Missing Persons finds common ground
International participants explore varied issues at NSSC.
Majors Douglas Peacock, Western Territory, and Major Betty Anderson, Eastern Territory, co-convened the six-day seminar, which also served to deepen understanding of the challenges the delegates face in their daily work.
“Each of the delegates gave a presentation about themselves and their ministry,” said Peacock. “Many of the stories we heard were deeply moving.”
During the course of the meetings, the following mission statement was adapted: “In the name of Jesus Christ to seek, to connect and restore family relationships by tracing relatives with whom contact has been lost; and thereby to bring reunion, reconciliation and renewed hope to families.”
Special speakers provided a wealth of information—Major George Polarek, assistant director of Salvation Army World Services Organization (SAWSO) discussed the ways in which SAWSO and Missing Persons work together in the aftermath of disasters.
The Founder and director of SATERN, Major Patrick McPherson, from the Central Territory, explained the importance of communications during disasters. During Hurricane Katrina, for example, they found over 25,500 people. They are now established in 48 countries.
Lisa Thompson, liaison for the abolition of Sex trafficking, NHQ, and Commissioner Christine McMillan shared about the relationship between human trafficking and Missing Persons.
“Several directors were presenters of many of the 35 topics, with lively discussion following each presentation,” Peacock stated. “In our sessions, we learned more about resources available in different countries that are not available to those outside the country. We were reminded never to forget the spiritual sources that are available in our work.”
Discussions included: reviewed basic policies, adoption cases, IVF children, same sex couples, divorcees seeking former partners, children born out of marriage, and Booth Maternity home children and mothers and prisoner cases.
The next planned meeting will be in 2010 in England for the 125th anniversary of the Missing Persons/Family Tracing service.