Festival rallies troops
Spirit of Salvationism is theme for Saturday evening extravaganza.
by Jeff Curnow –
“We are an army that marches to places where the need is the greatest…an army for the common man…” On cue, the orchestra hailed the “Spirit of Salvationism” with Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man.” The orchestra—with full string and woodwind sections—was an unusual touch for an Army event, and enhanced the drama of the program.
Hosting the evening were Territorial Program Secretary, Major Eda Hokum and Pasadena Tabernacle Bandmaster, William B Flinn. The words of General (Ret.) John Gowans: “The Salvation Army was invented to save souls, grow saints and serve suffering humanity” formed the framework of the program.
The work of the Army’s ARC program was featured, highlighted by a chorus of 180 ARC beneficiaries, who sang “I’ve been changed.” Their newly discovered joy in the strength of God was evident in their enthusiastic singing.
The work of the Army with youth took center stage when the Fort Collins, Colo., junior soldiers were honored as the territory’s top group. Additionally, a mass singing company sang “The Promise,” and territorial Bible Bowl winners were announced.
Throughout the evening, video testimonies of Salvationists supplemented the live action. One such video showed the impact of the Bible Bowl in bringing the Taylor family of Bend, Ore. closer to each other and their corps family.
Serve Suffering Humanity
Two videos highlighted the personal effects of the Army’s service to others. The stories of Lluvia Urguia, whose entire family came to the Army through the ministry of the home league, and Cadet Lisa Barnes, whose childhood was so chaotic that to save her, her corps officers adopted her, made each audience member proud to be part of The Salvation Army.
Commissioner Pat Swyers spoke briefly about Women’s Ministries. The WOW (Win One Woman) campaign challenged women in the West to bring whole families to the corps, and 1776 people—like Urguia—came to Christ in the past year!
The weekend’s special guest, General John Larsson (Ret) challenged all present: “What is the Spirit of Salvationism? It is daring to say that—like Christ—we too have been anointed by the Holy Spirit to perform the same mission as Christ. We are called to proclaim good news to the poor, to heal the broken hearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord’s favor.
“When is the year of the Lord’s favor? Now is that year! People need The Salvation Army today—all around the world!”
The Army is a global Army, operating in 116 different nations—serving all under the common banner of Blood and Fire. While the congregation sang “O Boundless Salvation,” summer service corps members and cadets marched out of the hall carrying flags of all nations. They reentered from every corner and level of the auditorium carrying the flag of The Salvation Army to the strains of “There’s Only One Flag for Me!”
Confetti filled the air and, as it settled to the ground, all present joined in the Army’s benediction, “Praise God, I’m Saved.”