Friday, August 7, 2015

A Series on the FSAOF experience

Christian commitment and experience grounded in truth.

Seven years ago I received a private e-mail from a former officer, NHQ, USA that stated; 'of Sven's many notable SA activities as an officer in the USA and abroad, the creation of the FSAOF (created following his resignation as an officer)  is by far the most important one to the SA.' And, I've been told that those comments have been shared with Comm. Barry Swanson, the then incoming Chief of Staff.

The FSAOF is entering its ninth year of offering support to The Salvation Army at every level from the IHQ, London to the newest corps plant in rural Zimbabwe and Australia’s outback, to active and former officers, from new Christians and clergy of other denominations, from social workers, psychologists and those wrestling with moral and ethical questions and concerns. More than million visitors have from our and have shared comments.

Only invited/approved 'former' officers are allowed to join the FSAO Fellowship, consequently none but those in the fellowship know the identity of the 1,200+ current members, however, by scrolling down the right side of our blog page you’ll find hundreds of names, many perhaps known to you. Many formers share membership in our fellowship anonymously for personal reasons, most being SA employees and/or holding senior local positions in their corps and fear retribution and discrimination.  Many SA Commissioners publicly and some tacitly assure us of their support, and the Chief of the Staff has instructed us on how to proceed in effecting a more supportive program from within and among HQs worldwide. And one never fails to enquire about the FSAOF’s latest mission initiatives whenever me meet or touch base. And his interest is shared by many stationed in the UKIT THQ.

Equipment and financial donation to the SA Corps and rehab centre
Tallinn, Estonia - May 2015
FSAOF blog articles, fund raising, mission projects and funding of projects are under the oversight and direction of an elected Board of Directors and appointed Executive Committee. And issues of general/common concern to all members are shared for comments and consensus. The FSAOF posts a monthly audited finance report and is available free upon request.

Tomorrow we’ll provide an overview of the many reasons why officers step out, but one of my favourite quotes is that; “YOUR BUCKET LIST ALWAYS HAS ROOM FOR REVISIONS.” 

The FSAOF’s mission is broad and multi-faceted and includes support for those members seeking a return to full time service in the SA. Dozens have returned to officership while scores live out their calling serving as pastors in other denominations. Some have entered the teaching profession and write regularly for Christian publications including the War Cry. 
 In fact, many of the devotionals and other articles shared in the FSAOF blog have been used in SA periodicals and even in sermon form verbatim.  

Our 1,200+ members average 15 years of officership behind them and represent an aggregate of more than 18,000 years of theological, social service, evangelical experience and ministry. Positions of responsibility in the SA 

include pioneering SA work in countries where there was never a SA presence, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, and re-0pening the Army in Russia, Divisional and Regional Commanders, Directors of SA social services commands, Medical missionaries, SA Editorial responsibility, Training College staff/lecturers, and many more.

 Tomorrow: Indifference is a major form of abuse!

Sven Ljungholm


Fred Gregory, Former Officer said...

I am looking forward to reading it. FSAOF has been instrumental in my life in helping me reconnect to Army friends and other former officers with whom I can pray with and for. My wife and I left the Army more than 22 years ago but I still have a deep love for its ministries in the Corps and communities.

Anonymous said...

I too resigned after serving for almost 15 years. I faced one too many senior officers who demanded me to respect their rank more than my mission minded heart. Now happy as a college professor and bandsman where respect is a given! Looking forward to tomorrow's series.
USA West

Anonymous said...

Congratulations FSAOF - Nine years of unbroken service!
UK Active

Anonymous said...

Great introduction to your new series. Looking forward to reading it! Many blessings!

Elizabeth Hogan Hayduk
Former Officer
Guardians of the Truth '83-'85

Anonymous said...

I haven't been on this site for weeks, due to major changes in my circumstances and a whole lot of work needing to be done on my house, staging it, in order for it to be put on the market shortly, if not sooner.

However, I want to say that even though I've never been an officer, I have religiously read the FSAOF blog for years and never been bored by it! It's still by far, the absolute best site out in cyberspace of any of the many sites dealing with the work of TSA, whether official or unofficial.

Congratulations Sven for nine fun and thought provoking years--and for publishing my many emotion filled comments that might have come across at times as a little too brash even. It has been a great service you have been doing for the Army all these years, whether or not any HQs realize it.

Yours has been the first SA related site (that I have ever run across) showing that SA folks aren't any more monolithic in their views on major issues than members of any other churches. I put Sven in with the same group ofthinkers and writers as I do Norman Murdoch and Bernard Watson. Men who love TSA but don't always succumb to the party line on everything. God Bless You Sven and may you have another nine productive and thought provoking years running the FSAOF website.

Daryl Lach
USA Central

"You Must Go Home By the Way of the Cross, To Stand with Jesus in the Morning!"

Anonymous said...

I wish I could come back after 15 years + of service, but those who love God say no, never, I have been looked down on, walked on the other side of the road, by those I served with. Every blessing to one and all