Lieutenants receive first appointments

Service of appointments closes out full weekend.

by Karen Gleason –

The Park family saluts Commissioner Philip Swyers.

A celebratory mood filled the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts on Sunday afternoon, as Salvationists, family and friends gathered for the service of appointments of the lieutenants of the God’s Fellow Workers Session. Chief Secretary Lt. Colonel Donald Bell led the meeting; General John Larsson (Ret.) was guest speaker and the Brazilian National Band (Bandmaster João Cavalheiro) and Songsters were musical guests.

Honoring those who have come before, a parade of previous session flags, from 1923-2003, preceded the entrance of the College for Officer Training staff, the Witnesses for Christ Session of cadets, and the new lieutenants.

Recognitions and awards
Commissioners Philip and Pat Swyers, territorial leaders, recognized officers receiving certificates of long service to The Salvation Army and those divisional leaders about to retire from active duty: Lt. Colonels Don and Jan Mowery (Southwest), Lt. Colonels Harold and Joann Brodin (Northwest), Lt. Colonels Paul and Ronda Bollwahn (Southern California) and Lt. Colonels Ray and Carolyn Peacock (Intermountain). Commending them, Swyers noted the growth in program in the West, stating: “Over 500 young people want to take our place in years to come. Your mission and ministry are greatly appreciated…you have been the hands and feet of God in building the Kingdom.”

Swyers, with New Frontier Editor-in-Chief Robert Docter, O.F., presented the Trailblazer Awards. “These individuals represent the hallmark of Army service—to just make the Army better,” said Swyers; “countless people call you blessed.” Recipients were Mayor Sandi Bloem (Couer d’Alene, Idaho), Robert J. and Joyce C. Robinson (Colorado Springs, Colorado), Major Debi Shrum (Turlock, California) and George and Olive Wild (Eugene, Oregon). Bloem and the Robinsons thanked the Army for its work; Shrum noted that she looked for what would work in the community and wasn’t afraid to try and sometimes fail; and the Wilds (who still can’t quite believe they have two officer sons) emphasized the importance of commitment and family devotions.

The lieutenants, with the cadet chorus, sang their session song, with lyrics by Lt. Colonel Diane O’Brien and music by Duncan Sutton, who led them.

In his speech, God’s Fellow Workers Session representative Lt Anthony Barnes stated that “God doesn’t call the equipped; he equips the called.” He quoted from 1 Cor. 15:58: “Stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” (Read more of his speech in New Frontier, June 15, 2008.)

Larsson’s charge to the lieutenants
Beginning his charge to the lieutenants, Larsson recalled his session of cadets—Courageous—celebrating 50 years in 2008. Approaching his first appointment, he needed every biblical text about courage he had memorized as a cadet. The most helpful, he said, was from Joshua 1:9: Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Reminding the lieutenants that the Lord has commanded them to be strong and courageous, he remarked, “I’m sure you won’t say, ‘I’ve got other ideas’ to the Lord’s command….These divine orders come from above; leave it to the territorial commander to give you your earthly orders.” Larsson encouraged them, emphasizing that people with warm hears await them, and that the Lord will be with them wherever they go.

After presenting the lieutenants with their appointments, Swyers called forward two couples who are departing THQ: Majors Ralph and Ivy Hood and Lt. Colonels Don and Debi Bell. The Hoods are retiring after 45 years (Ivy) and 43 years (Ralph) of service. Most recently they served as territorial secretary for personnel (Ralph) and secretary for community care ministries and women’s auxiliaries (Ivy). Swyers commended them for always looking to give God the glory, and for giving their best for The Salvation Army and the building of God’s Kingdom.

The Bells are leaving for appointments in New Zealand, after serving as chief secretary (Don) and secretary for women’s ministries (Debi). Swyers noted the special relationship between the territorial commander and the chief secretary, how they had worked as a team to reach right solutions. Bell, he said, “has always been loyal, faithful and extended the mission of the Army.” He thanked Debi for her passion for women’s ministries, saying, “When you win the woman, you win the family.”

After a benediction by Lt. Colonel Debi Bell, the lieutenants marched out to the music of the Brazilian National Band.

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