The Chief of the Staff
Commissioners Earle, Wilma Maxwell Conclude Historic Visit; Army Leaders Tour West With Depth of Spirituality
By Robert L. Docter –
The Army’s Chief of the Staff Commissioner Earle A. Maxwell concluded a “busy but blessed” time in the USA Western Territory with a number of speaking engagements in the San Francisco Bay area and Los Angeles. After hearing reports from each of the command heads, divisional commanders and the territorial commander, Commissioner Peter H. Chang, he pronounced the health of the territory sound. Maxwell was accompanied by his wife, Commissioner Wilma Maxwell, world secretary of women’s organizations and world president of Salvation Army Guides and Guards.
“The informative aspects of my visit were very helpful and confirmed for me the expectations I had on arrival concerning the Army’s work here in the West,” Maxwell said.
In the San Francisco Bay area, the Maxwells participated in a United Bay Area meeting at the Oakland Citadel, co-hosted by the Golden State and Del Oro Divisions and attended by nearly 700. They also toured the Gateway transitional housing for homeless families, and visited the Silvercrest Residence for seniors. A highlight was seeing the Senior Meals and Activities Program, where 1700 meals were being prepared for delivery to 30 sites in the city. Maxwell was particularly impressed by the size of the kitchen and the PREP earthquake preparedness program.
While in Southern California, they visited a number of facilities and programs and brought Easter greetings to families, youth, seniors and the homeless. In an ethnic ministries rally simultaneous translations were provided for four different groups: Spanish, Korean, Chinese and Laotian. This rally brought close to 800 people together in the Congress Hall according to Captain Paul Seiler, general secretary. Maxwell enrolled 200 soldiers during the service.
Later in his visit he addressed the largest gathering of ARC residents in the history of the territory.
The warmth and friendliness of the tall, gregarious Australian were evident everywhere he went during the six days he spent in the Territory. During an interview with New Frontier he expressed pleasure with the growth in the ethnic related ministries here in the West and hope that they soon would be able to become more self-supporting.
In examining global concerns he noted with evident passion that some challenges, if not addressed, will simply relegate us to the status of a respectable church. He noted that one denomination had discovered that “while it spoke its founder’s language, it did not articulate his faith.” The Army must remain both contemporary and true to the Founder’s vision.
On several occasions during his visit Maxwell evidenced his interest in youth and spoke with excitement concerning the recently announced International Youth Forum which he believes will prove to be one of the great forward movements of the Army and its relationship with the next generation. It will be the intent of the Forum to establish a dialog with youth-a two-way process of communication which will involve Army leadership both listening and speaking. The limited attendance will make it possible for all in attendance to speak and be heard.
The agenda for the Forum has grown from topics submitted by youth, Maxwell noted he would like to see young people given opportunities to meet in a similar fashion with the Territorial Cabinet at least once a year. We must communicate and establish rapport with young people so that they will not only belong to the Army but also be committed to its goals,” he said.
Maxwell also emphasized the great interest expressed by Rader to examine the Army’s relationship with the United Nations and test the possibility of expanding the Army’s role in this area. In this regard, Lt. Colonel John Major, a New Zealand officer, has recently been appointed as the Army liaison with the international body and will be charged with responsibility to initiate the process.