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Volume 25, No.10

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The Salvation Army USA Southern Territory

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June 27, 2008

Dan Childs
The prophet Isaiah, portrayed by Major Bert Tanner, bows before the throne of God, in Friday evening's opening of the Territorial Holiness Congress.
Territorial Holiness Congress • June 6-8, 2008 • Atlanta

By Dan Childs
Southern Spirit staff

The invitation to Go Deeper With God at the
Territorial Holiness Congress was but a beginning. More than 7,000 delegates gathered at Atlanta’s Gwinnett Convention Center June 6-8 for a close encounter with a multi-dimensional and multifaceted God, and having taken that step, they were challenged to take yet another.

Commissioners Israel L. and Eva D. Gaither national leaders, were the special guests, joining Commissioners Max and Lennie Feener in leadership of the event. The congress’ major gatherings reflected the aspects of God as experienced by hispeople, centering first on his wonder and progressing to his world, his way and his will. Throughout the three days, the delegates were reminded of the importance of leading a holy life, but implicit in thatchallenge,and coupled with it, was the need to make oneself wholly available for service.

Commissioning coverage … pages 4 & 5
Congress scenes … pages 6 & 7
United sessions … page 8
Rallies … page 9
More on congress … pages 10-12

Gaither, who spoke throughout the weekend, based his messages on Isaiah 6, in which the prophet is called by God to serve.Isaiah’s chapter6 encounter with God was powerfully illustrated in the opening moments of the congressin an aweinspiring light and sound show that set the tone for the weekend.

“The question of Isaiah 6 was all about availability,” Gaither said. “When the Lord sends, divinity is at work. If you want to be part of something big, say, ‘I am listening, and I am ready.’” At the conclusion of the Saturday morning service, Gaither asked for delegates to step forward to the platform as a statement of their availability to God for service, wherever it might take them. The area was quickly flooded with delegates.

New lieutenants dispatched to field in climax of congress

Prepared to serve, the 44 members
of the God's Fellow Workers session
are ordained and commissioned as
Salvation Army officers. The final act
of their training experience came in
conjunction with the congress that urged all
Salvationists to "Go Deeper with God."
The weekend of commissioning activities,
which began on the Evangeline Booth College
campus and ended with the final congress
session at the Gwinnett Arena, was both
traditional and full of hope and expectation
for the future.

In addition to becoming the Southland's newest officers, this session's commissioning proved to be historic for a number of reasons. Their appointment service, held last month, was returned to a public forum. Their ordination and commissioning service marked the return of a tradition spanning some five decades: the entry of the session flag to the classic hymn "I Cannot Leave the Dear Old
Dear Old Flag." This year also marked the return of the rank of lieutenant for the USA Southern Territory. The National Commander, Commissioner Israel L. Gaither, inspired the graduating class during the Friday morning commencement service by urging them to "rise up, know your purpose, and show up" ready to serve the Kingdom's cause. "Rise up and serve a secular society that doesn't even recognize or acknowledge their need of God's grace," he said. "Your purpose has a forever implication. There are lovers of our movement all over the Southland waiting for you to show up!"
Cadet David Costellow was the commencement session speaker, proclaiming that his session, like so many others before, is more than a graduating class - "We're an Army!" "We're an Army of God's Fellow Workers, not ashamed of the gospel," he said. Costellow likened his session's
challenging future to the historic crossing of the Rubicon River by Julius Caesar's army in 49 B.C. - a deliberate act of war. "God's Fellow Workers are crossing the river, and for us there is no turning back," Costellow said. Sunday morning, the final congress session, inspired God's Fellow Workers and thousands of congress delegates to "Go Deeper...Into His Will."

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