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Jun17SunSixteen Salvation Army officers commissioned and ordained in Toronto. June 17, 2018 by Pamela Richardson“The Messengers of the Gospel are ready to go and live up to their name!” said Commissioner Susan McMillan, territorial commander, to the 1,200 people gathered at the Toronto Congress Centre on Saturday, June 16, to witness the commissioning and ordination of 16 cadets from the Messengers of the Gospel Session. Hundreds more watched the celebration by livestream.
Having completed 22 months of intense study and practical preparations at the College for Officer Training (CFOT) in Winnipeg, the new lieutenants embark on the ministry to which God has called them.
Major David Allen, CFOT principal, introduced the cadets and commended them to the territorial commander. He made special note that Cadet Dominika Domanska, from the Germany, Lithuania and Poland Territory, trained in Winnipeg and will take up her first appointment in Warsaw, Poland. On hand for the occasion was Commissioner Marie Willermark, territorial commander for Germany, Poland and Lithuania.
“Recognizing that God has called you, equipped you and gifted you for sacred service,” Commissioner McMillan told each cadet, “I ordain you as a minister of the gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and commission you as an officer of The Salvation Army with the rank of lieutenant.”
Lending musical support to the event were the Canadian Staff Songsters (SL Major Len Ballantine) and the Canadian Staff Band (BM John Lam).
Speaking from the Book of Mark, the territorial commander asked Salvationists to consider what following Jesus means. “Are you willing to set aside your own ambitions and follow Christ? Are you ready to give your life for the sake of the gospel?” she asked. As Jesus blessed and divided the loaves and fishes to feed a hungry crowd, she said, we must bless and divide the Word of God—the bread of life—so people can hear the message of salvation.
Many responded to the invitation to kneel in dedication of their lives to Christ at the cross-shaped mercy seat and to offer themselves for full-time service as Salvation Army officers.
Earlier in the day, Salvationists met for a lunch and learn event at the Toronto Congress Centre to hear from Merv Budd, Ontario regional director for FORGE Missional Training Network. In the afternoon, a candidates’ reception gave opportunity for people considering officership to share time with the territorial commander and be encouraged through the testimony of Cadet Kassie VanEvery, a member of the Messengers of Compassion Session, who will begin her second year of training in the fall.
On the evening before, families gathered “under the big top” for a carnival event at the Toronto Congress Centre that featured bouncy castles, games, food and a devotional message from Commissioner McMillan.
Congress events will continue with a Sunday morning worship service.