Thursday, February 28, 2013


I've been mulling over General Paul Rader's vision challenge while in office: 4 million soldiers and 100,000 officers. Steve Court, in his blog, has resurfaced the challenge. Frankly, it leaves me a bit flummoxed, and here's why.

Very few in TSA take it seriously. In fact, some laugh at the thought, others poking fun at it, as if to say, "Is this guy out of his mind?" Brings to mind, when I was the Candidate's Secretary, setting the goal and theme, "80 for 1980" (as in Cadets), even Doris writing a chorus to launch it: "Lord, give us 80, for 1980, the call must come from You, for the laborers are few, etc." to the tune of "I Want That Mountain." Oh my! Many thought that hilarious, some of the training school staff writing their own counteracting chorus: "Lord, give us twenty, we think that's plenty." To this day, I am occasionally reminded of that laughable "80 for 1980" goal, always followed by a hearty guffaw!

4 million is what percentage of 7 billion? An infinitesimal drop in the proverbial bucket - about the population of Ireland or New Zealand. 100,000 is what percentage of 4 million? - About the population of the Federated States of Micronesia. Laughable goals? Impossible?

This leads me to the next flummoxed wondering. "Why!" And I was led to the Bible for an answer.

Jeremiah 3:15-17 MSG: 15"I'll give you good shepherd-rulers who rule my way, who rule you with intelligence and wisdom."
 16"And this is what will happen: You will increase and prosper in the land. The time will come"—God's Decree!—"when no one will say any longer, 'Oh, for the good old days! Remember the Ark of the Covenant?' It won't even occur to anyone to say it—'the good old days.' The so-called good old days of the Ark are gone for good.
 17"Jerusalem will be the new Ark—'God's Throne.' All the godless nations, no longer stuck in the ruts of their evil ways, will gather there to honor God."

I want you to meditate momentarily on four phrases outlined in this Scriptural challenge:

1. "I'll give you good shepherd-rulers who rule my way…"
2. "You will increase and prosper..."
3. "Oh, for the good old days!"
4. "Stuck in the ruts of their evil ways…"

My exegesis on these verses will be coming in the next post. Hint: Vision - Future tense.   Mission - Past tense. In the meantime, look for Major Stephen Court's take on it over at www.

Continually Flummoxed.


Recognizing that officers are recruited from the pool represented by SA soldiers, we've pulled an article out of the archives.

Let’s stop “cooking the books” says Terry Camsey

 In Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” these words appear spoken by Polonius…

“This above all, to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou cans’t not then be false to any man…”

My father used to quote that frequently to me when I was a young lad growing up. The words have stuck with me ever since.

A few years ago, a colleague Salvation Army Officer shared with me a book entitled, “Lies, Damn lies and Statistics - the Manipulation of Public Opinion in America.” As I recall it basically said that statistics can be manipulated to “prove” whatever you want to present as truth.

It is difficult to get accurate statistics from the very early days of the Army because few records were kept. One source has suggested that, if such accurate stats were available, they may not have affirmed the early gains claimed as Booth reached out to his initial primary target group…the submerged masses!

Ed McKinley, describing the Army’s membership in the USA in his book,“Marching to Glory,’ indicates that membership failed to keep pace with the overall population of the country as a whole and started to decline after the mid 1960s. This, despite the fact that in 1975 religious periodicals hailed the Army as the “fastest growing U.S religious body,” and cited a 5% increase. He goes on to say that…

What those periodicals may not have known is that such growth was the result of the Army changing its accounting procedures to include everyone who had made use of its community-center youth programs and corps facilities!

Many corps officers have been frustrated over the years in finding that attendance figures reported by the outgoing officer have failed to reflect reality! For example, an officer who “inherits” a corps with, say, a reported average attendance of 100 in Sunday morning worship…then finds it to be actually 50, can be chided - even if he increases average attendance to 75 (a fifty percent increase!) - for failing to reach the previous officer’s figure! 

This can be both demoralizing and de-motivating! If corps officers’ morale is to be significantly improved in such circumstances, there is an urgent need to insure that what the new officer inherits is true reality, not an inflated version of it.

We can also find statistics manipulated when, for instance. corps are challenged to compete in increasing Sunday School average attendance over the year to reach preset goals. I have seen for instance a desirable prize - such as a new van - offered to the winning corps during a competition at the “eleventh hour” in the twelfth month! It pushed average attendance up for one month. There was no significant increase in average attendance over the previous eleven months…and, without that final sprint, the average attendance per week would have been much lower.

A few years ago, a good friend of mine - soldier at a “large” corps - attends a corps that seats 300, sees an average weekly attendance of around 240 people, and 868 on the roll…many of them dead! The stats are sent to HQ and used along with the collective reports of other corps, as the basis for its statistics. Now, we all know that some on the roll are merely (merely!) inactive so we hesitate to take them off. But, surely, those who have passed on to their reward belong on a memorial, rather than active roll.

But who is willing to correct such misleading statistics? Year after year corps officers may be forbidden to take anyone off the rolls!

It seems as if we can do addition, but not subtraction! While God’s math is multiplication! It’s as if no-one wants reality to be faced on their watch. But how on earth can we move forward if we cannot look the facts face-on in order to move on.

We need an amnesty, a “no blame” truce, so that we can again level the playing field and move on. We need “net” results, not additions without reflection of losses…. and our “net figure” should be “fish caught!” That’s what the Master Fisher of Men” taught us.

Let us at least be true to ourselves!!

What do you think?

Writer: For thirty years Terry Camsey has been immersed in Church Growth and Health issues at local, middle and upper administrative levels. He is author of the book “Slightly Off-Center” (Crest Books) and is working on “Beyond the Cusp of The Curve..exploring the single most critical influence on the life, health, growth, vitality and decline of Christian denominations and the churches within them.”

24 September 1998

THE General (Rader) has decided that ‘all aspects of the concept of officership’ are to be reviewed ‘in the light of the contemporary situation and its challenges, with a view to introducing a greater measure of flexibility.’

This follows a recommendation of the International Leaders’ Conference held earlier this year in Melbourne, Australia, that a commission be appointed for this purpose.

The International Commission on Officership will be chaired by Commissioner Norman Howe, Territorial Commander, Canada. Commissioner Howe is a British officer and has held appointments as corps officer, divisional commander and relevant senior executive positions including, more recently, Territorial Commander, Australia Southern.

Implicit within the terms of reference is the recognition that the Army's mission in the new millennium will require the development of a strong concept of spiritual leadership which is both doctrinally sound and pragmatic in approach. The prayers of Salvationists around the world are solicited for the Commission as it reviews issues of vital importance to the future of the Army.

The 23 Salvationists appointed to the commission are drawn from each of the five geographic zones into which the Army’s work is divided. They include 11 women and three non-officers; of the officer members, two are lieutenants, four captains and five majors, with only three holding the rank of commissioner.

The commission will hold its first meeting from 19-23 October at the UK Territory’s officer training college, Denmark Hill, London, and after further meetings, and consultation with territorial leaders, will aim to present a report to the General in time for review by the Advisory Council to the General at its July 1999 meeting.

14 years on: 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


The FSAOF is not responsible for the views and opinions expressed. They are the contributors' own. 

No endorsement is implied.

The below comments were posted in response to a blog article on Tuesday, 26 February, 2013

 Anonymous said...
What have I missed? I'm a newcomer to this discussion alerted to it by a fellow officer.

I know many ex-officers and some have spoken with me about this group, but I never realized that they represented such a large number of former officers, and from so many territories.


Are our leaders blinded by the numbers, the sophistication, the wisdom, the unique insight, the growing strength, the pure resource that their FSAOF fellowship offers? Am I to understand that no attempt has been made to enter dialogue?

The recruitment and retention of officers is one of the most critical threats to our Army's future. Let's move out of our complacency and accept the fact that we don't always know best! 

An offer of help has been extended - We don't have the advantage of time on our side and need to accept this magnanimous gesture from a group that seemingly has all the answers at their fingertips.

Active SA Officer
DHQ East

 ‪Anonymous‬ said...
Maybe we could turn the Army's entire appointment system into a lottery! After all, it was used to find a successor to Judas.

 Anonymous said...
A symposium of officers and lay people was held a number of years ago at Jackson's Point Conference Center when the Canadian territory had two relatively enlightened leader Christine McMillan was the TC and Glen Shepherd the CS.

Out of that Symposium came a vision and recommendations for the future of the Army in the Canadian territory. In particular there were recommendations about changes in governance, transparency and accountability.

My understanding is that McMillan and Shepherd presented these recommendations to the General Shaw Clifton and they were turned down flat. Their successors in the Canadian territory were the relatively conservative Commissioners - Bill and Marilyn Frances from the USA.

Where did the good recommendations from that symposium end up? Probably buried in a filing cabinet somewhere. Such a shame - there was potential for significant change after that Symposium. Instead the conservative reins were pulled in by Clifton and TSA is far past the critical point.

We are continuing to follow the path of the YMCA on route to becoming a social organization with Christian origins run by employees. The fact that we still exist is interpreted as God's blessing on us. How misguided can people be? Many secular organizations run very successfully. Even as a charity in Canada we have been publicly given C and D ratings in all categories - exception one B, no A ratings.
The edge of the cliff has long since been fallen off of - the time for change passed us many years ago.

I guess miracles can happen but with this archaic autocratic structure it makes even miracles impossible where loyalty and obedience to a system is so valued.

 ‪Anonymous‬ said...
 Within hours of handing in my resignation and officer showed up at the door of my quarters demanding the keys to the vehicle and giving me three days to vacate the quarters. I got a fax from THQ giving me slightly longer to vacate, but the car was gone that day. 

After that? Never again heard anything from the organization.

"Cherished"? I rather think not.

 Anonymous said...
I fear debate about the structure is to miss the point: the problem is the people within it. I firmly believe that the current structure, at all levels, serves the organisation well. I do not believe that the approach and attitudes of some of the people that serve within it best further the cause of the movement in either the presentation of who and what we are to the public or, sadly, enables us to stride further and effectively in a cause ‘to win the world for Jesus’. 

A previous commentator is quite correct, the Canadian territory, at that time, was led by ‘enlightened’ leaders; perhaps, ahead of the time but courageous enough to see that the territorial situation demanded changed approach. Unfortunately, the General of the day, and the succeeding territorial leaders, were known for their conservative, risk-averse approach and, as stated, ‘the time for change passed’.
Canada is now led by a leader who was pulled out of relative obscurity and tracked up the ladder by … General Shaw Clifton. It is therefore unsurprising that some of the traits that obviously caught the previous General’s attention – conservative, safe-pair-of-hands, - are now manifest in his leadership of the territory. 

To my mind, the issues of officer retention and recruitment hinges on trust and confidence. Sadly, the movement is riddled, in every area, with deficiencies on both wings. The structure is merely a framework and the problem is that many of the people who sit-at-desks lack the skills and, in too many cases, the personal integrity to allow trust and confidence to grow and flow from them. The system seemingly, in too many cases, prospers, however that might be defined, the wrong people: how can a field secretary that would not know the truth if it hit him the face and, at the same time, be utterly bereft of inter-personal relational skills end up at that desk? Yet it happens and far too many times to make it an aberration. How do we end up with people in financial management roles that, when they were corps officers, had reputation for being somewhat opaque when it came to handling the corps’ monies and could not complete a bank reconciliation either? How do we end up with a DC that when he was a corps officer could barely manage to successfully and effectively command his corps? Yet, we all know of the round-pegs that fill the organisational square-holes. Too many, over too long a period of time and confidence dissipates and trust breaks down and before we know such deficiencies are endemic and we have a organisational culture defined by mistrust and fear. 

I fear for the movement’s future. I would not go back: sadly, I think I could say that if I knew then what I knew now, I would have not gone in the first place. I do agree with the previous writer, I think we are past the critical point unless … and it is a big ask, and I do not believe the time of miracles are past, there is something that only the Almighty can do. The corresponding effort of those of us ‘here below’ will have to be herculean and courageous. 

I do sense there is a move afoot: there is something stirring that is enabling people to speak out. Forum such as this, energise and enthuse a far broader constituency than the group was established to resource as it deals with issues and approaches subjects that are dear to the hearts of many Salvationists who might feel that the organisation marches to a beat that is not quite the same as theirs. Pioneers rarely benefit, choosing to forge a path and create a circumstance for the betterment of those who follow in their wake. It could be that those who seek to make the biggest change succeed when they ensure that their children do not suffer the same organisational injustices and personal hurts as experienced by many of us.
Grace has kept us and will continue to so. Let’s keep on, keeping on! 


 ‪JoAnn Shade said...
Nearly 15 years ago, General Rader and then General Gowans set the Salvation Army on a path that had the potential to address some of the concerns from around the world concerning officer retention. In that process, they actually surveyed all officers, had a commission on officership that made a number of recommendations, and then the General issued a final paper on this, to be carried out in the territories around the world. The proposals included consultation on appointments, the potability of pensions, gender concerns, single spouse officership, etc. It appeared at that time to be a first step in addressing many of the issues. Sad to say, those recommendations have, for the most part, been disregarded in most territories. That exercise stands as a symbol to me that the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it' mentality continues to operate in TSA.
It seemed as though Rader and Gowans knew that officership as it stood was in danger of breaking - and now, years later, that danger is even greater. 

Retired (early)
USA East

 Anonymous said...
The problems in Canada and symbolic of the issues that occur in any organisation that values its structures and polity over mission and people.

In Australia, in at least one of the Territories, married officers with children are required to apply for a government benefit which, after recent policy changes, they are unlikely to qualify for, because to qualify they are supposed to be looking for or training work at least at the minimum wage. Officers become effectively homeless because the Army cannot make quick effective online rental applications, when almost all applications are online.

Saying "the real estate agent has to wait" when there are 30 other families seeking the same property is ridiculous. These people would not survive in open employment with actual accountability, and they wonder why they lose officers hand over fist.

 ‪Anonymous‬ said...

 What an excellent post, It is obvious that in your leaving the Army lost the potential for great leadership.

You ask how such present leadership can be? I am sure you know the answer. Peter Drucker put it simply when he called it "The Peter Principle":
"People rising to the level of their incompetence"!

What an indictment you have made of the present leadership in Canada and Bermuda: how very sad.

Former C&B <)))><

 Anonymous said...
The jhierarchical structure is a problem because its success depends totally on the smarts and goodness of the people at the top. You'd think we might have learned from the RC church that church governance based on hierarchy of rank and position by its very nature is far more vulnerable to power abuse than a more democratic structure.

We all know the pitfalls of democracy and the tyranny of the majority but even with it's pitfalls democracy has more accountability and is less vulnerable to power abuse. 

TSA needed to change it's structure and governance system long ago. Its appointment and transfer system might have been a good place to have started.

Drucker's 'Peter Principle' analysis can be applied to many persons in any large organization, especially when their employees number in the hundreds of thousands worldwide, as in the case of the SA.

Four decades on Drucker says; "The Salvation Army is America's most effective charity" He gives the Army top marks for "clarity of mission, ability to innovate, measurable results, dedication and putting money to maximum use. No other charity "even comes close." 

Can Drucker’s observations be applied to today’s Army officer leadership or is he referring to the overall achievements directed by advisory boards guided by successful corporate leaders and professional staff, rather than those in SA uniform? And do accolades for its effectiveness in fund raising rest in the public’s long held nostalgic sentiment of 'hot coffee and donuts' in the trenches, coupled with today's slick PR campaigns and media releases?

 Anonymous said...
Carrying on from the previous two references to the Peter Principle, some will be familiar with Rev. Richard Stazesky’s contributions in seeking reconciliation in the UMC during the turbulent segregation era. Here’s a brief outline of the characteristics of a highly effective leader as he illustrates Washington's genius as a leader in his roles as commander in chief of the Continental Army. (speech given in 2000)

'What can we learn from him and how can we identify the “Peters” …

The visionary leader, first of all, has very 
clear, encompassing and far-reaching vision in regard to the cause or organization involved. This vision includes ideas and goals which remain constant no matter how long it takes to realize them and regardless of the difficulties which the leader encounters. Furthermore, the leader never allows any of the means or actions along the way to violate or invalidate this vision and its constituent values.

Secondly, the visionary leader is skillful in designing and creating an organizational culture which will make possible the attainment of the leader's vision and ideas. In fact, creating this organizational culture may be the most lasting contribution of the leader for it will consist of the enduring values, vision and beliefs that are shared by members of the organization.

Thirdly, the visionary leader is also a person who can attract others to follow him/her in seeking attainment of the vision. But more than that, this charismatic person is able to instill in others the ideas, beliefs and values of the vision so that they become empowered to move beyond the leader's and their own expectations.

In brief, the visionary leader has a vision into the far future, can develop an effective organization and can attract others to strive also for the attainment of his/her vision so that it becomes a shared vision and they all work together in an organization that sustains the vision, its beliefs and its values.'

Where and who are the ‘Peters’ who have violated and stifled actions and invalidated the Army’s vision and its constituent values?

 US West 
Kathie Chiu said...
Status quo is the great enemy of leadership. Leadership is about caring about something beyond yourself and leading others to a better place. What we are seeing right now is people leading us to a former place, not a better place. A return to the safe in the face of peril. It's a knee jerk reaction to the present situation of decline - resort to the familiar and safe place. "We need to get back to basics" is a common thought. 

Yes, we were progressing toward something different here in Canada. And any SA leader that doesn't think we have to make changes to the officer culture is fooling themselves. Here in the West we are facing different challenges than they are in the East and in South Asia and Africa.
People in our corps see what it's like for officers and don't want that for their lives. We're smarter today about human psychology and the limits of sacrifice. We know how much the current system affects our health, families and marriages, ripping children from their families before their ready to leave and separating them from their parents before they're ready to stand on their own. Aging parents get left behind and right now, none of this is important.
I think if we kept all our officers' children we'd double the size of our church here in Canada! (perhaps I'm exaggerating a bit) And in Canada, you can be 3000-5000 miles apart in one move!

As for what the public thinks? I heard that someone on our national advisory board didn't want us to change our uniforms because he loved them. Not enough to join and wear one, though.
There's a disconnect, like Sven says, between the social and what the public sees and what we really are. I've warned before about our national ad campaign calling us the largest private social services agency in Canada. No mention there of "spiritual" or "Christian" or even the word "faith." What do we expect people to know about us? We complain they think we're only a social service agency and then that's what we say we are all over billboards, TV commercials and radio ads. I think you are what you say you are.

I also notice with sadness, the number of people that comment anonymously. While I respect each for how they feel about that and this is certainly no criticism, it speaks to the lack of openness in our organization and about the fear we all have. I threw caution to the wind years ago and I've experienced the consequences of that. I can respect others who don't want to take chances, especially those with children at home or near retirement.

I hope someone is listening who can make changes.
I hope that IHQ will give territories more leeway to address challenges in our various countries as they're all different, even here in North America - Canada and the US have very different cultures. Even in Canada alone, from coast to coast the issues are different. We have to adapt if we're going to survive, never mind thrive.

I don't have all the answers. I'd just like to see everything on the table and a willingness to change and embrace something new. Our founders did that. Let's not let them down.

 Anonymous said...
I sat and listened to the TC in Canada tell us at our retreat that his answer to the recruitment question is to ask the retired officers to stay longer.

Really? That's the extent of his thinking on the matter? No other creative ideas coming out of THQ? 

Well, what can we expect.

 Right now officers in Canada are experiencing a roll back to a more controlling and paternalistic method of dealing with officers. No consultation, the trend of staying up to 10 yrs in an appointment in 3rd and subsequent appointments gone out the window.

What a different SA world it would be if there had been a different choice for General. 

Many are tired, worn out and stressed out. We're going to lose far more in Canada than just those retired. 

We almost became formers not so long ago and we now take each year, one at a time, re-evaluating whether it's the time to go or do we stay. So far the Lord has kept us in.

We enjoy our work so much, we love the people we serve and the mission. We just can't stand the system and it's self perpetuating nonsense. 
Anonymous‬ said...
As I read this article and subsequent comments the phrase: 'Where there is no vision the people perish' comes to mind, and I am reminded of a DC when asked what his vision was for his division responded by saying: 'Not to close any Corps in the next twelve months'.

JoAnn Shade mentioned a survey of all officers, and a commission on officership that made a number of recommendations. It is beyond my comprehension that officers within the UKIT are asked every year to make sure all lay staff return similar surveys so recommendations can be made and followed through.
Do our leaders really have no idea how demoralising it is to officers that the opinion of lay staff is valued - but not their officers. Within the Church of England such a survey is sent out to every minister every year, they have a 70% return because their ministers have seen action in response to their comments and concerns.

Will we ever learn and respond to what we learn? I fear not, not before it is too late and dear Salvation Army I fear we are quickly running out of time. I believe God hasn't finished with us yet. But equally I believe it is time for us to wake up smell the coffee and respond accordingly. 

Struggling active UKIT

Anonymous said...
Sven, I fear you and your colleagues are preaching to the converted. It is clear to me that the SA leaders have their heads buried in the sand and are far more concerned about their position of power than realistic changes that need to happen for the Army to move forward.
Who in their right mind would want to stay in such a movement?
Movement, that's a joke.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

We need Officers - Response to Commissioner Peddle ATTRITION SERIES XI

How Can The Salvation Army Successfully Recruit and Retain Officers in the Canada and Bermuda Territory?

In a recent article written by the Territorial Commander for Canada & Bermuda, entitled “Why Officership?”,  Commissioner Brian Peddle  attempts to answer the question on how to recruit officers in this present age. After reading his words- perhaps the more appropriate questions would be not only how to recruit, but also how to retain officers.

It has been said over the past few years, that within this decade, the Canada & Bermuda Territory will have more retired than active officers.  It is also fact that many 'retireds' are being called back to active service as many “ministry units” as Peddle calls them need leadership.  The reality is and has been for the past decade at the least, that there are not enough officers to fill all the appointments needing them!

Over the past 25 years or so, The Salvation Army in Canada has lost hundreds of active officers to resignation and termination.  For those who resigned “in good standing”, we need to ask why?  For those who were terminated, we also need to ask- could something have been done to prevent this?  While there may have been instances of attempts on The Salvation Army's part to keep some of the before mentioned, how many were simply lost?

As The Salvation Army tries to figure out what to do to reverse their declining numbers, perhaps there should be some dialogue with “Formers.”  After all they have faced this problem head on.

As I read Peddle's article I was amazed by what I viewed as his naïveté on the entire subject.  Is he that isolated that he does not know why The Salvation Army has this problem in the first place?  I mean no disrespect to the Commissioner, but seriously his comments in this article are  in my opinion quite flawed.

He says in his article that The Salvation Army is 'first and foremost a spiritual movement.'  Is that so?  I certainly cannot and do not disagree with this statement. However, do the majority of the population at least in Canada agree?  Not the ones I have spoken to.  Some responsibility on the part of The Salvation Army to not getting this message out effectively has to be acknowledged here.  Is The Salvation Army so insulated from the real world that they do not know this?

The Commissioner then goes on to say that officers become “ a great gift to The Salvation Army.”  Really?  If that is so, why are so many officers resigning? How many Formers felt cherished in that way?  Peddle states that The Salvation Army needs to ensure it has officers for the future- duh!.  Is this not a huge understatement?  His answer to this need is to pray and ask God to give The Salvation Army more.  Aren't faith without works dead?  Does The Salvation Army deserve more officers when it is perceived by some that they were not treated well?  Has God decided that The Salvation Army has outlived its usefulness?

The Commissioner then states that the Canada & Bermuda territory continues to be blessed by God because they continue to welcome Cadets to their training college.  Really?  There are sixteen (16) cadets at present.    During The Salvation Army's heyday in the 1960's and 1970's sessions of cadets numbered in the 30 – high 50's in Canada.  There is obviously something wrong here.

Peddle states that he does not believe that it is harder to recruit now.  He states that part of the problem is that families are having fewer children and so there are not as many individuals available for future leadership.  So the question begs to be asked, what is The Salvation Army going to do about this?  Praying is not be minimized.  There is power in prayer and God still answers.  However,  the Bible teaches very clearly that we as His children can't just pray and then sit back and expect divine intervention.  We have a part to play. 

When Peddle broaches the subject of why officers' leave, his response is non-specific.  It appears that he does not know or is unwilling to say.  It is almost a don't ask, don't tell scenario.  He states ; “ I wish I could point out a specific cause.... so that we could respond to it...”.  The leader of The Salvation Army in Canada admits he does not know why officers leave. But he remains hopeful as he states in his article.  Perhaps he needs to start a dialogue with some Formers to find out why they left.  If officers are treated as gifts from God then perhaps The Salvation Army would soon see a reduction in resignations and an increase in the numbers of cadets filling the training colleges.

While the article is at best an interesting read, in my view it lacks substance and any real response to the question in the title.  In my opinion recruiting is only part of the real issue here.  Retaining is just as important!

We could speculate that retention of officers is more difficult now than 30 – 40 years ago due to a number of issues.  These issues range from sacrifice of one's personal freedom to live and work where they choose, financial, family needs ( being far removed from family, children's educational needs etc.)the very military structure of The Salvation Army is not an easy thing to live in this day and age. The list could go on.  Regardless of the reasons why the numbers have and continue to decline, The Salvation Army must take responsibility and try to fix it or the alternative is a continued decline and imminent death of the movement.

Addressing this will not be easy.  No one likes to admit failure.  The Salvation Army does not like to air its dirty linen! There are hundreds of Formers in the Canadian territory.  Many of these have no current connection with The Salvation.  This is not always a bad thing.  However, why is it that The Salvation Army has so much difficulty reaching out and embracing those  who once served in its ranks?  Why do so many Formers not feel welcome in The Salvation Army?  When an officer leaves they suddenly find themselves, jobless and homeless.  Often there is no financial help.  It has been said by some over the years that The Salvation treat those it serves ( i.e.- the alcoholic, the pregnant teen, the prisoner)  better than its officers.

If The Salvation Army is truly concerned about recruiting and retaining those they view as 'great gifts', then in the mind of this writer, they need to change how officers are treated when difficulties occur.  If the relationship must end, The Salvation Army should and must feel some responsibility to the spiritual, emotional and financial well being of these individuals.

Why Officership?  Why indeed?  It is my fervent prayer that those posing this question will do more than pray.  They will seek to have an honest dialogue with those who have left.  If they do not address these issues, then the bleeding will continue.

Louise Denison Manley 
Former Officer
Canada & Bermuda

Monday, February 25, 2013


Margaret Thatcher, former Prime Minister of England: 
"First, you win the argument," she said, "then you win the vote."

We have posted more than 1,200 articles in our six-year history, but never has there been such a preponderance of arguments and questions raised against a position articulated by someone in high SA office. Consequently, we are breaking with custom and posting comments received in response to Commissioner Brian Pebble’s interview in yesterday’s blog as today’s featured article.
We hope to elevate the argument and pray that it leads to the highest human experience; valuing what’s virtuous and right. People look at and are often guided by policies and paths based on their impact on efficiency.

Has the Army selected efficiency at the cost of excluding reality and fairness? Have they lost the argument and our confidence? Are they too proud to accept that others may have convincing arguments and solution?

How would you vote?

 ‪Anonymous‬ said...

Well, that was all very politically correct, safe, you know....

O well, what did I expect?

Active Canada and Bermuda
Saturday, 23 February, 2013

 ‪Anonymous‬ said...

I would like to have an interview with the Commissioner myself. I have a lot of embarrassing questions to ask him.

Former Canada and Bermuda <)))><
Saturday, 23 February, 2013

 ‪Anonymous‬ said...

'Peddling' safe for General - let's not upset the apple cart by being honest or controversial.

Former Canada and Bermuda
Saturday, 23 February, 2013

 ‪Anonymous‬ said...

Well said, former Canada and Bermuda, and the play on words is more truth than fiction.

Another former Canada and Bermuda
Saturday, 23 February, 2013

 ‪Anonymous‬ said...

Why would any person want to give the total determination of their life to any 3rd party organization, particularly a hierarchical Christian movement/church?

Commissioner Peddle sounds dishonest in facing this reality or he's out of touch. People today expect to interpret and determine God's will for themselves and not just obey others' ideas of God's will for them. 

Many more officers might leave if they could, but find themselves financially bound owning very little and having no equity. They have to keep going to get the lump sum at retirement.

Canada and Bermuda
Saturday, 23 February, 2013

 ‪Anonymous‬ said...

Following the previous comment by Canada and Bermuda, whom I assume is not either an active or former officer, I am wondering if anyone has seen the cartoon from Sherman's Lagoon by Jim Toomey. 

It is a pity that it can't be pasted in the comment box, but here is a description, which might add some levity to the comments:

In box one Hawthorne is being welcomed by two rats.
The caption reads: "Hawthorne welcome to the Brotherhood of Traveling Rats". Hawthorne replies, "Uh thanks".

In box two Hawthorne that states: "Sounds like a cult". The rats respond, "Heavens No, just a Gathering".

Box three reads: "A Gathering of Rats that all blindly follow our beloved leader and never question orders given by him".

In the final box the rats ask Hawthorne: "Can we fit you for a robe?" and Hawthorne answers: "Sure, now that I know you're not a cult".
Saturday, 23 February, 2013

 ‪Anonymous‬ said...
Following the previous comment by Canada and Bermuda, whom I assume is not either an active or former officer, I am wondering if anyone has seen the cartoon from Sherman's Lagoon by Jim Toomey. 

It is a pity that it can't be pasted in the comment box, but here is a description, which might add some levity to the comments:

In box one Hawthorne is being welcomed by two rats.
The caption reads: "Hawthorne welcome to the Brotherhood of Traveling Rats". Hawthorne replies, "Uh thanks".

In box two Hawthorne that states: "Sounds like a cult". The rats respond, "Heavens No, just a Gathering".

Box three reads: "A Gathering of Rats that all blindly follow our beloved leader and never question orders given by him".

In the final box the rats ask Hawthorne: "Can we fit you for a robe?" and Hawthorne answers: "Sure, now that I know you're not a cult".

There's a line in the next article on this website which says something similar to the cartoon - officership can be viewed as a cult of blind obedience and in the next article it says about Commissioning Day that "One press reporter called our Commissioning ‘the annual miracle of blind obedience ‘." 

Canada and Bermuda
Saturday, 23 February, 2013

The right questions are being asked - finally. But no-one seems to be listening or seeking the right answers. The attitude seems to be 'the horse isn't moving, we need to flog it harder' not realising that the horse might have either died, or is about to die. Perhaps the horse needs resuscitation for it to get moving again.

Yours in Christ,
Graeme Randall

Former Australian East in London
Sunday, 24 February, 2013

 ‪Anonymous‬ said...

A great series Sven! 
The question is, are you preaching to the choir while the clergy are in the board room commending themselves for having made it through another Sunday?! And wondering, how many more Sundays are left?

I pray God uses the FSAOF in getting the message through to those in command! Or, I and a friend will soon be joining your ranks.

Active officer

UKIT Midlands
Sunday, 24 February, 2013

 ‪Anonymous‬ said...

I continue to be fascinated by this web-site! And try not to abuse the privilege of being allowed to comment.

The angry comments about Mr Peddle's statements are very revealing and would indicate that you feel he is toeing the "Party line".

I know not of the gentleman but as I read his comments I thought it contained a lot of what I might call "ideological gobbledegook" completely divorced from what seems to be the reality of life in the SA in Canada. 

He can prattle on about the will of God and the Holy Spirit until the end of time but that will not resolve the problems that from what you say seem to exist in his patch.

Reminds me of an elderly man who maintained a beautiful garden outside his cottage: next door the garden untended was infested with weeds and nettles. 

The Vicar passing by leaned over the gate and said to George "Lovely garden, George, wonderful what God can do with a garden!"

"Yes Vicar" said George "just look next door and see the mess He makes of it on His own!" 

I just sense that the Army has little care for the lost resources of its ex-Officers. And that is sad!

Sunday, 24 February, 2013

 ‪Anonymous‬ said...

I can only say that I wish our leaders expressed even an inkling of the care and concern for former officers that your fellowship shows.

If your several hundred members all lived in one region what a mighty Army God could raise up through you. 

I understand that your fellowship has already met with leaders from the Eastern territory and that a tentative meeting is planned with the Southern territory. 

God bless you!

Active officer


USA Central Territory
Sunday, 24 February, 2013

 ‪Major (Dr.) Jim Watt (R)‬ said...

I have posted the following after a later article, but believe it belongs here: Our territorial leaders do not need to look far for the reasons for the latest officer casualty, Capt. Dr. Paul Thistle. A personal vendetta with his TC in Zimbabwe (over issues that are not complementary to the TC) led to his abrupt removal (ordered to leave in 24 hours) from the SA Howard Hospital in August, 2012.
Although the TC's actions led to the deaths of patients, the imprisonment and torture of nurses (one still in jail) and serious damage to the Army's reputation, she has been praised and promoted, while the good doctor has been maligned and terminated. He has chosen to remain in Zimbabwe to defend his nurses and continue to serve suffering humanity in a nearby hospital.
His request for a leave of absence to allow time for reason to prevail has been denied by the SA Canada. Already one young person who was moved by the dedication he saw in Paul to follow in his steps has wondered if he should even remain a Salvationist.
If an immediate review of the circumstances of this move, which I believe amount to a crime, is not undertaken, the Army will face further loss of reputation and officers.
Forcing silence and covering up will not work in this generation. Honesty and reform are our only hope. I pray that someone will listen.
Monday, 25 February, 2013

 ‪Anonymous‬ said...

Reform can only happen when there is a recognition that there is a problem. TSA does not recognize that they have one. They still view ‘Formers’ as those who were not good examples of leadership and therefore their leaving did not affect the TSA at all.
There appears to be a loathing of most Formers, and actives do not usually associate with them for fear of ruining their own reputations within army circles.
TSA has their head in the sand if if still believes that it has a good reputation here in Canada. It has become obsolete in many communities as scandals over sexual issues (ie. abuse),ethical issues ( theft of millions of dollars which was conveniently swept under a very large rug) have plagued it for years now.
Commissioner Peddle is either towing the party line or is somewhere in LA-LA land. You cannot get ahead in TSA if you do not agree with everything they (leaders) say and do. As one other commentor has said,(and I paraphrase here) if you want to run for the General's job you better play the game TSA's way!!

Canada & Bermuda
Monday, 25 February, 2013