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Unity and diversity recognised at international leaders conference

Unity and diversity recognised at international leaders conference

Unity and diversity recognised at international leaders conference

16 November 2017

General Andre Cox, Commissioner Silvia Cox, and Commissioner Rosalie Peddle give glory to God at the International Conference of Leaders in Los Angeles earlier this month.

Major Christine Clement

At the conclusion of the recent 2017 International Conference of Leaders (ICL) in Los Angeles from 4-11 November, Commissioner Silvia Cox, World President of Women’s Ministries, invited everyone to rejoice.

Salvation Army leaders from around the world had considered a number of issues during the preceding week – a week that began with Commissioner Brian Peddle, Chief of the Staff, querying: “Are you listening?” and concluded with General André Cox asking: “What are you hearing?”

Early in the week facilitators trained in Faith-based Facilitation – drawn from the International Moral and Social Issues Council and the International Theological Council – helped delegates converse about issues that differ across the world.

Through this, the leaders gained a greater appreciation of one another’s cultural perspectives – necessary to guard the moral authority and doctrinal integrity of the international Army – when framing Orders and Regulations.

There was also an introduction to the format of the rewrite of Chosen to be a Soldier (Orders and Regulations for Soldiers). Feedback was positive while reflecting the many ways people now get information and the need for a multi-format response.

One of the emerging challenges confronting the Army is where national laws restrict the role of expatriate personnel or the way that The Salvation Army is registered to legally work within a country.

To help delegates understand the constitution of The Salvation Army – framed in British law – and its impact on how the leaders operate within their own territories and commands, Richard Clark presented a comprehensive outline of the Army’s legal framework.

Having worked for the Army’s legal advisers in London for more than 30 years, he was well placed to speak and answer questions on this subject. In a later session, delegates explored the importance of developing leadership for the years ahead, considering succession planning and capacity building.

On the Friday morning, leaders celebrated recent accomplishments. Progress was noted in finance, governance, The Whole World Mobilising initiative, child protection and women in leadership. Afterward, World Secretary for Women’s Ministries, Commissioner Rosalie Peddle, led a concert of prayer.

At the week’s end, the General posed the question: “What are you hearing?” Leaders agreed that they needed to create space and freedom for people to explore a range of relevant issues within their territories and commands.

“We have become more acutely aware that the contexts in which we live and work are not the same, and one solution to an issue will not apply across all contexts,” the General said. “We must also guard the fact we are one body, and each part matters.”

Finally, while no formal recommendations came from the conference, it was apparent that there was much for which to thank God. It was apt, then, that the final worship session was themed “rejoice’” and the General’s message centred on hope.

“The conference was a unique opportunity to join in fellowship with Army leaders from every corner of the globe,” said Commissioner Floyd Tidd, National Commander of The Salvation Army in Australia.

“We discussed and explored critical issues facing the Army that included human sexuality, leadership, the upcoming high council, international business and legal structures, as well as the role of women in ministry.

“What was particularly special was the chance for all gathered leaders to lead worship, testify, preach and engage in fellowship in one of the 21 corps in the greater Los Angeles region on the first Sunday of the conference. This culminated in a citywide public rally led by General Cox.

“The conference culminated with a focus on prayer. The venue was set up with prayer stations reflecting on the General’s key call to mobilise each Salvationist to live out their calling from God in their local community.

“Although Australia can seem a long way from the rest of the world, the International Conference of Leaders demonstrated how important Australia is in the global leadership of our movement – not only in our own region, but the wider world.” 

“Tracey and I both felt a great sense of the pride from the stories we heard from leaders in the developing world of how Australians have encouraged their faith and made significant contributions of resource to their congregations and programs. 

“The appreciation of our self-denial giving and the large number of Australians who are serving as leaders outside of their homeland really was a tribute to the calibre, calling and sacrifice of The Salvation Army in Australia.”

Australian officer, Colonel Kelvin Alley, Territorial Commander, PNG Territory, said that "It was a wonderful privilege of grace to be involved in this life-changing experience. Delegates have now commenced their long journeys back to the places where God has called them to serve, to every continent and every ‘tribe’. It is a priceless treasure to serve in this great movement of grace called The Salvation Army.”

“I am unpacking my suitcases and unpacking the week I spent with these people of God,” said Commissioner Marie Willermark, Territorial Commander for the Germany, Lithuania and Poland Territory. “God has been at work through our interactions but he doesn’t stop when we are dispersed around the world. We are constantly in the workshop of the Holy Spirit.”




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