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Meaghan finds herself in the zone at IHQ

Meaghan finds herself in the zone at IHQ

Meaghan finds herself in the zone at IHQ

26 August 2021

The South Pacific and East Asia Zone officer team at International Headquarters (back from left) Commissioners Wayne and Robyn Maxwell and Major Byung-Yoon Kim; (front from left) Major Meaghan Gallagher and Major Soon-sam Cha.

By Darryl Whitecross

Like many Salvation Army officers, Major Meaghan Gallagher once ‘ticked the box’ on an evaluation form asking if she would be interested in overseas service – and then forgot about it.

Australian officer Major Meaghan Gallagher with some of London's icons ... a red double-decker bus and St Paul's Cathedral.

Since registering her availability, Meaghan has joyfully served Jesus in a range of appointments – the most recent as an Area Officer on the Central and North Queensland Area Leadership Team.

Then came the phone call. On the other end of the line was Lieutenant-Colonel Sandra Godkin, the Australia Territory Head of Personnel. Sandra asked Meaghan if she would be interested in taking up an appointment at International Headquarters (IHQ) in London. It didn’t take Meaghan long to say yes to a role as Assistant Under-Secretary for the South Pacific East Asia (SPEA) Zone.

So, amid all the restrictions and concerns about the global COVID-19 pandemic, Meaghan packed her bags, cleaned out her Townsville quarters and jetted off to IHQ, trading the wide-open spaces of regional Queensland for the busy English capital and a small London flat. “The adjustment to living in a major city again has come quite easily. Our God is a faithful God, and I’m grateful for that,” she said.

A fourth-generation Salvationist from Sydney, Meaghan entered Officer Training College from Hurstville Corps 20 years ago. She has since served in rural appointments throughout NSW and Queensland, until now.

Meaghan said she has been to IHQ before, attending the International College for Officers (ICO) in 2019. She remembers “walking through the space” where she is now sitting in her new appointment. “The most exciting thing for me is this floor. All the zones in the [Army] world sit on the same floor, so I’m going to be able to get a perspective of what happens around the world for The Salvation Army.”

The zonal departments at IHQ cover five geographical areas: Africa, the Americas and Caribbean, Europe, South Asia, and South Pacific and East Asia. These zones are the main administrative link with territories and commands around the world. The international secretaries give oversight to and coordinate the Army's work in their respective geographical regions.

Meaghan’s role will be to give administrative support to the International Secretary for the SPEA Zone, Commissioner Wayne Maxwell, and the Secretary for Women’s Ministries, Commissioner Robyn Maxwell.

The Maxwells, also from Australia, have been the leaders of the SPEA Zone since 2019, and Meaghan said she is excited to be working with them. She also follows in the footsteps of another Aussie, Major Kaylene Fyfe, who is stepping out of the SPEA Assistant Under-Secretary role. Kaylene has returned to the Australia Territory to the Office of the Secretary for Mission in a role as Assistant to the Head of Mission Support.

Wayne said he and Robyn are enjoying their appointment, with the bonus of having another Aussie join the ranks: “Working at IHQ is a privilege and blessing as you are a part of the internationalism of the Army. You mix with officers and employees from all around the world every day,” he said.   

Showing her Aussie larrikin side, Meaghan said she was again looking forward to the many strange looks on the faces of the Londoners when she slapped them with a good, ol’ Ocker Aussie phrase. “One that I used when I was at ICO was a reference to the Yellow Pages ‘not happy Jan’ ad, and someone looked at me quizzically. They don’t know what I’m talking about!” Meaghan said.

 

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