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Jun27MonTwenty-four new officers embark on full-time ministry in The Salvation Army. June 27, 2016 by Pamela Richardson
“This is a blessed day for the territory!” declared Commissioner Susan McMillan, territorial commander for Canada and Bermuda, to the crowd of 1,200 gathered at the London Convention Centre, and those watching by live stream, on Saturday, June 25, for the commissioning and ordination service of 24 Salvation Army officers. Twenty had trained together for the past 22 months as members of the Messengers of Light Session at the College for Officer Training (CFOT) in Winnipeg. Four auxiliary-captains were also commissioned and ordained.
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The Light of Christ
The cadets entered the auditorium carrying darkened lanterns that they lit from a single light representing the light of Christ. As the Ontario Central-East Divisional Youth Chorus sang Shine on Us, the Messengers of Light took their places on the platform, their lanterns symbolically radiating Christ's light to a dark world.
Colonel Mark Tillsley, chief secretary, acknowledged the presence of several international guests: Commissioners Floyd and Tracey Tidd, Canadian officers currently serving as the national commander and national president of women's ministries in Australia; Colonels Patrick and Anne-Dore Naud, territorial leaders in the Germany, Lithuania and Poland Territory; Major Alfred Preuss, corps officer of Siegen Corps and CFOT training officer, and Major Annette Preuss, secretary for personnel and training principal, also from the Germany, Lithuania and Poland Territory; and General Bramwell Tillsley (Rtd). Majors Preuss were pleased to share the occasion with Cadets David and Tabea Cole, their daughter and son-in-law, who had entered the CFOT in Winnipeg from the Germany, Lithuania and Poland Territory.
“God is still calling people to pastor, to preach, to teach and humbly serve,” said Major David Allen, principal at Winnipeg's CFOT, as he introduced the Messengers of Light. He shared that the cadets and auxiliary-captains had come from across the Canada and Bermuda Territory, from the Yukon in the north to Bermuda in the south, and some from around the world.
Consecrated for God's Service
Cadet Tabea Cole, Cadet Alfred Esdaille and Aux-Captain Angelica Hernandez Correa recited the Officer's Covenant on behalf of their session. The chief secretary then led the group through their Declaration of Faith before they knelt around the cross-shaped mercy seat in the centre of the auditorium in consecration of their lives to God's service.
“Recognizing that God has called you, equipped you and gifted you for sacred service, I ordain you as a minister of the gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and I commission you as an officer of The Salvation Army with the rank of lieutenant,” said Commissioner McMillan to the Messengers of Light and auxiliary-captains who stood before her.
Cadets David and Tabea Cole were commissioned and ordained by Colonel Patrick Naud, who spoke alternately in German and English. The Coles will return to the Germany, Lithuania and Poland Territory to carry out their service as Salvation Army officers.
Marching Onward to Ministry
Having left the auditorium for a brief time, the new lieutenants re-entered the auditorium as the Canadian Staff Band and the London Citadel Timbrels presented Ivor Bosanko's Marching Onward. To the cheers and applause of the congregation, they saluted Commissioner McMillan as they again took their places on the platform.
“We pause to reflect on our calling,” said Lieutenant Erin Metcalf as she spoke on behalf of her session mates, sharing memories from their months together at the CFOT and reminding them of their purpose. “We have been called to be light where there is no light,” she said.
In her message, Commissioner McMillan referenced Matthew 25, asking, “What are we doing for the least of these in today's world?” She reminded the congregation that we are called to not only meet the physical needs of those who turn to The Salvation Army for assistance, but to bring them to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
“God help us to be the evangelistic force that we were meant to be,” she said. “Our mission is not complete until we share the message of Jesus Christ.”
Many responded to her invitation to come to the platform as an indication of their willingness to share that message with others as an officer in The Salvation Army. Major Shona Pike, secretary for candidates, prayed God's blessing upon them as they seek his will for their lives.
The evening ended on a joyous note as the congregation joined to sing I'll Go in the Strength of the Lord as a collective acknowledgement of God's grace and provision.
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