Gowans Addresses Retired Officers’ Association
Commissioners John and Gisele Gowans were featured guests when The Salvation Army Retired Officers’ Association (SAROA) of Florida met recently for their 66th annual reunion.
Gowans, currently United Kingdom territorial commander, served in the West as program secretary and as Southern California divisional commander during the ’80s. “That’s the Spirit,” taken from Gowans’ song of the same title, was the theme of the three-day event attended by 360.
Also participating as musical guests were Bill and Sally Broughton, formerly of the West but now living in Atlanta.
In his keynote address, Gowans asked, “What is the basis for continued friendship? It is shared experiences.” He reminded his listeners that all of them had the shared experiences of salvation, of having been called to officership in the Army, of having been used by God, of knowing the transforming power of the Holy Spirit in their lives, of growth in the spirit.
The highlight of the weekend was a musical dinner theater featuring nearly a dozen Gowans and Larsson songs, with music by the Broughtons, and a 40-member chorale and brass ensemble. During the evening, Gowans recited Vachel Lindsay’s “General William Booth Enters into Heaven.”
In the Saturday morning session, Gowans was again the speaker, declaring “The world is a mess. More correctly, man is a mess,” providing documentation from that morning’s newspaper. “Of all God’s creation, only man is not what he was intended to be.” He cited Jesus Christ as the perfect example of what God intended for man to be. “Man can decide what he wants to be,” he said. “that is our tragedy and our glory…No man, unhelped by the Holy Spirit, will ever achieve Christlikeness,” he reminded his earnest listeners.
Earlier in the weekend, Commis-sioner David Baxendale (R) and Colonel Leon Ferraez (R) were elected SAROA president and vice-president, respectively, for the coming year.