Larsson named 17th General
THE MELODY LINGERS ON
Chief of the Staff to be next General
GENERAL-ELECT JOHN LARSSON addresses the public following the announcement of the High Council’s decision. General John Gowans (l), Commissioner Gisèle Gowans (c) and Commissioner Linda Bond (r) look on.
BY SUE SCHUMANN WARNER –
At the conclusion of eleven days of worship, prayer, and a specific order of business, The Salvation Army’s High Council elected Commissioner John Larsson, Chief of the Staff, to be the Army’s 17th General.
The 87 members of the High Council represented 45 territories and IHQ, and was the largest in the history of The Salvation Army.
As Larsson addressed the Council after the announcement, he noted the deep sense of God’s presence that had permeated the meetings, and spoke of the awesomeness of the responsibility to follow in a line of succession of such distinguished Generals who will have preceded him when he takes office.
Pledging to be the unique person and leader God had called him to be, he concluded with a reference to his grandfather, Commissioner Karl Larsson, who took as his motto, “Work, for the night is coming.” “I want to dedicate every day, every hour, every power,” said the General-elect, “to advance the Lord’s work through the Army.”
A composer of music, he follows General John Gowans, with whom he has co-authored 10 full-length musicals.
Commissioners Shaw Clifton and Hasse Kjellgren also accepted nomination to become candidates for the office of General.
“There is no doubt in my mind that John Larrson is anointed to be the next General of The Salvation Army for ‘such a time as this,’ said Commissioner Linda Bond. “That is not to say that other candidates or nominees were less qualified in areas of spiritual leadership, relational or management skills, vision or experience. On the contrary, every nominee had a proven track record of quality leadership. Nor is my conviction that the General-elect is the right man based on a superior process that the High Council adopted to assist in the selection.
“No, this certainty is born from a witness of the Holy Spirit’s leading. Every member was carried on the ‘wings of prayer’ by Salvationists around the world. This awesome realization turned us, time and again, to fervent petition so that we would be faithful to our people and to our Lord. We gave ourselves wholly to his will and dependent on his spirit to bring clear revelation. The High Council President, Commissioner Brian Taylor, quoted from Acts: 15 when the General-elect was introduced: ‘The Holy Spirit and we agree.’ Yes, General-elect John Larrson is the Lord’s anointed.”
The Council elected commissioner Brian Taylor as president, and Western Territorial Commander Commissioner Linda Bond as vice-president. Com-missioner Phil Needham, Southern Territorial Commander, was media and IHQ liaison, and Commissioner K. Brian Morgan served as chaplain. Commissioner Robin Dunster was correspondence officer.
Larsson was born in Sweden in 1938 of officer parents, and spent his early years in Sweden, Denmark, Chile and Argentina. He became an officer from the Upper Norwood Corps in 1957. In 1969, he and Captain Freda Turner were married.
Commissioner Freda Larsson was born in 1939 in Scotland, also of officer parents, and became an officer from the Kingston-upon-Thames Corps in 1964.
The Larssons have served in the South America West Territory, at the International Training College, as principal and librarian, and at IHQ. They have also been territorial leaders in the United Kingdom Territory with Ireland; the New Zealand, Fiji, and Tonga Territory; and the Sweden and Latvia Territory.
Commissioner John Larsson earned a BD degree from London University, and is the author of: Doctrine Without Tears, The Man Perfectly Filled with the Spirit, Spiritual Breakthrough, and How Your Corps Can Grow.
Fluent in English, Spanish and Swedish, they are the parents of two sons, Karl and Kevin.
“I received a phone call from my parents at 4 a.m., telling me of the good news,” said Kevin, who is Southern California Divisional Music Director and Songster leader at the Torrance Corps, Calif., where his wife Jacqui is the Singing Company leader. “At times like this, I wish I was a short drive away so I could give my father a congratulatory hug! God was working through the High Council and I know he will continue to work through my father as he leads The Salvation Army into the future.”
Commissioner Larsson admits he and Commissioner Freda Larsson are avid readers of New Frontier because “We are always interested in what is happening in the USA Western Territory.”