Thursday, August 30, 2012


We recently returned from Latvia where a team of 11 had conducted a music, arts and Bible camp. This was our fourth visit and our mission team this year included many who had never been abroad before, including Salvation Army officers from four different countries. 

It's interesting to note how their commanding officers value missionary service. In one instance the Commander went to the train station in the middle of the night to pray, before they the train pulled, and said; "you make sure you add the 4 travel days to your accrued holiday time. Another Commander telephoned to share a prayer and the words the words, add another five days to your holiday this year. Another said to the officer 'this is not going to be a holiday you know,  therefore I want you to add all your time away to your earned holiday time. And another, make sure you deduct the travel time time as holiday time! Which Commander needs a lesson in Christian leadership?
I söndags var det avslutningsmöte för aktivitetsveckan med Svens och Glads Mission Team, med deltagare från Ryssland, Ukraina och Storbritannien. Barn från Seda och Sarkani hade övat hela veckan och bjöd på en fantastisk föreställning. Här sjunger de "Oh, happy day" - på engelska! Peter Baronowsky, Regional Commander, Latvia (last Sunday was the final meeting following the mission team's visit with members from Ukraine, Russia and Great Britain. Children from Sarkani and Seda had practiced throughout the week and offered a fantastic performance. Here they are singing Oh Happy Day in English.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


There has been a surge of interest in our Mission Latvia 2013 plans. I hope to provide adequate insight to pique interest that will result in many stepping forward as volunteers. While I work away at that, here are some recent comments from formers...


Anonymous said...
For me, as a former, Facebook was the tool that allowed me to reconnect with so many of my Army friends - active officers, former officers, and Salvationists. 

It is sad, however, that the isolation I felt when I resigned as an officer was not filled by Salvation Army leaders pastoring me or just checking to see how I was doing. It took a social network called Facebook for me to begin the healing process and rediscover friends who really cared about me but had no idea where I was. I even found my favorite 9th grade Math teacher who had been such a mentor to me - what a blessing!-------
Anonymous said...
It took me almost two years to get spiritually connected again after resigning as a SA officer. And where did I find it ? Online; the former SA officers fellowship. That is now my spiritual home and I'm thankful God led there.

US Central
Anonymous said...
Me too, if it hadn't been for 'formers' and Sven's specific pastoral ministry I hate to think where I would be. Why oh why, does 'The Army'not care and leave it to a fellow former to pastor us and help us get our heads back in the right place. Sven, you will never know how much your being there (even though we have never met and possibly never will) means to me, and how much I believe that without you I was at real risk of loosing my sanity. You helped me to believe in God again, the SA, and myself. Thank you!

Former UKT
Anonymous said...
Bob, thank you for this. I can identify with much of what you have written and would agree with you. 

Last week was twelve months since Sven had his stroke. From those very early days I felt strongly that somehow or other I needed to offer support to carers from a position of some knowledge and understanding of having been there. Last week I started a blog / support group for carers of those living with a stroke and have been bowled over by the response. Already I have found myself talking with, praying for and sharing Jesus with people I have never met in my life, people with whom I may never meet, people who would profess no faith but want support different to what the world has to offer. I thank God for an added ministry that facebook has opened up to me to people within the UK and beyond.

 God bless you real good Bob in your extended ministry!

Glad Ljungholm
Active UKT

Anonymous said...
I agree with Mr. Hostetler. 

I find with Facebook, however, that I have reconnected with Active Officer "Friends." The very same "friends" who continue to find it necessary to gossip, gossip, gossip (but under the guise of I'm praying for you only to share the info with others)!

 Come on Officers/Salvationisits..mind your own business! I could turn the tables on some of you with the knowledge I have of your past "sins."

Let's stop all the gossip!
JP I am a former TSA Officer. The reason for my termination was TOTALLY based on the actions of my ex-husband. I have married a very Godly man who is a multi generational Salvationist who is retired from The United States Army. We both continue to feel God is calling us to Officership. When we expressed this call to our Corps Officer and then to our D.C. Keeping in mind my husband taught leadership in the United States Army and I have a Master’s Degree in Biblical Counseling–our D.C. informed us that we are too OLD for The Salvation Army to use us in full time ministry roles. My husband is 55 years old–I am 50 years old. Our Corps Officer told us that we should just be Soldiers in the Corps and tithe–that is all we are qualified to do because of our ages. I find this very disheartening to the point we are praying about leaving the SA entirely. We are told time and time again TSA needs Officers–yet we are told no because we are too old–we have no health issues and no known reason why we could not devote 10-15 years of service
If General Bond is correct in saying that we will know when God is finished with us when we have no more Officers, then how do we percieve the drastic decline in numbers over the past 10 yrs or so? The Salvation Army is seeing a decline in Officers and I think it speaks more about the need for change in TSA. We are no longer in the 18th Century, we need to move into the 21st Century. how should that look? More self-determining of appointments ( young people want to stay and build the Corps not be moved on all the time). Their children need stability and not frequent moves. Where in Scripture does it say we need to move around all the time?? This is a legacy of the 18th Century!!!!! We no longer do circuits.
You may think this is a radical change but it will work if we gradually implement this. Having a Divisional commitment not a Territorial one I believe is the way to change. TSA needs to seriously look at tailoring Officership to the needs of individual people. I believe that young people will commit to being involved in an area for a long time and having the freedom of living in their own homes if wanted. Why not do a survey and ask them???
At the present time when a person becomes an officer they lose their self-determination, money from their assets(usually in order to go to College), they do not end up owning very much so if they need to leave down the track they are trapped. Who wants to sign up for that??
Our young people are bursting with enthusiasm to serve God but they will find another way to do this if TSA does not change. I have great faith that we can…we must!!

Juan says: 
March 15, 2012 at 11:32 am 
There are some interesting thoughts in this article – some I agree with and some others that I have not yet seen evidence of. One of those is the claim that people are reticent to consider officership due to the desire for self-determination.
I have talked with a number of young people and people my own age (late ’30s) who are still eligible for candidacy, but this is not the issue that comes up. It is perhaps a straw man that we have subconsciously created because we are afraid of looking at the truth. There can be little doubt that officership is tied directly to corps growth. The more people we have attending corps and actively involved, the greater the pool of people who will consider officership. The more of those corps that are energetic, passionate, and innovative, the more those numbers will increase.
For the last few weeks, I have been attending a corps in our city that at one time was dying. If you have any doubts about the possibility of resurrection, you should visit this corps. It is growing, it is vibrant, it is young. I met a lay leader there last Sunday – a guy I’ve know for about 10 years – and he said the corps has never been as strong and the leadership has never been as committed. He was so excited. There are also a number of young adults there who are planning to apply to be officers. From my experience, young people like these (call them what you want – post-modern Salvationists, neo-Salvationists, 614 revolutionaries) are adventurous and mission-engaged. Self-determination is not big on their list. They’ll go just about anywhere. We just need more of them. Following that train of thought, we need more corps like the one I mentioned.
Major Waters said that General Bond declared that we will know that God is finished with us when he stops sending us leaders. While I don’t disagree with that, I do not take a deterministic approach to it as if God decides and just stops

sending leaders. The truth is God may be finished with us because we are stuck in the past. What was it Tony Campolo said a few years ago? “If the 1950s ever come back, The Salvation Army is ready for it.” If God cannot do a ‘new thing’ with us, it stands to reason that the officership pool will dry up. The question is: Is God really finished with us or is it just that we have disqualified ourselves from being able to be used by him?

Jason Cavanah says: 
March 15, 2012 at 12:21 pm 
Yes like-minded in Christ is a good thing, but that’s not what the statement, as a whole, is addressing . If you are only asking internal like-minded people, then in return, that may cause you to become more close-minded to everyone else.
I love the Salvation Army, and I love imperfection. Many officers within the Army have been a great inspiration. The only point I am trying to make is that maybe we should be looking beyond our own Salvationist ideals. 
I am finishing up the intro to officership course, and I LOVED IT !!!!! I think that many of the procedures and prerequisites for CFOT are bang on. I wouldn’t change them.
I have a family of five, and we personally don’t mind the whole packing up and being placed wherever part of officership, but I could see how some families would be bothered by it. Our kids are older (14,12,11), and they are exited for the Salvation Army adventure.
Right now the only thing that is driving me CRAZY is that we are doing all of this work, and application stuff, but are not entirely sure if we are going to be excepted or not. The only thing I wish is that there was some earlier way to say that your “in”. giving us something we can actually make a plan around.
I would love to hear, “ok, if you do this, this, and this.You and your family will be going in 20XX”.
But right now my kids are telling all their friends that we are leaving for Winnipeg Sept 2012, I have told my boss i’ll be leaving, and other family members are having a hard time parting with us. We have uprooted our whole life, and WE HAVEN’T EVEN BEEN ENROLLED YET !!!!! It is very nerve racking, and a great test of faith to have all your hopes and dreams in the hands of ? ? ? at CFOT.
I guess the point is that there is a great deal of uncertainty when it comes to being a candidate. I think there would be much more responsive, and confident candidates if there were more of a system, something we could make a strategic plan around. As apposed to so many ? ? ?s

Jac says: 
March 15, 2012 at 2:07 pm 
Juan, I love your last paragraph…and I agree with your connection between church growth and the “pool for officers”.
Jason, I think we agree in what like-mindedness should be, my point is just that I see people across Canada who are Salvationists who think and operate in very different ways. That’s why there are continuing debates among Salvationists re: uniform, moving, officership, communion etc. I have some strong opinions myself that might go against the traditional Salvationist views and some that are right in line with them. What helps me to sort through these and live within a system that I don’t always agree with, but love, is keeping my eyes on Jesus. I gather from your writing that this is your desire as well.
I do agree the process for entering training college could use a lot work. I agree that it is very nerve racking. Especially if there are aspects that are out of your control that seem to take a while. Especially for those who have homes to sell etc, the way I read the original statement about assets though was that you lose everything….it’s just not an accurate statement to make for everyone.

Maurice says: 
April 3, 2012 at 12:04 pm 
I am a former Officer and was forced to relinquish my position because of my ex-wife who decided she no longer wanted to be married to me. From the time I was 15 years old, I felt the call to Officership and was very reluctant in accepting it. After many years, I could no longer ignore it and decided to enter into Training College. After a few years, my wife and I split and was told that there would not be an appointment for me in the June change.
I was made to feel like a “black sheep” and not welcome within the inner circle anymore. I was also told by the DC that I should not move back to the town I ministered in (even though my young son was living there).
As I listen to many people who are contemplating Officership, they talk about the struggles that many go through after they move out of Officership back into a Soldiership Ministry. 
While I understand the position of The Army, I do not agree with the way ex-Officers are treated.

Helen says: 
April 4, 2012 at 1:38 am 
I read this with interest as I am an officership candidate in the United Kingdom. I am 48, planning to go to William Booth College aged 50 and no-one has been anything other than welcoming because of my age. It seems that the Army in the UK has thought this through clearly and welcomes older cadets to college. Indeed, from looking at the background of the current intake, a significant number are older (in their 40s and 50s), and began their journey to Officership through the Territorial Envoy scheme. 
I find it odd that there are such variations in terms and conditions of vocation across the Army – in the UK, you can be a single spouse officer – i.e. your spouse can have another employment, so long as they are committed Salvationists. There is a requirement for a ‘reflection’ period after a marital split, but many officers continue to serve after divorce, so long as they acted correctly at the time. This brings many officers back into active service, and I understand that the selection conferences are busy considering those who have previously served.
The Envoy scheme has brought many able Soldiers, especially older ones, into leadership right at the point where the secular world loses interest in our experience and maturity, and has given a number of my friends a fantastic opportunity to live out God’s calling on their lives. They take over a Corps and are trained as they go.
For those of us who, God willing, will enter College in our mature years, there may be growing children to relocate and houses to sell, but that’s also the case if you relocate with a secular job (I’ve done it around 7 times in my career, moving across continents). I’ve told my children in detail and although they will have to uproot themselves completely, they are thrilled. I leave the sale of my house in God’s hands! I think the ‘not knowing yet’ part is a good test to see if you can live with the uncertainty that officership may bring.

Sven Ljungholm says: 
April 9, 2012 at 6:45 am 
Many interesting comments- my response… Non-officer spouses under the SSO Provision DO NOT have to be SA soldiers or even witnessing Christians. This is a problem of real concern. Several recommendations have been made @ . To date little interest has been shown. 
Ours is a five year old international fellowship of former officers. In June 2012 several members of our Fellowship (430 members of former SA officers) will meet with leaders of a large USA Territory to explore avenues by which greater understanding, Salvationist love and prayerful guidance cand bring about a reconciliation to benefit the SA’s mission to God’s glory.
If you are a FB member and former officer, feel free to join with us. Former Salvation Army Fellowship @ FB!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Ten questions that are transforming the faith

 A new kind of Christianity
Ten questions that are transforming the faith
By Brian D. McLaren

In his book, A New Kind of Christianity, Brian D. McLaren lays out ten questions that a lot of people are asking about Christianity. Questions about the gospel; why Jesus is so important; sexuality; the church and the future.

The book lays open a space where asking questions and talking about them is a good thing to do and with nothing to fear
Brian is constantly returning to the teaching of Jesus and that is really the core of this book, the life and teaching of Jesus. It’s not about any new gospel or a new technique or some kind of new program to lead people to Jesus, no, it’s about going back to what Jesus said and who he was and what He did, and from that point of view, find new ways to be a Christian.

I’d recommend everyone to read it, whether you are a Christian or not, because it gives hope for the future and a challenge to leave a state of “steady Christianity” behind in favor of a passionate faith that helps us being part of the unfolding culture of the twenty-first century.

Monica Alhbin

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Mission Latvia 2012


The FSAOF (Former Salvation Army Officers Fellowship) headquartered in the UK learned of the plight of children living in two abandoned Latvian villages in early 2008 and immediately visited both Sarkarni and Seda to investigate how they might provide assistance. Among the project initiated were regular visits with SA teams to teach, provide practical assistance in the form of clothing, medical and financial support, and I’m privileged in having served as chief medical director on two of the ten mission trips conducted to date. Here’s a bit of history.

Sarkani, is a village located just a stone’s throw from Skangali, a SA training center and ‘safe house’ located on a dirt road best known to the thousands of Storks that migrate there annually.  Skangali serves as our home during our time serving with our Latvian, Russian and Ukrainian Salvationist officers and friends. 

Sarkarni was a purpose built remote village not far from the road leading north to Estonia, and the rail road tracks leading to Beloruss.  The eight apartment buildings that represent the bulk of Sarkarni’s residents were until the 1980’s Soviet troop barracks.  And Skangali had been commandeered to house the Russian military officers and to serve as command head quarters for the north east section of Latvia.  It is within two hours of Riga and two hours of Tallin, Estonia’s capital.

Perestroika signaled freedom for the three Baltic states and with it followed the withdrawal of Soviet troops to their home states.  The barracks and Skangali were stripped and abandoned.  Concurrent with Perestroika came new social policies to modernize and make Latvia presentable to the west.  All of the former soviet states were competing for the attention of western countries and corporations eager to form joint ventures with the former Soviet states, most possessing rich natural resources and available and willing work forces.  The country was also eager to move as many Russian citizens back home as possible.  However, Mother Russia was less than willing to accept those of her children living in satellite states.  As a consequence Russian speaking Latvians became ostracized with many becoming homeless and stateless.  Those with any physical infirmities or afflictions were treated as second class citizens and those with abuse problems removed from the cities that were seeking to attract tourism and trade.  

The barracks at Sarkarni became a first choice in ‘dumping’ Riga’s Russian speaking alcoholics and their families.  The buildings were already derelict and the forced occupation of those without income or a trade worsened the living conditions.  What remained of the buildings interior that had any value was stripped and traded against vodka and other liquor with the bootleggers who traveled the countryside.  The village became an alcoholics’ haven where drink and drinking buddies could be found 24/7 Amidst the besotted adults living there were some 50 children of school  and pre-school age.  As in the case of Seda The Salvation Army began its work in Sarkarni just five years ago its commitment was immediate as they renovated one of the flats to serve as an after school refuge for the children.  And there’s where our work takes place.

Ann Grigor
Edinburgh Gorgie Corps

Why Clergy Leave

Writing in Pastors in Transition: Why Clergy Leave Local Church Ministry, Dean Hoge and Jacqueline Wenger surveyed nearly a thousand clergypersons who had left local church ministry, listening for themes in their stories as well as ways that the church and denominations can support those who are considering this step as well as those who have already chosen it.  My husband and I have recently walked that gauntlet/gangplank, retiring from active Salvation Army officership 4 years before the magic age of 66, known in the post-Gowans reform years as “retiring at your own request.”  So it was with some personal interest that I turned to the work of Hoge and Wenger, interested to see how their study of those in the Assemblies of God, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, the United Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the Lutheran Church (Missouri Synod) might speak to Salvation Army transitions.

They concluded their book with a summary chapter, providing recommendations to the denominations.  They spoke of the need for more practical preparation for ministry through their seminaries as well as of the need for on-going support for pastors in general and especially in times of crisis.  However, their second recommendation was the one that caught my attention as to its relevance for the Salvation Army:  Improve the call process (what we would call the appointment process).

A second finding of interest was from the leadership of denominations who were also interviewed.  “Young pastors are not as willing to go unquestioningly where the denomination needs them.”  As Gomer Pyle was known to say, “surprise, surprise, surprise.”  It’s not that they’re unwilling to go, but they – and we – are used to having a multitude of choices in our lives, at least in the Western world.  We have choices as to the flavors of mustard and ice cream, yet we are still expected to go unquestioningly (without a murmur) wherever and whenever we are appointed.  And when we murmur we feel guilty, and when we question whether we can go we feel guilty, and if we do go begrudgingly or because we don’t have any other options, we resent the process and sometimes the people involved in the process.  I know – I’ve heard the stories over the past 3 months. 

I know, I know, this is the Army, and the appointment process is one of our sacred cows that we can’t touch, but I’m sensing that our darling heifer is turning into the elephant in the living room that we’ve got to talk about before it’s too late.  Here’s my plea – the officers, the congregation, and the community deserve to have a voice in the process.  It’s time we talked.

JoAnn Shade
Ashland, Ohio

Friday, August 24, 2012

Worth a revisit...

The recent interest in the topic of homosexuality prompted me to repost this article. For those visitors who'd like to read more on the topic of the GLBT issue you'll find more than a dozen articles written by SA officers, former officers, and others by visiting our 2011 articles. 

With all due respect, I think (some have) missed the point. People are not intolerant because they disagree with another point of view. They are intolerant because they are ignorant of both their own point of view and others, yet maintain a dogmatic approach to their view without reason or discussion. Let me explain...

The Bible is full of evolving ideas. The church as well. The progression of ideas within the Bible proves to us that all the teachings in the Bible are indeed culturally specific. The way the Church throughout history has continued to progress ideas further proves the cultural relativity of Biblical teaching - and yes - TRUTH. Here, we understand that truth is so large that it cannot be defined to one doctrine. Our human minds are not capable of understanding the full breadth of what is truth - and indeed truth itself.

For eg. We see the progression of ideas throughout the Bible on the subject of 'clean' and 'unclean'. Compare OT teaching with the church post Peter's vision in Acts. You could argue that it is simply the fulfilment of the Law through Christ. But that could only happen if there was a progression in understanding, a cultural relativism - even back then. The church (and society) condemns marriages between adults and children. Yet the Bible is full of examples older men marrying young girls - and that is OK. Just look at Mary (the mother of Christ) and Joseph. Mary was no more than 14 at the oldest when she bore Christ. Joseph was most likely in his late 30's when he married her. Our understanding of right and wrong has progressed. The Bible (even the NT) affirms the legitimacy of slavery. Theologians in the Southern States of America used the Bible to support their case for continued slavery and justification for the Civil War against those that were considered extreme liberals who had lost the faith.

Our ideas have progressed, along with Theology. Even the most conservative Theologian today would be considered apostate a few hundread years ago. All of this just proves that everything in the Bible and Christian doctrine is and always has been relative, and progresses and changes over time.
As a result of the above, those who believe there is an absolute moral code that doesn't change, and use that belief as validation of their views, are not intolerant because their views disagree with the more liberal views, but because they are ignorant of the evolving history of their own views etc. They are also largely ignorant of the views of the liberals to whom they disagree.

Those who maintain the conservative view maintain to traditional teaching which they consider sacrosanct. They dare not challenge it. No matter how much evidence emerges, they do not challenge the interpretation of scripture they have or the Theology derived from it. When evidence emerges that the understanding of Ancient Greek was floored, and a better translation is presented, they refuse to accept it because to accept the more accurate translation of ancient texts would radically alter their Theology. This has now reached the point that there are two distinct ancient Greek languages - NT Greek, and Ancient Greek. The NT and every other ancient Greek text were written in the same or similar language so that anyone either hearing or reading them would understand both. However, today, historians and linguists realise that the way we used to translate ancient language was rubbish, and are constantly re-translating ancient texts, coming up with considerably different translations. The Bible however, has remained constant (just using more modern words to say exactly the same thing that was said in previous translations). We now have the case where the Bible is a result of translating a document in a language that never existed - like J R R Tolkein's Elvish. The Bible has become nothing more than a mythological text that never existed, rather than the Word of God for the ages. Those who maintain the conservative view have reduced Christianity, the Bible, Christ, God, down to nothing more than a fairytale, a myth, a thing with no power or reality, that has no power for salvation.
Take for example - homosexuality - a very hot button topic which people are regularly accused of being intolerant about. More recent understanding of ancient language tells us that the Bible never at any point mentioned anything about homosexuality. It mentions certain practices that have nothing to do with homosexuality. To equate them with homosexuality is like saying marriage and prostitution are interchangeable words. Yet the conservatives refuse to accept that there might be a more accurate understanding of ancient languages than there own. So they cleave to their own translation, turning the Bible into a text written in a mythical language that never existed. They are ignorant of their own views and where they come from.

Further, they have very distinct views of what homosexuality is. Generally, these views are completely wrong. They refuse to enter into dialogue with 'liberals' in order to find out what homosexuality is etc. They may go as far as being loving towards homosexuals, but still maintain its' practice to be wrong. They still do not know what homosexuality is. Therefore, they are also intolerant because they are opposing something without even bothering to know what they are opposing. They refuse to look at psychological data that might prove otherwise. They only look at data through the lens of their own distorted mythological theology.

In maintaining their conservative views, they fail to reconcile their biblical perspective with the reality of today. They are forced to deny the validity of modern archaeology, psychology, science etc. If they do accept it, they distort the reality of today into something that can be reconciled to their mythological theology and bible which was translated from a mythological text which never existed.

This is why people are branded intolerant. Not because they will not accept an opposing view, but because they are ignorant of both their own view and the views of those they are opposing.

Just my thoughts,
Yours in Christ
Graeme Randall
Former Australian East living in London

Thursday, August 23, 2012


We'll make a killing out of food crisis, trading boss boasts

Drought is good for business, says Glencore chief


The United Nations, aid agencies and the British Government have lined up to attack the world's largest commodities trading company, Glencore, after it described the current global food crisis and soaring world prices as a "good" business opportunity.
With the US experiencing a rerun of the drought "Dust Bowl" days of the 1930s and Russia suffering a similar food crisis that could see Vladimir Putin's government banning grain exports, the senior economist of the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation, Concepcion Calpe, told The Independent: "Private companies like Glencore are playing a game that will make them enormous profits."
Ms Calpe said leading international politicians and banks expecting Glencore to back away from trading in potential starvation and hunger in developing nations for "ethical reasons" would be disappointed.
"This won't happen," she said. "So now is the time to change the rules and regulations about how Glencore and other multinationals such as ADM and Monsanto operate. They know this and have been lobbying heavily around the world to water down and halt any reform."
Glencore's director of agriculture trading, Chris Mahoney, sparked the controversy when he said: "The environment is a good one. High prices, lots of volatility, a lot of dislocation, tightness, a lot of arbitrage opportunities.
"We will be able to provide the world with solutions... and that should also be good for Glencore."
Glencore announced pre-tax global profits of £1.4bn. The G20 is considering holding an emergency summit on the world food crisis.
Oxfam was scathing about Glencore's exploitation of volatile world food prices. Jodie Thorpe, from the aid agency's Grow Campaign, said: "Glencore's comment that 'high prices and lots of volatility and dislocation' was 'good' gives us a rare glimpse into the little-known world of companies that dominate the global food system."
Oxfam said companies like Glencore were "profiting from the misery and suffering of poor people who are worst hit by high and volatile food prices", adding: "If we are going to fix the ailing food system then traders must be part of the cure."
Stephen O'Brien, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for International Development, said: "We know that food-price spikes hit the poorest hardest. Ensuring the poor can still access enough food is vital in times of food-price rises, which is why the UK is investing in safety nets that deliver food and cash to the poorest."
A Glencore spokesperson said: "Regardless of the business environment, Glencore is helping fulfil global demand by getting the commodities that are needed to the places that need them most."

A Do as You Like Army

REFLECTING on more that sixty years as a Salvation Army officer I have the impression that oversight and control is less rigorous than it used to be.  If asked whether that makes the Army more or less effective my reply would be both yes and no. In most organizations there is reaction against a too tight yoke of control by headquarters but at the same time if every one does what seems good to them an organization can cease to be organized and certainly an army can’t live up to its name. 

A leader has to strike a balance between a cramping control which prevents the exercise of local initiative and a laxity which could spell the end of united action.  (Paradoxically, if someone joins a football team they may both enlarge and limit their scope for action. Left to themselves they could accomplish little but while in a team they must subordinate some of their notions.) 

I have heard some officers complain that their leaders restrict their initiative but whether as a corps officer or as a territorial leader I never found this to be the case.   Subject to reasonable financial and other limits there was encouragement for initiative and experimentation, as indeed there should be. 

At one time I was involved with others at IHQ in vetting possible changes to orders and regulations and learnt about the efforts made to ensure that a change in one territory would not cause problems if applied in another. Cohesion as an international movement means that we must have a care about how our actions affect others for in many ways we are indeed our brothers’ keepers. 

Our general has well reminded us that we are one army and not a series of little armies around the world.   Of course, methods and means will vary from country to country.  Initiatives will save us from being imprisoned in the patterns of the past.  New occasions will call for new duties and, according to our Founder, there must be ‘adaptation of method but continuity of principle’.  Part of the genius of our Army is that this can and does happen all the time.

 August - September 2012
Issue # 80

A Do as You Like Army
Commissioner Wesley Harris

Saturday, August 18, 2012


Around 8.30pm on Saturday evening our ship docked in Lithuania following a 20 hour crossing of the Baltic Sea, and we commenced the final part of our journey to Latvia.  As the roads worsened the sky darkened until we eventually were far away from city lights heading north to Latvia. Darkness fell quickly and all around us was black.  I sat in the front of the car as Sven drove, looking out of the window and thought to myself …

‘As I gaze into the night sky and see the work of your fingers
The moon and stars suspended in space
O what is man that you are mindful of Him.’

I became over-awed by the presence of God and again deeply moved by the words of Scripture from Psalm 8 and  I found myself singing silently

‘The majesty and glory of Your Name
transcends the earth and fills the heavens’

My heart and mind bowed before our Almighty God as I sat in awe of Him and wondered again:

‘O what is man that You are mindful of him?’

‘O what is man that You are mindful of him?
Mere man that You care for Him
Yet You made him a little lower than the angels
You crowned him with glory and honour
You put him in charge of all creation …’

And still:  ‘O what is man that You are mindful of him?’

And yet, our Lord and God, is mindful of us … so very, very mindful of us.  He is interested in everything that interests us …  Concerned about everything that concerns us … Our Lord and God is so very, very mindful of us!

Mindful of little Laura and others of the children with scabies and sometimes battered and bruised …
Mindful of Captains Aizan and Sergey who have just moved from Sarkarni to Seda as the Officers there.
Mindful of Dimitry and Iliona  new Lieutenants serving in the isolated village of Sarkarni and she pregnant with their first child.
Mindful of Ann, one of our team members living with cancer and awaiting surgery.
Mindful of Captains Ruslan and Marina serving alone as The Salvation Army in Crimea and having just moved from the beauty of Yalta to the hardness of Simfiropol.
Mindful of Lieutenant Kira as she takes up an additional appointment as the Divisional Youth Officer for Russia, alongside being a Corps Officer in Samara, Russia. And knowing that to reach some of her appointments requires traveling on crowded Russian trains for up to 18 hours, sharing 4 berth compartments with strangers, men and women.
Mindful of Major Kay, as she faces so many changes just now.
Mindful of young Lauren for whose healing we continue to pray.
Mindful of Natasha who returns to Russia without employment and longs to follow God’s plans for her life.

Mindful of all the young people and families whose lives have touched ours this week; children who know hardship, struggles, pain, neglect, who have seen and experienced more in their young lives than any child anywhere should ever have to.

And yet, in the midst of all of this and much, much more, we have witnessed:

‘Little children praise You perfectly’
and our hearts response has been:
‘And so would we’

‘Alleluia, alleluia,
The majesty and glory of Your Name
Transcends the earth and fills the heavens’

This week we have come as a group of very different people, from very different backgrounds, cultures, and languages united by God’s love and a desire to serve the people of Sarkarni and Seda.  Praying that God would help us in this week to:

‘Make a genesis week from the chaos of their lives’ (Ps. 51 Msg Para) and that God would do it in our own individual lives too.

From the moment we first prayed together as a group, until this very moment as we near the end of our week together our heart cries out in worship, love, thanksgiving and adoration that one word that unties us all ‘Alleluia’.  Amen and Amin!

Friday, August 17, 2012


A typical day for the Latvia Mission Team... no two days are even remotely similar. Fractured fingers to set and salve applied to multiple scabies infected youngsters; washing clothes and hoping they dry over night, driving down very dusty roads, providing the youngsters with a new easel; hanging out brightly polished instruments and they hearing their notes for the very first time; sending slips of paper to parents requesting authorisation for their children to leave the village and planning our worship meeting and concert in far away Seda, a town the children never thought they would ever visit.  And so it goes, new adventures, new every day but most important of all is sharing the love of Jesus through the team actions, our attitudes and activities.  

This morning we are listening to the music of FSAOF member Howard Evans as we enter into an attitude of prayer and meditation.  Prayers will be said by the team members in Scottish, English, Russian, Ukrainian, Latvian, Welsh and Swedish. Major Glad, as she does each morning, led our devotions reading from Leslie Brandt's Psalms Now.

When we arrive in Seda we will rehearse the freshly translated 'His Provision' in Russian praying that the words will sync with the melody played by the Clydebank Citadel Band, UK.  

Revelry was played this morning at 7.30 as he does every morning by Ilya Rubin, Ukraine on his newly acquired Besson cornet with which he sleeps 
along with his new gig bag.

Today we introduce team member who is from the Wrexham UK Corps, Lauren Harry.  Lauren is an accomplished cornetist and vocalist and is a 'Pied Piper' to those under seven and her ready smile endears her to all.  This is the third time we have had a member of the Harry family in that her cousin Lewis and Aunt, Heather Joy as team members in 2010 and 11.  Lauren, along with Ann and Sven are all dependent from time to time on the use of wheelchairs and we believe we are the only mission team in the world where such a large majority assisted by the people we serve from our cars to the site of our service.  Lauren has a degree in mechanical enginering and she has exhibited her prowess several times by repairing various items that have broken or have been in disrepair.

Heading home to practice her 'new' cornet. Just as excited as was the youngster at a UK corps when the instrument was new 60 years ago. Recycling at its best!