Gaithers installed as national leaders
First African American to lead Army in the U.S. calls for a focus on “The Mission.”
General Shaw Clifton installs Commissioners Israel and Eva Gaither.
NEW YORK, N.Y. (May 12, 2006)—General Shaw Clifton, along with other Salvation Army leaders, welcomed Commissioners Israel L. Gaither and Eva D. Gaither as national commander and national president of women’s ministries, respectively, during an installation ceremony at the Centennial Memorial Temple in New York City. Gaither is the first African American to hold the position in The Salvation Army’s 126-year history.
His speech focused on promises to America. “America loves The Salvation Army. There is strong confidence in who we are and what we do. But there’s more to be done. This position is an honor and I intend to lead with total dependence on God and in partnership with territorial leaders to effectively impact those on the margins of American society. All that we do is for the mission.”
Gaither, who follows now retired Commissioner W. Todd Bassett, is the Army’s chief spokesperson in the U.S. and the coordinator for matters of national concern to its mission. He will act as the chairman of the national board of trustees and be responsible for presiding over tri-annual commissioners’ conferences, which bring together the key executive leaders of The Salvation Army’s four U.S. territories.
“Commissioner Gaither is a model of spiritual leadership,” said General Clifton. “His experience in South Africa and London give him a worldview of the challenges facing the Army today, while retaining the historical mission of the Army rooted in biblical truth and values.”
At the time of Commissioner Gaither’s installation as National Commander, The Salvation Army USA has unique opportunities to forward its mission: construction of community centers in line with the $1.5 billion gift from the estate of Joan B. Kroc; continuing the $363 million community recovery services for Hurricane Katrina survivors, while preparing emergency response plans for potential new disasters; continuing the iconic “Red Kettle” Christmas campaign to help the needy; and strengthening the voice of The Salvation Army in the U.S. in accordance with its evangelical roots. At the same time, the Army continues to focus on a variety of other social services, ranging from summer camps for kids to centers for senior citizens.
In her role, Commissioner Eva Gaither will lead the national Women’s Ministries to empower women to deeper faith and service to others. One of her focus areas will be the abuse, victimization and abandonment of women that lead many to lives without hope. She will partner with leaders from the four U.S. territories to work on issues affecting women throughout America.
“A sacred responsibility and privilege has been given to me to serve as the National President of Women’s Ministries,” said Commissioner Eva D. Gaither.
“The Army is well known around the world for its empowering of women—and I come to this responsibility with that same deep feeling for women in the USA who are and will be touched by this aspect of the Army’s mission.”
The Gaithers officially arrived on May 1, 2006 at National Headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia. Prior to this appointment, they worked for four years at International Headquarters in London, where Israel Gaither was second-in-command of the worldwide Army and Eva Gaither served as world secretary for Women’s Ministries. They have served individually and jointly in numerous leadership positions throughout the Army, including corps officer appointments in Aliquippa, Erie and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania as well as in Brooklyn, New York’s Bedford-Stuyvesant, and various regional, national and international leadership positions in business administration. The pair met at The Salvation Army’s School for Officer Training in Suffern, New York. They graduated and were commissioned as officers in 1964. They married in 1967 and have two children and two grandchildren.
From a National Headquarters’