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Sep19MonCanada and Bermuda Territory acknowledges eight individuals as they begin officer training. September 19, 2022 by Pamela Richardson
- Filed Under:
- Territorial News
(Above) Front, from left, Commissioners Tracey and Floyd Tidd, territorial leaders; Colonel Evie Diaz, chief secretary; and Mjr Deana Zelinsky, training principal. Middle, from left, Cdt Jennifer Hale, Cdt Mirna Dirani, Cdt Jennifer Thompson and Cdt Gladis Koshkarian. Back from left, Cdt Tharwat Eskander, Cdt László Steiber, Cdt Neil Thompson and Cdt Atallah Albkhetan
Salvationists, family and friends gathered at Toronto’s Yorkminster Citadel on Sunday, September 18, to welcome eight cadets as they commenced field-based tailored training through the College for Officer Training (CFOT) to become officers in The Salvation Army. Present for the service were Commissioners Floyd and Tracey Tidd, territorial commander and territorial president of women’s ministries, and Colonel Evie Diaz, chief secretary, who were supported by Major Deana Zelinsky, training principal, and CFOT officer staff.
The service began with the congregation standing to sing the familiar words “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the king of creation,” led by Major Corinne Cameron, assistant training principal. Providing musical support for the weekend events, which began on Saturday evening with a welcome dinner for the new cadets and their children together with the territorial leadership team, divisional commanders and CFOT officer staff, were the Yorkminster Citadel Band (BM Greg Colley), Yorkminster Citadel Songsters (under the leadership of Marcus Venables), Neon worship team (Simon Gough with Victoria Evans and Myles Washington-Purser) and a youth-led worship team from Mississauga Community Church, Ont.
Following a call to worship from Psalm 95 and a prayer of invocation by Major Cameron, Colonel Evie Diaz shared words of welcome and thanksgiving. “We want to say how grateful we are for the support you have already provided to the cadets—corps officers, friends and family, local officers and divisional teams, who have helped bring these cadets to this point.” She then acknowledged the important responsibility CFOT staff now assume in preparing them for service as Salvation Army officers. The chief secretary then introduced the territorial leaders to those gathered in person and watching by livestream.
In her response, Commissioner Tracey Tidd thanked Colonel Diaz for her words of introduction and took time to comment on the changes that are taking place in the officer training program in Canada and Bermuda. During this upcoming year of transition as CFOT operations move from Manitoba to Ontario, this year’s newly accepted cadets will train in field-based placements across the territory. Next year, cadets will enter the training program in Toronto. “May God bless the cadets and The Salvation Army for his glory,” she said.
Captain Kristen Jackson-Dockeray, secretary for candidates, presented the new cadets, referring to them as people “who, through prayer and discernment, have responded to the bold and loving call of God to transformative ministry with The Salvation Army.”
In a prayer of dedication for the new officers in training, Major Zelinsky asked for God’s blessing, protection, power and provision for them, and that he would cover them with his love and peace.
Cadet Jennifer Hale, Cadet Atallah Albkhetan and Cadet Jennifer Thompson shared a spoken-word presentation based on Genesis 12:1-9, Exodus 3 and 4, Isaiah 6:1-8 and Luke 1:26-38.
A highlight of the service was the testimonies shared by representative cadets as they responded to questions from Commissioner Tracey Tidd. When asked, “What are some of the ways you have felt God’s blessings in your life?”, Cadet Gladys Koshkarian testified about the many blessings and provisions she has received from God, including now living in Canada. “I come from Syria,” she explained, “and I was there during the first three years of the war. Even during the years of the war, I felt blessed.” When people around her would ask why she was so happy, she would respond: “How can I not be happy? God is with me and he is listening to my prayers, and answering my prayers, and doing all of the miracles daily that we don’t consider as miracles sometimes. I was blessed there, and I am blessed here.”
Before Commissioner Floyd Tidd shared from God’s Word, Cadets Mirna Dirani and Tharwat Eskander read from Genesis 12:1-9, in both English and Arabic, further highlighting the diversity of heritage and languages represented by the new cadets.
In his message, the territorial commander spoke from Hebrews 11, expounding on God’s invitation: “Will you come and follow me?” Using the life of Abraham as an example for us today, Commissioner Tidd explained that Abraham had responded in faith, even when he did not know the where, when, how and why of his calling. “It’s personal,” the commissioner said, reminding those listening that God asks: “Will you come if I but call your name?”
Following a time of reflection and prayer, Lt-Colonel Roxanne Jennings, secretary for personnel, led the congregation in the closing song, Who Is On the Lord’s Side?, and Lt-Colonel Shawn Critch, divisional commander in the Ontario Division, pronounced the benediction.
Photos: Steve Nelson