Servant Leaders Enter Honored Retirement
Commissioners Peter and Grace Chang
Commissioners Peter H. and Grace Chang are Christian leaders of unquestioned spiritual integrity–known for their honesty, consistency and adherence to the highest standards of Salvationism. To complete 37 years of ministry with that reputation among those who have known one so well is an achievement in itself. Over the years they have garnered a reputation for spiritual maturity, clarity of judgment and transparency of character.
Their academic credentials are impressive. Peter is competent in Hebrew, Greek, Chinese, Japanese, Korean and English. He graduated from the Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Seoul, Korea, then took a Master of Sacred Theology degree from Union Theological Seminary in New York and a further Master’s in Education at Columbia University while on the staff of the School for Officer Training in New York. He was well along toward completing a doctorate when a change of appointment made it necessary to defer further formal study.
Commissioner Peter Chang was trained at the International Training College at Denmark Hill in London. He was invited to stay on an additional year to serve as a Cadet Sergeant before returning to Korea to take up an appointment on the training staff. That was fortunate for the Raders, who arrived in Korea soon after and were appointed to the Training College. Within six months of her commissioning, however, he was married to Lieutenant Grace Chung and they were appointed as corps officers in Seoul.
Grace Chung was recruited for the Army while a student at Seoul National University College of Music. She was invited to sing in the National Songsters that were then under the direction of Lieutenant Peter Chang. She comes from an outstanding family. She completed her degree studies at the most prestigious of Korean universities before entering the Officer Training College in Seoul in 1960. She was commissioned in 1962.
Though Grace is well known for the plangent quality of her well-trained soprano voice, not everyone is aware of her husband’s musical ability. Peter Chang played string bass with the Korea Broadcasting Company Symphony, touring Asia with the orchestra, before entering training. He and Grace must have been the first officers in Korea to have had a symphonic ensemble play at their wedding.
Commissioners Peter and Grace Chang were the first missionary officers to be regularly appointed from Korea to another Asian territory, when they were assigned as training officers in Singapore. They later served in Hong Kong, at IHQ in the UK, in the USA East and West. Everywhere they have served with distinction. The Changs have gained a reputation for visionary leadership and a straightforward and evenhanded style of administration. They share a marvelous sense of humor. Their winning smiles and generous laugh are trademarks. But they are no-nonsense leaders when the occasion requires it, who evidence strength of character and purpose.
The loss of their gifted son, John, in a tragic auto accident, while Chang was serving in London as undersecretary for the South Pacific and East Asia, dealt them a devastating blow as a family. John was a brilliant student with a bright future before him in his chosen field of medicine. His death left wounds, the pain of which is known only to God, but their faith was deepened and tempered in sorrow, giving them a tenderness of spirit that has brought hope and comfort to many.
Commissioner Peter Chang is an able communicator of the Word of God, gifted with unique insight into Biblical truth, informed by his careful scholarship and the depth and intimacy of his own relationship with Christ.
Korean Salvationists responded enthusiastically to their leadership when they returned to take command of their home territory in 1991. Growth exploded and a record number of officer cadets responded to the challenges of an advancing Army. Bold measures were undertaken to strengthen the financial base of the territory. Commissioner Grace Chang poured high energy and imagination into the work of the women’s organizations throughout Korea and they burgeoned under her leadership. She demonstrated her capacity as a strong and confident leader, possessed of clear and firmly held opinions. Beyond her responsibilities for the leadership of women’s organizations, Commissioner Grace Chang demonstrated her leadership gifts in overseeing a major construction project while they were territorial leaders in Korea. Wherever they have served, her singing has been an inspiring expression of her own deep love for Christ. One might also observe that she is a gifted floral arranger, seamstress and interior decorator, who is also a competent gourmet cook.
After the decision of the High Council in July 1994, while they were reveling in the challenges of their leadership roles in Korea, it was clear that they were uniquely qualified to respond to the leadership challenges of the growing Western Territory. Peter had been a part of the original vision for MISSION2000. With the West looking out to the Pacific more and more, they brought a fresh internationalist perspective to the opportunities for growth and the priority of a multiethnic approach to the Army’s mission in a region so diverse.
As territorial commander, he quickly took bold decisions that contributed to the strengthening of the territory’s fiscal platform for growth. The creation of two new divisions has led to accelerated advance and expanded opportunities for service. Additional opportunities for overseas service have been provided to both officer and lay personnel, making the West a major player in forwarding the Army’s international mission, on the growing edge of strategic advance in Eastern and Central Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia and Africa. Meantime, under their leadership, the territory attained new heights in self-denial giving, contributing importantly to the ability of International Headquarters to respond to the unique challenges of the hour.
As they now enter into honored retirement, we salute them for their spiritual devotion, and their loyalty to the spirit and mission of the Army to which they have dedicated their lives and service. We thank God for their achievements, their friendship and the inspiration of their example.
General Paul A. Rader
Mrs. General Kay F. Rader
International Headquarters, London
From my first Sunday in Korea to this very moment, I have only deep respect for Commissioner Peter Chang. Peter was a seminary student when I arrived, and he was the Songster Leader at the corps to which I was appointed. We have been great friends as well as colleagues during these 40 years.
When Grace joined the Army and later joined up with Peter in marriage, it was a perfect combination, and their joint ministry in the various countries where they have served has been greatly appreciated.
We have shared each other’s sorrows and rejoiced with each other’s achievements. I have been tremendously blessed to have them as friends and counselors through the years, and I join with their many comrades throughout the world in giving them the full salute as they move into honored retirement.
Colonel Fred Ruth
Secretary for Personnel
As third-generation officers of The Salvation Army, Commissioners Peter H. and Grace Chang have fought a good fight, have finished their course, and have kept the faith, so I really would like to offer congratulations on their retirement. They are leaders greatly admired in the Korea Territory, whose powerful influence and vision for the future, coupled with Christian love, has been a significant factor in the growth and development of the Korea Territory.
Colonel Lee, Sung-duk
Perhaps the greatest impact and contribution by Commissioners Peter H. and Grace Chang to my life and the Korea Territory is their faithful and enthusiastic motivation for people to achieve greater personal goals for the Kingdom.
The Korea Territory has been significantly blessed by the leadership of Commissioners Peter and Grace Chang through their tenacity in encouraging all to be victorious in their Christian living. Their leadership qualities continue to be remembered with encouragement by many officers and soldiers. Their influence continues to radiate through the Territory.
Lieut.-Colonel Kim, Joon-chul
Secretary for Program
Commissioners Peter H. and Grace Chang have served The Salvation Army in many countries for 37 years and have contributed to the development of the organization in quantity and quality. They have shown enthusiasm, vision in education, preaching, administration, in serving God.
We cannot forget their humor, smile, love, humility, power, commitment and Christian life during their service given in the Korea Territory.
Commissioners Peter H. and Grace Chang gave impetus to the Territory through their sound theology, writing, teaching of holiness, and being administrators, evangelists and parents.
Lieut.-Colonel Park, Dal-yong
Lieut.-Colonel Song, Yung-sook
Director of Special Service
Officer Training College
My wife and I are privileged to join thousands of Salvationists across America and in other parts of the world in paying tribute to Commissioners Peter and Grace Chang. While they will enter honored retirement at the end of June, they will continue to have a very active and fruitful ministry to people. We know them as good friends and respected servant-leaders and thank God for their many years of faithful service.
Commissioner Robert A. Watson
When I heard of the appointment of Commissioners Peter and Grace Chang (to the USA West Territory), I phoned them in their home in Korea. I thought I had calculated the time change…I hadn’t! It was 4 a.m. Yet, the response was the same –gentle, warm and personable–as if it had been mid-day. The response was not surprising, for they were both friends from years back. But it seemed the very epitome of the character and nature of all his relationships during his appointment as Territorial Commander. It was evidence of the true Christian experience at the heart of the Commissioner, and all who had dealings with him shared it.
Colonel John M. Bate
Commissioners Peter and Grace Chang are two of God’s choice servant-leaders who have lived the Gospel imperative to “Go into all the world and make disciples,” serving faithfully with an indomitable spirit that has encouraged and inspired Salvationists on three continents to greater commitment to the cause of Christ.
Commissioner Ronald G. Irwin
I have certainly enjoyed my working relationship with them at Commissioners’ Conference and other Army activities. Commissioners Peter and Grace Chang are the epitome of dignity, grace and charm. Their winsome way and smile express the joy of committed Christian service. I am grateful for the opportunity to have served with them and benefited from their wise and helpful counsel.
Harold D. Hinson
I count it a privilege to have had the opportunity to serve with Commissioners Peter and Grace Chang in the West while they were at the College for Officer Training. I worked very closely with them while they were at the school and found them to be very skilled and dedicated in that very important position.
In addition, I have served with Commissioner Peter Chang on the Commis-sioner’s Confer-ence for the last three years, and value the knowledge, perception and strength that he brings to that particular group.
Commissioner Kenneth Hood