Seventeenth High Council: Mutual Grace and Encouragement

Sunbury Court, London:- A hallmark of the 2011 High Council has been the mutual grace and encouragement reciprocally shared among the members.

In the tradition of previous high councils the election for the nineteenth General of The Salvation Army is being conducted graciously, prayerfully and carefully.

There has been no sense of rivalry, instead each candidate (and where applicable their spouse) has transparently answered the High Council’s questions with dignity and humility. As was the practice on Friday there was a time of silent prayer before each candidate spoke.

High Council Chaplain Commissioner Vic Poke quoted from Psalm 46 in his opening devotions when he reminded the council that, ‘the Lord is our refuge’ and that ‘we need to be still and know that he is God’.

He also spoke of a Salvationist vocalist who sang unaccompanied at Parliament House in London and kept perfect pitch despite being interrupted by Big Ben chiming in the background. In commenting, the commissioner said that ‘in a world of distractions we need to stay in pitch with God’.

Commissioner Poke used two Salvation Army Song Book songs in focusing the council’s worship and praying.

These were: song 567 ‘Dear, Lord and Father of mankind, forgive us our foolish ways; re-clothe us in our rightful mind; in purer lives thy service find, in deeper reverence, praise. Drop thy still dews of quietness till all our strivings cease; take from our souls the strain and stress, and let our ordered lives confess the beauty of thy peace,’ and song 357 ‘My Jesus, I love thee, I know thou art mine, for thee all the pleasures of sin I resign; my gracious Redeemer, my Savior art thou, if ever I loved thee, my Jesus ’tis now.’

Prayer and praise to God began each session throughout the day.