Wednesday, August 12, 2015


Due the hundreds of comments, pro and con, from 'formers' and actives, we are unable to link them by subject or territory and share them ad hoc and unedited.
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.

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 if 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.

Just to add to the stories of ill-treatment of Officers - although slightly outside the main stream.

 My father-in-law was an Auxiliary-Captain in the then Salvation Army Assurance Society in the UK. A full-time appointment with provided quarters.

He had a heart-attack and died very suddenly one morning at 5.50am. 

ontaining a few trite words of condolence and a request that she vacate the premises as it was needed for the next appointee!

There is nothing new about the Army's callous treatment of Officers and their families.

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 the Former SAA Officers  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


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! 



Barbara Sanjivi Canaduan Territory said...

A couple of comments. The person leading the Canadian territory is a woman. Second, the accounting for all the divisions are done by the Finance Department through Regional Accounting Centres - staffed by qualified non officer accountants.

Anonymous said...

This is certainly an old article and doesn't reflect the present!

Active Canadian Officer

Anonymous said...

It must be summer time with very little happening, the time for repeats and rehashing of old stories in the UK media to keep the pages and screens filled!