsewhere in this issue, you’ll see how stranded air travellers were helped by a Salvation Army church, see our take on the new Soul movie and read about a very special angel tree. All of us at Faith & Friends wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy and safe 2021. Ken Ramstead

4 • DECEMBER 2020  I

Mission Statement To show Christ at work in the lives of real people, and to provide spiritual resources for those who are new to the Christian faith.

Faith & Friends is published monthly by: The Salvation Army 2 Overlea Blvd, Toronto Ontario, M4H 1P4 International Headquarters 101 Queen Victoria Street, London, EC4P 4EP, England William and Catherine Booth FOUNDERS

Brian Peddle, GENERAL Commissioner Floyd Tidd TERRITORIAL COMMANDER






Giselle Randall STAFF WRITER Scripture Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture references are taken from New International Version Contact Us P. (416) 467-3188, F. (416) 422-6217 Websites,, Email Subscription for one year: Canada $17 (includes GST/HST); U.S. $22; foreign $24 P. (416) 422-6119 All articles are copyright The Salvation Army Canada & Bermuda and cannot be reproduced without permission. Publications Mail Agreement No. 40064794 ISSN 1702-0131



Boxing Day Behind every person who gives to The Salvation Army at Christmas is a story of why they do it. by Samantha Dugas


uring a Salvation Army Christmas kettle shift in the Etobicoke area of Toronto, a man stopped to chat with me and my son, Lincoln. He told us that he was 82 years old, a former professional boxer who had competed in the Munich Olympics in 1972 as well as in numerous championships. As it happens, my son is training to be a boxer, so they traded tips. Before he left, the man shared with us his amazing story. Years ago, the boxer had fallen on hard times. His daughter had been beaten up by her boyfriend, and this man was so angry, he beat up the boyfriend in return. As a result, the boxer was arrested, convicted of assault and served eight months in prison. When released, he’d lost his job and apartment, and only had a few hundred dollars to his name. “The Salvation Army took me in, gave me shelter, food and support,” he

Budding Boxer Lincoln Dugas-Nishisato takes a turn on the Salvation Army kettle

told us. He offered them the money he had. The Army wouldn’t take it, but they did put it in a safe for him until he was out of the shelter.

When the man was released from prison, he’d lost his job and apartment. “I left The Salvation Army with $800, hope and a future,” he said. As he left us, I reflected that this was just one example that shows how The Salvation Army impacts and changes people’s lives for the better—then and now!  I  DECEMBER 2020




Tree of Hope Through The Salvation Army’s Angel Giving Tree Program, Cheryl Davies is determined that children enjoy a bright Christmas. by Janice Keats


heryl Davies is delighted to be a part of The Salvation Army’s Angel Giving Tree Program. The many thank-you certificates prominently displayed in her workplace are testimony to the 18 years that she’s supported the toy drive. And she has no plans of retiring. Cheryl was quick to offer the reason for her inspiration: “I am a member of The Salvation Army.” She was introduced to the Army and its programs through her family. “My great-grandmother was my strong influence, along with my mother and grandmother.” But the motivation to do something was compounded when she lost her 18-month-old son due to illness. Cheryl began supporting The Salvation Army’s Angel Giving Tree Program when a local shopping mall placed a life-sized tree in the lobby filled with angel-shaped tags. Each tag

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indicates an age-gender combination for someone to select and purchase a gift for. To keep her son’s memory alive, Cheryl wanted to help other children have a joyful Christmas by contributing toys, food and clothing. She always returned with gifts and placed them under the tree. “Our Own Little Community” For the last 18 years, Cheryl has been running this program at the convenience store where she works, inside the Lower Sackville Atlantic Superstore in Nova Scotia. With permission from management, Cheryl began her mission of supporting as many children as she could by offering her patrons and co-workers the opportunity to select a tag from a tree and return with gifts. “People contributed and it has grown so much,” Cheryl comments.

The management of the Superstore totally embraced the idea, and so did the employees. During the first year, Cheryl placed 50 tags on the tree and they were all taken. “There is great support here at the Superstore,” Cheryl says enthusiastically. “This is like our own little community.”

truck from him.” Her son’s giving continued as he entered college. He approached his classmates requesting a collective monetary donation so he could purchase gifts and food for a family in need. Cheryl’s daughter, Sondree, who resides in Victoria, has also followed her mother’s passion as she

What began as a family tradition continues to be a project and mission of compassion. A Mission to Give Cheryl’s family continues to support the Angel Giving Tree Program. Her son, Justin, now in his late 20s, is the twin of the son she lost. He, too, has a heartfelt reason to join the community of giving. “My son prepares a package for a two-year-old boy each year in memory of his twin brother,” she says. “Included in the package is a fire truck, which bears a special personal meaning. His grandfather was a volunteer firefighter, and when the boys were young they were each given a fire

contributes to her local Salvation Army Christmas program. What began as a family tradition continues to be a project and mission of compassion, all in memory of a beloved child whose life was too brief. “For me, it is a huge family thing,” says Cheryl. “With God’s help, I have a mission to give to others as I am grateful for the support that I have been given.” To participate in the Angel Giving Tree Program, contact your local Salvation Army church.

(left) Janice Keats is the emergency and disaster services co-ordinator at The Salvation Army’s divisional headquarters in Halifax. She has authored three books and is actively engaged in sharing her faith story and teaching evangelism workshops.  I  DECEMBER 2020




Soul Survivor Soul, in theatres now, is a computer-animated DisneyPixar film that addresses issues of the afterlife. by Diane Stark


oe Gardner (Jamie Foxx) is a middle school band teacher who dreams of being a jazz musician. He finally gets his big break but suffers an untimely accident on his way home. His soul gets separated from his body and heads to The Great Beyond, but he decides it’s not his time and tries to escape. Joe ends up in The Great Before, the place where souls get their personality, quirks and interests before going to earth. There, he meets 22 (Tina Fey), a soul-in-training who has a negative view of life. Joe is tasked with readying her and other souls for their lives on earth—but the clock is ticking: Joe’s body is in a coma and going downhill fast. Can he complete his mission before his body dies? A Big Question During their training, 22 asks Joe, “Is

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all this living really worth dying for?” While it may seem like a strange question, for Christians, the answer is an emphatic yes. This life can be hard. We face challenges and experience pain. But when we choose to invite God into our lives here on earth, He invites us to live with Him in heaven when we die. The choices we make in this life determine where we will spend eternity. God’s Son, Jesus, thought every one of us was worth dying for. “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). If we choose to accept Jesus’ sacrifice, we receive the gift of eternal life. This life is difficult, but it’s always worth living. Because no matter what this life holds for us, the best— eternity in heaven—is yet to come.



Happy Mother (left) “The support I received has helped me keep positive and realize I’m not alone,” says Tricia March



ricia March was familiar with The Salvation Army’s national Christmas kettle campaign but didn’t know much about the organization until she walked through the doors of its Barbara Mitchell Family Resource Centre in Calgary to print copies of her resumé. She quickly discovered a welcoming community she desperately needed. Descent Into Depression At that time, Tricia had already overcome tremendous obstacles, including being told at age 21 that she’d never be able to have children. “I didn’t think learning that affected me, but it was the beginning of nearly 20 years of heavy

addictions,” she says. “Eventually, something told me I couldn’t live like that anymore, and I needed God back in my life.” The Calgary resident took part in a spiritual pilgrimage in the city. “It brought me back to knowing someone loved me and I was worth it,” she says. Not long afterward, Tricia became pregnant with her “miracle baby.” But when she later separated from her young daughter’s father, she fell into a deep depression. Much-Needed Support Life began to turn around after she dropped into The Salvation Army’s resource centre. “Right away, I felt welcomed,” says  I  DECEMBER 2020




“I’ve met women from all walks of life. It’s like a sisterhood.”  TRICIA MARCH Tricia, who started taking part in various activities there. “Chaplains let me know they were there if I wanted to talk about or needed anything. I didn’t require food, shelter or clothing. I’m not well off but I’ve learned how to live within my budget. I needed spirituality and community.” Before long, Tricia and her daughter, now five, became regulars at the centre, taking part in cooking classes and other activities. Tricia looks forward to attending a women’s camp organized by the centre each spring, and mom and daughter attend camp together each summer. “I’ve met women from all walks of life. We all have different needs, but we have a bond. It’s like a sisterhood.” Tricia recently returned to school to earn a university degree in social work so she can help other moms— a decision she credits to the support she’s received from the centre. She also teaches pow-wow dancing to fellow members of her Indigenous community and works at a laundry company. “The support I received has helped me keep positive and realize I’m not alone,” Tricia concludes. Reprinted from National Post, December 10, 2019

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For Further Reflection “When you donate to The Salvation Army at Christmastime, that money stays right in your local community and is reinvested in the lives of people in need,” says Lt-Colonel John Murray, territorial secretary for communications. The Salvation Army supports vulnerable people in 400 communities across Canada in many ways, such as: • Hunger relief for individuals and families through food banks and feeding programs; • Shelter for people experiencing homelessness and support for those needing housing; • Rehabilitation for those struggling with substance use disorders. “First and foremost, the true meaning and spirit of Christmas is about others,” Lt-Colonel John says. “That might mean your friends and family or a broader circle of influence within your community that helps people who—for whatever reason—find themselves needing a helping hand. Truly, we are much more blessed to give than to receive.”

This story was created by Content Works, Postmedia’s commercial content division, on behalf of The Salvation Army.



The Bells of Our Conscience JACOB’S BELL REMINDS US HOW IMPORTANT THE SALVATION ARMY IS AT CHRISTMASTIME FOR THOUSANDS OF FAMILIES IN NEED. by Ken Ramstead CHRISTMAS 1944. THE WORLD is at war but the global conflict is the furthest thing from Jacob McCallum’s mind. Estranged from his family, penniless, friendless, Jacob’s been riding the rails and

living on the streets for more than 20 years. It wasn’t always that way. There was a time when he was one of the richest and respected businessmen in Chicago, with family and friends  I  DECEMBER 2020

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“ I hope that people will support the great work of The Salvation Army and understand the significance of that ringing when they’re walking down the street during the holiday season.”  JOHN SNYDER who loved him. But all that changed 20 years ago on a stormy New Year’s Eve when his life shattered beyond repair. He’s been in a booze-induced haze ever since. Saved by an Angel Jacob’s Bell, a novel written by John Snyder, is the story of Jacob’s journey of redemption. A near-death experience in Nevada has shaken him from his downward spiral, and he’s resolved to return to Chicago, find his children and make amends for the harm he has caused. But locating a longlost family is more difficult than Jacob anticipates. Befriended by a Salvation Army pastor, appropriately named Howard Angel, Jacob struggles to transform his life and finally overcomes his demons, but not without a fair number of setbacks. Failing to locate his family in Chicago, Pastor Angel helps Jacob travel to Baltimore to renew his search. There, he is helped by another Salvation Army officer, 12 • DECEMBER 2020  I

Pastor Bob Parsley, after Jacob is beaten up by some toughs. Reluctantly, he is persuaded by Pastor Bob to become a Salvation Army bell-ringer at Christmastime. To his surprise, he actually starts to enjoy it and his enthusiasm becomes infectious, and soon people from around the city are flocking to put money in his kettle. While ringing his bell on a street corner, Jacob meets a young girl who, through a series of strange coincidences, leads him back to the family he’d thought he’d lost forever. But will Jacob be forgiven in time for Christmas? A Chance to Help After the unexpected success of his The Golden Ring, a novel about his grandmother, John Snyder saw how his writing could influence and affect people. “I received letters, emails and cards from people all over the world, telling me how The Golden Ring had had a positive influence on their lives and on circumstances they

were going through,” he says. A seed was planted. “I had this idea about Jacob’s Bell floating around in my head,” he smiles. “One of the things I really relate to at Christmas is the ringing of that Salvation Army bell. That sound means something to me. I’ve rung it myself and I’ve signed my family up to ring. It’s something that goes all the way back to my childhood. I remember that Army bell ringing on the street corner and I relate to it very much.” John came up with the story of a Salvation Army bell-ringer who has lost his way in life. “He was a successful man and lost everything,” John says, but it was the ringing of that bell that brought him back to a righteous life and to reconnecting with his family. “I think that’s what the bell stands for,” he goes on to say. “I actually refer to it as the bell of our conscience. It rings with the season and it reminds us that there’s a lot that needs to be done, helping people who need help. It reminds us of all the things we should have done during the year and didn’t do, and this is our chance to help.” Bells of Hope John went back to years and years of his own experiences ringing the bell at the Salvation Army kettle, as well as the many pastors he had met over that time. “I’m a struggling Christian, as we

all are,” John says, “but these pastors have taught me that we have an obligation to be Christlike and do as He did. We need to help people and do the Lord’s work on earth. That’s my mission in life.” John extensively researched Salvation Army history during the time period of the novel, as well as the Second World War in Europe, where some of the novel is set. John also consulted city archives for those places where Jacob’s Bell is set. “I hope that people will support the great work of The Salvation Army and understand the significance of that ringing when they’re walking down the street during the holiday season,” John says, “and that it will compel them to not only drop money in the kettle but also to go out and do a couple of nice things for people who need that in their life.”

John Snyder owned a public relations and advertising agency for more than 25 years before he tried his hand at writing. Visit for more information on the author and his other projects.  I  DECEMBER 2020

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thought I was living the perfect life according to society’s standards. When my world collapsed, a friend asked if I was going to get a Salvation Army Christmas hamper. I didn’t know there was such a thing. That’s where my life with The Salvation Army in Kelowna, B.C., began.

Miracle of Blessings “The most special part of volunteering was watching the miracle of blessings trickle down to others as it once did for me,” says Angela

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Surviving At that time, I was married, had one child and another on the way. My husband and I ran two successful loans businesses and we owned a home. Then my marriage failed, followed by our business. I suddenly found myself couch-surfing with a little boy and soon-to-be baby. Before long, I was in line at a food bank with people I’d

with an entire Christmas dinner, toys and stocking stuffers. I was overwhelmed. This gesture of love gave me hope when there was none left. In the new year, I was invited to join a year-long, single-parenting and life-skills class called Breakthrough. I thrived in this nurturing learning environment.

“This gesture of love gave me hope when there was none left.” ANGELA

loaned money to not that long ago. Meanwhile, I reached out to various agencies in an attempt to get back on my feet. I found a home through a local supportive housing organization and applied for welfare to provide for my two boys. Life was OK, but was more about surviving than living. The Breakthrough At Christmastime, I went to The Salvation Army and filled out a hamper application. The form asked, “Would you like to hear more about our programs?” and I checked “yes.” That Christmas, we were provided

“I Am Truly Living” Inspired by the support I received, I began to volunteer. I worked with other parents in the Breakthrough program, rang the bells at Christmas and assisted with the hamper program. The most special part of volunteering was watching the miracle of blessings trickle down to others as it once did for me. When my social assistance ran out, I worked at various roles within The Salvation Army. Currently, I serve as the volunteer co-ordinator. My boys are thriving. I have a home and a partner. I am truly living.  I  DECEMBER 2020

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Come From Away On Christmas Day When airline passengers were stranded at Deer Lake, N.L., the community and The Salvation Army pitched in to help. by Diane Stark


e apologize for the inconvenience, but the flight to St. John’s has been delayed for another hour,” the voice on the intercom at Toronto’s Pearson airport said. Diversion to Deer Lake Passengers groaned. It was Christmas Eve, and the WestJet flight had been scheduled to take off at 8 p.m. But storms in St. John’s, N.L., had caused repeated delays.

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At midnight, the plane finally took off. It was a three-hour flight full of turbulence. At 3 a.m., the pilot tried to land in St. John’s, but high winds made it impossible. After a few failed attempts, the crew diverted the plane to Deer Lake, N.L., finally landing at 5 a.m. on Christmas morning. Frozen-Dinner Christmas Karen Casey was one of the passengers.

Come and Get It! (left) The Deer Lake hotel lobby was turned into a veritable buffet for the passengers

“I just wanted to get home to see my mom, my sister and her kids,” she says, “but as soon as they said we were landing in Deer Lake, I knew I wasn’t going to make it.” Paulette Karges and her husband, Jeff, were on the flight as well. “My mom has lung cancer and she wasn’t doing well,” she says. “We really wanted to be with her on Christmas.” Due to its small size, the airline doesn’t operate out of the Deer Lake location in the winter and, because

it was Christmas, there were no restaurants or stores open. The 80 or so passengers were stranded and made their way to a local hotel. “I was still shaken by the rough flight and failed landing attempts,” Karen says. “When I got to the hotel, I just collapsed into bed.” It was lunchtime when she woke up. “I was hungry, so I bought a microwave dinner from the vending machine and went back to my room,” she says. “It was depressing to eat a frozen dinner all by myself on Christmas Day.” Above and Beyond At 3:30 that afternoon, Brian Snow, the family services director at The

Taxi Service (above) Members of the community volunteered to ferry the stranded passengers back to their plane  I  DECEMBER 2020

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“I couldn’t believe that people gave up Christmas with their families to come and help us. I was overwhelmed by their kindness.”  KAREN CASEY Salvation Army’s Deer Lake Citadel church, was just finishing his Christmas dinner. “I received a text message from the church secretary,” he recalls. “A friend of one of the passengers had contacted her to tell us about their situation and to ask whether the Army could help.” Brian made some calls and went on Facebook to share what was happening. Less than an hour later, volunteers from The Salvation Army and the community started arriving at the hotel. At that moment, Paulette was staring out the window in her hotel room. “I noticed cars in the parking lot and people entering the hotel carrying trays of food.” Paulette and Jeff went down to the lobby. “When we got there, there were all these people and they invited us to eat the food they’d brought. It was so amazing, I actually got choked up.” “I was in my room and one of the other passengers knocked on the door,” Karen says. “They told me that there was food downstairs. I

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headed down, and when I saw it, I started to cry. I couldn’t believe that people gave up Christmas with their families to come and help us. I was overwhelmed by their kindness.” “There were turkey sandwiches, hot crab dip, cookies and cake,” Brian says. “One man even brought a batch of rabbit stew.” “The food was wonderful, but it was more than that,” Karen says. “They really cared about us. I know that people of Newfoundland and Labrador are generous people, but this went above and beyond.” “We’re Here” The passengers were fed, but there was still another problem. They needed to get back to the airport to catch a 9 p.m. flight to St. John’s, but there were only four taxis running. At that rate, not everyone would make it on time. Another social-media request was sent out. “We asked for volunteers to drive the passengers to the airport,” Brian says. “More than 30 cars showed up, ready to help.” All of the passengers got rides

Christmas Wishes “This little boy woke up in the hotel room this morning and looked under the bed for his presents from Santa,” says Brian Snow, “but his grandma called to let him know that Santa left all his presents at her house!”

to the airport and their flight took off on time. They finally arrived in St. John’s at 10 p.m. on Christmas night, nearly 24 hours after their journey began. “It wasn’t the Christmas we thought we’d have, but I wouldn’t change it for anything,” Paulette says. “I will always remember that day and what they did for me,” Karen says. “It was one of the best Christmases I ever had.” The incident reminded Brian of another experience when the people of Newfoundland and Labrador helped strangers. In the week following the attacks on September 11, 2001, 7,000 stranded travellers

were fed and housed by the small town of Gander after their flights were grounded, inspiring the hit musical Come From Away. “There were so many similarities that we called this ‘Come From Away on Christmas Day,’ ” Brian says. “It was on a smaller scale, but it was a blessing to be able to help where needed.” “We want people to know that whenever and wherever they need us, we’re here,” Captain Jeff Howard, the co-pastor at Deer Lake Citadel, states. And “Come From Away on Christmas Day” was the perfect opportunity for the Salvation Army members of Deer Lake to demonstrate that message.  I  DECEMBER 2020

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Recipe photo: Erin Stanley

TIME 80 mins  MAKES 5 servings  SERVE WITH turkey

500 g (1 lb) Yukon Gold potatoes 1 head of cauliflower 30 ml (2 tbsp) butter 2 garlic cloves 60 ml (¼ cup) yellow onion 30 ml (2 tbsp) flour 375 ml (1½ cups) 2% milk 1 ml (¼ tsp) salt 1 ml (¼ tsp) black pepper 15 ml (1 tbsp) parsley 125 ml (½ cup) mozzarella cheese 60 ml (¼ cup) Parmesan or Gruyere cheese 60 ml (¼ cup) bread crumbs 60 ml (¼ cup) mozzarella cheese (optional) 60 ml (¼ cup) bread crumbs parsley to garnish (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 200 C (400 F) and grease a 22 x 22 cm (9 x 9 in.) pan. 2. Peel and slice potatoes very thinly and cut cauliflower into small florets. 3. Melt butter in pan over medium heat and add garlic and onions. Cook until soft or about 3 minutes. 4. Add flour and whisk for 2 minutes, then pour in milk. Bring to boil stirring constantly and then reduce to simmer. 5. Whisk in salt, pepper, parsley, mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses, stir for 2 minutes and set aside. 6. Arrange one layer of potatoes and cauliflower, then pour half of the sauce over. 7. Arrange the remaining cauliflower and potatoes and pour on rest of sauce. 8. Top with mozzarella cheese and bread crumbs. Cover in aluminum foil and bake on middle rack for one hour. Remove foil, add parsley and broil for 5 minutes.

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1. In Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, what was the first name of Scrooge? 2. How many gifts in total were given in The Twelve Days of Christmas song? 3. How do you say “Merry Christmas” in Spanish?






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“Honey, once I find the star for the top of the tree … it will be perfect!”  I  DECEMBER 2020

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Quick Quiz Answers: 1. Ebenezer; 2. 364; 3. Feliz Navidad. 2

















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Perfectly Ugly! How to shop for the cutest “ugly” Christmas sweaters. The phenomenon of the “ugly” Christmas sweater continues to be a staple of the season. While holiday parties are likely to look much different this year, festive wear is here to stay and a great way to spread Christmas cheer. Here are three things to keep in mind while shopping at your local Salvation Army thrift store for that perfect “ugly” Christmas sweater you can wear with confidence. Reflect Yourself  If your style is more classic and understated, choose a basic Christmas-patterned sweater. If you appreciate a good pun, lean in to the “punny” sweaters that showcase holiday humour. Pair With Basics  For a casual party, the perfect way to complement your “ugly” Christmas sweater is to wear it with your favourite pair of jeans and booties. Keeping the rest of your outfit on the simpler side is a great way to ground a “loud” holiday sweater. For an added festive twist, pair red or green pants with the outfit!

Check Different Sections and Sizes  Try layering a sized-up holiday sweater over a collared white shirt for a look that is both festive and chic. If you are a female, men’s sweaters can be perfect for a cozy, oversized look. Expand your search beyond whichever section and size you normally shop to find gems that would otherwise stay hidden. Whatever style you choose, remember to wear your sweater with confidence. This is one of those occasions when you can embrace the challenge and find the “ugliest” Christmas sweater possible!

(left) May Strutt is an avid thrifter with more than a decade of shopping experience in thrift stores across Canada. She is also a communications and engagement specialist with The Salvation Army’s thrift stores. Find a thrift store near you at  I  DECEMBER 2020

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