Bassetts installed as national leaders
GENERAL JOHN GOWANS installs Commissioners W. Todd and Carol Bassett, as flagbearers Lt. Colonel Joseph Bassett and Major Jeffery Bassett look on
A host of Salvationists and friends gathered at New York’s Centennial Memorial Temple to bid a final farewell to General John and Commissioner Gisèle Gowans and to welcome Commissioners W. Todd and Carol A. Bassett, national commander and national president of women’s ministries, and Commissioners Lawrence R. and Nancy A. Moretz, Eastern territorial leaders. The leaders entered the Centennial Temple to a processional march played by the New York Staff Band under the leadership of B/M Ron Waiksnoris.
Colonel Thomas C. Lewis, national chief secretary, presided over the meeting, which began with greetings from Edsel B. Ford II, National Advisory Board chairman. “If indeed the Army was raised up to save souls, grow saints and serve suffering humanity,” he began, addressing the General and Commissioner Gowans, “then you have done much to move that mission forward.”
Ford expressed his eagerness to work with Bassett in connection with the National Advisory Board. He said that although he did not yet know Commissioner Bassett well, the two shared something in common. “Both of us work for family businesses,” he said, referencing the importance of working with people to improve product and service. He described Bassett as being the kind of leader who would “come out from behind the desk” and provide personal direction.
Commissioner Israel L. Gaither, newly appointed Chief of the Staff, paid tribute to the Gen-eral and Commissioner Gowans through a video presentation, “We Have a Gospel.” The video, accompanied by the New York Staff Band, portrayed the international leaders in action during the three and one-half years they were in office. “You have taken the Army world by storm,” Gaither said to the international leaders, “and in your wake you leave a strong, resilient Army.”
The General responded, citing memorable experiences in the USA territories and commending future leaders.
“We are not in our own hands,” said Gowans. “We are in God’s hands, and all will be well.”
Lt. Colonel Gladys E. DeMichael, Western Pennsy-lvania associate divisional commander, welcomed Commis-sioners W. Todd and Carol Bassett on behalf of the East, their home territory. General Gowans installed the new national leaders, stressing re-liance on the Word of God, allegiance to the flag, the centrality of the mercy seat and responsibility for the spiritual well-being of people entrusted to their care.
“It will be the synergistic, collective energy of every Salvationist in the United States to keep us strong and growing,” said Bassett. “We have been encouraged by Army leaders, enriched by employees and volunteers and energized by field officers, cadets and young people.” Bassett expressed excitement as he looked forward to his new role of facilitating the visionary ideas and creativity of the Commissioners Conference and the National Advisory Board.
Commissioner Carol Bassett recalled that 42 years earlier on that very date she had been enrolled as a senior soldier. She affirmed that the love she declared then for her Savior continues to this day. The Bassetts were supported by flagbearers Lt. Colonel Joseph Bassett (Commissioner Todd Bassett’s brother) and Major Jeffery Bassett (son), and by Commissioner Gisèle Gowans, who gave the prayer of dedication.
Also participating in the evening’s program were Com-missioner Linda Bond, Western territorial commander, Com-missioner Keitha Needham, Southern territorial president of women’s ministries, Captain Adrian Allman, aide de camp to General Gowans, Colonel William W. Francis, Eastern territorial chief secretary, and Colonel Philip W. Swyers, Cen-tral territorial chief secretary.
A spontaneous move to the mercy seat evidenced God’s seal on an evening, affirming the mission of a Salvation Army that continues strong and adventurous through changing leadership.
–report by Lt. Colonel Marlene Chase, photos by Major A. Kenneth Wilson