Released 19 April 2011
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London, England – It was the welcome
and dedication meeting for General Linda Bond but the focus throughout was on
Jesus Christ. From the opening song, led by the Chief of the Staff Commissioner
Barry C. Swanson, to the closing prayer from Commissioner Freda Larsson – Jesus
was lifted up.
On Sunday 17 April 2011 the Lancaster Hotel London conference room became a
place of praise, prayer, challenge and inspiration as the General urged
Salvationists to eagerly accept the flow of God’s grace that leads to freedom
from bondage, and to take hold of the fullness of power offered by the Holy
After reading Jesus’ statements recorded in John 7:37-39 – ‘Let anyone who is
thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said,
streams of living water will flow from within them. By this he meant the
Spirit…’ – General Bond outlined its cultural context, dramatically reiterated Jesus’
words and rhetorically challenged the congregation. ‘Who doesn’t want this
living water? We all want it don’t we? It is the Holy Spirit.’
She passionately stated that, ‘We must not be content to play at being Army. It
cannot be business as usual. What corps doesn’t want revival? What corps
doesn’t want to be free of bondage and division? What corps doesn’t want the
Spirit of unity or the gifts of the Spirit?’
The General declared war on mediocrity within the Army’s ranks. She asked, ‘Who
would not want the fullness of power of the Holy Spirit and who would want to
be a mediocre Christian? Mediocrity is a sin for us. We cannot be content with
mediocrity in our Christian living when the fullness of Jesus’ power is
available through the Holy Spirit.’
General Bond said that Jesus instructed us to ‘Be filled with the Holy Spirit
because the power of the Holy Spirit readies us for battle against evil. Regularly
I put on the whole armor of God and when I have symbolically put it on then I
can stand firm against the devil in the grace of God through our Lord Jesus
‘The world is fractured and needs the life-giving power of the Holy Spirit. We
cannot keep the Army moving forward in our own steam. We need the Holy Spirit,’
Following the General’s message the mercy seat was quickly filled to
overflowing as people responded to her call for everyone to drink of the living
water of Jesus – the Holy Spirit.
Earlier in the meeting, when outlining her vision for the Army to be
Spirit-filled, relevant, united and moving forward, taking the message of Jesus
Christ to a hurting world, General Bond emphatically proclaimed her allegiance
‘I want to spend all my time as General standing for Jesus Christ. I never want
to be ashamed of Jesus and I want The Salvation Army to always stand for
As the General challenged Salvationists worldwide to reach out to the lost and
hurting, she said that the Army had been given as a gift to the whole world,
‘We were never made to stay within four walls. We must move out to change the
world with the transforming message of Jesus.’
The General’s vision was echoed by Cadet Christianne Zünd when she represented
all Salvationists in welcoming General Bond.
The cadet said, ‘As Salvationists all over the world have followed your
election and read your inspiring testimony in Salvation Army papers, it has
become evident that you are absolutely committed to living a life of praise,
thanksgiving, obedience and trust in our Lord Jesus Christ. You are passionate
about Jesus, Salvation Army mission, teaching, prayer, holiness and serving
people. We love that.
‘After the welcome meeting to the High Council [and before General Bond’s
election as General] you were asked what you were looking for in a General.
Your answer was: “I wish the new General to be unafraid to take risks, to
inspire us, to make us proud – a General who is a true Salvationist, who
follows the mission with great focus and who loves to be with people.” Surely
this is the General we now have in you.
‘I know I speak on behalf of thousands of Salvationists when I say that we
commit ourselves to continue to pray for you,’ affirmed Cadet Zünd.
During a moving moment of dedication for General Bond, Retired General John
Larsson said that there is no installation ceremony for a General as ‘that is
the privilege of the High Council – but ours is the privilege of sharing in
this moment of dedication’.
He then prayed, thanking God for raising up and sustaining The Salvation Army
and for calling and preparing, in every generation, the leaders the Army needs.
‘Thank you for General Linda Bond and the grace you have given her. Thank you
for her gifts, her vision and for her willingness to accept the call of
leadership when it came through the High Council. We pray that she will know
your presence every day. Lord, as we think of the incessant demands placed on
her as General please keep her strong, well and safe. Give her health of body,
wisdom, courage and resilience of mind. Refresh her with your living water. May
your joy be her strength and your peace her special gift.’
Scripture was significantly used throughout the meeting with the Chief of the
Staff reading from Hebrews 12, the World President of Women’s Ministries
Commissioner Sue Swanson presenting John 7:37-44 and Cadet Zünd quoting Romans
1:8 and from Psalm 119.
The International Staff Songsters and the International Staff Band provided
excellent music support, four delegates from the current session of the International College for Officers prayed and Major
Daniel Dasari was the Army flag bearer.
The live web streaming of the welcome and dedication meeting was watched in 35
countries with all continents represented. A recording can be seen at http://sar.my/welcome on the International
are available at:
by Lieut-Colonel Laurie Robertson
About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the
universal Christian church established in 1865, has been supporting those in
need in His name without discrimination for 130 years in the United States.
Nearly 30 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each
year through the broadest array of social services that range from providing
food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled,
outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless and
opportunities for underprivileged children. 82 cents of every dollar spent is
used to carry out those services in 5,000 communities nationwide. For more
information, go to www.salvationarmyusa.org.