The General’s pastoral letters
Office of the General to launch pastoral letters dispatched electronically to soldiers.
March 2007 will see the General initiating a huge step forward in mass communications within The Salvation Army, in a move that will strengthen the pastoral role of the office of the General.
For a very brief period in the earliest days of The Salvation Army the first General, William Booth, had a luxury no subsequent General has enjoyed: the facility to communicate directly with his soldiers through The War Cry, published in the UK, where at that time all the Army’s soldiers were found. However, that situation lasted for just a few short months before the geographical spread of the Army—first to the USA and then to Ireland, France, Canada, India, Switzerland, Sweden and all points north, south, east and west—meant that most of his soldiers were out of easy reach.
More than 120 years and 17 Generals later, advances in technology have now made it possible for the General again to communicate directly and virtually instantaneously with his soldiers, wherever in the world they are. General Clifton intends to do that through periodic pastoral letters that will be distributed electronically.
During the Lenten period leading to Easter, the General will write the first such pastoral letter which will be sent to every soldier, anywhere in the world, who provides International Headquarters with his or her email address. The pastoral letter will also be published on a new web page dedicated to the office of the General, enabling soldiers to read it on screen or print it out from their home computer, or in such places as internet cafés. The General’s web page can be viewed at https://www.salvationarmy.org/thegeneral.
To meet the needs of soldiers without access to electronic communications the pastoral letters will also be distributed in ways appropriate to local circumstances.
The letters—offering spiritual guidance reflecting the General’s pastoral role as the Army’s international leader—will be published in a number of languages. The intention is that every soldier will have access to a copy in a language he or she understands. The letters will be published several times a year.
Those wishing to register their email address with a view to receiving the General’s pastoral letter as an email should sign up: by logging on to www.salvationarmy.org/thegeneral or by emailing their address to IHQ-Website@salvationarmy.org or by sending their email address by post to Communications Section, The Salvation Army IHQ, 101 Queen Victoria Street, London EC4P 4EP, United Kingdom.
Report by the Communications Secretary International Headquarters