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Volume 26 No. 9

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The Salvation Army USA Southern Territory

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June 16, 2009

Lieutenant Jason Moore and the SFOT United Chorus perform during the Ordination and Commissioning Service.
Forward to the battlefront Witnesses For Christ, commissioned ready to join the fight

By Major Frank Duracher
Southern Spirit staff

Armed with I Peter 3:15, the new lieutenants of the Witnesses For Christ session are ordained as ministers of the gospel and dispatched to a world languishing in sin and suffering.

“Honor Christ,” the session Scripture verse states, “and let him be the Lord of your life. Always be ready to give an answer when someone asks you about your hope” (CEV).

Anxious to do just that, the Witnesses For Christ used their Ordination and Commissioning Service to make a bold statement to the Southern Territory and beyond – that they are determined to “Lift Jesus Higher” from the outset of their Salvation Army officership.

Commissioners Max and Lennie Feener laid hands on each cadet kneeling at an altar of ordination, blessing each one and challenging him/ her to be faithful in their lifelong service to Christ. Each rose from that spot fully armed as a commissioned lieutenant.

“It is not true that only these lieutenants are witnesses for Christ,” the territorial commander later preached in his sermon. “We are all called to be witnesses in Jerusalem, Samaria and to the ends of the earth!”

He declared that Christ’s witnesses go into the world on God’s authority, power and presence. God promises us that we will receive power, be Christ’s witnesses and that we will see results.

“God is up to something big! He wants the world to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. That’s why he gave us power through the Holy Spirit to become his witnesses,” Commissioner Feener said.

Earlier in the service, session speaker Lieutenant Nicole Parker used an oversized alarm clock to illustrate the need for Christians to wake up and witness to a dying world.

“It is time for all God’s soldiers to wake up, put on our tunics and take our places on the front lines of battle,” Lieutenant Parker said. “We have overslept. The day of Christ’s return is coming. We are running out of time!”

Asserting that the world’s need for Jesus has never been greater, Lieutenant Parker declared that the mandate for her session is to make disciples of all nations.

“Do you hear your wakeup call?” she pleaded. “The time has come to provide hope for the hopeless and light where there is darkness.”


To further rouse her listeners, Lieutenant Parker pressed the alarm button on her clock, which emitted a shrill buzz echoing throughout the auditorium. The point was clear: There is no time for slumber.

Two days earlier a similar urgent call for holiness was made during the Commencement Service, held on the lush lawn of the Evangeline Booth College.

Cadet Michelle Wilson spoke for her session, urging families and friends assembled to take risks for God and his Kingdom. She cited the accomplishments of several celebrities who took risks, despite many failures and setbacks in their lives.

“What if Michael Jordan, Lucille Ball, Thomas Edison or Walt Disney had given up?” Wilson wondered. “What a loss for the world it would have been had they chosen to bury their talents.”

“We have shortcomings; we’ve had failures that caused us to fall flat on our faces,” she said. “Still I give thanks to God for those ‘refining fires’ which have given me opportunities for growth and development.”

Saying that the choice is between immobilizing fear or taking risks for God, Lieutenant Wilson urged her session mates to take risks to reap rewards for the Kingdom.

“We would not be here today if God had not given us talents to match our passion,” she said. “Witnesses For Christ, what comes tomorrow is truly in our hands today!”

Commissioner Philip D. Needham brought the commencement address, emphasizing one’s need of the ongoing preparation for ministry, despite having completed the two-year curriculum of the training college. Preeminent in this preparation, Commissioner Needham said, is the ministry of teaching.

“Officers of The Salvation Army must take seriously all of the Great Commission – and that includes teaching, especially our soldiers and adherents.”

Not everyone has the gift of teaching, but we are all teachers, he said.

“Some of you may say, ‘My mind can’t work that way.’

“So how does your heart work? Yes, your heart! “Your heart is where your deepest passions are formed, and where the love of God takes root in your life. Your heart is the harbor of holiness.”


Head Start
Gave Opportunity

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Come Army Our Army




Describing their six-month head start as corps officers appointed to Fayetteville, Ark., as “something like in limbo” between training and officership, Lieutenants Philip and Elaine Canning are both “happy and humbled” to have had such a rare experience.

The couple was serving in their Christmas assignment when the message from the principal’s office came, calling them to report as soon as possible.

“We thought we were in trouble,” Lieutenant Elaine Canning said, “but we were shocked when Major (Willis) Howell broached with us the possibility
of going to Fayetteville in January to be the corps

An immediate need for a corps officer existed at Fayetteville at the time, and leadership at the Evangeline Booth College determined that the cadet couple were equal to the challenge of stepping in.

The Cannings agree the only down side to the rare situation is the time they lost from January to June, in the classroom and in the training experience with their Witnesses For Christ sessionmates.

“The upside is that we’ve hit the ground running by having six months already under our belts,” Lieutenant Philip Canning said.

The strangeness of being at their first appointment six months before actually being commissioned was compounded by questions from their session mates asking, “What’s it like?” or “How does it feel to be a corps officer?”

“A situation like this is highly unusual, but the Cannings are highly qualified,” Major Willis Howell said. “It somewhat harkens back to the early days of the Army.”

Howell added that several couples in the session could have been chosen, but that Philip and Elaine “were ready to be plugged in right now.”

On the other end, Major Kenneth Luyk was ecstatic to receive the couple to his Arkansas-Oklahoma Division.

“(The Cannings) came in with a sense of Salvationism and what Army ministry is all about,” he said. “It is a great opportunity for them in a significant appointment.”

Lieutenant Philip Canning addressed his classmates during the session’s farewell banquet, saying that no one is completely ready to go to any appointment (during one’s career) – but that “we are made worthy by the Lord Jesus Christ, who not only has equipped us, but has chosen each one of us!”

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The Salvation Army Tulsa Area Command’s 16th Annual William Booth Society Benefit Dinner was a night of several firsts. Former presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton spoke, the event was held in the new Bank of Oklahoma Center and youngsters and staff from six Salvation Army Boys and Girls Clubs attended the event. The event raised more than $1 million for The Salvation Army Tulsa Area Command.

More than 1,300 people listened as the presidents spoke of the importance of giving to the community, especially during hard times. “This is a difficult time for America, when a lot of wealth has disappeared, and it has become more important to support work like The Salvation Army,” Clinton said. Both presidents talked about the friendship they formed when they teamed up to raise $1 billion after a tsunami devastated Indonesia.

The Tulsa Area Command worked with the Tulsa Advisory Board to stage the event, starting by contacting the presidents in December. Captain Roy Williams moved to Tulsa to become area commander in January.

“The event could not have gone better. It was a fantastic, unforgettable night,” Captain Williams said. Before the event, Captain Kathleen Williams asked for blessings on people attending the dinner at each of the 94 dinner tables.

Youngsters from the Tulsa Metro Boys & Girls Clubs competed to win tickets to the event by entering an essay-writing contest on helping their communities. Each winner was allowed to bring two adults with them and club directors attended with their spouses. The 120 people from the Boys & Girls Clubs enjoyed a dinner prepared especially for them in a private dining area.

After dinner, each president spoke for 20 minutes then answered questions that had been submitted before the event.

“People call us the odd couple,” Bush said, “but just because you run against each other doesn’t mean you’re enemies. We think it sends a message that politics doesn’t have to be mean.”

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Re-dedication good news for Fort Lauderdale homeless


The ribbon at the Plymouth Colony facility is cut by (L-R) Jim Crookston of Scherer Construction, Captains Tom and Julie Louden, Plymouth Colony residents Angie and Aliyah, Lt. Colonel Vern Jewett, Fort Lauderdale Advisory Board Chairman Larry Maurer and Lt. Colonel Martha Jewett.

The Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Area Command celebrated the re-opening of Plymouth Colony, a 34-unit apartment facility for homeless families in Broward County.

The dedicatory address was given by Lt. Colonel Vern Jewett, Florida divisional commander, and the Florida Divisional Band performed at the ceremony. Lt.Colonel Jewett spoke of God’s grace and The Salvation Army’s ability to apply that grace in practical ways to help homeless people.

Steve Werthman, director of the Broward County Homeless Initiative Partnership, addressed the crowd of 75 people on behalf of the larger community. Other speakers included Captain Tom Louden, Fort Lauderdale area commander, and Jim Crookston of Scherer Construction. Captain Julie Louden sang the national anthem and Captain Henry Hudson led the crowd in the closing song, “To God be the Glory.”





The dedication was followed by a ribbon-cutting ceremony, tours of the facility and a reception.

“The re-opening of Plymouth Colony ends a two-year renovation project that took the aging structure down to the cement block walls and rebuilt it into a beautiful facility for homeless families. The facility puts The Salvation Army at the forefront of service providers for the homeless population in Broward County,” said Captain Tom Louden.

Plymouth Colony contains one- and two-bedroom apartments, as well as “swing” apartments that open up larger spaces to accommodate large families. The complex includes a community room, playground, a large, wellequipped laundry room and a prayer garden.

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Watch Slide Show

With the theme “Come Join Our Army … To Battle We Go,” Commissioning weekend armed delegates with an arsenal of artillery through a variety of seminars.

Major John White, territorial evangelism and adult ministries secretary, said each seminar was crafted specifically to train delegates for the spiritual battle in which all are engaged. For example, Major White’s seminar, titled “As Your Money Burns: Fire That Cartridge,” instructed delegates about debt relief. White said the seminar related to the national Come Join Our Army campaign because its principles bring freedom to the ranks. “People who are so wrapped up in themselves aren’t going to be wrapped up in meeting others. I’ve gotten letters from people who have taken this seminar before, and their outlook has totally changed. Where they were spending their time and money on themselves, they’re now able to focus on other people,” he said.

Jude Gotrich, territorial director of worship development and prayer initiative, spoke to soldiers and officers about working together in the design of worship in “Joining a Worshipping Community.”

Discussing four different components of worship, Gotrich said that everyone wins when soldiers get involved in worship planning. Officers get the help they need, and worship reflects the entire corps. “Worship will be a more authentic expression because it will have the stamp of the people that live there,” she said.

“Equipping our Recruiters to Enlist for the Battle,” taught by Florida divisional sergeant-major Brenda Bundy, showed delegates that recruiting is the responsibility of all members of the church. It focused on how to identify, enlist and enroll new recruits.

Captain Julio Da Silva refreshed soldiers and officers who wanted to avoid stagnancy in their corps. In “How to Detox Your Corps,” Captain Da Silva talked about sidestepping the pitfalls of what he called the “McDonaldization” of the church – where services and outreach are all in a pre-programmed box. Instead, he emphasized a lifestyle of recognizing God’s presence and following his lead.




“Front Line Evangelism in the Marine Corps of the Church,” taught by Majors Dannie and Lynda Delaney – Atlanta ARC administrator and director of special services – was founded on Daniel 11:32b and explained the importance of applying 12 marching orders, such as having a committed prayer team, to the mission of The Salvation Army.

Joe Lynch taught a seminar called “Take Your Mission to the World,” where the primary goal was to inspire delegates to get involved in mission by listening to the stories of past mission trip participants. Lynch invited two such participants – Rob and Jen Dietrich – from a partner church in Atlanta, Peachtree Presbyterian, and said, “‘Come Join Our Army’ can also mean other churches partnering with us.”

The Dietrichs have taken their experience working at The Salvation Army School for the Blind in Kingston, Jamaica, back to their church, where many have gotten involved in subsequent trips and/or fund-raisers to benefit the school. “We didn’t know much about The Salvation Army prior to this experience,” said Jen Dietrich. “You are doing the most good.”

Retired officers Majors David and Pat Waite geared their seminar, “How to Be a Spiritual Leader in Your Corps,” to local officers. They identified characteristics of a spiritual leader and then led a discussion about how to begin the journey of developing such qualities.

“The Making of a Marriage,” taught Lt. Colonels Richard and Sharon Ulyat, was based on the new pre-marital counseling manual written by Lt. Colonel Richard Ulyat. The seminar explained how to apply the manual in pre-marital counseling. The book covers topics such as conflict resolution, setting a budget and joining families.

A ninth seminar was aimed at
helping the South’s 42 Salvation
Army mission specialists reach their
communities in new ways. A Q&Astyle
session, facilitated by SAMS
administrator Scott Bagley, gave SAMS
the opportunity to exchange ideas.




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