Southern California divisional leaders attend prayer breakfast

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Building community and cooperation among the area’s faith-based organizations

by Dawn Wells –

Left to right: Lt. Colonel Victor Leslie, Pastor Rick Warren and Lt. Colonel Rose Marie Leslie

This year, Valentine’s Day was more than chocolate boxes, red roses and sentimental greeting cards. For many Southern California community members and leaders—including several Salvation Army officers and employees—it was also a day of prayer.

More than 1,600 men and women of faith, including public officials, entertainment personalities and community and business leaders, gathered at the Westin Bonaventure in downtown Los Angeles for the 36th Annual Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast.

This year’s keynote speaker was the senior pastor of Saddleback Community Church, Dr. Rick Warren. Some of the VIP guests joining him included Lt. Colonels Victor and Rose Marie Leslie, divisional commanders for the Southern California Division, Bishop Kenneth Ulmer, Police Chief Bill Bratton, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, and Dr. Keith Phillips. The Salvation Army’s Divisional Big Band, led by Bandmaster Kevin Larsson, provided music and was well received by the enthusiastic crowd.

Villaraigosa thanked attendees for their support, and particularly their prayers, crediting them with helping him through several personally and professionally challenging years. Warren followed with a powerful and thought-provoking address on influence, affluence and peace

Recognizing the importance of forming stronger bonds of community among the faith-based organizations of Southern California, the divisional commanders’ presence at the event is leading by example and positioning The Salvation Army at the helm of life-changing non-profits in Los Angeles.

Next year’s event, slated for February 13, will feature keynote speaker Bishop Kenneth C. Ulmer, senior pastor of Faithful Central Bible Church. For more information, visit

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