Silver Stars bestowed at annual banquet

At the annual Silver Star banquet, the second-year cadets honor their parents or spiritual mentors with the presentation of Silver Star pins. Now an international order of The Salvation Army, the Order of the Silver Star began in the U.S. in 1930, when Commander Evangeline Booth created it to honor the mothers of Army officers. Today the Order of the Fellowship of the Silver Star acknowledges the importance to the cadets of the love and guidance of family and mentors—those who, in thankfulness to the Lord, gave their children back to him, as Hannah did with Samuel.

Commissioner Patricia Swyers, territorial president of Women’s Ministries, led the Silver Star banquet, and Cadet Vickie Harvey read the Scripture, 1 Samuel 1:10-20, which tells of Hannah—her hope for a son, her faith in God, and her promise to give her son back to the Lord, “for all the days of his life.” (1 Sam. 1:11)

Cadet Julie Feist delivered the tribute to parents and mentors, thanking them for being role models and stating, “God goes before us, the Holy Spirit directs our steps, and your love supports us.”

Territorial Commander Philip Swyers introduced special guest Commissioner Wilma Maxwell, describing her as “a stick of dynamite for Jesus.” In her address, Comm. Maxwell returned to the story of Hannah, recognizing the difficulty of sacrificing a child to the Lord’s service, but also affirming, “the marriage of The Salvation Army, family and kingdom building can be done if we keep our eyes focused on Jesus.”

She assured parents and mentors that the Lord is with the cadets and will watch over them as they go out to minister to others, quoting the promise of Psalm 91:11, “For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.” Finally, she listed gifts that parents could continue to bestow: their availability, encouragement, understanding and all-embracing love, prayer, the knowledge that they love the Lord, and the gift of joy in that love.

Commissioners Swyers presented the Silver Star pins and certificates, supported by Major Arlene Dooley, secretary of the Fellowship of the Silver Star.
The cadet chorus sang a spirited rendering of “Christ Calls,” under the direction of Duncan Sutton, who also provided piano accompaniment during the Silver Star presentations.

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