Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Officer Employment?

Officer Employment?

Often I have tried to explain to people in the community the nature of an officers’ employee relationship to The Salvation Army. We are not actually employees, we are not volunteers, we are not self traders or sub contractors. In the course of this explanation there is a mix of reactions. Some are surprised at this relationship while others raise questions about the legality of how this relationship is allowed to work given current employee/ employer rules and regulations in Australia. Trying to explain how this relationship works is difficult.

As a Salvation Army officer, if you have employees working under you, you are required by national and state law to follow all employee legislation in your dealings with them. They have legal rights that that must observed. Should an officer fail to observe these employee rights and follow correct procedures The Salvation Army could find itself in court.

However, it is my understanding that as a Salvation Army Officer you do not have same legal standing and protections as the employees you have to administer. I once had it said to me by a very senior officer that “the Army” could one day decide that they don’t have an appointment for me, they could then say “thank you” and that would be the end of the relationship. While I never heard of this actually happening I am very concerned that if I upset the wrong people within the organisation it just might happen. Especially as some very senior positions within The Salvation Army are now being held by actual non-officer employees. In the Australian Eastern Territory employees now outnumber officers by almost seven to one.

Our odd “employment” status in the modern labour landscape raises some important issues.

Is this lack of access for Salvation Army Officers to employee rights enshrined in legislation ethical in the modern labour landscape?

There are now some highly placed employees that have officers working under them. If the officer does meet expectations what protection does that officer have should their employee manager no longer want them in their department?

We are not allowed {by law} to discriminate as to religious beliefs when it comes to hiring and firing employees. It is not required that an employee be a practicing Christian when they are employed by The Salvation Army however they do have uphold the values and standards of the organisation. What if that well respected and very talented highly placed employee suddenly becomes an atheist?

I believe that it is time to form an association for Salvation Army officers. This association could;

  •            To be a voice for and from Salvation Army Officers to Territorial Leadership.

  •                 To offer a listening ear and if necessary offer counsel and advice to those officers who are feeling disaffected by “our system”.

  •                 To act as mediator between officers and the officer leadership to ensure the same fair and equitable process is offered on all levels as is offered to those The Salvation Army employs.

  •                To regularly dialogue with our Territorial Leadership about issues causing serious concern among the officer ranks.

  •                To work with the Territorial Pastoral Care Office to follow up on former officers within the Territory.

The Salvation Army Officers Association should not be seen as a union. It should only seek to provide representation and guidance to its members and as such will only involve itself in any industrial relations matters in that capacity. This association will not have all the answers and it may not be able to solve all the issues. However how many now former officers would still be serving God in His Army if they access to the same processes and procedures that employees automatically have access to? Ordinary rank and file Officers need a voice they currently they do not have when it comes to their employment status, this association may be that voice.

Colin Young
Commanding Officer
Dubbo, NSW Australia

THE Salvation Army's Europe Congress

THE Salvation Army's Europe Congress in Prague, Czech Republic, brought together 1,300 Salvationists from 30 countries in a weekend of witness and worship under the leadership of General Linda Bond.

'Forward! In Confidence, Unity and Power' was the theme of a gathering which celebrated what God is doing in the lives of his people throughout Europe. The three main sessions each picked up on an aspect of The Salvation Army's International Vision: One Army, One Mission, One Message. The General was supported by Commissioners Robert and Janet Street (Europe Zonal leaders, International Headquarters) and Commissioners Hans and Marja van Vliet (territorial leaders, The Netherlands and Czech Republic Territory).

The opening meeting, 'One Army – Speak your Heart', gave opportunity for a number of people to talk positively about the kind of Salvation Army they would like to see. A young Moldovan Salvationist, Yana Miheeva, said she would like her country to be 'famous, as the country where Jesus lives!' She shared her dreams of an end to human trafficking and poverty before concluding by telling all present: 'Pray for your country.'
Vocal ensembles G-Thanks (France) and LivingSoul (Switzerland) thrilled the congregation, which also appreciated the beautiful a cappella singing of Hallelujah Quartet, made up of Russian and Romanian officers.

Commissioner Robert Street held up a piece of the Berlin Wall, serving as a powerful reminder that, until recent years, The Salvation Army was proscribed in 12 countries in Europe in which it is now operating. It was a miracle to see uniformed Salvationists from those countries participating in the congress.

Following her stirring Bible message, the General led the song 'They shall Come from the East, they shall Come from the West'. An invitation was given to people to move to the platform and join hands. They went immediately, including Salvationists from Poland, Russia, Latvia and the former East Germany, to share sacred moments as throughout the auditorium people joined hands.

On Saturday afternoon an open-air meeting in Námĕstí Republiky (Republic Square) was introduced by Captain Josef Knoflicek. The large crowd that gathered was fascinated as the General showed a pearl necklace, which she used to illustrate her testimony that 'Jesus is the real thing'. Vocal groups from France, Switzerland and Sweden participated, along with UK Brass.

In the evening, 'One Mission – Celebrate what God is Doing' was the theme. There was great excitement as all the territorial and command leaders of the Europe Zone marched in with their Salvation Army and national flags. The 150-strong Europe Choir made its debut, led by Commissioner Dick Krommenhoek (Territorial Commander, Finland and Estonia). The group's singing was fantastic – even after just one rehearsal!

'This is Europe' gave a glimpse of the Army's work in each country through five audiovisual presentations. The congregation responded with enthusiasm, especially when photos of growing numbers of cadets were shown.

The Sunday meeting, 'One Message – Forward in Faith', was a challenging and inspiring conclusion to the celebrations. A choir of Czech children and a Spanish group called Básico, whose youthful members sang and played timbrels, brought great delight with their items. The Spanish young people had travelled by bus for 30 hours to attend the congress. Cadets from the Italy and Greece Command, Denmark Territory and Norway, Iceland and The Færoes Territory were featured during the weekend. Sports ministry and anti-human trafficking work in the United Kingdom and Greece were highlighted, and powerful testimonies to the transforming power of Jesus Christ were shared by men from Lithuania, Poland and Hungary.

In her final message the General challenged the 1,300 congress delegates to go forward with faith that God will bring revival to Europe, staying certain of God's grace from generation to generation. Many people knelt at the mercy seat to dedicate themselves to God and pray for a mighty outpouring of the Holy Spirit as they serve him in future days.
As 'O Boundless Salvation!' was sung in full, flag bearers went forward spontaneously and Army colours from many countries were waved in unison across the platform; a wonderful finale to a God-glorifying event.
The gathering in the Czech Republic had begun on the Thursday before the congress with a Central and Eastern Europe Conference. The General addressed the 85 delegates on Friday morning, before attending a reception at the British Embassy in Prague. The British Ambassador, Her Excellency Sian MacCleod, welcomed the General and spoke warmly of Salvation Army work in the Czech Republic and its leaders, Majors Mike and Ruth Stannett. Conference delegates met ambassadors from other countries, including Canada, Hungary, Lithuania, Moldova and The Netherlands.

Report by Lieut-Colonel Jayne Roberts

The main sessions from the congress can be watched online at: sar.my/forwardeurope

Monday, October 29, 2012

Premiership Keeper's Tourettes Syndrome Cross

Premiership Keeper's Tourettes Syndrome Cross

Updated 9:44AM, Monday October 29th, 2012 by Hefin Rhys Jones, Christian.co.ukBe the first to comment!seperator
US born Everton FC goalkeeper, Tim Howard, has more ‘crosses’ to cope with those of the opposing team. Yet somehow he finds peace – a peace he first saw in his grandmother. Where does that come from, and what does it mean to him?
As one of the Premiership’s top keepers, Everton's Tim Howard is a quality operator. Known for his tremendous shot killing skills and ability to deal with the toughest crosses, he's made over 250 Premiership appearances since moving to the EPL with Manchester United in 2003.
"Jesus is Everything"
But despite his footballing achievements and all that the game means to the 33 year-old, it isn’t the most important thing in his life.
As a committed Christian, he says being a child of God is the most important thing.
“Knowing Jesus is everything...I have a personal relationship with Him and, like any relationship, you have to work on it every day. I came to a point in my life where I could no longer sit on the fence, talk about knowing God or pretend I knew God. I wanted to live for him. I asked him into my heart.”
Dealing with Tourettes
But the married father of two has another kind of ‘cross’ to deal with. Tim Howard has Tourettes syndrome, which can lead to uncontrolled verbal outbursts and physical spasms.
The condition remained undiagnosed for the first 10 years of Howard’s life, which made for a difficult time. It was his grandmother’s faith that provided the youngster with a sense of peace, eventually leading him to Christ.
“I did not experience peace,” he said, in a testimony published by the sports ministry, ‘Athletes in Action’. “But even though my life often seemed chaotic, I knew I could count on at least one person to provide calm and stability: my grandmother. Nana’s sense of peace was so powerful because it came from her faith in the Lord. Through her, God revealed his love for me as well. It wasn’t long before I was following in her footsteps. I wanted the same kind of faith and peace she had, and that is exactly what God gave me.”
Total peace
Tim Howard acknowledges that living with Tourettes is not easy but believes that coupled with his sporting ability, God has brought good out of his illness. “God has blessed me with the gift of Athleticism as well,” he said.
“He has also done some powerful things in my life through the combination of these two gifts. He has shown me ways to use my position as a professional athlete to encourage others with Tourettes syndrome.”
And it’s his faith which gives him a different perspective on his career to most footballers. “Today, I am blessed to be living a dream. And yet, if it all went away tomorrow, I know I would still have peace. That probably sounds crazy to most people, but that’s the kind of peace Christ gives. It is rooted in his love, and it surpasses all understanding.” Without doubt, Tim Howard is shining Christ’s light on the world’s biggest sporting stage. 
Vital statistics:
  • 2003 Community Shield winner (MU)
  • 2003-04 League Cup winner (MU)
  • 2005-06 League Cup winner (MU)
  • Professional Footballers Association team of the year (MU)
  • 2009 FA Cup Final (Everton)
  • Hold's Everton's record for highest number of clean sheets in a season
  • 82 caps for US

Saturday, October 27, 2012

By Stoyan Zaimov , Christian Post Reporter
October 26, 2012|12:19 pm  A massive four-day national prayer event is starting today, Oct. 26, in the desert north of Cairo, and is expected to draw 50,000 people from all over Egypt and reach around 5 to 6 million viewers with television coverage.
"What is happening in Egypt this month is truly awesome. In the midst of increased persecution, turmoil and uncertainty, Christians are reaching out to others and fervently praying 'in such a time as this.' Please pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ during this weekend event," said Jerry Dykstra, Media Relations Director for Open Doors USA.
A Christian contact in Egypt who was not identified but spoke with Open Doors, a nonprofit persecution watchdog, explained that the main theme of the event will be to show to Egyptian people how Christ can change lives.
"There is no doubt that God is moving in Egypt and showing Himself in mighty ways to many of His children, and to many who are seeking to know Him," the contact said. "The hunger to know about Jesus and to get to know more about the Christian faith is phenomenal."
He added, "These are, indeed, difficult times we live in today. With all the political, social, economic and religious challenges we have faced here in the last few months, all Egyptians are left with many uncertainties and concerns about the present and future.
"But we Christians of Egypt are realizing more and more every day that God is visiting our country with a powerful divine presence, and that the things He is going to do in our country are beyond imagination. This is what we pray for and this is what we are waiting in faith to see happening."
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Religious freedom in Egypt in recent times has been a topic of debate, with newly elected president and Muslim Brotherhood member Mohamed Morsi and his party greatly influencing the country's judiciary by implementing aspects of Islamic Sharia law. Coptic Christians, a distinct minority in Egypt, have said that they live in fear of persecution and uncertainty about the future. Events such as this prayer gathering, however, seek to give Christians hope and encouragement in times of trouble.
Open Door's Christian contact admitted that there were those who did not want to see the Christian prayer event take place, but the people were going to go through with it regardless of any opposition.
"Of course, the evangelistic festival is certainly an event that the enemy doesn't want to see happening. He will try to do whatever it takes to stop it, or at least distort the attention of people away from listening to the Good News," he said.
"We call on our brothers and sisters worldwide to join us in prayer, and to watch with us as we see thousands, and maybe millions of Egyptians, coming to Jesus."
Open Doors noted that earlier this month, a Christian youth festival had gathered 10,000 in the same area north of Cairo – showing that a large Christian gathering can indeed be held near Egypt's capital without it resulting in trouble and turmoil.

Read more at http://global.christianpost.com/news/massive-desert-prayer-gathering-draws-together-egypts-christians-83984/#3zX8OAJS4YPcDsvG.99 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Dr. Charles F. Stanley

One of the world’s most beloved Baptist pastors shares how to walk in step with the Holy Spirit’s promptings
Several years ago during a photographic trip, my group had been traveling up a trail for almost three hours, and I began to have a funny feeling that we were going in the wrong direction. I asked the guide about it, and he assured me that everything was fine. Not wanting to be presumptuous, I kept walking. After a few minutes, I noticed that my sense of uneasiness persisted; in fact, it was growing stronger. I pulled out my compass and looked at the map. Sure enough, we were headed away from our intended destination.
It took us close to an hour and a half to return to where we had taken the incorrect turn off the trail. Sadly, this meant that by the time we got to the site, our window for taking photographs was cut short.
The event helped me to realize two valuable lessons. First, when we sense an internal witness encouraging us to take a certain course of action, we should listen. Second, when you and I choose people to guide us, we must be certain they know the path ahead better than we do.
Have you ever felt something alerting you to pay attention or pulling you in a particular direction? Perhaps you were listening to a sermon and you sensed God telling you to follow Him in obedience. Or maybe you walked into a restaurant and were filled with dread, as if you should leave quickly.
If you are a believer, then most likely these feelings were the prompting of the Holy Spirit, who always guides you to understand and accept the Father’s will. He is the One speaking to your heart, warning you about danger and encouraging you to submit to God’s purposes.
Unlike the fellow who accompanied us on that photographic trip, the Holy Spirit is a trustworthy guide who will never lead us astray and knows the path ahead much better than we do. Apart from Him, you and I cannot live a godly life. Galatians 5:16 instructs, “Walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh” (NASB). The Holy Spirit empowers us to resist sin and obey God. But He does so much more: He also helps us to understand Scripture and enables us to fellowship with the Lord. He will never advise us to do anything that contradicts Scripture.
In fact, of all the professors I had in college, none ever matched the personal instruction I have received from God through the Holy Spirit. In John 14:26, Jesus promised the disciples: “The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.”
I remember how powerfully the Lord communicated this to me one night on my knees when I was in graduate school. I was about halfway through the three-year program at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, and I was beginning to think about my future. I wasn’t certain yet what I would do and deeply wanted advice.
It was one of those nights when I longed to pick up the phone and call the father I never knew (he passed away when I was 9 months old) and tell him what I was thinking. Little did I know how God would use that void in my heart for a father over and over again to draw me to Himself.
I have never forgotten that night. And throughout my 55 years of ministry, I have started and ended my days on my knees before God to talk to Him and to listen to what else He has to say.That night as I knelt to pray, I had a very strong sense of the Lord’s presence. I did not hear His voice audibly, but His message to me could not have been clearer. He said: “Whatever you accomplish in life will not depend upon your education, your talent or your skill. I have a plan for you, but you will only accomplish it on your knees in complete surrender to Me.”

Thursday, October 25, 2012

No heart more tender

A number of FSAOF family members have recently lost loved ones. Many used, when sharing their loss with us, the SA term, PROMOTED TO GLORY. And the outpouring promises of prayer were remarkable especially when one considers that few in our fellowship have ever met outside our FB private room. It speaks to the close spiritual bonds we share through our previous camaraderie as SA officers and now in a new but equally encouraging, loving and significant active fellowship.

In searching for words of solace we posted 'A HEART MORE THAN TENDER'. 

No heart more tender than a heart bereaved.
  Shorn of the joy - its love fulfilling dreams,
    Facing new facts so hard to be believed,
With sadness, lost-ness, all-consuming themes. No heart more tender than one touched by
Upheld by family love and praying friends –
By tenderness surrounded - Christ the care –
    A ministry of love that never ends

No heart more tender than one firmly held
In Christ's two sorrow-scarred, yet powerful
Those hands with healing powers unparalleled
Whose tender heart all heartache understands.

          Our tenderness of heart - a gift from God
          Who in his Son, our paths of sorrow trod.

Harry Read, Commissioner, ret. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


“Banding in the army is more than a musical pursuit, yes, of course making music with fellow musicians is a satisfying thing, a fulfilling activity, but for Salvationist there’s more to it than that of personal, a spiritual dimension, that if overlooked or diminished or played down can leave both the performer or listener shortchanged.” General Shaw Clifton

The General's words were used as the introduction to the Enfield Citadel's playing of A Bandsman's Tale.

The man who inspired Elgar Howarth to write his famous work was his first cousin Bill Weaver who was for over 50 years a playing member of the Cardiff Canton Salvation Army Band, Wales. The piece was written in tribute to Bill on his retirement from the band in 2005. 

The music paints 
a portrait of a Salvation Army bandsman who becomes confused with the nature of Salvation Army music. 'Though familiar phrases and rhythms present themselves, he is unable to understand their meaning, or appreciate their significance. He is tempted by more worldly music, at once easy and slick. Always, however, he remembers the first few notes of the Founder’s Hymn — at the height of his confusion, almost in terror, he hears it yet again, distorted by distance 
and memory; it saves him. He hears again, oddly at first, the sound of the Salvation Army band and remembers the words of Lindsay’s poem: 
Booth came marching with his big bass drum. 
‘Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?’ The Founder’s Hymn combines with the sounds of the band’s march. There is rejoicing as he rejoins his friends.' 
Elgar Howarth
Has SA or other music performed in non-religious venues, with a spiritual or religious thread brought you or someone you know back to your/their religious roots? Or caused you to meditate and rethink your relationship with God? Is this not in itself a valid argument for endorsing, encouraging and exercising less control of music dedicate to and gifted to the Salvation Army.
By Sameer Rahim, Assistant Books Editor
About a month ago I got chatting to a priest about his Easter plans. As part of his studies he was visiting the Sufi prayer sessions I sometimes attend, and I took the chance the question him about a piece of music I had always been curious about: Bach’s St Matthew Passion.

The priest told me I should listen to it once a year on Good Friday as part of a church service. Any other time or setting would not be true to the composer’s Christian vision.

The St Matthew Passion is not an opera but it does have opera-like aspects such as music, text, singing and drama. It has been performed on secular stages (there was a well-known Jonathan Miller production in 1993 revived at the National Theatre last year) and is enjoyed by non-Christians and even atheists.

Yet there is no getting round the fact that Bach, a devout Lutheran, annotated his scores with the initials “JJ” (Jesus Juva, Help me Jesus) at the start and “SDG” (Soli Deo Gloria, Glory to God alone) at the end. Could I, a non-Christian, fully appreciate such a work? Or would my experience be closer to the priest’s at my Sufi prayers, who sat respectfully but uncomprehending during the Arabic chanting?

To find out I went on Good Friday to St George’s Church in Hanover Square, for the London Handel Festival performance of the St Matthew Passion. Sitting at the far end of a pew, I read in the programme that since we were at Vespers “applause is not appropriate”. (That’s certainly one big difference from opera.) There were hymns sung before and after the Passion and a sermon during the interval. The first performance in Leipzig in 1727, where Bach worked as the church organist, was on similar lines though while our service lasted four hours his would have been even longer.

The grave opening sets the tone. (I like this slow version from 1971 by Karl Richter.) In his excellent little book on Bach’s masterpiece, the music critic Victor Lederer compares the movement to the overture of a large-scale opera such as Mozart’s Don Giovanni or Bellini’s Norma. One part of the chorus invites the audience to share its grief, “Kommt, ihr Töchter, helft mir klagen, sehet”, “Come, ye daughters, share my mourning,” and another part, ignorant and ready to educated, replies by asking “Who? How?”Ask, “What are the two times of the year non-Christians tend to think the most about spiritual things?” Most Christians know the answer – Christmas and Easter.”?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

JUST AS I AM Part three

We are now in the fourth generation of Salvationists (1958).  Our tastes and our creative powers in music and song are beyond all comparison refined and artistic, to a degree our forefathers never even imagined.  Excellent!  It was always my aim and policy to retain and employ such talent, within our ranks.  This is being done, most successfully.  We have genius in the children and grandchildren of our pioneers.  What a tragedy if we knew not how to employ our multiplied talents to our Saviour’s greater praise!  Unhappily, some of our brighter sons and daughters have left us for other pursuits, where fame and gain are the main incentives.  We are rather proud of them, nonetheless, especially when they are willing, as so many are, to acknowledge that they came from our humble stock.  The Salvation Army has enriched music in many ways, and in many bands and orchestras where our uniform is never seen, but I have observed, in my wide travels, that we retain in our musical forces the great majority of talented young people born of Salvationists parents.  These naturally incline to the higher, more artistic forms of musical expression, and they prefer worship to a ‘free and easy’, and a worship service to a meeting.  Yet these young people, I am convinced, are as good Salvationists as their forebears, more talented and, on the whole, better educated.

General Albert Orsborn C.B.E.
The House of My Pilgrimage ps. 118-19

In recent years we have seen many Salvationist musicians, composers and conductors reaching the pinnacle of their profession. Symphony orchestras have been enriched by those whom we trained, the world's very best brass bands are commissioning works to be penned by those who wear or once wore SA uniforms, and SA bandmasters and trainers are wielding batons on world stages from Brisbane to Manchester.

Is it unreasonable to ponder what, if any, expectations we might have of those who've become prominent in their respective entertainment and arts fields due the army's very considerable influence and impact on who've they become? Some have left and not been heard from again. But then there are the Army composers who shared their gift on both sides of the brass band movement; Eric Ball, Dean Goffin, Erik Leidzen, and in more recent years, Edward Gregson, Ken Downie, Peter Graham, Stephen Bulla, James Curnow, Brian Bowen  and others.

And Salvationist bandmasters and trainers who have contributed to and made a mark on the contest scene include Keith Wilkinson, Howard Evans, Terry Treherne, Sven Wiberg, Torgne Hanson, Per Olson, Lars-Gunnar Bjorklund to name but a few.

SA instrumentalist who have excelled in the brass band, orchestral world and professional scene are too many to mention number number in the dozens in every corner of the world.
Blessings, Sven Ljungholm