High Council convenes this month to elect new General

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Welcome to the High Council will include Farewell Salute to General and Commissioner Larsson.


Sunbury Court, where the next General will be chosen.

Members of The Salvation Army’s High Council will convene at historic Sunbury Court in London, England, on January 20 to begin the process of electing the Army’s next General. The historic event begins with a public Welcome to the High Council in Westminster Central Hall, London. It will also feature a Farewell Salute to General John Larsson and Commissioner Freda Larsson, who retire on April 1.

Members of the High Council include all commissioners (except the spouse of the General) and territorial commanders who were on active service as of December 1, 2005. Reflecting the Army’s growth around the world, this year’s High Council will be the largest ever, with 102 leaders from 48 territories, representing the 111 countries where the Army is officially at work.

High Councils are normally called by the Chief of the Staff and can meet in any place in the United Kingdom, although traditionally they have met at Sunbury Court.

Preceding the Council, the international leaders will confer at Sunbury Court from January 17-19, to discuss significant matters affecting the Army.

While looking to the future, Saturday’s Welcome will incorporate traditional features, such as the “march-in” by the 102 members of the High Council to the sound of the International Staff Band (ISB). Salvationists of all ages will take part in this dual-focus meeting, and illustrated reports of the state of the Army on every continent will be presented. United Kingdom Territorial Commander Commissioner Shaw Clifton—as leader of the host territory—and retired General John Gowans will be participating.

Along with the ISB, a massed songster choir will sing, led by Songster Leader Susan Turner. Under the direction of Southern California Divisional Music Director Kevin Larsson, they will present a new work, Highlights from the Music of John Larsson, illustrated by a video featuring the life and service of the soon-to-retire international leaders, prepared by Karl Larsson (U.S. Western territorial headquarters). Karl and Kevin are the Larssons’ two sons.

Chief of the Staff Commissioner Israel L. Gaither and Commissioner Eva D. Gaither will together give a spoken salute to the General and Commissioner Larsson, who will respond—the General combining in his Bible message his charge to the members of the High Council and a challenging reminder of the ongoing need for the Army’s mission throughout the world.

With Council members representing the Army’s witness in all corners of the earth, the meeting will conclude with the congregation singing “They Shall Come from the East, They Shall Come from the West,” and the chorus “The World for God!”

Salvationists are urged to pray that the Holy Spirit will be powerfully present in the deliberations of the High Council, directing our international leaders to look to God and to discern and do his will in the election of the next General and in the vision of the Army that emerges from this historic event.

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