God’s Fellow Workers enter as cadets and leave as lieutenants.

Sunday morning starts with service of commissioning and ordination.

by Edie Jenkins –

Commissioner Phlip Swyers (right) prays with Joao Cavalheiro.

On Sunday morning the music of the Brazilian National Band and Songsters filled the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts—a fitting commencement to the sacred service of commissioning and ordination.

With quiet dignity, the God’s Fellow Workers Session proceeded to their places on stage.

Training Principal Major Stephen Smith presented the cadets to Territorial Commander Commissioner Philip Swyers, noting that although they arrived at the College for Officer Training from various locations, ethnic backgrounds and Salvation Army experience, all came with a call to serve God as his Fellow Workers through The Salvation Army. “Commissioner Swyers,” he stated, “it is with great joy that I commend to you the cadets of the God’s Fellow Workers Session for commissioning as officers in The Salvation Army and for ordination as ministers of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

As each cadet came forward, Swyers placed his hands on the individual, stating: “Accepting the promises you have made this day and knowing that God called you and ordained you, and has empowered you to become a messenger of the good news of Jesus Christ, it is my privilege to offer you the privilege of commission in The Salvation Army with the rank of lieutenant.” After the final cadet was commissioned, Commissioner Freda Larsson offered a dedicatory prayer.

Newly commissioned Lieutenant Raymond Dihle shared his testimony, relating how he sensed God’s call early in his life but evaded it for many years. He met Major Nancy Davis (now his wife) who introduced him to The Salvation Army. Feeling that there was a new direction in his life, he attended a Life Services Conference at Crestmont, again heard the call of God and entered the College for Officer Training.

“I have learned many things in my life,” he said, “especially in these last two years at the College for Officer Training. I’ve learned God is good. I’ve learned God is patient. I have learned to trust God. I have heard his call, and I will serve him all the days of my life.”

In his message, General John Larsson (Ret.) challenged the new lieutenants and the congregation. From 2 Corinthians 5:17-6:2, he spoke about being “God’s partners.” We are each called to be “partners with God” in the ministry of reconciliation; we are called to share his compassion; we are called to share his suffering; and we share his strength. Larsson appealed to those who know they too should engage in the ministry of reconciliation, to those who need new strength in the ministry, and to everyone for a rededication, knowing that God’s grace is sufficient for all. Many came forward to pray at the altar.

In a time of commitment, the new lieutenants joined their families and loved ones in the auditorium to share in prayer and praise.

As Major Nancy Dihle, territorial candidates’ secretary, invited accepted candidates, potential candidates, and those hearing God’s call to officership to join her, future Salvation Army officers quickly filled the platform.

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