Over 500 delegates from across the United States and Canada will convene in Kansas City, MO, between March 10-14 for the National Social Service Conference, according to Lt. Colonel Paul Bollwahn, national social services secretary.
Seventy will represent the West. They seek “to celebrate, promote, shape and advance The Salvation Army’s expression of practical Christian response to human need by sharing ideas and resources and exploring emerging issues and new technologies in human service.”
In inviting the delegates, Commissioner John Busby, national commander, said: “Of significant challenge to us this year is our theme: Building Communities of Hope and Justice. Pope Paul VI said: ‘If you want peace, work for justice.’ He assumed, and our theme assumes, an attitude that incubates hope and a focused strategy that keeps our feet to the fire. Our Salvation Army heritage was built upon working to instill hope and effect justice in neighborhoods and communities.
“The strategy before us,” Busby continued, “is to vision goals and develop strategies in an atmosphere of community partnerships so all can work together for vibrant communities.
Bollwahn added: “Building communities of hope and justice requires finding out what people need and what, through the extension of hope, they are able to achieve with proper support. It requires advocating for openness of opportunity, equality of service, and inclusion in the decision making process. Mostly, however, it involves being there to extend immediate aid and follow up.”
Two topics that, undoubtedly, will receive considerable attention will involve the recent action of President Bush in establishing the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives and the 2002 anticipated actions of Congress involving the reauthorization of the Personal Respon-sibility and Work Opportunity Recon-ciliation Act–welfare reform. One plenary session, organized as a town meeting, will involve the topic Hope, Justice and Welfare Reform.
Ms. Beverly J. Walker, chief of human infrastructure in the office of Chicago’s Mayor Richard Daly, will be the principal speaker. A reaction panel consisting of Margaret Randle, family service administrator for Jackson County, MO, as well as two divisional social service directors, James Muller of Grand Rapids, and Kevin Tomson-Hooper from Philadelphia will trigger discussion from the audience. Western Salvationist Dr. Robert Docter will moderate the town meeting.
A number of other distinguished national figures will address the delegates in additional plenary sessions and a wide-ranging array of workshop topics will provide opportunity for information, inspiration and education.
Several Western delegates will present workshop topics. These include: Major Carol Pontsler, Major Carol Seiler, Major Ron Strickland, Major David Clitheroe, Harold Trujillo, Ann Lichliter, Jesalyn Stanton, Linda Rich, Geir Engøy, Jerry Hill, Steve Allen, Gordon Bingham and Docter.
Delegates will also have the opportunity to visit a number of social service centers within the Kansas City area.