Over the last several months, I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to travel across Canada and Bermuda. Since my initial introduction to the territory was primarily virtual, this has been an incredible blessing. From the east coast to the west, from Bermuda to the Northwest Territories, I have seen the best of front-line ministry.

Of course, it’s not all perfect and there are many challenges facing our work. Yet, in every centre, corps and divisional office, I have met people who love Jesus and love serving their communities, and they are making a difference in practical and spiritual ways. It has been a great encouragement to see and hear these stories of transformation. My prayer is that this helps me in my role as a territorial leader

One of the most exciting areas of growth I’ve observed is the effort to build partnerships. The third pillar of our territorial strategy, drawn from our vision statement, is to “forge stronger partnerships,” and it has been particularly inspiring and hopeful to hear how our Salvation Army mission partners are finding ways to work together. 

These partnerships are both external and internal. Paying attention to partnerships between us will help to strengthen our processes, improve our community outreach and provide encouragement to each other. 

One way we are forging stronger internal partnerships is by establishing Regional Integration Forums (RIFs). The purpose of these forums is to bring together all the Salvation Army ministry units in a geographic region—corps, social services and National Recycling Operations—to collaborate to meet the needs of the community.

By building meaningful relationships between ministry units, RIFs will create supportive environments, allowing officers and employees to share knowledge, learn from one another and feel more connected to their mission. This improved understanding of one another will make it easier to support clients, recognize and assess unmet needs within their community, co-ordinate services and strengthen continuity of care through cross-referrals.

We hope and pray that these strong internal relationships will result in ministry where:

  • Everyone is on the same page and pulling together in the same direction;
  • Knowledge is captured, shared and mobilized;
  • Innovative ideas are encouraged and distributed across teams;
  • Best practices are highlighted and leveraged across the Army;
  • Problems are being solved through collaboration

 Divisional commanders have begun to select communities in their respective divisions to begin using RIFs. These communities represent Phase 1, a test and learn period to help determine the best approach for future RIFs.

Major Neil Wilkinson, an area commander in British Columbia, took up the challenge of starting a RIF, assembling one in the Kootenays in September. This location offers a great opportunity for us to learn about the possibilities of collaboration in a more geographically spread-out community in a rural context.

Major Wilkinson dedicated his first RIF to team building and learning about one another, with the idea that building relationships and trust are at the centre of working together to create a shared strategy for ongoing collaboration and integration.

The forum was very well received by the members. One said, “I appreciated how we were invited to share and were challenged to be vulnerable pretty much right away.” Another shared, “It was a great opportunity to get to know the officers in the Kootenays and hear their stories.” 

We look forward to hearing more about our Phase 1 RIFs and will share best practices when we roll out others throughout the year. Look for more news about these in the future.

By working together, praying together and serving together, we see a bright future for our Army in the Canada and Bermuda Territory.

Colonel Evie Diaz is the chief secretary in the Canada and Bermuda Territory.

This story is from:

Leave a Comment