Saturday, August 15, 2015

FSAOF Alook back - Part 1 of 3

Everything is looked over, and nothing is overlooked. 
With the Congress behind us and the many blog articles focused on it, it’s a great time to look back at this eighth year of the FSAOF’s existence and notable activities – It’s been an unforgettable year. Together we have reached new heights in presenting gospel truths in the FSAOF blog by noted theologians including former SA officers in our fellowship, SA leaders and others whose names are well known. I don’t believe anyone could have forecast just where God would lead us. 

Our initial purpose was the formation of a private and secure location where former Salvation Army Officers and Cadets, regardless of the basis for their separation, could meet up in a Christian community. (FACEBOOK) We have joined our hearts and voices sharing our joys and sorrows, laughter and tears, in reminiscing what our Officership years represented. Differing hopes and dreams, blessings and victories, and also disenchantment and dissatisfaction have been expressed, but yet in so doing remembering that we all gave up our all to follow to do the Master’s will.

From a rather tentative and dubious initial attempt with a handful of ‘formers’ from the USA East territory (my home territory) we grew steadily into an international fellowship of more than 1,600 in more than 20 territories. Since its formation the visitors to the FSAOF blog has grown exponentially to more than one million and leads most SA related sites by those using online search engines. 

We’ve shared stories of SA victories but also  leaders’ blunders and abuses; embarrassing reading. Many former officers list the moral righteousness, the lack of self-critical ability, the fawning paternalism, the distasteful patronising as the characteristics that moved them to resign. We've created a list of leadership expectations irrelevant of the organization or institution, with more to follow with the hope and expectation that the SA would learn from our existential experience how to thwart the 50% SA officer attrition rate.  Our ‘products’ and pronouncements are read, ‘shared’ and saved in our archives and by others.

And the more than 2,000 topics and issues debated are never contrived - although many suggest that they are the widest and most innovative lineup of issues of concern presented by any official SA centre or loosely SA linked group. We are all immensely proud of the work that our 1,200 FSAOF member team is doing to make ours a formidable force for good in the SA world through our blog, our mission commitments and the personal evangelistic tasks performed by our many members: - Making a difference on issues that touch thousands of lives.

The FSAOF blog site offers a model for honest conversation without a Salvation Army sanctioned agenda and restriction. Everything is looked over, and nothing is overlooked. We encourage and allow FSAOF members and others to listen and share various perspectives and discuss topics ranging from interpretations of scripture, Army integrity in leadership, corporate values, financial reporting, suspected collusion to acts of corruption, same sex unions, decades of hushed up abuse of children in SA care in several countries, and much more.  The FSAOF’s reporting has been a ‘call to action’ on many of these issues, none of which has brought anyone any sense of joy.

In spite of our sometime direct allegations and declarations there has been no official SA or other meaningful opposition to the existence or activities of the FSAOF. The overall outward atmosphere is mostly ambiguous, however, private comments to the FSAOF Board and in anonymous blog comments point directly to changes in institutional policies being revisited and in some instances, taking place. And SA leaders and employees, those that have hitherto been hindered or forbidden from speaking out have found a place and format where they are free to share and are increasingly vocal; “The FSAOF blog contents are often topics of conversation 'round our water cooler and in our DHQ lunchroom and many of your recommendations have been acted on!” Encouragement has been abundant!

Concurrently the FSAOF recognized both the necessity of an Army linked blog site adding weight and wisdom to the SA’s often feeble and dated utterances on SA provisions and positions; current issues of key importance to Salvationists and the church in general. And the number of blog visitors just topped the 1,016,000 mark!

Today our FB membership hovers just above 1,200. An additional 400 persons are linked ‘unofficially’, some preferring to remain anonymous for private reasons while others are linked to the FSAOF under our umbrella through national and regional chapters. And there is that sizeable number of formers married to our members and who ‘peek in’ but who may not be “on” FaceBook.


END PART ONE OF THREE

FINNAIR USA pre-SA Officership
Sven Ljungholm
FSAOF Founder and Executive Director

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for opening your fellowship details to us. Admire your ethos and activities. I hope HQ catches on.

Your dad was my OT teacher at the TC, Brompton Ave,

Major, USA Central Territory