High Council memorable for leaders

“As I have looked out on the Army world from the windows of International Headquarters during these last three years I am more than ever convinced that the Army is going through a process of renewal–a very exciting process of renewal,” stated General-elect Commissioner John Larsson, in comments for New Frontier.

“There is a greater openness to the need to adapt to changing times, a greater desire to engage in the mission for which God raised up the Army, and a real desire to rediscover the uniqueness of the Army. My aim as General will be to encourage that renewal in every way possible.”

The election of the Army’s 17th General came after a significant time of preparation and reflection by the 87 members of the High Council.

Among them were eight Western officers: Territorial Commander Commissioner Linda Bond (who served as the Vice President for the High Council); Commissioners Bill and Gwen Luttrell, Canada and Bermuda territorial leaders; Commissioners Robert and Carol Saunders, International Secretary for South Pacific and East Asia, and Secretary for Women’s Organizations, respectively; Commissioners Joe and Doris Noland, former Eastern Territory leaders; and Colonel Olin Hogan, Mexico Territorial Commander.

Bond explained her role as Vice President: “The role of Vice President of the High Council was to assist and support the President in giving leadership to the proceedings for the election of the General. It was indeed a privilege to take on this responsibility. What was most encouraging was the prayer support and affirmation given by High Council members. I assure you the task of Vice President was not demanding in any way thanks to the clear thinking and strong leadership given by Commissioner Taylor and the cooperation and encouragement of the members.”

“There was a very real sense of purpose on the hearts of us each,” said Commis-sioner Robert Saunders. “During the first session, opportunity was given to pray in the native tongue of the members. What an incredible experience. I realized we had come from around the world and could use well over 100 languages. How can so many people from such a wide diversity of countries, cultures and customs come to a common decision? Without God, it would be impossible.

“World leaders shared their vision, their burdens, their concerns and frustrated hopes. From first hand dialogue we learned of the challenges that face The Salvation Army around the world. What challenges lie ahead for the new General to encounter!”

Recalling thoughts during the pre-High Council gathering, Commissioner Gwen Luttrell spoke of her Salvationist heritage: “The Lord brought to mind my home corps in Long Beach where godly corps officers, local officers, and retired officers, along with my own Christian parents, laid down eternal foundations which have kept me, strengthened me, enriched my life, and ultimately prepared me for such a time as this.

“Commissioners Doris Noland and Carol Saunders, as well as my husband Bill, had also been influenced and prepared for these moments by these blessed people who faithfully and consistently carried out their responsibilities…through their careful guidance, intentional Bible training, patient understanding, and loving touch they had equipped us in part for this awesome task of electing the 17th General of The Salvation Army.”

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