19th High Council begins, elects president

The ballot boxes in the High Council chamber.

The Salvation Army’s 19th High Council, meeting at the London Heathrow Renaissance Hotel, began May 17 with the sole purpose of electing the successor to General André Cox, who retires at midnight on Aug. 2.

Following the singing of “Great is Thy Faithfulness,” Chief of the Staff Commissioner Brian Peddle reminded the council of the Story of Esther with its memorable phrase: “For such a time as this…” For Esther, as for the members of the High Council, “for such a time as this” came with privilege but also responsibility and obligation.

With the reminder that The Salvation Army is relying on this High Council to elect the Army’s 21st General, the Chief of the Staff called the High Council to order. The legal preliminaries were dealt with, including confirming that the High Council was convened in accordance with the Salvation Army Act 1980. A roll call confirmed that 108 members were in attendance of the 111 summoned. There is the possibility that if visa problems are resolved two more will be able to take their place on the council.

Commissioner William Cochrane (Photo by Mette Randem/Frelsesarmeen)

The opening procedures (see selections from “Inside a High Council” on International Headquarters website: and were followed, leading to the election of three High Council officers who will serve for the duration of the council. Commissioner William Cochrane (Territorial Commander, Norway, Iceland and The Færoes Territory) was elected as President and Commissioner Birgitte Brekke-Clifton (International Secretary for Program Resources, International Headquarters) was elected Vice-President. Commissioner Mark Tillsley (International Secretary for the Americas and Caribbean, International Headquarters) was elected as Chaplain. 

The remainder of the day was spent reviewing the Orders of Procedure, which will guide the way that the High Council conducts its business.

Led by the Chaplain, the members joined in singing song 1039 from The Song Book of The Salvation Army: “The Day Thou Gavest, Lord, is Ended” before Commissioner Stephen Chepkurui concluded the day with prayer.

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