Jul10MonSalvationists encouraged as General tours Salvation Army ministries. July 10, 2017 by Kristin Ostensen
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- Territorial News
Salvationists in the Quebec Division of the Canada and Bermuda Territory were greatly encouraged by the visit of General André Cox and Commissioner Silvia Cox (World President of Women’s Ministries) in July. The four-day trip included tours of Salvation Army facilities, meetings with local government officials and a well-attended service at Montreal Citadel—the highlight of the trip.
The world leaders' tour began with a visit to Rimouski, Que., the site of the sinking of the Empress of Ireland in 1914, which claimed the lives of 124 Salvationists who were travelling to a congress in London, England. Accompanied by Commissioner Susan McMillan (Territorial Commander), Colonel Lee Graves (Chief Secretary), Colonel Debbie Graves (Territorial Secretary for Women's Ministries) and divisional leaders, the General and Commissioner Cox went to the Empress of Ireland Museum, and met with local officials, including Member of the National Assembly Harold LeBel and Mayor Marc Parent, and representatives from other charitable organizations. They discussed the role The Salvation Army could play in meeting the needs of the Rimouski community.
The next day, the Quebec delegation met with François Blais, minister of employment for Quebec, to discuss the various social issues facing the province—particularly loneliness, mental health and drug addiction. The General noted that while no organization, on its own, can tackle all of these problems, "if we work together, we can achieve much more." A tour of the Hôtellerie des Hommes/Maison Charlotte shelter and the Église Communautaire de Québec later that day gave the General a first-hand look at some of the ways the Army is serving Quebec City.
A dinner with the city's advisory board offered further insight into the Army's ministries in Quebec. Noting that General Cox was the first general to visit Quebec City in more than 40 years, Dino Marzaro, chair of the board, presented the General and Commissioner Cox with a painting that symbolically depicts the Army’s service to the community.
Moving on to Montreal, the delegation met with local Mayor Denis Coderre and discussed the Army's involvement in the fight against homelessness, and how its partnership with the city could be strengthened and expanded. The meeting was followed by officers' and leaders' councils at Le Phare Corps.
That evening, a full house at Montreal Citadel greeted the General and Commissioner Cox with great enthusiasm, as the corps hosted a divisional public meeting. The multi-lingual service, reflecting the congregation’s diversity of English, French and Spanish speakers, included Scripture readings, a testimony from Daniel Bourque, chaplain at the Montreal Booth Centre, and musical support from the corps band.
In her message, Commissioner Cox encouraged the congregation to embrace the new life that is available to us in Jesus Christ. "We need a new heart," she said. "With faith, transformation is possible."
As the meeting concluded, the General was invited to conduct the Montreal Citadel Band in playing the well-known march Montreal Citadel, accompanied by a timbrel brigade, to the delight of the congregation.
On his final day in the Quebec Division, the General met with the Montreal advisory board, thanking them for their ongoing support of the Army's work. The delegation then went to l'Abri d'espoir (shelter of hope), where they toured the 60-bed facility and learned about its programs for women in crisis. After an official welcome to the shelter by Sandra Mastrogiuseppe, president of the l'Abri d'espoir board, the General and Commissioner Cox had ample time to interact with the shelter's residents who were excited to meet the world leaders and share their personal stories.
As the final stop on their tour of Quebec, the world leaders had lunch at divisional headquarters and the General discussed the Army's accountability movement. He commended the staff for their commitment to the mission of The Salvation Army, emphasizing how it contributes to lives being changed. Major Grant Effer (Divisional Commander) expressed his gratitude to the General for this encouragement, saying to the staff, "It's a new time for us and you're all part of it."