Francis explores key SA issues

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I.S. for Americas


Commissioner William W. Francis

“The greatest challenge facing the international Army today is the need to find means to stabilize support of officers and employees so that none live below the poverty level of the culture in which they serve. They must be undergirded sufficiently so that anxiety about present and future life on this earth are minimized, allowing them to concentrate on mission.” So stated Commissioner William W. Francis, international secretary for the Americas, during a wide ranging, exclusive interview with New Frontier that explored a number of important issues facing the contemporary international Army.

Francis noted that during his leadership tenure, General John Gowans established a policy severely limiting the Army’s international global expansion until the Army is able to stabilize upport of “grant-aided-territories” throughout the world. A similar policy is in place with the Army’s current international leader, General John Larsson. With some considerable passion, Francis noted: “We must, at the very minimum, provide a retirement program for our officers who give a lifetime of service. For so many at retirement there is nothing for them except to return home to be supported by their families.

“Additionally,” he added, “we must bring officers serving in these impoverished areas to a median level of support within the economy of the culture in which they serve.

“Army officers welcome sacrifice. ‘Wanted sacrifices’ em-power ministry—but ‘unwanted sacrifices’ are counter productive. They sap strength.”

In exploring remedies for this difficult challenge, Francis noted the importance of establishing an endowment at International Headquarters for this purpose. “Both General Larsson and Commissioner Israel Gaither, chief of the staff, will be attending the October U.S.A. Commissioners’ Conference to explore solutions to this international problem. The topic is also being discussed by ‘The Way Forward,’ an international commission examining ways to finance the international Army while partnering the ‘financially independent territories’ with the grant-aided territories,” Francis said.

Almost as an aside, Francis noted that all of the currently serving U.S. territorial commanders have served outside the United States. “I believe this is the first time all U.S. territorial commanders have had international experience,” Francis said. “Internationally, the Army looks to North America for a majority of its support, and the giving of material resources has been magnificent. In addition, we (the USA) needs to find ways to tithe our personnel as well as our finances. Many of the other English-speaking countries tithe their officer personnel for assignment to overseas duty,” he added.

When asked to comment on Army trends he has observed in the United States, Francis, an American officer, wondered aloud whether some of “our younger officers understood and were working fully within the vision of William and Catherine Booth—as John Gowans expressed it—‘to save souls, make saints, and serve a suffering humanity’.” In other countries around the world, Francis saw strong commitment to this vision of a holistic ministry that seeks both to rescue those with social needs and then, with compassion, nurture their souls. “I pray that our young officers will strive to understand and model servant leadership.”

In exploring how the new lieutenant rank was being used around the world, Francis saw considerable variation—which is in keeping with Generals Gowans’ and Larsson’s vision for flexibility. “The Army continues to struggle with allowing flexibility while at the same time insuring a universal definition of the rank. This remains the subject of discussion by an international committee. We don’t want to over structure the lieutenant’s program so that it inhibits General Gowans’ vision of flexibility and minimizing the barriers for those who feel called into the Army’s ministry. At the same time, we want to ensure that individuals have an appropriate level of ministerial competency.” He observed that the lieutenant’s rank parallels that of ”licensed ministers” in other denominations

During his stay in the West, Francis met with Commission-er Linda Bond and the territorial leadership and toured Army programs in Los Angeles. From there, Commissioners Bill and Marilyn Francis travelled to the Del Oro Division where they were guests for the annual family camp held at Camp Redwood Glen.

“God With Us” in Southwest

“God With Us” in Southwest


Musicians resonate at Western Music Institute

Musicians resonate at Western Music Institute

by James Anderson, Territorial Music Secretary –  SPECIAL GUEST BANDMASTER

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