New York, NY – Commissioner Israel L. Gaither, The Salvation Army USA National Commander, and Commissioner Eva D. Gaither, National President of Women’s Ministries, recently received their retirement certificates from General John Larsson (Rtd) and Commissioner Freda Larsson during a public presentation, held at the Army’s Centennial Memorial Temple in New York City.
The retirement service was on the same platform where the Gaithers had first been commissioned. They each served more than 47 years as Salvation Army officers, which included service at International Headquarters, London, UK where Commissioner Israel Gaither was the Chief of the Staff under General Larsson and Commissioner Eva Gaither was the World Secretary for Women’s Ministries. The Gaithers have also served as the territorial leaders for both Southern Africa and USA Eastern.
General Larsson noted during the retirement service that Commissioner Israel Gaither had been nominated for the position of General on three occasions. He said that his first act as General was to invite Commissioner Gaither to serve as his Chief of the Staff.
In addition to the Larssons, other participants in the service included the New York Staff Band, the Greater New York Youth Chorus and internationally renowned vocal soloist, Wintley Phipps.
The Gaithers’ son and daughter, Mark and Michelle shared with the audience of more than 1,500 that they had learned many lessons from their parents, but three in particular stood out for them: 1. Life requires courage, 2. Be confident in what you believe, 3. Once you are armed with courage and confidence, live with love and laughter.
Commissioner Eva Gaither in her remarks said, ‘I thank God that we always loved each other and we also loved all of our appointments.’
Commissioner Israel Gaither’s message from Romans 5 reflected the theme that had been set for the evening – Amazing Grace. He said, ‘The heart of the gospel is grace. Grace overflows, it increases, it reigns.’ He also said that when grace is applied, healing begins.
The meeting ended with an invitation to accept the grace that Jesus so freely offers. The mercy seat was lined with seekers to the glory of God.
The Gaithers were succeeded on 1 November by Commissioners William and Nancy Roberts.