8,200 Proclaim Victory
Delegate Registration Unprecedented
More than 8,200 full-time and day delegates have gathered at The Salvation Army’s Great Victory Congress in Long Beach, Calif., to proclaim spiritual victory in Jesus Christ.
“This is unprecedented,” said Captain Kenneth Hodder, Congress coordinator. “The USA Western Territory has never hosted so many Salvationists and friends of the Army at a territorial Congress. We are simply thrilled with the response. Indeed, we believe it symbolizes the growth and energy in the Army’s work as a whole in this part of the world.”
Delegates are arriving from every one of the 13 Western states, including Alaska and Hawaii, and there is representation from Guam, the Marshall Islands, Canada, Norway, Korea, Mexico, the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic, and Russia. In addition, a large contingent of Western Territory overseas officers has returned from around the world in order to be present.
In one example of the efforts made to bring delegates to the Congress, Captain Michael Olsen reports that the El Paso, Texas County Command has brought 165 delegates for the weekend, renting three buses and using every available corps van to transport the delegation to Long Beach. The El Paso group will travel through the night on June 5 in order to be present for Victory University on Friday morning.
“Captains Pardo and Envoys Mowery have aggressively supported our collective plan to use this Congress to re-instill a sense of Salvationism in our soldiers,” said Olsen.
One of the highlights of the entire weekend will occur on Friday night, when more than 800 Senior soldiers and 500 Junior soldiers are enrolled by General & Mrs. Paul A. Rader during the Great Victory Rally. “In that one event,” said Hodder, “the total number of soldiers in the USA Western Territory will grow by more than five percent, and not only will it be the largest such enrollment in the history of the Territory, but our information suggests that it will be one of the largest enrollments in the history of The Salvation Army.
“We are very excited by what this says about the continued relevance and power of the Gospel message as proclaimed by Army units all around the West.
“Delegates should keep in mind, however,” Hodder added, “that the Congress is not just about numbers. The territorial commander, Commissioner Peter H. Chang, has made it clear that we are here in Long Beach for three reasons: first, to honor the Lord; second, to encourage one another; and third, to celebrate what God is continuing to do in this Territory. So we are here not simply to review what has been done, but to prepare ourselves for the future that he has in mind for us.”