High Council set to convene

Army’s international leaders will elect 20th Salvation Army General.

By Karen Gleason

Commissioners James and Carolyn Knaggs will represent the USA Western Territory in London at the meeting of the High Council, which convenes beginning July 29 to elect the 20th General of The Salvation Army.

“Every High Council in The Salvation Army is a historic event with significant magnitude,” James Knaggs said. “We go with the hope to meet with God and the international leaders of the Army to chart the course of our movement through the election of the next leader.”

The Knaggs will join 116 other individuals to form the largest High Council in the history of The Salvation Army. The group of 64 women and 54 men—average age 59—includes all commissioners on active service, all territorial commanders, and, since February 2010, all territorial presidents of women’s ministries.

“Our humble participation will be dedicated to God and the mission he has given our movement,” Knaggs said. “Let us win the world for Jesus. Hallelujah!”

The selection process typically takes just over a week, when instead of white smoke emerging as happens with a new Pope, cameras “zoom in on the closed door of the council chamber as Salvationists all around the world watch expectantly on the Internet. When the door opens the Army family will catch the first glimpse of its new head” (see “High Council convenes,” General John Larsson, Ret., New Frontier, Jan. 2011).

Instead of gathering at the traditional venue of Sunbury Court—currently being refurbished—the High Council will meet at the Renaissance Hotel, near Heathrow to the west of London. The Chief of the Staff, Commissioner Andre Cox, will preside over the opening of the High Council until a council president and vice-president have been elected. Council proceedings include several stages: preliminaries (including the election of council leaders), nominations, questions and speeches, election and closing moments. These stages are explored in General John Larsson’s article on the High Council (

Every council member may nominate someone to be a candidate for General. The only criterion is that the nominated individual be an officer. Technically, then, thousands of people are eligible for the position; however, nominees generally are members of the High Council.

At the conclusion of the election process, when the new General is elected, it is the tradition of the High Council that all members immediately give their support to that person, acknowledging the decision as an expression of God’s will.

The announcement of the new General will be webcast so people around the world will learn the identity of the new General at the same time.

Keep up with the High Council at; on Twitter at @HighCouncil2013; and at

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