Written for the June 1984 issue of "The Orange Blossom" - Santa Ana Corps newsletter.
I find it difficult to conceal the smile on my face these days. You see, the annual Salvation Army "Rites of Change" have concluded and our names were missing from the list. The yearly ritual goes something like this:
February: The Dance of Initial Speculation. Involvement is entirely voluntary and only requires letting your fingers dance through the "Disposition of Forces" pages. It employs the "process of elimination," with the following clues in mind:
1. Take note of the "date appointed" (revealing number of years in their appointment) and write the "farewell odds" next to each name, utilizing the following formula: 1 Year - 10%; 2 Years - 20%; 3 Years - 40%, etc. For example, we have been in our appointment for 4 years now, so odds of our name being on the list are at 60% - thus the smile (beat the odds).
2. Designate "giftedness" or "specialized reputations" next to each name as follows: (!) = Program; (*) = Detailed; ($) = Finance; (?) = Youth. This helps to narrow the field.
3. Circle rank and ages as this is vital for certain appointments.
March: The Ritual of Retirement. Every territory has a Savant who can recite with great accuracy the entire litany of ages and retirement dates. If asked he/she will give you a wallet-size card so listed chronologically. Or you can go to the back of The Yearbook. These dates will be very helpful I narrowing the field.
April: The Chant of Rumors. As June draws nigh, rumors will begin to resound with increasing frequency. Listen carefully, keeping track of how many times you hear the rumor. If those making the appointments hear them often enough they will begin to think it is their idea.
May: The Rhythm of Reviews. Divisional Reviews are now complete with a confidential evaluation shared on every officer along with appointment recommendations. Whilst these are done confidentially, there are certain telltale signs to look for:
(1) names obviously omitted from Camp Meeting responsibility list
(2) those failing to reach their Self Denial target (3) statistical comparisons, noting those who are "down"
(4) the "twitch" or "tic" a DC or TC develops when addressing certain officers. Body language is a powerful tool.
June: The Incantation of Compilation. Now, after carefully adhering to the above, write every name and appointment, separately, on a piece of paper, place into a collection plate, mix thoroughly and pull them out randomly matching name to appointment. Your chances of getting it right are as good as any.
Let me tell you about the one ultimate appointment I'm sure of, sans all of the guesswork. My name's already written in the Lamb's Book of Life. Hope yours is too!