Forward 2000 Session Prepares to Lead Army Into Twenty-First Century
On a sun-drenched afternoon overlooking the broad expanse of the Pacific, 30 young Salvationists marched forward in the center court of the Crestmont campus and committed their lives to “others” through service as Salvation Army officers.
Commissioner David Edwards, territorial commander, welcomed the FORWARD 2000 Session and challenged them to remain steadfast to their call. Drawing on verses found in 1st Peter 5, he urged them to feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight willingly –not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind: neither as lords over God’s heritage, but by being examples. Continuing, Edwards read to the cadets: Humble yourselves, be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him! Stand firm in the faith!
During the welcome, both Commissioners David and Doreen Edwards formally installed Majors Doug and Diane O’Brien as the College Principal and Director of Special Services respectively. “We share the conviction,” Edwards stated, “that God has guided us to assign you this responsibility, and the God who has sustained you will empower you to accomplish your mission.”
Edwards noted the strong heritage of Army officership within both of the College’s new leaders. Diane, daughter of officer parents, was trained in the International Training College in London after earning degrees in music. Upon being commissioned she served in inner city corps and in music appointments including the role of soprano soloist with the International Staff Songsters. Doug’s parents also were Army officers. He earned his degree at San Francisco State University, entered training, and served as an Air Force captain in the Chaplain’s Corps during the Vietnam war.
Major Rudy Hedgren, territorial Youth and Candidates’ secretary, introduced the new session to the territory as their parents and friends applauded. He noted that the average age of the cadets is 32 and that 21 of the 30 are first generation Salvationists. Five separate ethnic groups are represented. One-third of the session has completed college degrees prior to entering officership training, and all have a rich background in Army lay leadership positions.
Edwards expressed sincere appreciation to the parents of the cadets and to the corps officers who nurtured and fed them in their spiritual development. “Make up your mind to enjoy your training,” he told the new session. “It will require a cooperative attitude of humble inquiry and Christlike submission.” Commissioner Doreen Edwards then offered a prayer of dedication.
CadetDerek Strickland responded to the welcome on behalf of his class mates.
Janette Bosanko led the cadets’ choir, and the Pasadena Tabernacle Band, led by Bandmaster Lambert Bittinger, provided a salute to Forward 2000 as well as accompanying music for the congregation.