‘Disciples’ dine ahead of public welcome

By Karen Gleason

The largest-ever Private Welcome Banquet—held annually at the College for Officer Training (CFOT) at Crestmont in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., ahead of the public Welcome of Cadets—boasted 216 guests, including a combined cadet population of 125 cadets, in honor of the first-year Disciples of the Cross Session.

“God has designed you not for a desert but for an ocean,” said Territorial Commander Commissioner James Knaggs. “He has an abundance for your life….We need to share the abundant love of Christ no matter where we go.”

General Shaw Clifton (Ret.), who participated in events throughout the weekend, spoke on the significance of sessional names—the current session names he chose while General—in a relaxed manner, even inviting the crowd to remove their tunics on the unusually hot evening.

“You’ve got to love each other—honor, respect and build each other up,” Clifton said to the cadets. “It won’t be easy all the time, but it wouldn’t be worth it if it was.”

Cadet Joy Groenleer, Proclaimers of the Resurrection Session president, welcomed the new cadets, providing a “top 10” list that included practical and spiritual tips.

In her response, first-year Cadet Sarah Ward referred to the session Scripture, Matt. 16:24-25, and called her peers to “view our training…as an opportunity to surrender ourselves wholly to Christ. Let us throw ourselves at the foot of his cross, so that we may be overflowing with his love.”

Led by Erin Riesebieter, the CFOT Chorus performed, “I Dare to be Different,” and a cadet vocal ensemble sang “If You Call Me, Lord.”

Guests at the Welcome Banquet also included the Territorial Cabinet, territorial candidates’ secretaries, divisional leaders and youth and candidates’ secretaries, and members of Crestmont Council.

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