by Karen Gleason –
Once wasn’t enough for the welcome of new Territorial Leaders Commissioners Jim and Carolyn Knaggs to Western Territorial Headquarters (THQ)—officers and employees greeted them at an informal reception on July 1, their first day in their new position, and again on July 5, at a chapel service where they were acknowledged along with four other officer couples joining the THQ team.
Secretary for Personnel Lt. Colonel Dave Hudson introduced the Knaggs, referencing Isaiah 34:19—See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.
Jim Sparks, director of Youth Leadership Development, introduced the other officers: Majors Jeff and Eloisa Martin, secretary, Education Department and special assignment, respectively; Majors Glen and Linda Madsen, secretary and associate secretary, Spiritual Life Development; Majors John and Katherine Reed, assistant secretary for Business Administration and chaplain/MDP (Ministry Development Program, ARCC) coordinator, respectively; and Captains Grady and Julie Brown, Adult Rehabilitation Centers Command (ARCC) secretary for program and ARCC assistant director of special services.
Following a video presentation of essential Western Territory statistics, Commissioner Carolyn Knaggs spoke about the Knaggs’ journey as officers—the journey that has landed them in the Western Territory. For their first 31 years as Salvation Army officers they served in posts all within a100-mile radius—essentially back and forth between New York and Philadelphia.
Four years ago, they received orders to Australia—definitely requiring a step of faith out of their comfort zone. While describing their time there as “a wonderful experience that shaped us in new ways,” she confided that every time they took a furlough to the U.S. and landed at LAX (Los Angeles International Airport), she felt that they were “home.” Little did she know that soon Southern California—and the Western Territory—would truly be their home.
Through the journey, she said, she has found the faithfulness of God, who goes before and paves the way. In closing, she declared, “Let’s go forward and let’s build the Kingdom of God together,” and she quoted John 5:13: For I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.
After a song by the THQ singers, “His Strength is Perfect,” Commissioner Jim Knaggs spoke, noting that “his strength is perfect” because of his all-encompassing love. He acknowledged that “it’s not about us [the Knaggs], but about all of us—God in us—and about what God can do through each of us.
Lately, he said, his devotions have come from Exodus, appropriately, considering the move from Australia. How wondrous it is that “the Lord of all depends on us to spread his word,” he said.
When Moses expressed doubts about his abilities, God showed him, using the staff, that he would give Moses the strength and power he needed to do the job. “That’s the great thing about God,” Knaggs said. “God uses us from where we are today and with what we have to offer today.
“What is that dream in your heart—what is that capacity? God will use that to his delight and glory and the people will know you came from God…. When we give all we have to God, it—we—belong to God. He will use you for his honor and glory going forward. Then, watch for the miracles!”
He closed, letting everyone know why the Knaggs are here: “We have a burning desire to serve God.”