Rader Enrolls 1587 New Soldiers at Victory Rally
by Mark A. Kellner –
A multimedia victory extravaganza marked the debut of 1,587 new Junior and Senior soldiers of the Western Territory on June 6. General and Mrs. Paul A. Rader led the festive event which jammed the Long Beach Convention Center to overflowing.
“You are one in a million,” Mrs. General Kay F. Rader told the new soldiers who, she said, were being counted as “part of the one million Salvationists we are counting on for the next millennium.”
The welcoming of soldiers, a rite usually witnessed only in a corps setting, became an opportunity for worship and praise as missionaries from several countries asked for God’s blessing on the work being done, and as the Concord, Calif., corps band and other artists provided thoughtful music.
Perhaps the greatest tribute of the evening, however, came when a quartet from the Adult Rehabilitation Command launched into a rendition of “I’ve Been Changed,” which led to hundreds of ARC delegates rising to their feet and singing the chorus. Later, many of these same men would stand in dedication or rededication of their lives to Christ at the meeting’s close.
At the heart of the celebration was the swearing-in of soldiers. General Rader, after expounding the message of Psalm 18, exhorted the new Salvationists to be faithful and to seek victory in their lives.
“Our God specializes in things thought impossible,” Rader said. “There is a world yet to be won, and we are working for the salvation of the world.”
He added, “This is a covenant between you and God,” and then invited the new soldiers forward to kneel in prayer. As the center platform, arranged as an eight-pointed star, was lit with yellow lights, red lighting illuminated the delegates at prayer, creating the appearance of a massive Salvation Army flag, hundreds stood in prayer as well. For a Congress devoted to Victory, the addition of nearly 1,600 soldiers–and the commitment of hundreds more–marked a truly victorious start.