The Salvation Army’s 20th High Council meeting at Sunbury Court near London, commenced on Monday, May 22, 2023.
The sole purpose of the High Council is to elect the successor to General Brian Peddle, who retires at midnight on August 2, 2023.
The Chief of the Staff, Commissioner Lyndon Buckingham, commenced the High Council by recognizing that the King of kings was there among the members. Following the singing of Thine is the Kingdom, Lord, the Chief of the Staff read Romans 12:1-3, encouraging High Council members to surrender themselves to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. These days of meeting as the High Council have the potential to be an act of worship that honours and blesses the heart of God. Commissioner Buckingham said, "We trust him and he will guide us."
The Chief of the Staff called the High Council to order and moved to the required legal preliminaries. These included confirming that the High Council was convened in accordance with the 1980 Salvation Army Act, and taking a roll call to ensure that only those who were summoned were in the chamber.
ELECTION OF HIGH COUNCIL OFFICERS
The opening procedures were followed, leading to the election of three High Council officers who will serve for the duration of the council. Commissioner Kenneth Hodder (National Commander, United States of America) was elected as President and Commissioner Eva Kleman (Zonal Leader/Zonal Secretary for Women’s Ministries, Europe – International Headquarters) was elected as Vice-President. The final officer of the High Council to be elected on the opening day was the Chaplain, Commissioner Yusak Tampai (Territorial Commander, Indonesia Territory).
The remainder of the day was given to reviewing the Orders of Procedure which will guide the conducting of High Council business throughout its duration.
MESSAGES OF ENCOURAGEMENT
Prayers from those who attended the Welcome to the High Council and Farewell to the General and Commissioner Rosalie Peddle, or from those submitted online were a constant source of encouragement and enrichment to the members throughout the day. During breaks in proceedings, a regular stream of leaders read the prayers and they have been blessed. Commissioner Eva Kleman also shared messages of encouragement received from around the world. The High Council members are grateful for the prayers being offered for them in these sacred days.
Commissioner Tampai closed the day’s proceedings, sharing Psalm 23:5, and encouraged each member to claim the anointing oil of the Holy Spirit on their lives.
CHOSEN AND ANOINTED
The words of the song This Is the Day … That the Lord Has Made echoed around the High Council Chamber on Tuesday, May 23, as the second day of the 2023 High Council commenced.
The Chaplain, Commissioner Yusak Tampai (Territorial Commander, Indonesia Territory), drew attention to the third verse – that "the Spirit came," and still comes.
Collected in a golden bowl at the welcome meeting on Saturday, prayers were given to members of the High Council. An invitation was given for some of these to be read to the Council, with a rich tapestry of prayer unfolding from Australia, India, Kenya and Nigeria. What a blessed way to commence the day! This pattern of prayer will continue throughout the High Council, as prayers are shared each time the members reconvene for a session.
Following the singing of Be Still, for the Presence of the Lord, the Chaplain read Isaiah 44:1-5. Focusing on the promise of being chosen by God, he spoke of how the members of the High Council are all on this journey, that God will continue to be their provider and that they have been chosen and anointed by God.
The morning was given to continuing the work on the Orders of Procedure that will guide the remaining time of the High Council in their deliberations. Once these were agreed, the Council was ready to move on to the next stage in working towards electing the 22nd General of The Salvation Army.
Following due process, the members of the Questions Committee were elected and High Council members were invited to submit possible questions. The afternoon was given to this committee undertaking the work of formulating the questionnaire to be answered by each candidate.
The committee members are Commissioner Merle Heatwole (Latin America North Territory), Commissioner Devon Haughton (Caribbean Territory), Commissioner John Kumar Dasari (India South Eastern Territory), Commissioner Bente Gundersen (The Netherlands, Czech Republic and Slovakia Territory), Commissioner Miriam Gluyas (Australia Territory), Colonel Alfred Banda (Zambia Territory) and Colonel Diana Macdonald (Pakistan Territory).
Having completed their work, the High Council was able to begin its consideration of the proposed questions. Work on these will continue the next day.
The Chaplain concluded the day with devotions.
IN HARMONY WITH THE LORD
As the doors opened to the High Council Chamber on Wednesday, May 24 , there was a steady stream of members passing by the golden bowl to take a prayer for the day.
In his opening comments the Chaplain, Commissioner Yusak Tampai (Territorial Commander, Indonesia Territory) spoke of the ways in which the High Council is experiencing the power of the Holy Spirit through the prayer support of people around the world. He encouraged members to be in harmony with the Lord as they seek to find the one God has already chosen to serve as General of The Salvation Army.
Deep reverence was expressed as the Council sang My Jesus, My Saviour. Picking up on the words of the chorus, "Shout to the Lord, all the earth, let us sing." The Chaplain asked members to turn to Psalm 113 and shout out a verse that was relevant to them.
A POWERHOUSE OF PRAYER AND PRAISE
In preparation for the significance of the day, the Council sang I Want, Dear Lord, a Heart That’s True and Clean. In between verses of the song, further prayers were shared from the golden bowl. A rich powerhouse of prayer and praise was uplifted, as the heartfelt prayers of those around the world were read out, creating a deeply sacred moment.
Colonel Hary Haran (Territorial Commander, Singapore, Malaysia and Myanmar Territory) shared a devotional thought on the life of Barnabas. Barnabas felt the joy of the Lord. His feet walked in the grace of God, his heart felt the grace of God, his eyes saw the grace of God and his mouth was true to the grace of God. He was full of the Holy Spirit. "May this be the experience of the High Council members today," Colonel Haran said.
QUESTIONS FOR THE CANDIDATES
The members worked diligently throughout the morning to finalise and approve the questions for both the candidate for General and his or her spouse (if married) to respond to. This significant task complete, the High Council broke for lunch.
Reconvening at 2 p.m., the members were invited to prayerfully make their nominations for candidates to accept the office of General.
PRAYER FOR THE HIGH COUNCIL
Please continue to cover the 2023 High Council in prayer, knowing that our faithful, all-knowing God hears the prayers of his people when we pray full of faith. Find resources and a prayer guide for personal, small group or corps (church) prayer at sar.my/prayforhighcouncil.
Photo and report: IHQ Communications
May God guide the Army to make God given Choice. Amoh Poku Emmanuel (corps cadet Guardian KCC and Ashanti Central Division Youth president) Ghana Territory