New Chief of Staff welcomed at IHQ
International Headquarters (IHQ) officers and staff welcomed The Salvation Army’s new Chief of the Staff, Commissioner Brian Peddle, and World Secretary for Women’s Ministries Commissioner Rosalie Peddle in a service at IHQ attended by former international leaders Commissioner Gisèle Gowans, General John Larsson (Ret.) and Commissioner Freda Larsson, and General Shaw Clifton (Ret.). Even the Peddles’ daughters, Stephanie and Krista, flew across the Atlantic to surprise their mother and join in the welcome.
In his opening comments, General André Cox greeted Peddle as his second-in-command. He spoke appreciatively about the pair’s experience, vision, dedication and commitment, promising them that “God who calls you is more than able to sustain you.”
Originally from Canada, the Peddles have served in their home territory, New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga Territory, the United Kingdom Territory with the Republic of Ireland and for the past year as zonal leaders for the Americas and Caribbean at IHQ.
A Scripture presentation, “Extravagant Love,” by staff and officers representing IHQ’s five administrative zones, included excerpts from Bible readings about love and a cry of “Praise the Lord! Hallelujah!” in each reader’s native tongue. This was followed by a prayer from Commissioner William Cochrane, international secretary to the chief of the staff, in which he called on the Lord to provide “grace and deep, deep peace” to the new leaders.
Commissioner Silvia Cox, world president of women’s ministries, gave a joyful welcome to Rosalie Peddle. She spoke about working with her on the women’s gathering at the International Congress in July, which was a success, Cox said, “’because it was about glorifying God.” She recognized the attributes that Peddle will bring to her new role, particularly having “a passion for developing and valuing women … empowering them to be what God wants them to be.”
In her response, Peddle gave thanks for the messages of support and prayer she and her husband received from around the world. “If all the people who have offered to pray for us do pray for us, we have nothing to fear!” she said.
She promised that she would seek to “encourage, empower and inspire women all around the world,” concluding with words of trust in God from the Stanley Ditmer song “I’m in His Hands.”
Commissioner Gillian Downer, international secretary for South Pacific and East Asia, offered words of welcome to The Salvation Army’s 26th Chief of the Staff. She described him as a “gracious man, a spiritual leader with a heart of compassion” and reminded him that the Army is “still called to save the lost, disciple our people and serve suffering humanity around the world.”
In a prayer of dedication the General asked the Lord to give the Peddles a sense of peace and his presence.
Recognizing the changes he is currently facing, Peddle spoke about taking a step of faith, as shown in the Bible story of Abraham’s willingness to follow God. “Stepping out in faith is part of the journey of Christian life,” he said, illustrating his point with a recollection of bungee jumping in New Zealand.
He revealed that becoming Chief of the Staff had not been on his “bucket list” but that when the General had asked him to take the appointment, “faith and obedience collided.” He listed some of the many ways in which God continues to bless and use The Salvation Army, and concluded: “I would be crazy not to want to be a part of that!”
After the Peddles’ daughters presented the song “He Giveth More Grace,” the congregation, accompanied by the IHQ staff band, joined in what Peddle described as a song of testimony for everyone present: “In Christ Alone.” The meeting concluded with a benediction by Commissioner Lalzamlova, international secretary for South Asia.