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Sep17MonFifteen new cadets enter College for Officer Training in Winnipeg. September 17, 2018 by Geoff Moulton
On September 16, the Messengers of the Kingdom Session (2018-2020) were greeted with enthusiasm by hundreds who gathered for worship at Elim Chapel in Winnipeg and around the territory by livestream. Cadets marched into the chapel waving flags as the congregation clapped along to an energetic march by Winnipeg's Heritage Park Temple Band.
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The cadets will study at the College for Officer Training in Winnipeg for the next two years to be commissioned as Salvation Army officers.
Colonel Lee Graves, chief secretary, welcomed the 15 new cadets, acknowledged the Messengers of Compassion Session (2017-2019) and auxiliary-captains, and introduced Commissioner Susan McMillan, territorial commander. He recounted how he and the territorial commander visited with cadets earlier in the weekend to share encouraging words and Scripture, and led Sunday morning’s family worship time at the training college.
In his opening prayer, Colonel Graves celebrated these men and women who have been “called to leave the familiar—their homes, their families and secular employment—to respond God’s call.” He noted that this year’s sessional name was a “fitting reminder that all who love Jesus have the responsibility to fulfil the Great Commission.”
Following vibrant worship by a musical team of first-year cadets, Major Andrew Morgan, training principal at the College for Officer Training, presented the new session to the congregation. He expressed appreciation to “corps across the territory who have nurtured these good soldiers and released them to us for training.” While he praised the cadets’ skills and abilities, he emphasized that the college intentionally puts spiritual formation of cadets first, so that their competencies are “established on a firm foundation of godly character.”
Cadets responded by singing the new sessional song, Such is the Kingdom, composed by Major Len Ballantine. Set to a swinging jazz rhythm, the lyrics state: “There’s something hidden that’s gotta be told. A myst’ry that the world needs to know … Believe the Word of God, for such is the kingdom.”
Commissioner McMillan then introduced the sessional flag, noting the symbolism of the purity of God, blood of Jesus and fire of the Holy Spirit in its red, yellow and blue colours. “May these be hallmarks of the cadets’ training,” she added.
During a time of testimony, Cadet Brandon Keeping told of his struggles dealing with the “dirt, pain and suffering” of reality as a police officer. When the stress of work caught up to him, he knew it was time to make a change. He and his wife, April, discovered through prayer, Bible study and the influence of Christian friends that God was calling them to officership.
Afterward, Cadet Kathryn Dueck spoke of how she conquered depression, anxiety and doubts about her calling. “Satan had me convinced that I wouldn’t amount to anything … but God has called me out of things that I thought were insurmountable. When you look at me wearing this cadet trim, I want you to think about the faithfulness of God.”
Colonel Deborah Graves, territorial secretary for women’s ministries and territorial integrated mission secretary, read from Matthew 13:4-54, which includes metaphors of the kingdom of God: a beautiful garden, a tiny mustard seed, wheat among the weeds and yeast that leavens bread.
Commissioner McMillan then preached on the nature of the kingdom of God, urging Salvationists to “keep active in the work of the kingdom, and allow their positive influence to bring lift and hope to those around them.”
“The kingdom of God is you and me, living righteously in the world and pointing people to Christ,” she concluded.
Worship wrapped up with the strains of the worship chorus Build Your Kingdom Here, and Major Shawn Critch, divisional commander, Prairie Division, pronounced the benediction, bringing an end to the welcome weekend.