from the desk of… ‘Why a Congress NOW? ‘
By Judy Smith,Lt. Colonel
Why a congress NOW?
I recently attended a dinner meeting for the Territorial Officers Advisory Council (TOAC) at Crestmont Conference Center when this question was asked. Six of us from the territorial cabinet were sitting around the dinner table with the representatives from TOAC—we did our best to answer. It is important to note that the members of TOAC were not asking this question to be critical; they wanted to be able to give a solid answer to their fellow officers and Salvationists from their corps and division, if and when the question was posed to them.
Commissioner James Knaggs began the discussion this way: “In these hard economic times we are having a congress because it is an INVESTMENT IN THE TERRITORY.” The Western Territory has not had a congress (a concerted effort to draw The Salvation Army family together) for 15 years! The last congress, the Great Victory Congress, was in 1997 in Long Beach. General Paul Rader and Commissioner Kay Rader returned to the West from International Headquarters in London to be our special guests. Eight thousand delegates attended the Great Victory from all over the Western Territory and close to 1,000 junior and senior soldiers were enrolled by General Rader.
Why a Congress? It is an INVESTMENT IN THE LIVES OF ALL SALVATIONISTS who attend. A congress is a once-in-a-lifetime event for many Salvationists—a life-changing experience for all ages! I can remember many congresses that happened in my growing-up years as a soldier. Colonel Dave Hudson recalled a corps cadet congress, back in his youth, that made a distinct impression upon him as a young boy when he allowed the Holy Spirit to impact his life during the event meetings and activities. Many important life-changing decisions have been made at congresses for both the young and the more mature.
Why a congress? It’s an INVESTMENT IN THE BODY LIFE OF EACH CORPS. Salvation Army congregations will change for the better when they attend such spirit-led and dynamic events; it’s a unifying time when corps members travel to and from the location and attend a congress. They have bonding opportunities as they travel down together, they are strengthened spiritually as they worship together in the unique manner that congresses offer, and they grow together as they return to their home corps as a unified body, rejuvenated to bring the love of Jesus to their community through the ministry of their corps.
Why a congress? It is an INVESTMENT IN THE SALVATION ARMY as we gather to celebrate God’s blessings and growth in this branch of the body of Christ that we call The Salvation Army. The value of an event like a territorial congress will far exceed the actual cost of the Congress. The territory will gather to give glory to God! Salvationists will meet new and well-known Salvationist friends as we come together from the near and far reaches of the territory! We will have the privilege of enjoying and encouraging our brothers and sisters in Christ as we sing and worship and grow together!
Why a congress?
BECAUSE IT’S TIME—General Linda Bond is coming!
BECAUSE IT’S TIME NOW for us to gather for spiritual renewal and “Army” refreshment!
BECAUSE IT’S “THE GATHERING”!
See you at the Pasadena Convention Center in June 2012… It’s time to