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International Salvation Army leaders meet in Toronto

General Linda Bond leads the International Congress of Leaders 2012.

“One Army on fire! One mission of love! One message of grace!” said General Linda Bond to the hundreds of Salvationists and friends gathered for the public welcome meeting of the 2012 International Conference of Leaders (ICL), held July 7-14, in Toronto, Canada, the General’s home country.

Western territorial leaders Commissioners James and Carolyn Knaggs were among the 127 participants—leaders of every Salvation Army territory and command, along with commissioners serving at International Headquarters and the USA national leaders.

The International Vision: One Army, One Mission, One Message, served as the conference theme.

“The purpose of this ICL is for the leaders of the international Army to meet together to prayerfully and strategically consider the International Vision Plan [sar.my/one],” General Bond said. “The mission priorities of this plan form the basis of the presentations, focus group discussions and recommendations.”

Knaggs, reflecting on leadership while at the conference, wrote: “Officers, local officers, employees and volunteers represent the leaders in The Salvation Army. …We must lead as Jesus would lead with love, respect and purpose.”

Delegates presented papers on Women, Ministry and Leadership; Self-Denial and Self Support; Teaching Resources; Youth and Children; Evangelism and Discipleship; Leadership; The Marginalized; and Integrated Mission.

In her presentation on Women, Ministry and Leadership, Commissioner Sue Swanson (world president of women’s ministries) challenged the leaders regarding theology and practice, not only concerning women in ministry, but also regarding marriage and leadership within The Salvation Army’s organizational structures. She explained that the Army’s systems and structures contain barriers to married women officers being considered for certain leadership positions. The legacy of Catherine Booth, she added, is a gift from God that the Army should cherish and continue to develop. Delegates expressed many suggestions of how to do that in the plenary session.

Sessions were translated into Indonesian, French, Spanish and Korean. The July 8 public welcome meeting was live streamed and is still available online (salvationarmy.org/ihq/icl).

The last ICL occurred in London in 2009. During the past two decades, ICLs were also held in New Jersey (2004), Atlanta (2000), Melbourne, Australia (1998), and Hong Kong (1995).

View daily reports from the ICL at salvationist.org.

From an international news release.

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