Feener: We're in business for
South extends greeting to new
By Dan Childs
Southern Spirit staff
Caught in a maelstrom of
ever-accelerating change in a world rocked by doubt, fear and uncertainty,
mankind looks about and grasps for a reason to hope. It is precisely that
condition that provides The Salvation Army its mandate and mission,
Commissioner Max Feener said in the service of installation and welcome for the
Southern Territory's leadership.
The service, held at
Lake Junaluska, N.C., Saturday, Aug. 26 during the Southern Bible Conference,
served as the occasion for the ceremonial greeting of Commissioners Max and
Lennie Feener as territorial commander and territorial president of women's
ministries and Lt. Colonels David and Barbara Jeffrey as chief secretary and
territorial women's ministries secretary. Commissioners Israel and Eva
Gaither, USA national leaders, were the special guests. Presiding over the
meeting was Lt. Colonel Donald Faulkner, territorial secretary for
Feener's appointment as territorial commander
began earlier this summer, and the service provided his first major forum to
communicate his vision. He acknowledged that as territorial commander he faces
daunting issues that demand the utmost in judgment, imagination and boldness.
There are issues for him to confront and solutions for him to devise. "But
I won't be talking about that tonight," he said. "I want to talk
It is in Christ that The Salvation Army
may find all it needs to determine its course, he said. "We must lift
Jesus higher. With Jesus we are already more than conquerors. Despite what
people may say, The Salvation Army is not searching for its identity. We are
not redefining ourselves. We know who we are and we know what our mandate is.
It is because of Him that we do what we do. We are in business for
Commissioned in Canada, the Feeners served for
28 years as corps officers there before moving on to appointments on divisional
staffs and as divisional leaders. Before their appointment to the Southern
Territory as chief secretary and territorial women's ministries secretary
in February 2005, they served in the same positions in the Southern Africa
Feener paid tribute to their predecessors,
Commissioners Phil and Keitha Needham, for their leadership of the territory.
"We are especially grateful to them for their strong emphasis on
mission," he said. "We believe the territory is poised to experience
great growth in the days ahead because of the work they have done."
Seated on the platform with the Feeners were members of the
Territorial Executive Council, along with several of their predecessors as
territorial leaders. Crazy 4 Jesus, a Salvationist singing group from Raleigh,
N.C., performed several selections, including one in which they were joined by
the territorial commander.
Territorial Sergeant-Major Ed
Laity welcomed the new territorial leaders on behalf of the soldiers of the
South, and Major Judy Hedgren represented the territory's officers. Laity,
recalling the transition that took place when Joshua led the children of Israel
after the death of Moses, pledged that the South's soldiery will follow
faithfully and will pray daily for their leaders. "As soldiers, we want
you to lead us so that we will cross the Jordan together. You've been
appointed - better yet, you've been anointed as leaders of the Southern
Territory. Be our leaders."
The National Commander
performed the installation of the Feeners as territorial leaders, who in turn
installed the Jeffreys as their seconds.
Lennie Feener reflected on the most unforgettable moments she has experienced
with her husband in their life and service together and admonished
Salvationists to advance, trusting fully in God. "It's not my Army,
not your Army, not even our Army - it is God's Army. So let us go forward
to love inclusively, serve helpful and disciple effectively."
Lt. Colonel David Jeffrey shared his testimony, professing total
reliance on Christ. "Following Jesus is not simply the most important
thing in life - it is the only thing in life," he said. "I want to be
a disciple who follows Him all the way. I want to live completely for
Dallas' Carr P. Collins Harbor Light helps former addicts win the
L to R: Captains Theodore and Bella Carroll oversee the
Carr P. Harbor Light Corps(shown).
Nestled in the sprawling social services complex bearing
the same name, the Carr P. Collins Harbor Light Corps is the spiritual
component of The Salvation Army's ministry to adults working toward
addiction recovery in Dallas.
Captains Theodore and Bella Carroll are the corps officers responsible
for oversight of some traditional corps activities, but with soldiers and
adherents bonded together because of their shared life experience.
"Many people in our church are
recovering from an addiction of some kind, and we're all recovering from an
addiction to sin," Captain Bella Carroll said.
The social services complex houses a
homeless shelter, a domestic violence haven and a substance-abuse program with
referrals from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. With a 770-bed
capacity for the programs housed at Carr P. Collins, the Carrolls and their
soldiers have a fertile field in which to work. The corps officers also serve
as chaplains and pastoral counselors for the center.
Men and women are kept separate in
all programs throughout the complex, and corps services held in the chapel are
no exception. The men stream into the balcony, after which the women file into
pews in the lower level of the sanctuary.
Bible studies are held daily, climaxing with worship
meetings held on Sunday mornings and evenings. While no one in the complex is
required to come to Salvation Army services, an average of about 300 attend,
some with their families joining them. Some of these remain active in the
corps, long after their required stay has ended. The Carrolls have enrolled
more than 25 soldiers in the last year.
"Our choir has about 25 members, and you should see
the joy on their faces as they sing about being redeemed," Captain Ted
Carroll said. "We have people in every seat and in the rafters - there is
even an overflow crowd out in the lobby!"
Being a member of the Carr
P. Collins Choir is something of a milestone. The group goes through their own
Sunday ritual: helping each other don their blue choir robes; then huddling in
prayer; followed by an impromptu warm-up concert for the overflow crowd in the
lobby before a boisterous, fast-tempo singing entrance down the aisles and
across the chapel platform.
"Being a part of this corps is a living reminder of how far
Christ has brought each one of us," he said.
The soldiers are not content to
remain in the confines of the corps chapel. They conduct an extensive outreach
into the neighborhood, including open-air meetings, carnivals and outdoor
concerts that attract over 500 people. They also canvass the area with
door-to-door visitation. One family drawn into the corps had moved to Dallas
during the evacuation because of Hurricane Katrina.
CSM Bobby Johnson is a product of the
total ministry of the Carr P. Collins complex and the Harbor Light Corps. A few
years after he completed the program, he met Julie, a woman in the recovery
process. The two fell in love, and after she completed her term, they were
married. The couple now serves as soldiers in the corps, dedicating themselves
to helping others achieve victory over their addictions.
"I was attracted to Bobby
because of his dedication to sobriety and his Christian example," Julie
Johnson said. "I want God to use me now to connect to the women here who
are going through the same things I did."
Bobby is also a role model for his two stepsons, both
involved in the corps as well. Cameron, 17, plays guitar in the praise and
worship band, Obsessed for Christ. Mason, 11, holds a distinction as the first
junior soldier of the Carr P. Collins Harbor Light Corps (see story on page
from being dope fiends to becoming hope fiends," Bobby Johnson said.
"All made possible through the blood of Jesus Christ!"
Corps treasurer Keith Sanders, his
wife and two daughters, comprise another family that has joined the corps after
his successful release from the program.
"I'm a recovering everything!" Sanders
said, referring to his substance-abuse habits before he accepted Christ.
"But there is now a wonderful change in my life. Being a part of this
corps and having my family serving God here with me is what my life is now all
Fanfare of Praise
musicians gather at A-OK's Camp Heart O' Hills for annual
conservatories strengthening South's music foundation