Heralds of grace welcomed
Western Territory welcomes 44 first-year cadets.
By Vivian Gatica
The Salvation Army Western Territory welcomed the 44 members of the Heralds of Grace Session (2013-2015), who join the 62 members of the Disciples of Cross Session at the College for Officer Training (CFOT) at Crestmont.
The welcome festivities for the Heralds of Grace began with a private Welcome Banquet held Sept. 13 at CFOT in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.
The CFOT Cadet Chorus, led by Erin Riesebieter, performed “Would you know why I love Jesus” and “If your presence” to begin the evening. Territorial President of Women’s Ministries Commissioner Carolyn Knaggs and special guests Commissioners Oscar and Ana Rosa Sánchez, Brazilian territorial leaders, joined 204 guests.
“You are Heralds of Grace,” Knaggs told the incoming cadets at the banquet. “Your journey is to serve the Lord through The Salvation Army.”
Disciples of the Cross Session President Cadet Arwyn Rodriguera welcomed the new cadets, and first-year Cadet Elizabeth Gross responded.
“CFOT is a foundry for modern day prophets to be refined by the fire of the Holy Spirit,” Rodriguera said to the Heralds of Grace. “We can trust that through the heat of the fire of the Holy Spirit we will arise strengthened and effective for the Lord.”
She encouraged all the cadets to take a lesson from Moses, who realized that his people were chosen to live transformed lives that carried the presence of God to impact surrounding cultures.
“Heralds and Disciples, may the cry of our heart be, ‘If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here’” (Exod. 33:15 NIV).
Finally, Rodriguera urged the Heralds to embody Titus 2:11: For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.
In her response, Gross spoke of the Heralds’ passion—for revival, for a unified, cross-cultural Army, for bringing glory to the Father, for raising children in the ways of the Lord, and for giving God’s grace to the world.
She recalled the story of when Peter and John went to temple and a lame man asked them for money. Instead, Peter invoked the name of Jesus and healed the man.
“And in this same way, when we have Jesus, really have him…revival can begin in us, and transformation can begin in us…and reconciliation and the constant presence of God can begin in us, and grace—we can be Heralds of Grace because we first received it and then can give it to a world that is crying out for it.”
The following day, the Heralds of Grace took the stage, alongside the Disciples of the Cross, at the Cerritos Center for Performing Arts for the 2013 Welcome of Cadets event.
The festivities began with the CFOT Chorus, led by Riesebieter, who performed the session song “Heralds of Grace” (Janet and John Martin). Special music also included performances by the Territorial Youth Band, conducted by Richard Opina, and a soprano vocal trio composed of Major Margaret Davis (Eastern Territory), Jude Gotrich (Southern Territory) and Barbara Allen (Western Territory).
Territorial Commander Commissioner James Knaggs welcomed the new cadets and the audience, and led everyone in the congregational song “I Want to Tell What God has Done.”
“Heralds of Grace I greet you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ,” Knaggs said. “It’s not that you have arrived, but that you have made it.”
Knaggs challenged the new cadets with a verse from 2 Timothy 2:15: Do your best to present yourself as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
“It’s so easy to default to a defeated position, but I’m going to ask you not to go that way at all,” he said. “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved.”
Knaggs encouraged them to learn as much as possible in their two years at the training college. He then formally presented the session flag to Cadet John Kim.
“Take the two years to learn because after this it’s work, work, work,” he said.
Commissioner Carolyn Knaggs prayed for God to guide the cadets.
“We thank you, Lord, that you have rescued them from this world, and that your blood has cleansed their hearts of sin,” she said. “They’re heralds of your grace because of the mighty work that you have done in their lives.”
One of the Heralds of Grace members, Cadet Sajel McCutcheon, shared her testimony as a fifth-generation Salvationist from India. She was an active member of her home corps, and wanted to follow in her family’s footsteps through The Salvation Army.
“At a young age I knew that I had the calling to become an officer of The Salvation Army, but as I grew up I set it aside,” McCutcheon said. “I began to focus on material possessions and started to lose sight of the Lord, and I did not have real peace in my life.”
After countless prayers and hours of reading the Bible, McCutcheon received the answers she sought in a dream in which Jesus and an angel appeared. She said that in this dream, Jesus gave her peace and showed her the direction she needed to go, and the angel told her to not look back, but look forward.
“On that day, I decided to work for his kingdom until the end of my life,” she said.
In India, a Salvationist must be married to become an officer, so God directed her to Youth with a Mission (YWAM). YWAM led her to Argentina for more than four years, where she met her future husband. They moved to the U.S. and wed in 2010.
“I shared my vision and calling about The Salvation Army with my husband, and we prayed for two years seeking God’s guidance for a full-time ministry,” McCutcheon said, referencing Psalm 32:8: “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel and watch over you.”
“‘Heralds’ means messenger and each of us is a messenger of God,” McCutcheon said. “As Heralds we proclaim that grace and share his love no matter what circumstances come into our lives; for it is by his grace we are saved, so now it is our responsibility to save the lost souls and lives for his kingdom.”
Territorial Secretary for Personnel Lt. Colonel Doug O’Brien brought the message. He addressed the definition of grace by continuously referencing the Herbert Howard Booth chorus: “Grace there is my every debt to pay, blood to wash my sin away.”
O’Brien defined a herald as a messenger who “works every time for the king,” and grace as “love and mercy given to us by God.”
He recounted the story of “Gypsy Smith,” whom William Booth called upon while preaching before an unreceptive audience. Booth had the boy—known to those present as a gypsy hawker—give his testimony, and the unruly crowd grew silent, hanging on his every word. O’Brien said that many consider him the best-loved evangelist of all time.
“Maybe you don’t feel like you have much to offer, but God will use you [like Gypsy Smith],” O’Brien said.
He also referred to the story of John Newton, author of “Amazing Grace,” who said at his death, “All I know is I am a great sinner, and Christ is a great savior.”
“You’re not that bad that God can’t wrap his arms around you,” O’Brien said to the audience. “Unclench your fists and reach out to God who wants to lavish his grace on you.”
He went on to show examples of this grace through excerpts from “The Doughnut Sweethearts” and General John Gowans’ (promoted to Glory in 2012) biography, as well as the story of Frederick Booth-Tucker who stayed strong in his faith even after his wife’s tragic death.
“Today I am a Herald of Grace!” O’Brien proclaimed. “Do you know that God wants to lavish his grace on you and take that sin away?”
O’Brien concluded with an altar call, and people from all over the auditorium came forward to pray.
Commissioner James Knaggs took the stage again, and asked cadet candidates—those planning to become Salvation Army officers—to stand.
“These are people of hope,” Knaggs said. “These are Heralds of Grace.”
CFOT Principal Major Timothy Foley concluded the ceremony, and announced that everyone would receive the book “You’ll Get Through This” (The Salvation Army edition) by Max Lucado. He announced plans for the cadets to travel throughout the territory, and expressed his excitement for the future of CFOT.
“We believe a revival is coming,” Foley said. “It’s coming to the training college.”
Watch the Welcome of Cadets online at onlinecorps.net