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  • Aug24Wed

    Salvationists of Bermuda

    Quinell Francis, Terry Battersbee and Warren Jones share the love of Jesus. August 24, 2016 by Pamela Richardson
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    The Salvation Army has been active in Bermuda since Adjutant Lutie Desbrisay unfurled the Army flag in 1896. Today, the island nation is home to four vibrant corps and an extensive social services network that work together to save souls and meet human needs. Here are the stories of three people who represent the many dedicated Salvationists throughout the Bermuda Division who are engaged in sharing the love of Jesus Christ.

    Mayor Quinell Francis lives out her faith in the public eye

    Photo of Quinell Francis Quinell Francis serves as the Right Worshipful Mayor of the Town of St. George's (Photo: Pamela Richardson)

    On May 7, 2015, the citizens of St. George's, Bermuda, took to the polls to elect their next mayor. One of three names on the ballot was that of Salvationist Quinell Francis, then deputy mayor. Winning with a stagger­ing 58 percent of the vote, Francis is now serving the second year of her three-year term as the Right Worshipful Mayor of the Town of St. George's.

    Francis grew up in The Salvation Army, moving through the ranks from junior soldier to corps cadet to senior sol­dier at St. George's Corps. “Jesus Christ and attending church have always been a part of my life,” she says as she recounts the many ways she has participated in corps activities. “I played in the band growing up, and I've worked with young people throughout the years.” Francis has served as a Sunday school teacher and with the corps' youth chorus, youth band and timbrel brigade.

    Francis began her political career by serving as a town councillor, which eventually led to her appointment as the deputy mayor in 2013. Settled in 1612, St. George's was identified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000, and Francis had a heartfelt desire to see it restored to the thriving community it had been when she was growing up. “I knew that in order to get things done, I needed to be at the top,” she says with a smile, “so I decided to go for mayor.”

    Managing a personal faith in God with the demands of public office can be challenging, but Francis says she has found the right balance. “The foundation of being a Christian helps me to make decisions,” she shares. “Remembering Bible verses, such as 'I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,' gives me confidence that I'm not doing it alone. I wake up every day and give thanks to my Lord, and I ask him for direction in all aspects of my life, and he provides.”

    Terry Battersbee rejoices in the fresh start he got at Harbour Light

    Photo of Terry Battersbee, his sister, Jean Battersbee and his wife, Rita Battersbee Terry Battersbee is grateful for the prayers of his sister, Jean Battersbee (left), and the love of his new wife, Rita Battersbee (right) (Photo: Pamela Richardson)

    When 15,000 Salvationists from around the world gathered in London, England, in July 2015 for the Boundless international con­gress, Bermudian Terry Battersbee was among them. A senior soldier from North Street Citadel in Hamilton, Bermuda, he was thrilled to be a part of the historic event, especially marching down The Mall alongside fellow delegates from the Canada and Bermuda Territory. What made the experience all the sweeter for him was the difficult road that had led him there.

    Battersbee was still a child when he was introduced to illegal drugs and alco­hol. By the time he was an adult, he was addicted to cocaine, heroin and alco­hol, and had served time as a convicted drug dealer. In and out of rehab, it wasn't until he landed at the Harbour Light in Bermuda that his life began to change.

    While living at the centre and learn­ing to take control of his addictions, Battersbee began reading the Bible and often prayed at the mercy seat during chapel services. “The other guys used to tease me about that,” he smiles. “They said I must have sinned a lot, but I know it was the direction of the Holy Spirit.” Battersbee accepted Christ and says when he told his sister, Jean Battersbee, of his decision, it was one of the best moments of his life. “She had been pray­ing for me all along,” he says. “She never gave up on me, even when I was at my lowest point.”

    With the support of the Harbour Light staff and his personal commit­ment to sobriety, Battersbee success­fully completed the program and now works as the operations manager at the Eliza DoLittle Society providing food to people in need.
    “She never gave up on me, even when I was at my lowest point”

    “And God has blessed me with a godly woman to share my life,” he proudly says. “Rita and I were married in April, and I couldn't be happier.”

    Considering his life before Christ, a highlight of Battersbee's congress experi­ence was his visit to the Blind Beggar, the pub where William Booth began preach­ing in 1865. “Close to the pub there is a large mural depicting scenes from the time when General Booth was doing his thing in the East End of London,” he says. “Because of my humble beginnings, before I came to the Harbour Light, I could feel the pain of the downtrodden.

    “The Lord cleared a path for me in the wilderness,” he concludes, a path that led from the darkness of addiction all the way to the streets of London for the international congress. “My duty is to trust God, obey his Word and maintain the pathway he has provided.”

    Warren Jones has felt God's hand on his life from the beginning

    Photo of Warren Jones Warren Jones

    Trudging through the snow in -20 C in the woods of Maine to catch a school bus was not where Salvationist Warren Jones wanted to be. “As a 15-year-old Bermudian, I did a lot of crying,” he laughs. The high-school drop-out had been sent from his home to live with a family in the United States who took in kids who didn't have any hope. “I hated school,” he explains. “Even though I was a student at one of Bermuda's top schools, I did absolutely no work and no homework. I used to climb out the window and disappear.”

    Jones says the two years he spent in Maine was the turning point in his young life. “I didn't have too much love for my parents at that time,” admits Jones, now the bandmaster at Cedar Hill Corps in Warwick, Bermuda, and the Bermuda Divisional Band, “but when I look back at everything that's happened in my life, I believe God was preparing me for what was to come.”

    Against the odds, Jones finished high school, graduated from college and returned home to Bermuda where he became a music teacher and eventually served as a principal. “I even taught at the school I had hated so much as a youth,” he says. “It was weird to be back there as a teacher, after what I thought about it as a student!”
    “I don't walk around carrying a Bible or preaching at them … I pray for them every morning”

    Forced to consider a change, Jones pursued employment outside the field of education, including a six-year period at the local telephone company as head of human resources and engineering, and 13 years with the government of Bermuda. “I served as the head of policy and was then asked to be the Permanent Secretary of Health. I was somewhat hesitant at the time to make that change, but the Lord was faithful. I found myself growing into the job and I was no longer fearful. After that, I served for a number of years as the Permanent Secretary of Education before deciding to leave the government completely.

    “My life has been about changes, and through it all my family has supported me, especially my wife, Joanne. And the Lord always provides.”

    Taking a leap of faith, Jones accepted the position of CEO at Polaris Holding Company Limited, the parent company of Stevedoring Services Limited which operates the island's cargo port and over­sees the loading and unloading of cargo vessels. “The dock workers put their lives on the line every time they step out there. I work with some of the toughest guys around,” Jones explains, so such things as profanity are commonplace. “I don't walk around carrying a Bible or preaching at them. I just try to live right, treat them fairly, and they know that I pray for them every morning. They appreciate that.”

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