Prayer Warriors ready for future
Prayer Warriors ready for future
by Robert Docter –
Under a cooling southern California late June cloud cover, 27 Prayer Warriors marched across the Crestmont quad to receive their degrees and begin the a final step to Salvation Army officership.
The largest crowd of assembled guests in recent years gathered on the lawn overlooking the Pacific and celebrated with the graduating cadets who have completed both campus and field seminary studies over the past two years. They were greeted as the cadets sang their session song, especially created by Cadets Peter Pemberton and Michele Josephson with music by Duncan Sutton.
The Chief Secretary, Colonel William Harfoot, presided, and the Territorial Youth Band, led by Bandmaster Neil Smith brought accompanying music.
Following prayer, offered by Major Brian Jones, and words of greetings by Mr. Jim Reeves, Crestmont Council chair, Major Marcia Smith led the congregants in a song of praise and rejoicing, To God be the Glory.
The Territorial Secretary for Women’s Ministries, Commissioner Patricia Swyers, then read Scripture from 1 Peter 5:1-11, and Lt. Colonel David Hudson, territorial secretary for program, delivered the commencement address.
Focusing on Peter’s message addressed “to the elders among you,” Hudson spoke succinctly but powerfully to the soon to be commissioned and ordained cadets. “There is a strong connection between the personal life of the pastor and his ministry,” he stated. Noting that Peter had addressed his listeners as “fellow elders” and identified himself not as an Apostle but as a “fellow elder,” he urged them not to relate to your future congregations from a “position of authority, but as a fellow elder and pastor.”
Using Peter’s words, he emphasized what he described as “imperatives.” The first imperative, he said, is to be shepherds.
“To do this, you must remember you will be working with God’s flock, not your own. Being a shepherd requires you to be willing –not out of a sense of obligation, but out of a desire to fulfill your call; not out of a sense of entitlement, not ‘lording it over the people,’ but with positive and humble attitudes coming from a desire to serve; not thinking of yourself as superior, but as one who relates with love. People will quickly discover from your actions, not your words, whether you love them or not.
“And for the second imperative, Peter moves from the external (being shepherds) to the internal (submission) and urges us to be examples. Scripture tells us (Hebrews 13:17) that ‘we all must obey our leaders and submit to their authority.’ In verse 5 Peter urges us to ‘clothe ourselves with humility toward one another because God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ Only the humble can cast all their anxiety on God. Nothing is more nauseating than an arrogant person.”
Also as an example, Hudson urged the graduating cadets and the audience in general to be self-controlled and stand firm in the faith. “Mother Theresa said: ‘We are not here to be successful; we are here to be faithful,’” Hudson quoted.
“What your people need most in you is not giftedness and personality, but a heart centered in God. I challenge you to be shepherds – to be examples,” he concluded.
Following the commencement address, the Territorial Commander, along with the Training Principal, Major Stephen Smith, presented academic degrees and certificates.
Naming and dedication of two campus buildings
Commissioner Swyers then took the opportunity to name two of the campus buildings in honor of distinguished former leaders in the Western Territory.
The first, the building that houses facilities for the education of the cadets, he named and dedicated to the Western Territory’s first commander, Commissioner Adam Gifford, a dynamic, forward looking person who assumed command with the birth of the territory in 1920. He was the principal organizational strategist during its early development.
Swyers dedicated the second building in honor of two veteran officers whose lifetime of service and commitment to the Army and the people we serve is recognized and revered throughout the entire West. The Chapel now bears the names of Eugene and Hazel Rice.
Following the singing of the final song, Christ is our cornerstone, led by Major Timothy Foley, assistant principal, Cadet Jennifer Perine offered the prayer of benediction.