Alaska Congress welcomes Rudds
COMMISSIONER DAVID EDWARDS installs Captains Robert and Mariam Rudd as Alaska divisional leaders.Salvationists in the traditional March of Witness.
BY JENNI RAGLAND –
“All I Can Be In Christ Jesus” was the challenge issued to Salvationists as they gathered in Ketchikan, Alaska, for the annual Congress. Commissioners David and Doreen Edwards, who returned to attend their third and final Congress as territorial leaders, were warmly welcomed as were newly appointed divisional leaders Captains Robert and Mariam Rudd.
A brass ensemble from the Southwest Division, under the leadership of B/M Ralph Pearce, provided musical support throughout the Congress weekend.
For the first time in many years the Congress was more “international,” as a group of more than 25 Salvationists from the British Columbia North and Yukon Division joined with their Alaskan neighbors at the Congress. Major Robert Ratcliff, divisional commander, shared from God’s Word during the daily inspirational Bible study sessions. Five of the Canadian envoys in attendance celebrated their first year of service after completing a specially designed training course for Native leaders.
From the pre-Congress meeting through the Great Salvation Celebration, a spirit of expectation of God’s mighty work in the lives of Alaskan Salvation-ists was evident. As each meeting concluded the altar was lined with those making fresh commitments of their time and talents to serve God.
During the final meeting Rudd enrolled several new senior soldiers and a junior soldier, adding to God’s Alaskan family of Salvationists.
The blending of traditional Native Alaskan dancing with Army timbrelists, songsters, and band music provided an atmosphere of celebration of God’s goodness and provision for his people. Whether sharing a meal around the table during the evening banquets, lifting up voices in praise to our Lord or sharing together from God’s Word, all shared the same love for our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Even the weather was an incredible testimony to God’s goodness. Under sunny skies, an unusual sight in the rain capital of Alaska, flags flew majestically in the breeze as Salvationists marched through town during the parade of Witness. Shoppers and shop owners came to watch as the band and timbrels played.
Young people attending Congress were ministered to in a special way through programs organized by divisional youth leaders, Captains John and Pam Brackenbury. A youth rally was held on Friday evening. Saturday evening the groups divided, with the younger children heading to the local pool to go swimming and the teens enjoying neon bowling and pizza. The teens also enjoyed hanging out at the local coffee shop. The Kake Praise Band provided entertainment. Youth events culminated with a challenge during the Sunday morning youth meeting.
Noticeably absent from this year’s Congress was Major Dolores Rivitt, O.F., who served faithfully for many years as the Congress coordinator. Although she was unable to attend Congress, many prayers were offered on her behalf for continued healing and recovery so she could once again join with her Alaskan family.
As the recording of Tommy Jackson played “Thanks to Him, Thanks to Him, I’ll never be the same, Thanks to Him!” each one left with a challenge that they would never be the same!
Rudds installed as Alaska divisional leaders
Flags representing the United States, Canada, Alaska and Army corps of the division officially welcomed Alaska’s new divisional leaders, Captains Robert and Mariam Rudd, during the Alaska Congress. Commissioners David and Doreen Edwards conducted the installation ceremony.
Prior to the installation, Rudd was honored and recognized as the new divisional commander with the Chief Welcome Dance performed by the Cape Fox Dancers, under the leadership of Richard Shields of Saxman.
Standing before more than 225 Salvationists and officers representing Alaska and Canada, Edwards reminded the Rudds that ministering in Alaska will bring many unique challenges, but there are many blessings in knowing and working alongside the people of Alaska. Before sealing the installation service with prayer, Edwards commended the Rudds to the delegates and challenged them to uplift their new leaders daily in prayer. “I believe that God will use the Rudds effectively as they minister in Alaska,” Edwards shared.
In his response, Rudd shared his enthusiasm for the opportunity to minister in Alaska. “In the short time we have been here, Mariam and I have fallen in love with the people and the place.” He continued, “We have found a refreshing genuineness that is not so common in other places and sincerely look forward to working alongside you in building up God’s kingdom in Alaska.”
The Congress songsters, under the leadership of B/M Ralph Pearce, performed a beautiful arrangement that spoke of new beginnings.
A special welcome meeting was held earlier at the South Anchorage Corps to provide an opportunity for the soldiers and officers from the northern Alaskan region who would not be attending Alaska Congress to welcome the Rudds to Alaska.