Commissioning south of the border

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The Swyers travel to Mexico for the commissioning and ordination of cadets.

by Jim Hood, Major –

Commissioners Philip and Pat Swyers and Colonel Olin Hogan unveil plaques during the dedication of the property where a new school for officer training and territorial headquarters will be built.

While commissioning serves the same purpose worldwideto anoint cadets as officers in The Salvation Armyeach is unique. Commissioners Philip and Pat Swyers, Western territorial leaders, recently participated in the Mexico Territory’s commissioning of five cadets. Western officers Colonels Olin and Dianne Hogan serve as territorial leaders in Mexico.

In Mexico, much like the USA Western Territory, commissioning is a weekend-long mini-congress. Our activities included honoring the cadets’ parents by inducting them into the Fellowship of the Silver Star. After this private event, public festivities began with a Salvationist celebration, themed “Working Together for God,” where we welcomed Commissioners Philip and Pat Swyers back to Mexico. At officers’ councils, Swyers challenged our officers to remain true to their calling and stay close to the Lord, who empowers them for ministry. At the conclusion of his message, dozens of officers knelt at the mercy seat to rededicate their lives to God and their ministry within The Salvation Army.

Saturday evening’s music festival, entitled “The Year of the Disciple,” included musical numbers by the Texas Divisional Band, the Mexico Territorial Band, and both groups united. The children of the Mexico City Children’s Home, the Timbrel Brigade of the School for Officer Training (SFOT) and the Guitar Brigade of the SFOT also performed. All of the cadets participate in the timbrel and guitar brigades. The program concluded with a musical by the SFOT, highlighting the history of the children’s homes in the Mexico Territory. At the conclusion of the musical, all of the adults in the congregation who had grown up in a children’s home were invited to the platform.

On Sunday morning, new lieutenants of the God’s Fellow Workers Session were commissioned and ordained. Swyers charged the cadets to be faithful to their name as fellow workers of God in The Salvation Army. Hogan commissioned the lieutenants and presented them with a new Bible for their ministry. Following Swyers’ message on holiness, a call to service brought a number of adults and young people to the platform in recognition of their calling to become Salvation Army officers. After the benediction, Swyers, on cornet, joined the Texas Divisional Band to play two lively marches

On Sunday afternoon, the lieutenants received their first appointments as officers of The Salvation Army and the cadets received summer assignments. In addition, two families currently serving here were farewelled. Captains Moises and Christina Ramirez will return to the USA Eastern Territory and Majors Doug and Rhode Danielson, Western Territory officers, will return to the U.S. as divisional leaders in the West’s Southwest Division.

On Monday, Swyers dedicated the property, purchased with money donated by the USA Western Territory, where a new campus will be built to accommodate territorial headquarters, divisional headquarters of the Capital Division, the School for Officer Training, and 12 rental homes. The income from the rental homes will go a long way towards making the Mexico Territory financially independent. Swyers laid a symbolic brick for the new buildings, currently in the design stage.

Western officers Majors Jim and Sallyann Hood serve in Mexico as territorial property secretary and territorial social services secretary, respectively.

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