Needhams Welcomed to West
Colonels Phil and Keitha Needham, territorial chief secretary and territorial secretary, women’s organizations, respectively, joined the Crestmont leadership team in late August and immediately began the task of getting to know the territory. The Chief Secretary is the chief operating officer and second in command of Army work in the West.
“The Western Territory has earned a strong reputation as an innovative territory willing to try new things and take old-fashioned risks to keep the Army true to our calling as a Salvation people,” Needham stated in an interview with New Frontier. “We are extremely pleased to be a part of the West’s ongoing missional initiatives and, in particular, a grassroots-driven campaign like Vision 2000 and Beyond. I’m looking forward to being a partner in both spiritual growth and mission with Salvationists from across the territory,” Needham said.
Needham’s wife, Keitha, joined him in the interview. “I am also excited about the fantastic opportunities for partnership in mission, especially in such a culturally diverse setting,” she said. “I feel humbled by the trust placed in us by Army leaders and joyfully expectant of all the Lord has in store for us. I love the optimism and encouragement found in Paul’s statement to the Ephesian Christians: “God can do anything, you know – far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us”. (Ephesians 3:20 – The Message)
Prior to their appointments in the West, Needham served as the principal for the International Training College in London with his wife as director of Special Services and staff lecturer.
The Needhams met while completing bachelor’s degrees at the University of Miami and were married in 1963. After graduation, both Needhams continued with their education. He earned masters degrees in divinity and theology at Princeton Theological Seminary as well as a doctorate in ministry from Emory University in Atlanta. She pursued her musical training at the Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts in Vienna, Austria. Trained in opera, she has sung with a number of opera associations and a symphony chorus as well as appearing as a guest soloist in Army festivals throughout the world.
Needham has written extensively for the Army with such titles as Mission in Community: A Salvationist Ecclesiology, and a soon-to-be released book on the joy of the holy life.
They are certified as marriage enrichment event leaders by the Association of Couples in Marriage Enrichment.
Both Needhams are “children of the regiment.” Phil’s father was former National Commander Commissioner John Needham. Keitha’s father was the former Territorial Commander for the West, Commissioner Richard Holz. They have two daughters: Heather (Mrs. John Hawkins), is a social worker with the Veterans Administration Hospital in Atlanta, and Holly, a recent graduate from Barry College, serves as a corps assistant in Brunswick, Georgia, prior to entering officer training.