"Let me take this opportunity to say that I hope and pray we will continue to make progress in the way we treat and think about officer colleagues who relinquish officership. Trials come. Some are unavoidable. It is not for us to stigmatise any colleague."
Shaw Clifton General
The Officer; Spring, 2009
An update on ‘Sensitive Statistics’ was shared in The Officer, November-December, 2010. In addition to the actual loss in the number of officers, the statistics were listed in a dozen or so categories. The categorization, while providing a general overview, falls far short of the FSAOF survey results shared some months ago in our blog site. Many in SA leadership at TC, CS, DC levels are familiar with our fellowship. It seems logical that our stats, gathered directly and privately from former officers would have been included in “the latest information” discussed in the International Management Council.
No reference was made in the article relative to stemming the tide of attrition, except to say that other churches suffer ‘far steeper losses’,
As in his first article 18 months ago, the General encourages Cadets, Officers, retired and active, to ‘bring the information I have shared with you to the Lord in prayer as you read. Each statistic is in fact a valued person whom the Lord loves beyond measure. Let us remember the children of our colleagues’.
He also writes; ‘Every loss causes us sorrow. Each one is a sadness to us all.’
I don’t believe any in our fellowship doubts the General’s genuine concern. However, one would be hard pressed to see evidence of his earlier challenge and encouragement that we; “continue to make progress in the way we treat and think about officer colleagues who relinquish officership.”
Some months ago an approach was made to IHQ seeking dialogue in order to effect a more uniform, compassionate and consistent program of pre and post resignation care. We were informed that such concern ought to be addressed to individual territories or commands. Many perceived this IHQ dismissal as nothing more than their ignoring what they must have deemed inconsequential and a nuisance. We believe that to ensure an across borders effective program of care we need more than just warm words from HQ’s side. Merely seeking a prayerful approach is not enough to bring about change. It’s a matter of shared aims and values replicated in every country ‘round the world. What is needed is an irresistible momentum for change articulated and issued as instructions about exactly what the expectations ought to be.
Our intention is not embarrass or critique the army. A brief perusal of our poll results highlights time and again that we hold TSA in the very highest esteem. Nonetheless we believe some simple facts will reveal the scale of the problem. Almost 400 former officers are of the opinion that a paradigm of care (agreement) needs to be brought within the frame of the global SA governance, not just the patchwork of local parochial rules and regulations.
Such an agreement would place duties and regulations guaranteeing rights and privileges for officers during and subsequent to the resignation process, and the expectation that TSA establish high ethical standards of social, labor and human rights behavior.
Many former and active officers deem TSA’s activities relating to ‘formers’ as nothing more than PR exercises designed to give the impression of an ethically conscious organization, without any real intent of change to corporate change in activities. The necessary action cannot be delivered through voluntary initiatives, even if recommended by the General. To date the voluntary approach has clearly failed. And perhaps a reminder is needed: what's deemed ethical in one Command can differ dramatically from a Command on the other side of the ocean. Ethics are culturally driven. What's needed is moral instructions on Christian care!
We challenge IHQ to demand a published annual performance report of accountability, a call for a convention on corporate accountability worldwide.
The online slide presentation that follows highlights our concerns and provides an insight to our activities and fellowship profile.
God bless The Salvation Army !