Parents and mentors honored at Silver Star Banquet
Annual event recognizes those who influence and support the Messengers of Light session.
By Karen Gleason –
The Western Territory’s second-year cadets paid tribute to their parents and mentors at the annual Fellowship of the Silver Star Banquet May 10 at the College for Officer Training (CFOT) at Crestmont.
Commissioner Carolyn Knaggs, territorial president of women’s ministries, led the meeting. After her greeting and the invocation by CFOT Principal Major Brian Saunders, the Joyful Intercessors Session—the first-year cadets—served lunch to the Messenges of Light Session and their guests.
Cadet Brandon Kyle spoke for the Messengers, thanking his parents and in-laws for the love they demonstrated not only to him and his wife but also to others.
“Our parents have shown us the importance of family, of loving generously and deeply…Most of all we are thankful for the God who has given our family purpose, and a God who still shows us what family means—to love.”
Kyle referenced Romans 13:8-10, which concludes, Love other people as well as you do yourself. You can’t go wrong when you love others. When you add up everything in the law code, the sum total is love (MSG).
“I pray you each may experience God’s love, a love that extends to our family and friends and stretches out to anyone we may meet,” Kyle said.
In her message, Lt. Colonel Shelley Hill, Fellowship of the Silver Star secretary, recalled the time when 12-year-old Jesus became separated from his parents on the road from Jerusalem to Nazareth (Luke 2:41-52).
Perhaps the guests could relate to the anxiety Joseph and Mary must have felt, Hill suggested.
Although Jesus had strayed from the path they traveled, he acted from his ultimate desire “to be obedient to the call of God on his life…Silver Star recipients, your children, or mentoree, have that same impulse driving them. They seek to be obedient to God—to be his light in this world.”
As Jesus matured, Luke 2:52 says: [He] grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man. Hill noted that the cadets, during their time of preparation at CFOT, have also grown in these areas.
She told parents: “Your child is all grown up and positioned to do God’s work…You did well….Enjoy the moment, as you encourage your kids to be the light in this dark world. They are the Messengers of Light.”
At their tables, the cadets “pinned” their honorees, affixing the Fellowship of the Silver Star pin to their loved ones’ lapels. They read aloud letters they had written; many shedding tears as they read while those listening teared up as well. The new members of the Order also received official Silver Star certificates.
“We’re very proud that she’s followed God’s calling in her life,” said Major Doreen Freeman, speaking of her daughter, Cadet Stephanie Pavlakis, a seventh-generation Salvationist. “We saw it a long time ago and it’s amazing that she saw it for herself and didn’t do this just because of us.”
Cadets thinking of deceased loved ones received a porcelain rose of remembrance, and Territorial Commander Commissioner James Knaggs offered a prayer of dedication. “We celebrate these extraordinary people who have influenced our lives, who have shown us the light…who have equipped us to follow you,” Knaggs prayed. “We celebrate this, Father, not because we’re great, but because you are.”
During the program, Erin Riesebieter led a cadet ensemble in a powerful performance of “Somebody Prayed for Me.” Everyone sang “God’s Love to Me is Wonderful” and “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee,” led respectively by Commissioner Carolyn Knaggs and Colonel Colleen Riley, territorial secretary for women’s ministries. Colonel Douglas Riley, territorial chief secretary, gave the benediction.
Originally named the Order of the Silver Star, the Fellowship of the Silver Star began in 1930, by General Evangeline Booth during her time as National Commander of The Salvation Army in the U.S. In 1936 the Order became international. At today’s banquet, 85 individuals became members, increasing total membership in the Western Territory to about 800.
Read the full speeches by Lt. Colonel Shelley Hill and Cadet Brandon Kyle.