Bond, Burrows address So. Calif. Councils

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by Sue Schumann Warner – 

Officers from throughout the Southern California Division—including envoys and lieutenants—gathered recently for councils held at the UCLA Conference Center, nestled near the shores of Lake Arrowhead.

General Eva Burrows (Ret.) and Commissioner Linda Bond led special sessions during the councils, which were held under the leadership of So. California Divisional Leaders Lt. Colonels Alfred and Sherryl Van Cleef.

While the theme—Creating a Holy Community—provided the focus for the event, Bond wove the territory’s Six Mission Priorities into the fabric of her five sessions.

Underscoring God’s guidance in directing the development of the Six Mission Priorities, she began her first session by recalling the process the cabinet engaged in over a year ago to review the territory’s visioning material—out of which came the Priorities—and stated, “I have no doubt in my mind that this [the Six Priorities] is leadership from the Holy Spirit. It’s not a Linda Bond thing.”

During her session on mission priorities, she solicited feedback from the audience on “Make the field a priority.” Bond first explained her definition of “the field”: “Any place Salvation Army services are being or should be delivered; where life changing interaction with people occurs.”

“When will you know the field is a priority?” she asked. Officers replied freely, with responses including: “When each soldier is involved in mission; when you see lives changing; when people you serve during the week attend your meetings; when your calling is a priority; and when corps leadership and staff have the same priority of mission.”

The value Bond places on the field was made clear during an announcement she made in this session: “I will be sending a letter to all divisional headquarters and territorial headquarters officers offering them the opportunity to serve on the field,” she stated. “The field is a priority; I want to change the current thought—that being sent to the field is a demotion—and have officers see a return to the field as a promotion.”

She also told the audience that during the next three weeks she wants one person from each unit to “write or e-mail the divisional commander and tell him what you will do to make the field a priority—and copy me!”

The Southern California Division has effectively worked the Six Mission Priorities into its divisional reviews. “They are a filter for the corps to pick their most pressing theme, which they choose based on the Six Priorities,” said Divisional Commander Lt. Colonel Alfred Van Cleef. “It gives people permission to be flexible by wrapping programs around the Priorities, and gives them the freedom to understand their own program needs.”

“The Priorities have helped corps become more directed and targeted about goals—making soldiers, planning youth programs and women’s ministries. Learning how to set goals has been a process,” said Lt. Col. Sherryl Van Cleef, divisional director of women’s organizations.

One significant benefit to setting goals based on the Priorities is that, when the corps has “bought into” the goal, the goal remains regardless if the officers are moved. “The corps are learning they own the goals, and can continue and maintain the focus,” said Van Cleef. “They are taking ownership.”

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