Escorted by two Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers, in their distinctive red uniforms, General André Cox and Commissioner Silvia Cox, World President of Women's Ministries, entered the auditorium to enthusiastic applause as they were welcomed for their first visit to the Canada and Bermuda Territory. Moving to the platform, the international and territorial leaders stood as flags from each of the nine divisions were marched in and divisional leaders acknowledged.
The celebration continued as the London Citadel Timbrels (Ontario Great Lakes Division) thrilled the crowd with a dynamic presentation including vocals and creative choreography, as the Canadian Staff Band played Leonard Ballantine's Since Jesus. Also participating were the Ontario Central-East Youth Chorus, the Ontario Central-East Divisional Singing Company and the St. John's Temple Worship Team (Newfoundland and Labrador Division).
First Nations representatives, cloaked in traditional garments, spoke words of welcome to congress delegates and presented gifts to the General and territorial commander. In an expression of good will, the General and territorial commander presented each representative with a gift from The Salvation Army.
“Open your spirit to the Spirit of God so that when he speaks to us, we will be ready to respond,” said Commissioner Brian Peddle as he turned his attention to the congregation and led the singing of Crown Him With Many Crowns. Commissioner Rosalie Peddle offered a prayer of blessing on congress events and committed everything that would take place to the Lord.
In response to the introduction of the international leaders by the territorial commander, Commissioner Silvia Cox shared the story of her calling by God to be a Salvation Army officer. To the delight of the 200-strong delegation from the Quebec Division, she spoke a special greeting to them in French.
Before sharing the Word of God, General Cox expressed how much he is looking forward to Boundless, The Salvation Army's international congress that is taking place next year in London, England, from July 1-5, and encouraged Salvationists from the Canada and Bermuda Territory to attend.
Speaking on holiness in the lives of Salvationists, the General said: “It's about a living, growing relationship with our heavenly Father…. Don't let us be a holy people with sour faces. Our faces should be radiant for what God has done for us.”
In response to the General's invitation, a large number of people moved forward in dedication of their lives. A particularly poignant moment was when Commissioner Rosalie Peddle left the platform to kneel with a group of young people who had come together to the mercy seat.
General Bramwell Tillsley (Rtd) pronounced the benediction, asking God's blessing on the remainder of the congress events.
Read more about Territorial Congress 2014: http://salvationist.ca/tag/territorial-congress-2014/
See more photos of the Welcome Meeting on our Flickr page: https://www.flickr.com/photos/salvationistmagazine/sets/72157644866055719/
Watch the Welcome Meeting below: