Fifty delegates, from every division across the Canada & Bermuda Territory, joined together in Winnipeg. They were here for the Officer Information weekend held at the College for Officer Training (CFOT) from October 19 to 21, 2012. Seeking God’s will for their lives and the potential of God’s will being Salvation Army Officership was the tie that brought each delegate to the weekend.
Gathering for a welcome meal there was evidence, from conversations, that God the Holy Spirit was present. Delegates informally spoke of their desire to seek God and a confirmation of God’s call on their lives as they embarked on the weekend. Evidence of the Spirit unfolded as worship commenced under the leadership of Major Shona Pike, Candidates Secretary. Major Jamie Braund, CFOT Principal, referencing 1 John 5: 20 “We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who true. And we are in him who is true – even in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life,” encouraged delegates over the weekend to seek to know and in seeking to know God, God’s plan for their lives will begin to become evident. Cadets Crystal Porter and Sarah Braye led a fellowship time allowing delegates opportunities to meet and greet with one another.
Emphasis throughout the weekend was placed on Officership and the College for Officer Training. After presenting an overview of Salvation Army Officership, Majors Shona & Keith Pike, (Candidates Secretary and Assistant Candidates Secretary) led a discussion on what it means to be a Salvation Army Officer in the 21st century in the Canada and Bermuda Territory. Officers from CFOT presented the current training model giving emphasis to each of the following essential training components: Spiritual Formation, Field Education and Academics. Following each of these sessions questions, regarding finances, child-care, living accommodations, academic & field requirements were asked and answered for delegates contemplating Salvation Army Officership.
Saturday morning the CFOT worship team led delegates in worship. Second year Cadet Colleen Gleadall, in her testimony, shared her personal calling to Officership and the journey that occurred as she applied for training college. Cadet Gleadall also spoke of her training and the experiences and learning that have occurred for her and her family since moving to Winnipeg. Summarizing her testimony, Colleen quoted Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose,” then challenged delegates with words that had been placed upon her by her father, “Be confident of your calling everything else is in God’s hands, the fact is it is God’s call, God’s strength , your availability , allow God to use you.” Major Glenys Pilgrim, CFOT Director of Personnel, opening the Scriptures to John 6, outlined the story of Jesus feeding 5000. Major Glenys urged delegates to offer, as the little boy in the story, all that they have to offer, knowing that God will take and use for His Kingdom all that is offered for his service.
Throughout the weekend delegates were asked of their impressions of the weekend and the reason for their attendance. Some of those answers were: “I’m seeking confirmation of God’s presence in my life.” “It is a weekend that has allowed questions to be asked and questions to be answered.” “The weekend has been great, allowing me the opportunity to talk with others who are experiencing God’s call in a similar way.” “Informative.” “Confirming. God has called me to be a Salvation Army Officer.”
As the weekend progressed God the Holy Spirit continued to reveal to the delegates His will for their lives. Sunday morning a Covenant service was led by Territorial leaders, Commissioners Brian and Rosalie Peddle. As the service commenced delegates watched a video assuring each of them that God continually uses ordinary people for His purpose and His mission. Commissioner Rosalie Peddle reminded the congregation that, “Ordinary people can do extraordinary things when the Spirit of God moves in lives and great things are accomplished for God.”
Testimonies of God’s touch upon individual lives were given by delegates Stephanie Sawchuk, Prairie Division, and Jeremy Hennessay, Great Lakes Division, both declaring that God had moved in a miraculous way in their lives and in so doing God revealed His call to them. God’s call for Salvation Army Officership.
Commissioner Brian Peddle encouraged delegates to take time and listen to God who is whispering their name. As God’s followers we will only hear him if we know him, we can know him by being in relationship with him. Challenging words continued as Commissioner Peddle asked, “God has saved you to redeem you for a purpose that none should perish, what does that mean for you?” An opportunity to reflect and respond to God’s call, as it has been revealed to individuals over the weekend, was extended by Commissioner Peddle. Delegates responded by signing covenants committing themselves to seek God’s will for their lives.
As the weekend concluded many delegates affirmed that throughout the weekend confirmation from God had revealed that Salvation Army Officership is God’s plan for their lives.
Major Margaret McLeod
Director of Academics