by Terry Camsey, Major –
This is a time for making resolutions, if you have a mind to do so and a will to stick with what, otherwise, are nothing but daydreams. A while ago I acquired the following from somewhere…
If you are unhappy with your corps officer, send this letter to six other corps who are tired of their corps officer.
Then, bundle up your corps officer and send him to the top corps on the list. Within a week, you will receive 16,345 officers, and one of them should be just right for you.
Have faith and do not break the chain. One corps did and got their own officer back!
No, I can’t claim credit for that anonymous humorist, but he does have an interesting perspective on officer moves. I am in no way suggesting that this become a New Year’s resolution for your corps (although there may be some who feel a distinct “pull” in that direction!) Rather I wanted to use it as a starting point to muse a little about corps officers, the need for more of which seems to be an increasing cause for concern.
I was in a Western world territory not so long ago where there were only two cadets in training––a beautiful facility, with wonderful accommodations, but two only cadets.
As older officers continue to retire (many western territories have not only old and aging congregations, but many officers of senior age, too) and are not replaced, there is an acute need for replacements. In some territories, many corps are now being led by local officers, if there are any left, or any who have the energy to undertake the task. Why is that, I wonder? Whatever happened to the primary source we relied upon for supply of cadets?
Let me change tack a little here and talk about fishing. I must state up front that I am not a fisherman, although I have had a couple of encounters with the gentle art which were not too rewarding. The first was when, as a young bandsman, I was invited by a bandsman of another corps to go fishing with him and his two sons. I was left on a river bank with some worms, a fishing rod, hook and some bait. I kept baiting the hook and tossing it into the water. I never saw a ripple, but the bait kept disappearing. After several hours and nothing to show for it, I decided fishing was not for me.
Some many years later, I found myself in Newfoundland, invited to go fishing on the ice. Always willing to try something new, I accepted and soon found myself walking onto the ice. My mentors bored a hole in the ice with an auger, dropped a piece of string in with a bait on the end and promptly pulled out a fish. I said, “I’ll take that hole!” Hours later I had nothing to show while my comrades had a fair catch. Again, fishing was not for me.
But back to the shortage of officer cadets. Is it possible that we have fished in the same fishing hole for too long and that the fishing hole needs restocking and letting alone for a while? Are there not other places to fish that may produce a significantly richer catch? When Jesus told the disciples to cast their nets on the other side of the boat, they found that a carpenter knew a thing or two about fishing, too!
As a teen I recall being “fished”––as a son of the regiment––in almost every meeting I attended. I was encouraged, urged, even made to feel guilty about offering for officership…as much to meet needs quotas (I sense) as for any personal benefit that might accrue. Is this still our fishing hole of choice I wonder? And, if so, are the results any better these days due to depletion of “stock”?
In my case, when the Lord called me to officership there was no fishing involved––just a clear call from the master carpenter/fisher-of-men. He still calls, if we stand still long enough to really listen.