By Bob Docter
Climaxing two years of education and training at the Western Territory’s College for Officer Training (CFOT) at Crestmont, the Ambassadors of Holiness Session of Salvation Army cadets, 46 strong, marched through the college’s rose garden June 10 to receive academic degrees and certificates of completion—the initial event of a busy weekend.
Joined by the Friends of Christ Session, to be commissioned in 2012, the commencement ceremony began with the session song, words by Lt. Colonel Diane O’Brien and music by Duncan Sutton.
Following a prayer of dedication by Director of Curriculum Major Brian Jones, Crestmont Council Chairman William Flinn brought greetings and Commissioner Carolyn Knaggs, territorial president of women’s ministries, read 2 Corinthians 4:4-16.
Lt. Colonel Richard Munn, principal of the International College for Officers—special guest for the weekend with Lt. Colonel Janet Munn—spoke pointedly to the cadets on this passage and urged them to “recognize the unique, God-ordained privilege to speak life into people through the ministry of preaching.”
He began by issuing a subtle warning—that if we “remove the weekly rhythm of worship and the public reading of Scripture…the community has simply another service club. It is into such a cadence that our esteemed cadets are about to march.” He urged them to “set the pace…be the servant that lights the way.”
Preaching is a “key part of that weekly worship-Scripture tandem,” Munn said. The tension between what blinds the minds of unbelievers and what illuminates God “is present in the weekly gathering of a congregation.” His plea to all soldiers and church attendees: “to treasure, nurture and esteem the regular proclamation of the gospel from the pulpit, lectern and music stand. It is a light that illumines the path ahead.”
On the way to ordination
Friday evening, the 60 voices of the Pasadena Tabernacle Songsters, under the leadership of Martin Hunt, presented a concert revealing the remarkable and saving “amazing grace” of Christ in music, dance, drama and testimony. The group featured a number of soloists and varied their presentation with use of brass, percussion, choreography and visuals. The program, on the eve of the group’s departure for a tour of New Zealand and Australia, concluded as Commissioner James Knaggs, territorial commander, prayed for a blessing on the group’s ministry.
The drama on Saturday evening, Brengle: My Life’s Ambition, featured cadets along with the playwright, Colonel Edward Hobgood, who played the elder Samuel Logan Brengle. As a young man, Brengle desired fame and riches until he was confronted by God and became the Army’s foremost preacher, teacher and writer on the doctrine of holiness. Directed by Joy Lee, Cadet Joel Boyd performed the play’s leading role as Brengle, the young man. Neil Smith directed the music, with orchestrations by Stephen Bulla.
On Sunday morning, CFOT Principal Major Timothy Foley commended the cadets on successful completion of college work and preparation for this moment—to be commissioned and ordained as Salvation Army officers. Commissioners Knaggs individually commissioned and ordained the Ambassadors of Holiness in a sacred service of dedication.
A period of response and commitment for all worshippers followed the ceremony.
Lt. Sean Kelsey spoke for his session in Sunday afternoon’s service of appointments: “We have given God our best and will continue to do so because we take the opportunity to serve God by serving others very seriously,” he said. “We are Christ’s Ambassadors, and we go forward representing him.”
Colonel William Harfoot, chief secretary, charged each lieutenant with John 14:12: “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing.” He urged the new officers to be like Jesus and explore the behaviors and beliefs required to accomplish this.
With music by the Territorial Band, conducted by Bandmaster Neil Smith, excitement in the audience mounted as each cadet marched before Commissioners Knaggs and received their first appointment as Salvation Army officers. They report for duty on June 29.
Find extended coverage of all commissioning events at newfrontierpublications.org and in the next issue of New Frontier.