Commissioner Helen Clifton Promoted to Glory * Updated - Salvation Army Canada

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    Commissioner Helen Clifton Promoted to Glory * Updated

    Commissioner Helen Clifton served as World President of Women's Ministries June 15, 2011
    Filed Under:
    International News
    Commissioner Helen Clifton was promoted to Glory from St Christopher's Hospice in South London in the United Kingdom on Tuesday, 14 June 2011. The commissioner, who retired on 1 April 2011, has courageously faced her illness with a strong faith and trust in God.

    Helen Ashman was born in the Army's Mothers' Hospital in Clapton, London to Betty and Don Ashman, committed Christians who raised her in the faith and gently grounded her in Salvationism.

    In the nurturing fellowship of The Salvation Army corps at Edmonton, North London, Helen accepted Jesus as her Saviour with a glad and childlike trust.

    Helen excelled academically and athletically at the Latymer School, Edmonton, winning academic and sports prizes year after year. On leaving school, she studied for a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree in English Language and Literature from Westfield College, University of London and a Post-Graduate Certificate of Education from Goldsmiths' College, University of London, before taking up teaching.

    She met Shaw Clifton after his parents were appointed to Edmonton to represent The Salvation Army Assurance Society there. They became childhood sweethearts and married on 15 July 1967 when she was nineteen years of age.

    Feeling compelled by the love of God to leave their secular careers to serve others as Officers of The Salvation Army, the Cliftons were commissioned as lieutenants in London in 1973. Helen served selflessly for over thirty-seven years on five continents, winning the love and respect of others wherever she went. Her intelligence, humility, bright smile, articulate speaking and writing, and her accepting heart won her countless friends and admirers. In corps appointments at Burnt Oak, Enfield and Bromley in the United Kingdom, and at the Bulawayo Citadel in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), her natural personal warmth and selfless spirit touched the lives of many.

    Thrust by her calling into cultures beyond her own, Helen Clifton taught English to African young men at the Army's Mazowe Secondary School in Zimbabwe, and coached the headquarters women officers of Pakistan in weekly English classes instigated by her as soon as she arrived in 1997. She had an instinctive, visionary grasp of the vast potential of the Army's Women's Ministries work both locally and globally.

    Leading the Army's work, with Commissioner Shaw Clifton, in the United Kingdom and Ireland she pressed for the opening of the Army's first shelter for trafficked women, taking a close personal interest in every detail of the scheme.

    The 2006 High Council elected Commissioner Shaw Clifton to be the 18th General of The Salvation Army, and on Sunday 2 April 2006 Commissioner Helen Clifton became the World President of Women's Ministries. She travelled across every continent, intensifying and spearheading the Army's global assault on the evil of human trafficking, encouraging Salvationists everywhere to stand for the downtrodden and victimised. She strategised globally and acted locally, succeeding in securing the removal of pornographic magazines from her local shop, and also the banning of sex industry advertisements from her local newspaper. All of this was achieved with poise, grace, charm, and steely determination. She was a strong leader, who always communicated in a natural, conversational style, often holding the attention of huge crowds with nothing but her Bible to hand. She had that rare gift of expressing profound truths in simple, everyday language.

    Commissioner Helen Clifton loved her children – Matt, Jen and John – with an enduring, strong, and tender love. She liberated all three into personal life choices, in accordance with her sacred vows made in each of their Dedication Ceremonies. Helen doted upon her grandchildren – Hannah, Elijah, Amos, Hudson and Lincoln, and offered unconditional love and esteem to those who were to become her children-in-law: Lynne, Marcus and Naomi. All of these precious ones, and many more, featured regularly in her prayer diaries.

    General Shaw Clifton and Commissioner Helen Clifton have been enriched by each others love, companionship and unswerving devotion for nearly fifty years, forty-four of these within the sacred bonds of marriage. Together, by God's grace, they pursued their sacred callings and together they entered retirement recently for what proved to be an unexpectedly short period, but one of intense mutual dependence and intuitive understanding as Helen's medical condition and ability to communicate rapidly worsened.

    Accompanied by General Shaw Clifton (Rtd) and other loved ones, Commissioner Helen Clifton was admitted to St. Christopher's Hospice on the morning of Thursday, 19 May 2011. With calm and unfailing trust in God, Commissioner Helen Clifton went home peacefully to Heaven on Tuesday, 14 June 2011 at 9.20 pm, with General Shaw Clifton and other family members and officer colleagues at her bedside.

    Reflecting on her life as a Salvation Army officer, Commissioner Helen Clifton said at their retirement salute in January 2011:

    'God has been so generous to us through all the years since he called us into sacred service. He has granted us boundless grace, one day at a time. He has gone ahead of us into every appointment and situation. He has blessed us beyond measure.'

    We have seen something of the boundless grace of God as General Shaw Clifton and Commissioner Helen Clifton have shown the reality of living by faith during times of adversity and perplexity. Their quiet steady confidence and commitment to God have been enriching to those who have shared these recent difficult days with them.

    Please join me in saluting Commissioner Helen Clifton for her sacred calling is now complete.

    We pray that General Shaw Clifton and other members of their family and friends will know the reality of the peace and grace of the risen Lord Jesus. Salvationists throughout the world are committed to pray for them in these days.

    At the time of writing, details of funeral arrangements are not known.


    On Thursday, October 20, 2011, Anne Harriss said:

    I was so sad, and shocked to learn of Commissioner Helen Clifton's death today.

    I met her through my late mother, Edith Smith, a salvationist from Failsworth Corps. when I gave a presentation at SAMF about a project my mother and I have supported in South Africa.
    Helen Clifton was a role model. My thoughts are with her family.

    Anne Harriss

    On Tuesday, June 28, 2011, Levi'simon Mutiso said:

    Commissioner,you've fought the good fight,won the race and you've kept the Faith.Fare thee well.we shall meet you across the River.
    Levi'simon Mutiso

    On Tuesday, June 28, 2011, Levi'simon Mutiso said:

    Commissioner,you've fought the good fight,won the race and you've kept the Faith.Fare thee well.we shall meet you across the River

    On Monday, June 27, 2011, janet fellows said:

    Thinking and praying for the General (R) and all the family on the sad loss of Commissioner Helen. Her speech on her retirement will remain with me for along time. You now deserve your finally promotion Helen, and that is with the Lord you loved and served faithfully all your life. R.I.P. Commissioner.

    On Wednesday, June 22, 2011, Major George Patrick (INT) said:

    I love the Commissioner Helon clifton I meet her when she had visited India Northren Territory,She is like our mom .we missed her a lot,but we belive she will be in hevenly home of God,God give peace and hurmony to General and his familly........................................

    On Saturday, June 18, 2011, Alice R. Anderson said:

    My condolences to Gen. Shaw Clifton and all of the family. I am sorry to hear of the loss of Commissioner Helen Clifton. She did tremendous work for the world-wide Salvation Army. May her soul rest in peace.

    On Saturday, June 18, 2011, Khara T. Aspacio said:

    May the Lord, our great comforter, warmth the Cliftons. There may be sadness but there is joy because Commissioner Helen Clifton is now resting in the loving hands of God. Prayers to the family Clifton especially to the general. Indeed God has said to His child, "Well done my good and faithful servant".

    Sol. Khara T. Aspacio
    Philippine Territory
    Iligan Corps

    On Friday, June 17, 2011, Major P. Jayaratnasingham said:

    We are deeply saddened by hearing the news of the promotion to glory of our beloved Commissioner Helen Clifton. Our prayers are with General Shaw Clifton and all memebers of the family. "Servant of God Well done"

    Majors P & Chandra Jayaratnasingham
    Sri Lanka Territory

    On Friday, June 17, 2011, Ferdinand and Milyn Agtarap-Dalao said:

    Our thoughts and prayers are with the Clifton family.Surely Com.Helen will be greatly missed but her legacy will stay forever in our Hearts.To God be the Glory!

    On Friday, June 17, 2011, Majors P & Chandra Jayaratnasingham said:

    We are deeply shocked by hearing sad news of the promotion to glory of our beloved Commissioner Helen Cliftorn. She was such a charming lady and a woman of God. The Army world will miss her but her memories will always cherish our hearts. We assure of our continued prayer support to General Shaw Clifton, and the members of the family. " Servant of God Well done".

    On Thursday, June 16, 2011, Orpa Simbamba said:

    My prayers are with the Retired General and all the family members. May the good Lord be with you during these sad days.

    On Thursday, June 16, 2011, Lester small said:

    sorry to hear of the passing of mrs clifton ,,,sending our prayers to the retired general today,my god bless the family ......

    On Thursday, June 16, 2011, Lieut-Colonel Innocent Peter Kwenda said:

    Our prayers are with General Shaw Clifton & the entire family. May her soul rest in perfect peace.

    On Thursday, June 16, 2011, Carol Packer said:

    The promotion to Glory of such a lovely person is sad but I rejoice that she will have heard her Saviours well done thou good and faithfull servant. My prayers are with Ret.General Clifton Shaw and all the family God Bless

    On Thursday, June 16, 2011, Major John Gerard said:

    To General Clifton (R), Matt and family members.

    One of God's roses has been plucked from this earth to give more beauty to Heaven.May the sweet Holy Spirit comfort those who remain. May we be faithful to God's calling upon our lives untill He calls us home to Heaven above.

    On Thursday, June 16, 2011, walter boland said:

    we sorrow not as those who have no HOPE for IN CHRIST WE NEVER DIE..our relationship
    with the LIVING CHRIST as robbed death of it.s sting and the grave of it.s victory....our dear Commissioner is NOW EXPERIENCING PERPETUAL JOY which defies our finite mind's
    ability to comprehend...the lyrics of song 908 paints a BEAUTIFUL PICUTRE and gives us
    a miniture glimpse of what EXCITATION we encounter in OUR ETERNAL HEAVENLY HOME..
    OUR DEAR retired GENERAL SHAW also has that SUSTANING HOPE and we REJOICE with him..
    ret'd csm walter boland

    On Wednesday, June 15, 2011, Jun & Edith Apayart said:

    We felt saddened upon hearing about the Promotion to Glory of Commissioner Helen Clifton. Nevertheless, the saints and the Heaven's angel are now rejoicing upon her entry with the sound of trumpets perhaps, she had now received her highest Promotion because she will be at rest in the awesome presence of her Master in which she had lived and served for her whole life. Comfort and peace be upon General Shaw Clifton (R) and her loved ones. For the living saints and fellow travelers here on earth, let us remember and be inspired to follow her good and saintly example. God bless the SArmy and the Clifton family.

    On Wednesday, June 15, 2011, Captain Mary Libby said:

    May God be with General Clifton's family and may they rest in His peace and comfort during this time. You are all in my prayers.

    On Wednesday, June 15, 2011, Major Kay FLower said:

    Assuring General Clifton and the family my love, thoughts and prayers during these sad days.So very sad, and also a glad day because she is now with her Lord. Truly we can say Promoted to Glory.
    God bless you each one.

    On Wednesday, June 15, 2011, Capt M ilfred Harper Gds Rtd said:

    I was so sad to hear about Commissioner Helen Clifton , I do know for sure that Helen is in a
    better place . As a Salvation Army worker and hospice volunteer I do know some of the things
    people go through . Helen and her husband are two of the many wonderful people in the Army
    and is now serving her Master in Heaven . Some day we will see her along with other friends
    in Heaven.We can truly say :
    .... for the Lord thy God is a merciful God , he will not forsake thee ... Deut. 4:31 {a}

    On Wednesday, June 15, 2011, Cadet Mcferson Masingi said:

    Its so sad to hear this news about commissioner Hellen Clifton. congraturations for the work you have done, for bringing many souls to the kingdom of God through your services in this world. May your soul rest in peace.

    Praying for Cliton family in these sad days.

    On Wednesday, June 15, 2011, Marion Gillard said:

    My heart and prayers go out to the Clifton family in their time of sorrow may God comfort them and strengthen them and wrap His loving arms around them and keep them in His care every day.So sorry to hear about the loss of a wonderful lady I heard so many wonderful things about her. God Bless the Clifton family.

    On Wednesday, June 15, 2011, Susan & Edward Toon said:

    Our thoughts and prayers are with General Shaw Clifton (r) and all the family on the sad loss of Commisioner Helen Clifton now PTG. Good memories of her leading Home and Family weekend at Folkestone Corps two years ago. She was so gracious and helpful to me as I had just lost my father that week. God Bless you all.

    On Wednesday, June 15, 2011, Valerie Nance said:

    Praying for the Cliftons. She was a lady of grace but Heaven is rejoicing because she is home.

    On Wednesday, June 15, 2011, John Umasanthiram said:

    Commissioner Helen Clifton was a great servant of God and it was a great priviledge to know the commissioner. Always find time for people and interested in the welfare of the officers. We know God has prepared a place for you. Thank you very much for your leadership.

    Our prayers are with General Shaw Clifton, Matt and other family members.

    John and Cherry Umasanthiram
    Indonesian Territory

    On Wednesday, June 15, 2011, Liz Dyson said:

    This is so very sad. Rest in peace Helen

    On Wednesday, June 15, 2011, Estelle said:

    Joyce-they sent me tocollege and se campaigned for all women.
    So sad and will be sorely missed.

    On Wednesday, June 15, 2011, Joyce Curran said:

    What a beautiful beautiful lady! The world will be a little darker. My thoughts and prayers are with General Shaw Clifton. June 14, 2011 my husband and I received the news that we were Fully accepted for the College of Officer Training. The General and Commisioner had much to do with us beginning the process. It was the General's Congress that caused me to finally surrender to the call of the Lord. Commissioner Helen may have been talking to the whole congress but her words and her spirit encouraged me greatly.

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