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Apr14WedThe Hills will be taking up international appointments. April 14, 2021
As of May 1, Colonels Edward and Shelley Hill, who have been serving respectively as chief secretary and territorial secretary for women’s ministries, Canada and Bermuda Territory, will be taking up appointments as international secretary and zonal secretary for women’s ministries, Americas and Caribbean Zone, at International Headquarters (IHQ). They will assume their new responsibilities with the rank of commissioner, succeeding Commissioners Mark and Sharon Tillsley who will be returning to the U.S.A. Eastern Territory. Geoff Moulton, editor-in-chief, spoke with Colonels Hill about their experiences in Canada and Bermuda, what they are looking forward to and what lessons will sustain them on the next stage of their officership journey.
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What thoughts went through your minds when you first received your new appointments?
Colonel Edward Hill: The initial response was surprise. As officers, we know that eventually we’ll get a call about the next appointment, but it often happens when you’re least prepared for it. There’s some sadness that comes with it, because our old appointments are ending. We’ve only been here a relatively short period of time. But as we think about what comes next, there is a growing excitement.
Colonel Shelley Hill: I would echo those words. We didn’t expect the call, especially during COVID-19. By the time we leave Canada we will have only been here 30 months, with 15 of those spent grounded due to the pandemic. But we’re excited about the opportunity to live and work in the United Kingdom, the birthplace of The Salvation Army.
What are you most looking forward to in your new roles?
EH: I’m excited about being exposed to the international Army, even more so than in our previous appointments. The Americas and Caribbean Zone is massive, from the top of Canada to the bottom of South America, from Guam and Saipan in the Pacific all the way to the edge of Brazil. There are many different cultures, languages and countries, but with one Army, driven by the same mission. We look forward to working alongside colleagues at IHQ who share that same excitement of serving the international Army.
SH: I’m looking forward to seeing the Army’s work in other territories and new expressions of faith and services. We love London, and there are two wonderful corps in our neighborhood—Bromley Temple and Croydon Citadel—so we can’t wait to settle in and visit.
What will you miss most about Canada and Bermuda?
EH: We’ve appreciated all the rich programs and services in this territory, but more than anything we’ll miss the people. From the moment that we arrived, we were impressed by the quality, commitment and capacity of officers, soldiers, employees and volunteers of this territory. I’ll miss being at territorial headquarters and working alongside the leadership team and the territorial commander. We’ll also miss our fellowship at North Toronto Community Church. We enjoyed the camaraderie of that fellowship of believers; that has been a good anchor for us.
SH: This territory has some of the finest personnel in the Army world and to get to know them has been a privilege and an honour. In terms of what we’ll miss about Canada, Tim Hortons has become a favourite for sure.
EH: I got to take in a hockey game and followed the Raptors in the year they won the title. As a sports fan, that was special. We’ve received lots of maple syrup and I’m taking those bottles with us! We have felt very much at home as Americans here in Canada and Bermuda.
What have been the highlights of your tenure?
EH: I did a couple of cross-country tours in the lead up to Christmas in 2018 and 2019. It was thrilling to see the Army’s work from Victoria to St. John’s, N.L., and many places in between. Our trips to Newfoundland were very meaningful to us, because we had heard so much about it through the decades. The Indigenous Pow Wow and Celebration of Culture in Pine Lake, Alta., and the Bermuda Congress were also highlights.
SH: I’ve appreciated the unique social service programs, such as Pathway of Hope, which has really taken off. I love the creativity of some of the younger officers throughout the territory and the warmth that we have received from the officers and soldiers. Our visits to the training college in Winnipeg to meet and worship with the cadets and staff will be remembered. What territorial initiatives would you like to see flourish?
EH: I am a big believer in Mobilize 2.0, the territorial transformation project. It’s very important that people get behind it. A big part of that is making sure our corps life is front and centre—we need thriving corps. I also appreciate the efforts to provide many pathways to officership. I’d like to see more progress in our outreach to new Canadians and in ethnic ministries; these are growth areas that are not being fully realized yet.
SH: I also pray that Mobilize 2.0 will unite us as one Army with one plan and move the mission forward. The Together in Mission 12-week online series based on Commissioner Phil Needham’s book, Christ at the Door, was a great initiative, and I’d like to see more of that kind of conversation and engagement. We will continue to pray for the future of the Army here in Canada and Bermuda.
What have you learned in your current roles that you will carry forward?
EH: I am reminded of the importance of working with a team, learning from each other and tapping into each other’s skills, talents and abilities. Here in Canada and Bermuda, people are focused on the mission. We must ensure that everything we do is viewed through that lens.
SH: It’s crucial to listen to the voices of the people. At times we can be a topdown organization, but we must be attentive to the needs in the field. As I relate specifically to women’s ministry, I want to encourage new and creative ways of reaching women in our communities and freeing up people to try new ways of ministry.
Do you have any parting words of encouragement for Salvationists?
EH: Stay positive and hopeful for the future. We’ve got fantastic officers, beautiful programs, abundant resources, a fantastic heritage, brand recognition and a powerful mission. Most importantly, we have the anointing of the Lord. If we trust in his power, his capacity to move us forward, there’s nothing that we can’t accomplish. I think we’re in good shape to be a thriving, growing Salvation Army.
SH: Matthew 5:16 says, “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” The world is filled with discouraging moments that dim our light. I just pray that the officers and soldiers of the Canada and Bermuda Territory will allow their lights to shine brightly for Jesus. The world needs us, and it needs us to be shining bright.