On September 15, the College for Officer Training (CFOT) welcomed 28 new cadets in the Messengers of Grace Session—the largest session in 15 years. At Elim Chapel in Winnipeg, Major Elizabeth Nelson, assistant training principal, introduced the territory’s newest leaders-in-training, including the Messengers of Grace—both the residential and the field-based tailored-training cadets—and three newly accepted auxiliary-captains.

Cdt Jory Hewson carries the sessional flag down the aisle at Heritage Park TempleCdt Jory Hewson carries the sessional flag
To the strains of God’s Children as played by Heritage Park Temple Band (BM Jim Moulton), the cadets marched up the aisle, saluted Commissioner Susan McMillan, territorial commander, and joined the second-year Messengers of the Kingdom on the platform as the congregation clapped along enthusiastically.

Colonel Edward Hill, chief secretary, commended the new recruits. “We now entrust the cadets to CFOT for training, knowing that you are going to invest mightily in them,” he said. “We are encouraged by a full CFOT, but we pray for even greater numbers as we seek to fulfil the Great Commission and the mission of the Army.”

Major Andrew Morgan, training principal, then presented the 31 leaders-in-training to the congregation. “I want to express thanks to the corps that have nurtured these good soldiers and released them for officer training.” He also acknowledged the faithful leadership of Major Jennifer Hale, secretary for candidates, whose vision a year ago for 30 new leaders-in-training has been fulfilled.

The training principal went on to highlight the varied background of the cadets, including a nurse, doctor, funeral director and geoscientist. “We have individuals in the training college with a depth of spiritual maturity, a commitment to Jesus Christ and an obedience to the call,” noted Major Morgan. “We undertake to develop these cadets into officers of blood-and-fire spirit so that they can advance the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Commissioner Susan McMillan addresses the congregation from the platformCommissioner Susan McMillan addresses the congregation
The cadet chorus shared their energetic sessional song, Messengers of Grace, composed by Lee Fischer and conducted by Donna Lee Samson: “Messengers of Grace … saved by grace through faith and not by our own endeavour, made alive with Christ to receive his boundless treasure.”

Commissioner McMillan dedicated the sessional flag, noting: “This banner represents God’s extreme love for us: the red represents the blood of Jesus shed on the cross, the blue is the purity and holiness of God, and the yellow star is the fire of the Holy Spirit. I pray that the cadets will bring that same extreme love to the world.” She then presented “warrants” to each of the three auxiliary-captains, appointing them as officers in The Salvation Army.

Cadet Amy Patrick testified about growing up attending The Salvation Army: “I saw the significance of a life with Jesus and knew it was something I wanted to be a part of.” Inspired by her grandparents’ overseas service, Cadet Patrick described how a mission trip to Sri Lanka was instrumental in her journey to officership.

Aux-Captain Charles Okongo speaks from the podiumCaptain Charles Okongo shares his calling to officership
Aux-Captain Charles Okongo also spoke on behalf of his fellow leaders-in-training, sharing how he came to Canada from Uganda with his family nearly five years ago. It was an Officership Information Weekend in 2018 that helped confirm his calling.

Major Darlene Morgan, director of spiritual formation, noted that a time of prayer was held during the morning’s family meeting at CFOT for the cadets and auxiliary-captains. Prayer cards were then distributed during the offering, extending the invitation to the congregation to remember the cadets on an ongoing basis.

A special time of recognition acknowledged Commissioner McMillan for her five years as territorial commander. A video of appreciation from Salvationists from around the territory—including the commissioner’s parents, Majors Don and Dorothy McMillan—was shown to the delight of the congregation, who gave the commissioner a standing ovation. Major Andrew Morgan observed that the territorial commander has commissioned 84 officers during her tenure, and inspired the current complement of 48 leaders-in-training.

In preparation for the sermon, international guest Colonel Deborah Cachelin, territorial president for women’s ministries and territorial secretary for officer training and development, Germany, Lithuania and Poland Territory, led the congregation in a time of prayer and reflection. Colonel Cachelin was in attendance to support Cadet Tina Jatzkowski of Dresden Corps, Germany, who will be training in Canada with the current session.

Group photo of all the current cadets and auxiliary-captains, with territorial leadersThe Messengers of Grace, Messengers of the Kingdom and auxiliary-captains, with territorial leaders and training college staff
In her message, Commissioner McMillan reflected on Romans 15, noting that grace is for everyone. Addressing the cadets, she said, “Grace is when God is willing to give us something that we do not deserve, something we have not earned…. I hope you understand your calling and eventual commissioning as an act of grace.”

Turning to the congregation, she urged, “Our corps should be places where all people can come and feel safe and loved and welcome…. Our duty is to reach the lost, the outcasts. Our responsibility is to show God’s wonderful grace that reaches out to everyone.”

After a time of dedication at the mercy seat, Major Shawn Critch, divisional commander, Prairie Division, pronounced the benediction and the congregation was invited to CFOT for a time of fellowship and refreshment.

Photos: Symon Ptashnick

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