Soldiers stand for Christ in Southern California

Rally unites Salvationists for inspiration and challenge.

by Gordon Bingham –

The Tustin Ranch praise and worship group leads the crowd in song. [Photo by Bob Louangamath]

Stirring music, provocative drama, enthusiastic testimony and challenging preaching were the order of the day, as 687 officers, soldiers and friends of the Southern California Division convened for a Sunday afternoon “Blood and Fire” soldiers’ rally at the Los Angeles Central Corps in downtown Los Angeles.

The theme was, “We are an Army… for Christ Alone,” expressed in the challenge brought by Divisional Commander Lt. Colonel Victor Leslie, and echoed in the chorus, “I’ll stand, I’ll stand for Christ alone.”

The rally reached back to the earliest years of the Army for the opening song, “Joy in The Salvation Army,” accompanied by the California Brass in an upbeat and contemporary setting. There was joy aplenty in the worship led by the Tustin Ranch Praise and Worship Team and in the music of the Pasadena Tabernacle Songsters and the California Brass.

Youth of the Santa Monica Corps presented a short drama, “The Bread of Life” that encouraged all present to share Christ in simple giving of themselves and their truth to others. A second drama, “Divide and Conquer,” presented by youth of the Long Beach Corps, called believers to unity and singleness of purpose.

In his message, Leslie challenged the audience to a full and enthusiastic commitment to Christ. He paused in his remarks to call upon Chaplain Joseph Moore of the Bell Shelter Outpost who gave a spontaneous testimony to God’s saving grace through 19 years of sobriety. Leslie further punctuated his theme with the presentation of the “Distinguished Junior Soldier Award” to Aslin Gomez of the San Pedro Corps, and the “Distinguished Senior Soldier Award” to Donald Hindsman of the Oxnard Corps. These, while exemplary soldiers in their own right, were representatives, he said, of all the soldiers of the division who regularly give of themselves and their resources to the work of Christ’s kingdom through the Army.

The climax of the afternoon was the Pasadena Tabernacle Songsters’ presentation of “In the Army,” with the audience joining once again in the refrain, “I will stand for Christ alone.” Songster Leader Martin Hunt exhorted all to return to their home corps, and to present themselves to their corps officer with the declaration, “I’m a soldier, reporting for duty.”

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