Excitement and anticipation filled the John Bassett Theatre at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre as hundreds gathered for a Salvationists’ rally with General Linda Bond, international leader of The Salvation Army. “With the warmth of our hearts we welcome you home,” said Commissioner Brian Peddle, territorial commander, as he introduced the General, making reference to her Canadian heritage. Joined by Commissioner Rosalie Peddle, territorial president of women’s ministries, and Colonels Floyd and Tracey Tidd, chief secretary and territorial secretary for women’s ministries, the congregation greeted General Linda Bond with a standing ovation and a heartfelt round of applause.
At the General’s request, a video promoting the Army’s Worldwide Prayer Meeting was shown. In her response that followed, General Linda Bond encouraged all Salvationists to participate in this global initiative to cover the Army world in prayer between 5 a.m. and 8 a.m. every Thursday morning. “I believe an Army on the march must first be an Army on its knees,” she said.
The Friday evening rally featured representative Salvationists from the Ontario Central-East Division and the Ontario Great Lakes Division, including Toronto’s Yorkminster Songsters and the North York Temple Singing Company, Oshawa Temple Band and vocal soloist Karen Gross. A highlight of the program was the Ontario Central-East Junior Timbrelists, more than 30 strong, as they performed to Erik Leidzen’s The Invincible Army.
Rebecca Bailey Minaker testified to her life-changing experience as a delegate to the first International College for Soldiers held in London, England, and thanked the General for her support of this new venture. Gabriela Cravioto shared how she dedicated her life to Jesus Christ during the Hispanic family camp held in Jackson’s Point, Ont.
During her message, the General outlined what a love for God means for his followers. “Love for God is a response. Love for God is obedience. Love for God is service,” she said. She reminded those in attendance that the work they do as Salvationists is not done for the Army but for God. “He is worthy of our service,” she said. In response to the General’s invitation, officers and Salvationists went forward to rededicate their lives to the service of God.
On Saturday, General Linda Bond received an honorary doctor of divinity degree from Tyndale University College in Toronto during their fall graduation ceremony. Entering the Bayview Campus Chapel to the congregational singing of Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee with members of the graduating class and college faculty, the General took her place on the platform. Lending musical support was an ensemble from North York Temple Band.
An alumnus of the college, General Linda Bond was introduced by Gary Nelson, college president and vice chancellor, who stated she had been chosen to be honoured in this way because she exemplifies the values, commitment and leadership represented by graduates of the institution. “She is committed to the history, theology and mission of The Salvation Army,” he said.
Following the conferring of the honorary doctorate by Stephanie Ling, college chancellor, the General addressed those gathered. “I receive this honour as the General of The Salvation Army,” she said. “The glory belongs to God.”
General Linda Bond’s visit to the Canada and Bermuda Territory began with a public meeting in St. John’s, N.L., on the evening before the Toronto rally and included a time of sharing with fellow officers at officers’ councils in St. John’s and Toronto.
To view the Toronto rally online, visit salvationarmy.ca/ontariocentraleast.