Western territory celebrates diversity

Salvationists of all ethnicities join for Multicultural Celebration

By Vivian Gatica – 

The Salvation Army Western Territory showcased its diversity Saturday with its Multicultural Celebration as part of the 2014 Commissioning Weekend.

Territorial leaders Commissioners James and Carolyn Knaggs and special guests General Paul Rader (Ret.) and Commissioner Kay Rader were present at the event, along with hundreds of Salvationists of different ethnicities.

“A lot of people who came were not from ethnic specific corps,” said Pili Martinez Moore, territorial Latino corps ministries specialist. “We’re moving from the ethnic specific to more of a multicultural feeling [within the Army]; people just wanted to come.”

Translated in Korean, Spanish and Portuguese, the celebration was not only a cultural event, but a family event.

Moore said, “It is a way for kids to see that there are representations of themselves within The Salvation Army.”

A youth dance group from The Salvation Army Siemon Youth and Community Center opened the celebration, and was followed by a greeting from Territorial Multicultural Ministries Secretary Lt. Colonel Zoilo Pardo.

“Praise the Lord,” Pardo said. “He is here…we are thankful for his presence.”

Mariachis then performed worship songs, and a group from El Cajon Corps, led by Captains Terry and Rutendo Masango, gave an African musical performance of a song that translated to “There is no one like Him.”

Two girls from the Torrance Corps performed a Hawaiian Hula Dance, and a group from the Redondo Beach Corps gave a Brazilian musical  performance of the song “God is the City” in both English and Portuguese.

A local worship band, Undignified, led the audience in worship, with one song sung both in English and Korean.

Commissioner James Knaggs introduced General Rader to the delegates of the celebration for his speech.

Rader spoke of identity and had everyone ask themselves “Who are you?”, in reference to a time in which he asked his grandson-in-law the same question.

He referenced 1 John 3:1-3 (NIV), which states, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.” Rader told the audience to consider this passage when discovering who they are, so they may find their own identity in the Lord.

“In the kingdom of God, we are not identified by our occupation, by what we do, or where we come from, or what our lives have been in the past; we are not identified by our ethnicity or our racial background,” Rader said. “We are identified by our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Other performances in the event included a dance by Korean fan dancers, and a traditional Filipino dance segment by members of the San Jose Temple Corps.

Undignified closed the event with a performance of “Christ for the World.”

Moore said, “We just wanted everyone to get together and it became a bigger event than we ever thought it would be.”


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