Forward 2000 celebrates, sets forth
COMMENCEMENT AT CRESTMONT
Crestmont’s beautiful rose garden was once again the site of Commencement services, as the Forward2000 Session of cadets was presented with academic awards and degrees in ceremonies led by CFOT Principal Major Doug O’Brien.
A special tribute was given by Dr. James Hartman to Dr. Tom Wood, whose ties to the College go back to 1975, when, as president of Marymount College, he supervised its transfer to the Western Territorial Headquarters. Wood served 10 years on the CFOT advisory board, and was named a “Frontiersman of the Year” in 1996.
“You are an army unusual,” said Wood, “devoted to mankind’s salvation. I’m proud to be part of its rear ranks for a period of time.”
Commissioner David Edwards introduced General Paul and Commissioner Kay Rader ( R), who expressed delight in returning to the Western Territory. It was from the West that the Raders left for London as international leaders of The Salvation Army.
Rader spoke on the passage of Scripture from Hebrews 12:1,2″ “Start running and never quit!” (The Message). He encouraged the cadets to trust God for life’s race. “Life is more complicated than it seems in the classroom,” he said. “Start running! But remember, this is a distance run. God alone knows the track before you–how long, difficult, and beset by demands it will be…don’t quit till the finish line!”
Edwards, supported by Captain Edward Hill, presented degrees and awards. Those recognized were: Principal’s Award: Cadet Dee Dee Lively; Commissioner’s Award: Cadet Derek Strickland; Principal’s List with Merit: Cadets David Shull, Regina Shull, Donald Warriner, Claret Madrigal, and Mi-Sook Moon; Principal’s List with Distinction: Cadets Angelina Koenig, Erica Helton, and Stephen Sutter; Principal’s List with Honor: Cadets Derek Strickland and Dee Dee Lively.
In a break with tradition, the session gift was a unique one: a pair of mules (named Gardon and Moulin) purchased for use by corps in the Haiti Division. Cadet Jason Koenig coordinated the project, assisted by Cadet Don Warriner. “Last year the session gave money for scholarships to the Costa Rican training college and the Caribbean training college,” stated Major Charleen Bradley. ” I think this is great that the cadets are thinking globally instead of leaving monuments to their sessions that eventually “rust and decay. Hopefully, the mules will move ‘forward’ on command, just as these new lieutenants will be doing.”
The past, present and future were all a part of Saturday night’s events at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, highlighting the Army’s caring ministry through multiple avenues.
To start, summer service corps team members were introduced to the audience individually and as a team via a large-screen video presentation created by the Territorial Youth Department.
Then, affirming the work of and appreciation for those who support the Army throughout the West, Commissioner David Edwards introduced this year’s Frontiersman of the Year recipients: Dr. Kevin Kunz, Captains Joe and Shawn Posillico, Maria Rita Albizurez, and Envoys Dianne and Michael Gomes.
Next, a video presentation highlighting the Army’s World Service giving was screened, culminating with the announcement of this year’s givinng: nearly $6.8 million.
Finally, the College for Officer Training presented Blood of the Lamb, a Gowans/Larsson musical production based on the poem “General William Booth Enters Heaven,” by American poet Vachel Lindsay.
With the theme of transformation, the vibrant and life-changing ministry of The Salvation Army was portrayed through song, dance, and music. Cadets, officers and children of the CFOT, under the leadership of Majors Doug and Diane O’Brien supplied the cast and Keith Turton, dramatic arts specialist from the UK Territory, directed the production.
Through a series of musical vignettes depicting scenes from The Salvation Army’s history, and with historical photos shown on the screen above the stage, the breadth and scope of the Army’s caring ministry came to life: street walkers, Devil’s Island convicts, lepers and drunkards all told their stories. In the stirring conclusion, General William Booth, portrayed by Gordon Bingham, led the procession of saved sinners into heaven.
COMMISSIONING AND ORDINATION
Under the leadership of Colonel Phil Needham, chief secretary, the cadets of the Forward 2000 Session were commissioned as lieutenants and ordained for service as ministers of the Gospel.
After two years of study–and a lifetime of preparation–the new lieutenants were poised for service to God and The Salvation Army.
Needham welcomed the audience on Sunday morning, noting that the morning marked God’s empowerment of the cadets for their ministry task. He encouraged the audience to see their role as partners in mission with the cadets.
Cadets Dee Dee Lively and David Shull testified, giving thanks for God’s presence and for his calling on their lives.
Commissioner Kay F. Rader gave the dedicatory prayer.
After Training College Principal Major Doug O’Brien commended the cadets to Commissioner David Edwards, they were individually called to the podium where Edwards presented certificates of ordination to each.
General Paul A. Rader ( R) brought the message, focusing on the issue of pleasing God. “The biggest question in life is, can God be trusted? Can I leave my future to him?” Rader said. “We want to pick and choose among his commands. Jesus simply says, ‘Follow me’.”
He noted that to please God, we have to take our accountability to him seriously, and we have to let our heart be broken with the things that break the heart of God.
Special music was brought by the Tustin Ranch Band. Major Diane O’Brien directed the women’s vocal ensemble, and the CFOT chorus sang a moving song of dedication.
At the conclusion, Rader gave an altar call, with response by scores of seekers.
SERVICE OF APPOINTMENT
FORWARD ever FORWARD is their watchword.
FORWARD through the desert through the toil and fight
With no dream of shrinking
FORWARD into light
A friendly, boisterous collection of family and friends greeted the FORWARD 2000 session of cadets as they marched down the aisle of the Cerritos Performing Arts Center, Army colors and session name emblazoned across their chests. This was the moment for which they had worked and prayed for two years. Newly commissioned Salvation Army lieutenants, like men of faith from bygone days, they were ready to gird on the armor and rush to the field to stand like the brave — for Christ, for Christ alone. They have made Salvation their motto and their march is steadily FORWARD.
The climactic service of the “commissioning” weekend found the full company of cadets assembled to receive appointments to the field. An air of celebration and victory spread through the auditorium as a capacity audience sang triumphantly of an Army marching to Zion of an Army keeping the faith–of an Army committed fully to God.
It all happened on Pentecost Sunday.
The corps of cadets recognized that others had carried the flag to battle before them. They witnessed the veterans march forward with their colors to be posted next to their own. They heard the names of those with long service honored 25, 30, 35, even 40 years in the trenches, fighting for their Lord.
They heard one of their own, Lieutenant Dereck Strickland, accept for them the challenge of the future accept for them the responsibility of commitment assure with them the direction of the march.
“The ‘cadet scene’ is behind you,” Commissioner Kay Rader (R) stated firmly in her charge to the Lieutenants. “This charge is the last word you hear. It’s one word STAY. It’s a word for Pentecost Sunday. Jesus advised his disciples that soon, he would send them out, but that they were to stay in the city for a while.
“Stay is the word for your charge this afternoon. Stay in love with your call, with your people, with the Army. Stay in love with God. It’s impossible to weary God’s love. God loves you. His love begins where justice ends. Stay in love with your calling. Jesus asks you to ‘feed his sheep’. Your calling is where your deepest gladness and world’s need meet. Stay in love with your covenant with your commitment. God tells us His grace is sufficient for you. Let all your days and all your hours be committed to Him.
“Yes! Your charge is contained in only one word STAY!
As the cadets marched forward to receive their appointments from their territorial commander some were accompanied by spouse and children, some alone. Commissioner Edwards returned the salute of each of them and, with them, enjoyed small moments of delightful humor. He then appointed them to their place of service. From the islands of the Pacific, to the far reaches of Alaska from sea coast villages to the plains of Montana, they move FORWARD to take their places among a thin, blue line of Army stalwarts, fighting the good fight against sin and despair.
God bless them as they go FORWARD into the challenges of the 21st century.
–Robert Docter, Sue Schumann Warner