An Army of Stars

drumJune 15 featured festivities and a gala.

By Karen Gleason

Commissioning 2013—Proclaim!—shifted into high gear June 15 with activities for all.

The morning began with two special breakfasts. The Future Officers’ Fellowship Breakfast, hosted by Majors John and Pam Brackenbury, included accepted and potential candidates for Salvation Army officership and the divisional youth and candidates’ secretaries; 100 people attended.

“We were all richly blessed by God’s Holy Spirit weaving together the theme, ‘the sincerity of our calling,’ throughout the meeting,” John Brackenbury said.

The Recovery Breakfast, hosted by Captain James Boyd, welcomed 60 adult rehabilitation center (ARC) beneficiaries plus 90 officers and soldiers. The main speaker, ARC graduate Scott Harkless, testified to completing a GED and eventually earning a doctorate in law; he now serves as senior vice president at Bank of America’s Dallas Corporate Headquarters, and is a soldier in the Southern Territory.

For those seeking to deepen their spiritual life, all-day seminars took place in both English and Spanish (see related story, “Commissioning seminars spark spiritual renewal”).

The territory’s young people competed in Encore!, which celebrated their musical and creative arts achievements, and the Bible Bowl finals, won by the Phoenix South Mountain Kroc Center Corps (see extended stories for both at

The Long Service Lunch recognized officers who have reached milestones in their Salvation Army service (see New Frontier vol. 31 no. 10).


Bob Docter interviews Barbara Newbould


Finally, the Hall of Faith transformed an exhibit hall at the Pasadena (Calif.) Convention Center into a celebration of the Army, its people and their stories. The day concluded with the Army of Stars Banquet.

Richard Zellmer accepts his Army of Stars award
Richard Zellmer accepts his Army of Stars award

“The idea behind the Hall of Faith is that we have stories to tell in all these areas of ministry,” said Lt. Colonel Diane O’Brien, Community Care Ministries secretary. “Anyone can come in, visit any area they like, and enjoy food and conversation in a relaxed atmosphere—no pressure.”

The areas were interactive and ranged from a Museum of the West collection, a photo booth with historic Salvation Army clothes, to sharing camp memories. Two flash mobs surprised the crowd: one involved a massed singing company and a young timbrel brigade, and the other featured the cadets.

The Western Territorial Staff Band (WTSB) marched everyone into the Army of Stars Banquet—a celebration of the very essence of The Salvation Army: its soldiers. The West currently has 16,797 senior soldiers, 5,121 junior soldiers and 3,222 local officers.

One soldier from each division received an award for exemplary service from his/her divisional commander (see related story, “Stars of the West”).

The gala event, hosted by Lisa Guerrero and Gavin Schofield-Smith, included musical entertainment from the WTSB (BM Neil Smith), California Brass (BM Kevin Larsson), and soloists Barbara Allen, Matt Woods and Isabel Fairclough.

Territorial Commander Commissioner James Knaggs praised award recipients as “examples of people who are holy and show up for work.”

Major Linda Markiewicz at the potter’s wheel
Major Linda Markiewicz at the potter’s wheel

He also recognized Bandmaster Ed Freeman for 40 years of service as bandmaster for the Santa Ana/Tustin Ranch (Calif.) Band and appointed Allen as Songster Leader for the Western Territory Staff Songsters (See New Frontier vol. 31 no. 10)

“This has been a soldier’s night,” Knaggs said. “My hope—my dream—for this territory is for us to be the force we need to be.”

After referencing Luke 11:23 (MSG), he said, “I’m calling every soldier to be a Salvationist…a soul winner…to love your neighbor as yourself.”

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