You know, I usually try to insert a little humor into my column when it’s my turn to write for New Frontier. Not this time I’m on a crusade about well, you’ll see . . .
As I draw closer to that date when under previous regulations I would have been entitled to place an (R) after my name, and begin to look at the wonderful retirement benefit provisions the Army has approved for retired officers in the United States of America, I thank God for the attention the Army gives to its retired officers and I feel compelled to take time to pray for the many retired Salvationsts throughout the world who are not so well cared for.
A year or so ago Commissioner Brian Taylor spoke to the West’s Territorial Executive Conference on the subject of financing the international Salvation Army. As a part of his presentation he mentioned the lack of adequate retirement provisions for Salvation Army officers in many financially non-self-supporting territories throughout the world.
Did you know that many of our fellow officers do not receive enough in retirement to adequately feed themselves, let alone to secure health care and housing? I admit, that’s something that I never gave much thought before but now I can’t help thinking about it, especially when I think of how God has blessed us here in the USA.
Thank God, the international Army is looking for ways to provide adequate benefits for retired officers in financially-distressed territories. One strategy that is being implemented is the creation of an international headquarters trust designed to ensure the availability of pension assistance for officers retiring in those territories and I am delighted to say that the Army in the USA Western Territory is doing its part to help out. Here’s the plan:
The Territorial Finance Council has approved the creation of a trust dedicated to the helping to provide basic retirement benefits for retired officers in territories that cannot adequately provide for their retiring officers. Under this plan, every dollar given by officers, soldiers and friends of the Army in the Western Territory for that purpose will be matched from undesignated self denial funds (those over which the territory has discretion) and added to the trust. The earnings on the trust will be expended for that purpose only!
It would be great if corps and divisional world service targets could include gifts toward the GAT (grant-aided territories) pension fund, but unfortunately the needs for your world services dollars are just too great! Gifts to this fund must be over and above what your corps or division give in response to the World Services/Self Denial appeals.
Just think how wonderful it would be if every retiring officer were to decide to contribute just a portion of his or her housing and furnishings grants toward contributing to the support of retired officers whose many decades of service lead only to eventual destitution and suffering–that with our help could be avoided.
And what if every active officer and soldier in the territory contributed an extra one dollar per month just twelve dollars a year to help ease the plight of these servants of Christ whose active officership is past, but whose faithful service to him continues in spite of unspeakable hardship?
I’ve always been a fan of the book of James next to the words of Jesus himself, James has always appealed to my sense of the practical application of my faith. When I had less understanding of the situation our brother and sister retired officers face daily, I was able to view their plight from a distance, uninvolved. Now James is yelling at me at the top of his voice: Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin” (James 4:17). There is good that we can do here . . .
I warned you I was on a crusade!
Cast a global vision