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Feener: We're in business for Jesus

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South extends greeting to new leaders

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 personnel.

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 about Jesus."

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 Jesus."

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 Territory.

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.

Commissioner 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 Him."

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The spiritual ingredient

Dallas' Carr P. Collins Harbor Light helps former addicts win the victory

Major Frank Duracher

Southern Spirit staff

             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!"

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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 6).

"We've gone 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 about!"

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Fanfare of Praise

Special insert

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South's musicians gather at A-OK's Camp Heart O' Hills for annual

Territorial Music Institute

Divisional conservatories strengthening South's music foundation

 

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