Colonels Dave and Sharron Hudson take on new
leadership roles in the West.
By Christin Davis
With 36 years of experience as officers in the Western Territory, Colonels Dave and Sharron Hudson were officially installed as chief secretary and territorial secretary for women’s ministries, respectively, at the 2011 Welcome of Cadets.
“You each bring your own special gifts to your appointments, and they will prove to be a strong source for service,” Commissioner James Knaggs said in the installation ceremony. “We urge you, above all, to be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might (Eph. 6:10).” Knaggs charged the Hudsons to preach the Word and uphold its principles, to stand by the flag, to develop officer candidates and other leaders, to minister to the ministers, to empower the people of God, and to administer the work of the Army in the West.
“Who would’ve thought, 38 years ago, that a naive young woman from Santa Ana and a goofy guy from the Portland Tab would meet in San Francisco to be welcomed into training,” Sharron Hudson said in her response that evening. “We have both experienced the guidance of our heavenly Father and have truly seen his hand direct the path he has chosen for us. We have known pain, joy, sorrow, comfort, and can testify of his presence alongside us the whole way.”
Following their commissioning in 1975 with the Soldiers of the Cross Session, the Hudsons served as corps officers for 14 years and in territorial and divisional appointments, including divisional leaders of the Hawaiian and Pacific Islands Division.
“Knowledge of the territory cannot be minimized—someone from the outside just doesn’t have the same historical knowledge as we do after spending 36 years serving in the West, in most of the divisions,” Dave Hudson said. “It’s our home; we love the West.”
Hudson said he aims to assist the territory in running as efficiently as it can, while being willing to take risks and a good steward.
“I’m fortunate to work with Commissioner Knaggs, who is a man of vision,” Hudson said. “I will work alongside him to help fulfill the dreams God has given him.”
Hudson said he is particularly excited for The Gathering in 2012 and will be hands-on in the planning stages.
“One of core strengths of The Salvation Army is its network of belonging—if you say you’re a Salvationist anywhere in the world, you instantly belong,” he said. “That happens because of events and strategy. Next year, we’ll gather together and anticipate our future together.”
He is also interested in looking at how to better connect adult rehabilitation center graduates with local corps.
“Thousands graduate every year but not a lot stick in our corps,” he said. “We need to figure out what obstacles there are in keeping men and women coming to the corps. Perhaps they feel that going to the corps is simply part of the program. I believe we need to be more purposeful in connecting with them to provide a support network during and after the program.”
Sharron Hudson’s role is to oversee and resource divisional women’s ministries throughout the territory.
“I hope to be an encouragement for each division in their vision for working with women individually and not just as a group,” she said. “There’s something about when women get together—especially Christian women—the friendships that are there, the encouraging each other, and hearing the good and bad. Our goal is to bring women to Christ and to bring families to the Army through women’s ministries.”
Separately, both of the Hudsons said they felt they had the most impact while corps officers for five years at the Huntington Park Corps (now called Southeast Communities Corps).
“We were there for five years and experienced great growth in the corps and youth and women’s programs,” Dave Hudson said. “Interestingly, a third of the corps spoke no English, a third no Spanish, and a third were bilingual, but they were adamant about not wanting to separate.
“I’ve never felt more at home,” he said. “Now, 20 years later, I’m still in contact with about 20 people from the congregation.”
As the divisional commander of the Hawaiian and Pacific Islands Division, Hudson submitted a successful bid for a Ray and Joan Kroc Corps and Community Center, which is now slated to open in late 2011, and started RevHI, a one-year island discipleship program for young adults.
The Hudsons are passionate about their family; they have two daughters, Amy and Jennifer. Both like to read and are soldiers at Pasadena Tabernacle; Sharron is a member of the Tabernacle Songsters and is working on a master’s from Fuller Seminary. Dave Hudson said he feels guilty when he doesn’t exercise, so he regularly enjoys cycling, hiking and running. He said he’s also trying to play the guitar more often.
In the upcoming weeks, the Hudsons will participate in the installment of Majors George and Jeanne Baker as leaders of the Alaska Division, and will represent the West at a congress in India.