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Volume 25, No.12

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July 25,2008


Building the Network

Outreach begins inside the corps at Princeton, W.Va.

By Major Frank Duracher
Southern Spirit staff

 

It's all about relationships at the Princeton, W. Va., Corps. "This is a corps that will literally hug anyone who comes in the doors," said Captain Burl LaBatte, (then) Princeton corps officer. "It's family-oriented, but they are very welcoming to newcomers."

Loretta Collins kneels at the altar, one of five prayer stations in the corps chapel at Princeton, W.Va.


Following Gods Call


Congress fuels partnership



Ministering Teens in W. Va.



Florida opens divisiona library

 

A day care center for 100 children daily, plus the "Golden Angels" seniors program, comprises two of the major community outreach ministries supported by the corps family. Nineteen soldiers have been enrolled through the Golden Angels program alone.

In the four years that the LaBattes were corps officers there, among their cherished accomplishments is helping their soldiers be more evangelistically minded.

"We wanted to change the format of the (Sunday evening) salvation meeting, because everyone who came was already saved," said Captain Carrie LaBatte. "So part of our missional planning strategy has been to create a network both within the corps and extending into the community."

In keeping with the Four Territorial Priorities, the corps council decided to revamp the salvation meeting’s look for each Sunday of the month. On the first and third Sundays, the soldiery takes the canteen out to serve a hot meal to Princeton’s growing homeless population in a downtown alley off Mercer Street – plus the soldiers conduct an open-air meeting during the feeding time. On the second Sunday, visitation teams break out to the homes of shut-in, absent or prospective-member families. On the fourth Sunday, a rousing praise meeting is planned and led by the corps officers and key local officers. When there is a fifth Sunday in a month, it is usually an extra visitation night.

"Prayer, worship, and discipleship have been vital to the healthy growth of that network formation," Carrie LaBatte said. “People seem to open up to each other when

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Outreach begins inside the corps at Princeton, W.Va.

we let our defenses down and ask for prayer – it’s amazing to see." A “prayer and share" erasable board, prominently displayed in the front of the chapel, is the focal point for all worship, praise and prayer meetings in the corps. The board is the brainchild of A/CSM Charles Hampton, one of many prayer warriors in the corps. Names are added as needs arise and erased as prayers are answered. Even clients from the corps social services office, who request prayer, are included. “A lot of our people, soldiers and clients, come into the chapel and use that board,” Burl LaBatte said. "It’s a real source of encouragement for us all!" "We have a good support system here," agreed Paula Coburn, a soldier since 2006. "The network of love, prayer and encouragement among the adults is extending to the teens and children of the corps." Coburn was a divorced mother of two sons, when love drew her to the Princeton Corps." I was dating a gentleman who was attending the corps here. He invited me to try his church one Sunday, and I’ve been coming ever since," Coburn said.

“Michael promised me that every time I came, I would be greeted by the corps people with a hug. That is certainly true. At first, I came for the hugs,” Coburn admitted. After she married Michael, their two sons joined them in attending the corps as a completed family. “It’s nice to feel the love when you come through the doors,” Coburn said of the loving atmosphere of the corps family. Coburn, now a uniformed soldier, has embraced the Army’s mission passionately. In addition to teaching junior soldiers on Sunday morning, she oversees a group of teens who meet at the corps on Wednesday nights (see related story, page 5). Most of the group members went to youth councils this year. Many committed to Christ, and two responded during the call to Salvation Army officership. Prayer is the reason why the young adults and teens are bonding with soldiers who have been attending the Princeton Corps for years. “If one of my ‘Teen Group’ has a particular need or problem, I can go to any of our older soldiers and they will start praying,” Coburn said.

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"This is where the Lord wants me to be"

Q&A: Cristy Coulson

Christy Coulson, the daughter of Majors Roger and Melody Coulson, will spend a year assigned to the Denmark Territorial Headquarters. Her outreach ministry will be among youth, not only across the territory but with a concentration at two of the corps in downtown Copenhagen. Major Frank Duracher, of the Southern Spirit staff interviewed Coulson before her departure for Europe.

SS: How did this opportunity come about?

CC: I’ve been conducting young adult ministries in my corps at Lawrenceville, Ga. My corps officers, Captains Bobby and Anne Westmoreland, were in Denmark not long ago – and they met the territorial commander there in Copenhagen. The TC felt led of the Lord to ask the Westmorelands if they knew of any young adult program leader who would possibly be willing to come to Denmark to help with that needed ministry.

The Westmorelands told me that I came to their mind immediately, and when they got back to the U.S., they approached me about it. I gave it a lot of prayer and spoke at length with my parents and mentors about whether I should go. After a few weeks, I felt that this is where the Lord wants me to be.

SS: You said you devoted much to your decision to go to Denmark. Was there anything that “sealed the deal” for you?

CC: It was during the Holiness Congress last month; specifically on Sunday morning when Lieutenant Natalee Latham spoke to represent her session. I’ll never forget what she said: “No longer am I going to hit the snooze button. When doors are opened in this manner, I will not sit idly by.” I think it’s fair to say that up until that point I was willing but hesitant. Hearing what Natalee said drove it home for me. It’s almost like (Natalee) helped light that fire in my belly that I need to go; I want to go! So after the Congress I told the Westmorelands that my answer was “yes.” The process is usually long, but this went through rather quickly.

SS: How do your parents feel about you being so far away from home?

CC: My mom and dad know this is an excellent opportunity for me to learn and grow. But, like any parent, they are a little concerned. They don’t know anyone over there, and they can’t get to me if anything happens. I know they’ll miss me and will worry about me, but they don’t want to get in the way of the Lord’s plans for me either. They will simply trust in the Lord, as I will, to take care of me

SS: Do you know where you will be living, and what responsibilities you will have?

CC: I’ve been told I’ll either be living with an officer and family, or I’ll be staying at a college house similar to what they have in the Florida Division. The university students are not necessarily Salvationists, but that will provide a fertile field for me to work in to build relationships to connect with the Army. That would be another amazing outreach program.

SS: What are you most looking forward to during your ministry in Denmark?

CC: I believe that building relationships is the most important thing in any Salvation Army position.
Ministry is, to me, all about building relationships.

I’m not aware that I’ll be doing any preaching, but there will be a lot of program planning. Also this summer there will be some of the summer camps still going on and I believe I will be helping with those.

This is very exciting and a wonderful opportunity.

How many 23 year-olds have the chance to serve in this way? It is a little scary, but in a good way. Except for a 10-day trip to Costa Rica with the National Capital & Virginia Divisional Band, this is myfirst trip out of the country. I really don’t know what to expect. But I hope to grow in the Lord.

I hope I don’t mess up and offend anyone. I don’t know their customs so I hope they’ll cut me some slack, at least at first. I don’t want them saying, “Oh, she’s one of those Americans!” (Laughs.)

SS: Have you set any goals for your work in Denmark?

CC: My goal is to not create another hole for someone to fill after my term is over. I hope we will build leadership from within, so by the time I leave there will be someone to step forward and take over without missing a beat. I simply want to develop (the youth outreach ministries) and then hand it over. I know this is not going to be easy, and I know I will be tested. I do hope that this will teach me new skills. I want to go with an open mind and learn as much as I can. That will further prepare me for whatever the Lord has planned for me down the road.

 

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Georgia strengthens its links with Uganda

Army has faced many obstacles in African nation
over 75 years

The Georgia Division celebrated a new friendship with Salvationists in Uganda at the recent Territorial Holiness Congress. The Uganda Command, linked with the Georgia Division through the Partners in Mission initiative, has encountered many struggles and challenges over the past 75 years.

The Salvation Army in Uganda, a country known as the Pearl of Africa,
became its own command four years ago. The Army began work in Uganda in 1931 under the auspices of the East African Territory. It began in the eastern part of the country with a hostel for the disabled. Over the next 40 years, the Army grew slowly and steadily.

But political challenges during the 70s threatened to close the Army in the
country for good. In 1971, Idi Amin came to power in Uganda, and in 1977
The Salvation Army was forced to close. The Salvationists went underground. They buried flags, uniforms and other material items that represented the Army before they could be found and destroyed by the government. At the time of the closing the Army operated17 corps and schools, 14 outposts and one hostel and children’s home. A country that had been a source of great economic pride was almost completely
ruined economically by 1979 when Amin’s regime crumbled and he fled
the country.

The Salvation Army began to operate again. The operations grew steadily over the next 25 years, and in 2005 the East
African Territory was split and Uganda became its own command. The current officers commanding are the first
Ugandan nationals to lead the Army’s work in their own country. Majors Moses and Sarah Wandulu were hosted
by Georgia, their partner division during the Holiness Congress.

During their visit they gave presentations at Jonesboro, Atlanta Temple, Lawrenceville, Toccoa, Gainesville and Macon corps, and at Atlanta Area Command and divisional headquarters. At DHQ, Captain Cristina Bell presented the Wandulus with a
check for $11,000 that was raised by the Georgia youth. The money went directly to the operating budget in
Uganda, which will give them the freedom to use the money in the best way for their command.

As this trip was the initial contactmade between the two partners, there are still many decisions left to be made about how these two partners might do the most good together. But the visit enabled the Georgia Division to make a new friend and join the Uganda Command in its quest to restore the country to the beauty worthy of the Pearl of Africa.

Jason Pope

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Love for her two sons netted
Paula Coburn a dozen more teens

By Major Frank Duracher
Southern Spirit sta ff

Paula Coburn’s involvement with a group of teenagers at The Salvation Army began solely because of her two sons, Ryan and River Ellis. The boys, along with a handful of other teens attending the corps in Princeton, W.Va., wanted a time of fellowship tailored to meet their needs and interests.

And they needed an adult leader. Paula stepped up and formed what they simply call the “Teen Group.”

Actually, the simple name describes the laid back feeling the teens enjoy here. There is some structure, Coburn explained, but the time they spend is marked by bonding and forging friendships to carry them through the difficult adolescent years. The Teen Group is also a perfect fit for the corps missional planning strategy of building relationships in the corps and
community.

"I want (Teen Group) to be what they want to do, offering activities that they would not mind inviting their friends from school to," Coburn said.

The setting is determined by what they do on a given evening together. They use the chapel if they are having a prayer meeting or a Bible study. Or they might find a place “just to hang out” or go on an outing.

If they play video games or have snacks on a given night, then they meet in their fellowship room – a "clubhouse" of sorts that doubles as a Sunday school classroom. On one wall is a camouflaged mural that the teens painted themselves.

The group that began as a few middle- and highschool aged youth has blossomed into a healthy Christcentered
program for over a dozen teens. "I have a ‘soft spot’ for young people, particularly teenagers," Coburn said. "The longer I do this, the more I feel that this is what the Lord wants me to do!"

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Fla. Division dream turns into reality

In a proactive move to provide information resources to the officers, soldiers and employees of Florida, a Divisional Library
Resource Center moved from dream to reality in the fall of 2007. The inspiration had come from Dr. Roger Green’s presentation at officers councils and created a resurgence of interest in Army
history.

Three donors moved the idea from dream to reality. The materials given by Major Allen Satterlee, Lt. Colonels Richard and Shari Ulyat and Major Donald Spencerprovided the core of materials needed to establish the library.

Satterlee, a Salvation Army author and historian, and Major Esther Satterlee recently returned to overseas service as Western Jamaica divisional leaders. Before their departure, Satterlee offered his collection of some 800 books to the center.

"The books represented his life work and his pursuit of Salvation Army historical knowledge," said Jan McMahon, director of the center. "So when he called to say that he had decided to donate all 800 titles, I was speechless. As an early advocate for a Divisional Library Resource Center, Major Satterlee knew the value of a strong collection accessible to Salvationists. What an incredible gift to all who seek a better understanding of Army heritage.”

Throughout their careers, the Ulyats focused on the importance of officer and soldier education. Their personal library, collected over the course of their many years of service, includes hundreds of books, DVDs and videos covering Christian education, Fla. Division dream turns into reality Major Allen Satterlee presents materials from his personal library to
then Florida divisional leaders, Majors Steve and Judy Hedgren. marriage enrichment, training, utilizing volunteers, Army history, leadership, counseling, spiritual formation and Bible study.

The center also houses historical Salvation Army artifacts, thanks to Major Donald Spencer’s donation.

"In a sense, what was to become a vast collection began almost accidentally for Major Spencer,” McMahon said. “An estate that included Army works needed a home, and in order to save it, he accepted responsibility, never dreaming where it would all lead. His generosity in donating part of his vast collection has added greatly to the visual appeal of the library,
providing materials for present and future displays.”

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