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Jul4MonCommissioners Brian and Rosalie Peddle, new territorial leaders for the Canada and Bermuda Territory, signal their commitment to listen to and work with their fellow Salvationists July 4, 2011 Interview with Commissioners Brian and Rosalie Peddle
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Prior to taking office on July 1, Commissioners Brian and Rosalie Peddle, territorial commander and territorial president of women's ministries, participated in an e-mail interview with John McAlister, senior editor. At the time of writing, Commissioners Peddle were serving as chief secretary and territorial secretary for women's ministries in the United Kingdom Territory with the Republic of Ireland.
Tell us about your family background.
We were both born and raised on the East Coast of Newfoundland and Labrador, where our Christian parents gave us “roots” and “wings.” We were grounded in our faith and then set free to explore God's will for our lives. Both of us are extremely grateful for the spiritual impact and influence of our parents on our lives.
Brian was introduced to The Salvation Army in his late teens and immediately fell in love with the vibrancy of its mission and ministry. Convicted by the call of God upon his life to be an officer, he was commissioned as a member of the Companions of Christ Session (1975-1977).
Rosalie grew up in the Army and participated in most of the corps activities. Committing her life to Jesus at the age of seven was a very real and memorable experience. Through her teenage years, as she grew spiritually, there was a deep awareness of God's calling on her life to become a Salvation Army officer. Rosalie entered the College for Officer Training as a member of the Overcomers Session (1974-1976).
What are your interests or hobbies?
Brian enjoys the outdoors whenever opportunity presents. He finds quiet lakes, rivers for fishing and a choppy sea for kayaking to be great places of solace and enjoyable moments. Rosalie enjoys reflective and quiet activities such as walking, reading, watching a good movie and great conversation over a cup of tea with friends. Together we enjoy cycling, hiking and exploring new places and landscapes. Each of these experiences is enhanced when we can schedule in a coffee along the way. Family is extremely important, and as we move home to Canada we look forward to becoming “real” grandparents as opposed to “Internet” grandparents!
You've been serving out of the territory for a number of years. Please share with our readers what you have been doing.
While serving as divisional leaders of the Maritime Division, we were presented with the opportunity to take up divisional leadership roles in Auckland, New Zealand. As the divisional commander and divisional director of women's ministries, we shared responsibility for the Northern Division, which includes Cape Reinga—the most northern tip of the country—and also hosts Auckland, New Zealand's largest city with 1.4 million people. We easily identified with the Kiwi culture and experienced the warmth and welcome of its people. An extra blessing was the immediate connection we experienced with the heartbeat and mission of the Army, which made our time there both enjoyable and fruitful.
New Zealand was our first experience of serving outside our home territory. Little did we realize that after two years and four months we would find ourselves in the United Kingdom Territory with the Republic of Ireland as chief secretary and territorial secretary for women's ministries. Suddenly the familiarity of past appointments seemed quite distant as we took on senior leadership roles in what we discovered to be a busy, complex and diverse territory. The past two years have been both a challenge and a time of significant personal growth. We are grateful for every opportunity and for the provision of so many people who have contributed to our lives. Given the close proximity of International Headquarters, one of the special features of this appointment was the gift of a broader awareness of the international Army and its huge responsibility in serving the world.
Having seen the Army at work in different countries and settings, what have you come to appreciate about the Army's mission and diversity?
Thank you for this question as it suggests there is an expectation that the Army is not the same in every territory. Though we serve under the same flag, embrace the same doctrine and share the same DNA, our difference in expression, mission priorities and what it means to follow God's will in God's way remains cause for celebration. Salvationists around the world are impacted by the culture in which we live. Even within countries there is often ethnic diversity. Every country desperately needs the gospel and deserves the best possible Christian, caring response through social care and social justice. The Army offers its most effective devotion to God when its ministry reflects the demographics of the people where it exists and serves. We remember one corps in New Zealand that boasted representatives from 17 nations sharing worship. It certainly made for interesting pot-luck dinners.
Also, the Army is not static. It continues to develop as an Army called to serve the present age. Territories are all at different points of progress as they grapple with identity, mission focus, relevance and priorities. It is great that we are united as one Army under God and also that there is diversity within this unity. May we continue to celebrate this diversity as it relates to each territory being culturally relevant.
As you return home to Canada, is there something you're looking forward to doing that you haven't been able to do in recent years?
At the top of this list is sharing with family. It's about personal engagement and connection. Since we have been away, four grandchildren have joined the family. Hugs and kisses have limited value over the Internet.
On a practical basis, other items are minor as we have always lived in developed countries. However, it will be nice to be able to visit Swiss Chalet and Tim Hortons again, and also to drive on the right side of the road! On a serious note, we long for the familiarity of Canada: our family, friends, Army and home.
In the past few years, the Canada and Bermuda Territory has emphasized the importance of leader-coaches. Describe your style of leadership.
We are both graduates of the executive leadership course that was offered by the Army in partnership with Simon Fraser University. The leader-coach model is very much in line with our approach to seeing, expecting and developing the best in others. We would express freely that we are looking forward to joining the team at territorial headquarters. We will value the opinions of others and take counsel from colleagues. This would be based on our conviction of positive regard for collective reason and wisdom. A personal philosophy that we have often stated is, “If we go down, we go down together. If we celebrate, everyone celebrates.”
Having noted the above, we will not abdicate our responsibility regarding leadership. The Memorandum of Appointment issued to territorial commanders focuses on responsibilities that can't be delegated to others. As the Army appoints us, our intent is to give the territory our best. We aim to do this through a consistent and effective practice of spiritual leadership.
The acceleration of change in culture and technology has had a significant impact on the Army in our territory. As we adapt to shifting trends, what do you feel are the non-negotiables in our Movement and what is open to change?
As time moves on and we become re-acquainted with the territory, we suspect we will have more to say on this matter. For now we will take the high ground and note that regardless of cultural change or technological shifts, the Army in Canada and Bermuda must remain a positive and contributing part of the international Salvation Army and a relevant evangelical expression in our society. Our strength is in our obedience to God, our doctrinal adherence and our commitment to our evangelical message and social justice. Our hope is that the whole of the Army—every corps, centre, division—will stand comfortably in the trenches, both holding the line and taking ground for the Kingdom's sake.
We will need to have increased open discussion about priorities and how we become “fit for purpose” in 2011, as well as carefully considering our methodology to evaluate what needs reworking. We will honour the past but not be defined by it.
The Army has always prided itself on being a leader in women's ministries. Are there ways that we can improve in this area?
Of course! We simply need to value and use the gifted people in the Army in a way that honours God. This applies to both men and women. On the specific question, we recognize that we still have a distance to go. We are pleased that this territory has put some clear markers down in this area and we would want to emphasize continued development of leadership that is reflected through consultation and appointments.
What areas of ministry are you most passionate about?
As officer years have passed, our focus has become more intentional and a growing influence through our personal journey has demanded clarity in our articulated priorities. For us it is about:
• Fulfilling our “royal priesthood” duties in bringing God to the people and the people to God
• Pursuing Kingdom work, growth and values here on earth. We must raise up a holy nation of God's people
• Treasuring the opportunities provided to inspire and bring out the God-given gifts in others
• Longing for the body of Christ (and specifically the Army) to be viewed from within and by the world as an unstoppable force for good
• Falling in love again with God's mission in the world and remaining committed to the “whosoever gospel”
• Remaining convinced that the world needs to see and hear the true meaning of social justice as people have encounters with the Army
• Always recognizing and providing a place for our youth and children, not in the future but today, as they are vital to who we are as a Movement
What do you see as the strengths of the Canada and Bermuda Territory?
The territory's greatest strengths are found within its membership. Those who worship and serve in the Army (both Salvationists and employees) see its purpose in the world as God-ordained.
Then there is our strength of diversity in expression, which stretches from coast to coast and south to Bermuda. We need to celebrate and respect such diversity.
Our reputation in the public forum is a strength. There is a thin line between the popular and prophetic, but we are a respected voice.
We anticipate that the territory has grown and strengthened on many fronts. We want Salvationists to honour and build on the past but also to grapple with the present challenges with hope and courage, and then by God's grace continue to move forward from strength to strength.
What will be the emphasis of your leadership?
In response to this question we could outline personal ponderings regarding the way forward, and possibly it is right that readers hear from us on such matters. However, at the present time, you will have to be patient.
We have committed ourselves to an aggressive re-engagement with our home territory. We feel that we will need to listen to the heartbeat of the territory. This includes leadership colleagues, officers, soldiers, adherent members and friends engaged in the salvation war. The chief secretary has already set aside a full day for the Cabinet to share with us when we arrive. In September and October, we will travel the territory to share in dialogue and re-acquaint ourselves with the Army in our home territory where God has appointed us to lead.
Forging a path to the future together will be the banner. Working with, listening to and leading forward will be the priorities that mark these early days. It won't be long before we will be specifically asking all Salvationists to join us on this path for God's glory.
What words of inspiration do you have for the territory?
Remain faithful and committed to the purpose for which God raised up the Army. Celebrate our distinctive place within the body of Christ, our doctrine, our mission, our message. Re-affirm faith in God's mission in the world and be a partaker of the success of that mission. Engage in prayer for the Army where you are and ask God to reveal the new thing that he is doing. Commit to being a dynamic soldier of Christ and the Army and exercise obedient faith. And trust in God for the revealing of his will for us―and then, at all costs, surrender to that will. At all times and in every circumstance remember Ephesians 3:20: (It is God) who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.