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Sep19MonNew session of cadets begins officer training in Winnipeg. September 19, 2016 by Geoff Moulton
“Would you do service for Jesus your king?” challenged Major David Allen, principal of the College for Officer Training (CFOT), to those who had gathered for the welcome service of the Messengers of the Gospel Session (2016-2018). “The lives of the cadets on this platform are being offered in service today.”
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Sixteen new cadets marched into Elim Chapel in Winnipeg on September 18 to the enthusiastic applause of Salvationist supporters. Over the next two years, the officers-in-training—including one cadet from the Germany, Poland and Lithuania Territory and one new auxiliary-captain—will join the Joyful Intercessors Session (2015-2017) at the CFOT for courses in theology, Salvation Army ecclesiology and practical ministry.
Supported by Winnipeg's Heritage Park Temple Band, Colonel Mark Tillsley, chief secretary, opened the service with an energetic worship song, Sing to God, and Colonel Sharon Tillsley, territorial secretary for women's ministries, prayed a prayer of blessing over the cadets.
Commissioner Susan McMillan, territorial commander, greeted the cadets, saying, “We never expect where God will take us. But when we put our hand in his, it is the beginning of an incredible adventure.”
The CFOT worship team engaged the congregation with a rousing set of choruses, including We Have a Gospel that Matches the Hour. In the midst of the singing, cadets joined in a dramatic reading entitled “This is the Gospel,” brandishing Bibles and promising to take God's message of peace, hope and joy to the world.
In presenting the cadets to the crowd, Major David Allen remarked on their sense of optimism and exhorted them, “You are entering the CFOT as Christian disciples to align your heart, mind and will with God's.” In response, the cadet chorus delivered their upbeat sessional song, composed by Major Leonard Ballantine, with the lyrics “Don't be ashamed of the gospel, God's word is true.'”
Commissioner McMillan then dedicated the Messengers of the Gospel and their sessional flag, noting its symbolism of God's purity, Jesus' blood and the fire of the Holy Spirit. “When we march under the flag, we march under the gospel,” she observed.
A time of offering also included prayer cards with photos of the cadets, distributed by Major Brenda Allen, director of spiritual formation, to encourage those present to lift up the cadets regularly in prayer.
In her devotional message, Commissioner McMillan reflected on how the message of Malachi 3 was both good news and bad news to its original recipients. Bad news because Judah had given God second best and fallen short of their covenant with him; good news because, as John the Baptist would later confirm, a Messiah was coming. “The good news of the gospel,” she said, “is that there is always hope for those who seek his face.”
After a time of prayer and reflection, Major Shawn Critch, divisional commander, Prairie Division, pronounced the benediction and the congregation was sent back into the mission field to the strains of On We March with the Blood and the Fire.
Earlier in the day, the cadets and their families gathered for a private morning worship service, led by Commissioner McMillan, where they shared testimonies, prayed together and dedicated themselves to training.
Photos: Carson Samson
Watch the Welcome Service: