In just a few short weeks, Massey Hall and the Westin Harbour Castle Hotel in downtown Toronto will fill with the spirit and energy of The Salvation Army. Salvationists, officers, employees and friends will come together at the INSPIRE Conference and Congress to celebrate the mission at work in Canada and Bermuda, and to inspire mission partners to fulfil the work to which God calls them.
The conference will commence on Monday, June 26, and will lead into the congress weekend, ending with a march of witness on Sunday, July 2. There is something on the schedule for everyone—from family-friendly carnival activities and an exciting CoMissionING program for kids, to celebrating the Reflectors of Holiness at commissioning on Saturday morning, to performances of Skeleton Army.
“We want to build and look to the future,” says Lt-Colonel John Murray, territorial secretary for communications and congress planning chair. “We invite people to come with an open mind, and to engage in ministry in all the different facets and shapes that we celebrate in The Salvation Army."
On the Schedule
Packed with events, worship and time for connection, INSPIRE invites participation from people in every corner of The Salvation Army.
Beginning with the four-day conference, INSPIRE offers learning opportunities for diverse areas of ministry through plenary sessions and workshops meant to teach and enhance ministry tools in all departments, whether in finance, communications, women’s ministries or elsewhere.
With delegates arriving from across the territory and beyond, INSPIRE will be a time for fellowship and meaningful connection. Intentional gathering time has been integrated into each daily schedule to give attendees a chance to meet and catch up after years of separation caused by the pandemic, and to be inspired by one another.
On Sunday, the congress weekend will come to an end with the march of witness set to start and finish at Moss Park Armoury. “It will include Salvation Army territorial leadership, our visiting international guests, provincial flag-bearers and any participants of INSPIRE 2023 who wish to join in,” says Katie Marshall, special events, initiatives and marketing specialist. The march will begin at 2 p.m., taking approximately 90 minutes to complete on foot, and it will end with the retirement of the Reflectors of Holiness sessional flag.
Activities for All
For those wishing to share INSPIRE 2023 with their children, the conference and congress schedule features family-friendly activities throughout the city and intentional youth programming. Youth ages 12 to 18 can participate in supervised day trips to fun Toronto attractions, and on Friday night, an “Army Con” event will take place at the Westin Harbour Castle Hotel with activities such as SAGaming, music and photo booths. Improv Care, a group of early childhood educators, youth workers and teachers, will offer childcare for infants and young children.
As part of the youth program, children in Grades 1 to 6 can participate in CoMissionING, an interactive spy-themed program running throughout the congress weekend. They will become secret service agents in a top-secret mission, delivered through individual headsets right to their seats.
From June 30 to July 2, four “missions” will take place at Massey Hall. Each mission is connected to the main Scripture and message of the congress sessions, teaching kids how they can apply these lessons in their own faith, and how they can be a young “reflector of holiness” in their own world.
“This program is meant to help kids experience the congress and commissioning meetings in a way that they understand. They can participate in the meetings in a fun and exciting way they can relate to,” explains Sheryl Slous, creative director for ministry strategy and resource in the children and youth ministries department.
“With CoMissionING, we have the unique ability to design mission activities that help teach and unpack the main message and Scripture on a child’s level, and to talk to the kids directly through their headsets, allowing them to engage with the congress services more easily,” she adds.
“The doors of INSPIRE are open to everyone,” says Lt-Colonel Murray. “It’s for people to connect with The Salvation Army, not only as a place where they might work or volunteer, but as a place of worship. The Salvation Army is first and foremost a church with an acute social conscience, and that is what sets us apart. It’s what drives us.”
At INSPIRE, people can come together and be reminded of what makes The Salvation Army significant—its faith, culture, history and people. And when they leave, they can go forth feeling more connected, more engaged and more inspired to build the kingdom.
On-site at the Westin Harbour Castle Hotel, delegates can visit a Trade North store to purchase items such as Salvation Army apparel, books, music and other resources. There will also be a vendor trade show, a fashion show and book signings by guest speakers Reggie McNeal and Jeff Lockyer. Books will be available for purchase at the signings.
Awards and Accomplishments
On Thursday evening, General Brian Peddle and Commissioner Rosalie Peddle, World President of Women’s Ministries, will attend a gala dinner and awards ceremony at the Westin Harbour Castle Hotel. The awards will honour and celebrate Salvation Army teams and individuals for their accomplishments in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. There are approximately 60 nominees from across the territory.
For baseball fans, the Toronto Blue Jays are playing a home game against the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday, June 27, at the Rogers Centre, only a short walk from the Westin Harbour Castle Hotel. The Salvation Army’s NewFound Brass will open the game with the Canadian national anthem.
Canadian Staff Band and Canadian Staff Songsters
Led by Bandmaster John Lam and Songster Leader Major Len Ballantine.
Four Crest Dancers
British Columbia’s Gitwinksihlkw Four Crest Dancers, established in 1992, have played an integral role in the revival of Nisga’a cultural singing and dancing and have represented their community on a global stage.
NEON was formed in 2016 by the music and gospel arts department at territorial headquarters to encourage and support contemporary worship in the Canada and Bermuda Territory.
NewFound Brass and Chorus
Since re-launching as a divisional music group in 2016, NewFound Brass and Chorus has enjoyed a busy ministry in the Newfoundland and Labrador Division.
North Street Worship Team
The North Street Worship Team from Hamilton, Bermuda, pray that Jesus will receive all the honour and glory as they offer him their sacrifice of praise.
Yorkminster Citadel Singing Company
The Yorkminster Citadel Singing Company, led by Alexandria Venables, is agroup of young singers between the ages of six and 16 from Toronto.
William Barter, Robbie Lee, Jalianne Li, Laura Rowsell, Elizabeth Shepherd and Wendy Woodland.
For a full list of musical guests at INSPIRE, visit Salvationist.ca/Inspire.
Registration for the INSPIRE Conference and Congress is now closed.
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On Friday, May 12, 2023, Marie Obrien said:
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