London, England – The installation by General Linda Bond of Commissioners Brian and Rosalie Peddle as territorial leaders of The Salvation Army’s Canada and Bermuda Territory was something of a homecoming for Canadian officers serving internationally. The event, held in Jackson’s Point Conference Centre, a Salvation Army facility in Ontario, Canada, was General Bond’s first official visit to her home territory since taking office as international leader of The Salvation Army in April 2011. Fellow-Canadians Commissioners Brian and Rosalie Peddle were returning as territorial leaders after serving in the New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga Territory and in the United Kingdom Territory with the Republic of Ireland.
Also returning from overseas and in attendance were Colonels Robert and Marguerite Ward, territorial leaders in Pakistan, Captains Paul and Pedrinah Thistle, currently serving at Howard Hospital in Zimbabwe, and Majors Ronald and Donna Millar, who recently concluded their service in the Caribbean.
In his words of introduction, Chief Secretary Colonel Floyd Tidd said, “Commissioners Peddle return as God’s chosen leaders for our territory. We welcome them home as people who are known to love God deeply, who embrace fully the mission and ministry of The Salvation Army and who engage easily with people. They seek not only to lead like Jesus, but also to empower other leaders to lead like Jesus.”
During the installation ceremony General Bond emphasized the importance of godly leaders. “When God stops providing the Army with leaders, it means we are finished. But the very fact that he keeps calling and providing people means that he has a plan and a purpose for The Salvation Army.”
“It is with joy and confidence that I commend to you your new territorial leaders,” said General Bond to the hundreds of Salvationists in attendance. “I call upon all Salvationists to receive your new leaders with Christian love and joyful expectation. Please support them in prayer and in dedicated service.”
In her challenge to Commissioners Peddle, the General urged them to model spirit-filled leadership. “Serve with compassion and integrity,” she said. “Teach the Word and live it out with humility and grace. You are called to be shepherds of the flock, fervent evangelists and visionary leaders. Under your leadership, we pray that the Kingdom of God will advance as you lead the Army in Canada and Bermuda to be faithful to the mission the Lord has given it.”
As Commissioners Peddle knelt at the mercy seat the General invited the congregation to pray for them. During this solemn moment, Captain Krista Andrews and Stephanie Forystek – the daughters of the territorial leaders – ministered through the song ‘I’m in His Hands.’
Following the installation ceremony, representative speakers offered words of welcome. Benjamin White, one of the newest junior soldiers in the territory, spoke on behalf of children and young people. Candidate Ricaurte Velasque spoke for the soldiers, and encouraged the territorial leaders to seek greater representation in the Army from the many cultures found in Canada. Lieutenant Carolyn Reid pledged loyalty on behalf of the officers and asked the Peddles to “take time to nourish your souls as you are our spiritual leaders.”
In her response, Commissioner Rosalie Peddle said that it was a great gift to return home to family and friends. With her 89-year-old mother-in-law in attendance, she also thanked their parents for raising them in godly homes.
“We are humbled and overwhelmed,” she said. “But yet, we are experiencing a deep peace about our new responsibilities. We have come into these new roles literally on our knees, seeking God’s wisdom, guidance, leading and direction. Our prayer is that God will give us incredible courage, and will daily empower us to be people who will lead with integrity, vision, competence and passion.”
In his message, Commissioner Brian Peddle challenged Salvationists to focus on purpose and passion. “We are redeemed for a reason. And I want you to be committed with me to our cause,” he said. “The sum total of our mission is leading those who do not know Jesus to him.”
Referencing the worldwide work of the Movement, and the responsibilities of the General, Commissioner Peddle said that the territory needs to uphold the international Army in prayer and offer practical support through human resources and financial contributions.
“The world and the communities where we live need Salvationists whose hearts are captured and committed to being ambassadors of Christ and his gospel,” he said. “We need agents of redemption who will live in a way that people will know that God is in that person … We need to make this invisible God visible to those people who have yet to see him.”
Following a time of reflection and response, General Bond challenged the congregation never to be ashamed to be known as The Salvation Army. “The world needs the “salvation” in our name,” she said. “The Lord is going to bring revival to The Salvation Army. And the mark of this revival will be the restoration of our passion for the lost. We will have a soul-saving passion even greater than the days when we were raised up.”
The evening concluded with a sung benediction by the Ontario Central East Divisional Youth Chorus. The Canadian Staff Band also provided musical selections throughout the installation service.
Report by John McAlister.
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