By Karen Gleason –
“Without you, we wouldn’t be here,” said Commissioner Jolene K. Hodder, Territorial President of Women’s Ministries, at the Service of Appointments during Commissioning weekend.
She was speaking to members of the Fellowship of the Silver Star, those individuals—be they parents or mentors—who shaped the spiritual lives of Salvation Army officers.
Hodder asked them to stand, and said: “It is because of your faith that we are literally sending people all over the world to share the love of God.”
Each year the Western Territory honors new members of the Fellowship at the Silver Star Banquet, held this year at the Pasadena Convention Center on June 8. Honorees receive a certificate of membership, a Silver Star pin, welcome letter from the Territorial President of Women’s Ministries, a small gift and the Silver Star devotional book.
Major Pamilla Brackenbury, Director of Campus Services at the College for Officer Training (CFOT), welcomed banquet guests and Colonel Colleen Riley, Territorial Secretary for Women’s Ministries, gave the invocation. As Lt. Colonel Helen Starrett prepared to lead the song “Great is Thy Faithfulness,” she noted its appropriateness.
“There are hundreds of years of service represented in this room, and hundreds more to come,” she said.
Representing her session, Cadet Kailah Kim presented a tribute to the Silver Star honorees. She said she felt “a sense of familiarity” as she observed them; they looked “like family and friends I haven’t seen in a long time… I recognize the spiritual mannerisms and habits that your children have received from you.”
She thanked parents and mentors both for their active teaching and for their behavior when they may have thought no one was looking.
“It is when you thought no one saw, when no one noticed, you laid yourself bare and vulnerable before God,” she said. “We saw. We noticed.”
After Kim’s tribute, the Messengers of the Gospel Session sang “Somebody Prayed For Me,” led by Erin Riesebieter.
“God provided a star for each of us,” Hodder said in her message, entitled “The Gospel in the Stars.”
“God sent someone…whose light was bright. He sent someone whose love was real. He sent someone whose faith was so compelling that we found ourselves trusting that star to lead us to Christ.”
She encouraged any seekers present to look for the star God has placed in their life, that person whose “spiritual light burns bright, whose love is real, whose faith has caught your attention more than once.”
At their individual tables, the cadets received ample time to “pin” their parents or mentors, to read their letters to them and to present the Silver Star certificates. For those cadets whose loved ones are deceased, their divisional leader offered a white rose of remembrance, as Brackenbury read their names.
After Territorial Commander Commissioner Kenneth G. Hodder gave a prayer of dedication and Chief Secretary Colonel Douglas Riley led the song “How Great Thou Art,” the banquet concluded with a benediction by CFOT Principal Major Brian Saunders.