Highlights include a new logo, new vision statement and the call to “do a new thing.”
A “Reimagining” launch event for The Salvation Army International Women’s Ministries that took place Feb. 12 at International Headquarters in London combined video clips, music and live speakers, all designed to spread the message that—in the words of Commissioner Rosalie Peddle (World President of Women’s Ministries)—‘“the breadth and reach of Women’s Ministries is limited only by our vision and our willingness to step out in faith to make a difference in the lives of women and girls today.”
Commissioner Bronwyn Buckingham (World Secretary of Women’s Ministries) opened the gathering with a welcome and a prayer. She acknowledged special guests, including former World President of Women’s Ministries Commissioner Freda Larsson and a community partner from the Church of England, Bev Julien (Chief Executive of the Mothers’ Union).
The event was punctuated by five videos, each showing a different example of Salvation Army ministry for and by women. Footage from Kenya celebrated the impact of the Worth microcredit program; the women of the India Central Territory were shown engaged in care for the environment; in Brazil, an information technology training program for immigrants was highlighted; an Australian Salvationist shared how she has accepted the responsibility of ‘being’ The Salvation Army where she is through a fitness group; and, in the U.K., women who have escaped violent relationships shared how vital it has been to receive support from the TLC drop-in cafe at their local Salvation Army.
Commissioner Eva Kleman (Zonal Secretary for Women’s Ministries, Europe Zone) spoke about “Time to be Holy,” the first of five new Bible study series. “It is our hope that these Bible study series will be resources for spiritual development and growth designed to be revisited and shared throughout the years to come,” she said.
General Brian Peddle helped launch new Women’s Ministries Facebook, Twitter and Instagram channels, which he did by taking a selfie with the congregation and posting it straight to his Twitter feed.
“We know from God’s Word the familiar call of Christ to go into all the world and preach the good news,” the General said. “Times have changed and, thanks to technology, so have the methods by which we can connect and accomplish this great commission.”
A significant moment was the launching of a new International Women’s Ministries Vision Statement. Rosalie Peddle acknowledged that “this has not been the work of the women of IHQ alone, but has included women from around the world,” and she shared the statement, with each sentence expanded upon by a member of the IHQ Women’s Forum.
“We envision women who are:
Transformed and empowered by the gospel to lead a Christlike life;
Enriched mutually through local and global connections and support;
Equipped to fulfil their potential through lifelong learning and development;
Engaged in social justice and action to positively impact the world.”
The Chief of the Staff (Commissioner Lyndon Buckingham) offered a prayer, thanking God for inspiring and guiding this visioning process.
Rosalie Peddle spoke again, explaining how reimagining The Salvation Army Women’s Ministries increases the potential to reach more women and girls in Christ’s name. She referred to Isaiah 43:19 as the inspiration for “reimagining” as the defining point for Women’s Ministries.
“I want to challenge all women leaders around the Salvation Army world —and this includes officers, soldiers and friends—to reimagine Women’s Ministries in their own contexts, to discover what new things we can be doing to speak into and overcome the challenges that women and girls face in our world today,” she said. “I don’t want us to be confined by our celebrated history or traditions or any beliefs that Women’s Ministries must fit a specific format or look a certain way.”
This led to the next “new thing”—a logo for International Women’s Ministries, created by IHQ designer Jooles Tostevin-Hobbs.
“The aim of this reimagined logo is to bring light, life and a freedom of spirit to all women around the world, where thoughts, actions, and morals are, as they have always been, concentrated on the Bible and its universal message,” the Commissioner said. The five zones in which The Salvation Army ministers are identified by five birds emerging from the sun and the world, which are represented as one.
“These elements are designed to inspire women from any culture or background that at the dawning of each day, they are encouraged to unite as one voice and one body, where God’s love is always at the very center of their being and lived out in their communities and relationships.
“God is calling us to be men and women of courage as we engage in his mission today,” she concluded. “May we see the needs of women and girls around our communities through his eyes, and may we be moved with his love and compassion that we have no other choice but to ‘Do something!’ and ‘Do it now!’…So, let’s be bold in our faith, let’s be purposeful in our action, so that our ministry to women and girls will see even greater things.”
After the meeting, the congregation could observe a new photographic exhibition in Gallery 101, adjacent to IHQ’s public cafe, which features examples of Women’s Ministries from around the world. Most of the content is the result of a “Reimagining” photographic competition launched at the end of 2019 and includes examples of Salvation Army ministry in 23 countries, including Poland, Kuwait, Bolivia, Papua New Guinea and India’s Andaman Islands. The winning photo, by Jean Baptiste Nkuruziza, shows Major Marie Grace Nsengiyaremye giving porridge to a young child in a village in Rwanda as part of a Women’s Ministries nutrition awareness program.
Online viewers watched the live stream of the event from around 1,200 locations, with some Salvation Army headquarters and centers—including in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka—showing the event on large screens.
From a report by Kevin Sims