Heritage Conference brings Gowans, Taiz to Crestmont

by Olivia Yates – 

A lineup of extraordinary speakers, including General John Gowans (R) and author Dr. Lillian Taiz, will take participants down a new road of Salvation Army history at the Western Territory’s first Heritage Conference, scheduled for November 19-21, 2003 at The Salvation Army Crestmont College in Rancho Palos Verdes, California.

Officers, soldiers and community members are welcome and will be intrigued by the conference’s unique focus.

Co-sponsored by The Salvation Army Museum of the West Heritage Society at Crestmont and the college’s SOAR program, this one-of-a-kind conference has gathered “the best of the best” to take a new journey into the historical Army both regionally and internationally, according to conference coordinator Captain Kevin Jackson. “This is not Army history through the traditional lens,” Jackson said. “We are privileged to have presenters who will re-interpret our past in a colorful and vigorous manner, and who will bring new information and new insights to where we came from and who we are today.”

Opening keynote speaker Dr. Lillian Taiz is professor of history at California State University Los Angeles and author of an acclaimed definitive source of Salvation Army history, Hallelujah Lads and Lassies. “In her presentation, ‘The Salvation Army as a Working Class Religion,’ Taiz will interpret us historically from the perspective of class structure, taking us beyond the traditional stories to the complexities of ministry then and now,” Jackson said.

“And another unique feature will be two sessions by Major Barbara Robinson, Ph.D. in history and Director of Women’s Organizations for Ontario Central Division in Canada. The Major is working with Johns Hopkins University Press on a book exploring health and medicine within the context of The Salvation Army, and she will highlight her groundbreaking work in an area of Army ministry that has received relatively little attention.”

Other sessions will focus on the Western Territory, says Jackson, including a history of Salvation Army music and participation in the Tournament of Roses Parade presented by Bill Flinn, Chief Operating Officer of the parade, and more.

“In planning the conference, the Museum Committee chaired by Colonel George Church purposefully painted with broad brush strokes, to focus on what is most important and interesting about our region but also casting a new vision on the historical international Army,” said Jackson.

“It is our particular honor to have Commissioner Gisele Gowans offer perspectives on The Salvation Army in France during World War II, and General John Gowans (R) interpret some historical decisions of his generalship. Looking back, Gowans will surely be one of the significant figures in our history…as a leader, writer, musician and orator. The conference is structured to give participants and guests maximum exposure to a man who has had a far-reaching impact on the Army’s ministry.

Individuals may choose residential or non-residential conference registration. A special “Evening with the General” package is also offered. For Heritage Conference information or reservations, call (310) 5454-6419 or visit www.crestmontcollege.edu.

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