Luttrells, Sathers Welcomed in New Positions
GREETINGS–Commissioners Doreen and David Edwards (center) welcomed (l-r) Colonels Bill and Gwen Luttrell and Colonels Esther and Donald Sather to their new appointments during recent ceremonies at Tustin Ranch Corps.
By Robert Docter –
In the midst of an El Niño onslaught, a near capacity audience of officers and soldiers from throughout Southern California assembled at the Tustin Ranch Corps to welcome two couples native to the West to territorial leadership positions.
Commissioners David and Doreen Edwards installed Colonel Bill Luttrell as Chief Secretary and Colonel Gwen Luttrell as Territorial Secretary for Women’s Organizations. Just prior to welcoming Lt. Colonels Donald and Esther Sather as the West’s Personnel Secretary and Women’s Ministries Secretary, Edwards surprised the couple and the audience by notifying them publicly that the General had seen fit to promote them to the rank of full Colonel.
A joyous sense of “victory” filled the auditorium as Edwards led the service in singing and praise to God. In welcoming the Sathers he noted that “they are special people to this territory–as children of the regiment whose parents were held in high esteem, they have grown and served well. They will make significant impacts on these positions just as they have impacted in their prior appointments.
In response to the welcoming comments by Lt. Colonel Carolyn Peacock, Sather recalled that they were following in the footsteps of some of the great servants of Christ who had served in this role through the history of the territory. “People are the Army’s business,” he said. “I want to follow as well in the footsteps of Christ as we assume these responsibilities. We ask for your prayers.”
A specially prepared video introduced the audience to the Luttrells’ careers in service to God and the Army. Assembled before the flags, Edwards stated: “We rejoice that the Luttrells will share in the leadership and direction of the Western Territory.” He challenged his new chief operating officer to maintain commitment to the Word of God; to the Army’s flag as a symbol of Christ’s blood and the sanctification of the Holy Spirit; and to the mercy seat, where the lost are saved and where disciples are filled with the Holy Spirit. He challenged both by reminding them that: “You are called to service in the name of Jesus Christ. I charge you to preach the word and uphold the principles of the Army. Stand by the flag and minister to those in need.” He then invited them to kneel at the Holiness table as he prayed for them and the Army.
As the installation concluded, their two daughters, Laura Luttrell Boyer of Honolulu and Sharon Schulze, currently residing in Chicago, made a surprise appearance with Laura’s children. Laura blessed the audience with a rendition of Take My Life and Let It Be-Fully Consecrated Lord to Thee.
In responding, Gwen Luttrell began with her favorite greeting: “Hallelujah.” She then noted the delight she has in service to God–in the music and the singing–of the appearance of their daughters and grandchildren, and in the welcome extended to the Sathers. “God delights in my delights. My lifelong fellowship has brought me joy and delight in the Lord.” She saluted the great body of officers and soldiers who had impacted her life. “I delight in Godly people and the kind of influences they have made on my life,” she said. “I delight in the experiences of my life: my officership, my family and friends. I delight in the opportunities God has given me to share Christ, and I delight in our new responsibilities, where we are challenged to hold a vision for the lost and empowered to be and do the mission of the Army.”
In his message, Luttrell moved easily into an informal relationship with the audience as he walked about the front of the auditorium and the stage. Drawing on verses from Colossians 3, he stated: “We need to make personal commitments to God to achieve what he wants us to do. We need to put our beliefs into practice in our daily lives.” He noted that we do what is expected of us in the work place, in the corps, and then go home and live our lives.
“We need to think more deeply about Christian living, not as a list of rights and wrongs–but as doing what Christ leads us to do. God expects us to be obedient.” He drew on his own background and told how he came to the Army as one of a family of nine children with very little insight into Christian principles. A neighbor in Greeley, Colo., invited him to Sunday school, and at the age of nine, he gave his heart to the Lord. “I saw a relationship with Christ being lived out in the officers and soldiers of that small, storefront corps. God still does that kind of work through the Army. But when Christians are out of tune or out of step with God, the world is filled with disharmony. “We must do whatever we do in honor of God and seek to rescue the lost. My prayer is that the values, priorities and visions of Bill and Gwen Luttrell will come from the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and that men and women will come into a relationship with him.”
Luttrell was commissioned a Salvation Army officer 40 years ago. Both he and his wife have degrees in sociology
The Sierra Del Mar Officers Chorus, under the leadership of Major Diane O’Brien, and the Tustin Ranch Band, led by Bandmaster Ed Freeman, provided music for the evening, along with Bandmaster Ivor Bosanko.