October 01, 2022
The day began with a prayer in recognition that September 30 is the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in Canada, with Canadian officers showing solidarity by wearing orange t-shirts. The rest of the day was filled with a series of high-level presentations and small group discussions.
Commissioner Lee Graves, International Secretary for Business Administration, International Headquarters (IHQ), began his presentation by reminding delegates of the purpose of the business administration function and emphasizing the need to train key personnel for the ‘coming. He said: “From a business practices perspective, we need your help in identifying people who will be able to perform finance functions.
Looking to the future, he said: “In 2023 we will host the International Finance Conference at Sunbury Court. The aim of the conference is to help IHQ leaders develop a Kingdom-focused financial strategy and create a forum to explore best practices. We have representatives from each of the zones. The delegates will speak on behalf of the territories to help us.
Commissioner Graves reminded delegates of key achievements, listing the IFAS accounting standards and e-learning platform, the implementation of NetSuite and the successful implementation of Office 365. He also spoke about the necessity of the Retired Officers’ Allowance scheme which is to “alleviate poverty or financial condition”. the difficulties of retired officers by the funding provision.
All areas and territories, commands and regions have the opportunity to contribute to the Self-Deprecation Fund, and Commissioner Graves thanked those who were able to contribute. He also highlighted the 25 years of Otherswhich he describes as “a great social enterprise”.
Colonel Suzanne Fincham presented a high-level review of governance to leaders. She said: ‘The hallmark of The Salvation Army is integrated mission, and Salvationists are called to serve the whole person, which is called ‘soup, soap and salvation’. Governance is not about the mechanics of how we lead the movement, it is about what is done through the Body of Christ. Good governance is of fundamental importance. Accountability is built into Salvation Army systems and practices.
Highlighting the critical need for personal visits, Colonel Fincham also spoke of strengthening the mandate of the QGI governance team and ensuring territories are well served with one-on-one and tailored training sessions. She also described the work underway to roll out a six-module online course and recalled resources and governance principles protocols.
Colonel Julie Forrest briefed delegates on the proceedings of the symposium on human sexuality. Each territory, command and region has appointed a delegate. Fifty-nine territories, commands and regions were represented. Colonel Forrest said: “We were able to come together as a truly international family, praying and growing together. We had privates, cadets and officers of all ranks and an age range of 18 to 65+. It was a revolutionary event because we invested time in talking about human sexuality. We came together as a Christian family to have respectful conversations and at the end of the week we asked for feedback. Ninety-seven percent of delegates said they felt comfortable sharing openly with others, and 99 percent said they felt their opinions were valued and respected by their group.
Highlighting particular sessions, Colonel Forrest concluded by saying that there will be serious consequences for not addressing issues of human sexuality. She said: “These issues will be considered at General Council and I hope we can have respectful conversations about encouraging wider use of the Let’s talk about… document.’
Lt. Col. Karen Shakespeare reminded delegates of the primary purpose of the 17-member International Theological Council (ITC), which is: “To serve the General and the Salvation Army by being faithful guardians of the doctrinal positions of the Army.
Describing the challenges of finding board members, she said: “Timely identification of Salvation Army theologians is essential, if not always easy. The profile of the people we need includes (among other qualities) the need for them to be soldiers or officers and demonstrate strong theological understanding. They must be able to contribute from the perspective of their territory or area and be fluent in English.
ITC’s work is varied and in recent years has included publications on the theology of ordination and commissioning, the theology of education, and the theology of marriage. Other important relationships include working with the International Ecumenical Relations and Spiritual Life Development teams, and attending World Council of Churches events. ITC members are also authors of publications such as Called to be a soldier and articles for publications such as The officer. Colonel (Dr) Wendy Swan also wrote “A Theology of Salvation Army Leadership”.
International Commission of Social Justice
Colonel Ian Swan began the update on the International Social Justice Commission (ISJC) by saying: “We all agree that the world is not the world as it should be. Salvationist interaction must be deeply rooted in Scripture and in the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus. It was Evangeline Booth’s desire that the Salvation Army not only have a seat at the table, but also a voice of influence. The ISJC has now been operational for 15 years. Our role is to; Advocate for the world’s poor and oppressed Be a recognized research center Work with a strategic approach to advocacy and research Collaborate to advance the cause of biblical justice Work with Salvation Army policies to work with compassion and inspire others to do the same and to review our purpose in order to maintain biblical stewardship and the proclamation of the gospel. We are at the United Nations (UN) to represent you.
Colonel Wendy Swan asked: “After COVID-19, how can we build back better and not just go back to how it was before? We need to move forward with more collaboration and better communication, we need to renew internal and external partnerships and continue our commitment to the UN. We are better together!’
Colonel Ian Swan concluded the presentation by saying: “The General has invited us to conduct a review of the ISJC. We were at the table and now we have a voice – the ISJC is the conduit for the military. It is a privilege to join this team and we ask for your prayers for discernment and wisdom.
All presentations were warmly received and the action-packed day for international leaders ended with a panel discussion and additional feedback.
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