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by Carol Seiler, Major – 

Families enjoy the pool at the Kroc Center.

Mrs. Joan Kroc’s financial gift is clearly significant. We celebrate the opportunities this marvelous gift will provide for children and families in communities across the country. We also acknowledge and celebrate possibly the more significant gift of trust in The Salvation Army that is now very public. Each of us who identifies with The Salvation Army, even if we are not in a city where a “Kroc Center” will be built, is a “trustee” of this gift.

We are trustees because the values and behaviors that led to a multi-million dollar expression of trust are the same values and behaviors that lead to one dollar or five dollar expressions of trust in the mail, the kettle and the offering plate. And both expressions are impacted by trustworthiness at all levels of this organization. I think there are two key aspects to this gift of trust to be considered.

The first is the importance of consistently “walking the talk.” This needs to be part of our daily petition as Christians—“Lord, be a lamp unto our feet and keep us connected with you in a manner that lights the road, keeps us from straying and never allows us to disdain scrutiny.”

Mrs. Kroc first gave to the Army because she observed that officers, employees and volunteers in San Diego had character. They were trustworthy. They kept their promises, were reliable and followed through with commitments. They were honest both in transparency and in accountability. They did not give in to temptation to cut corners or make promises to gain funds that would be used differently from directed. She knew we could be counted on to spend the gift in the manner she requested.

The trustworthiness of an organization or an individual is built over a lifetime and can be destroyed in a moment. It’s the way individuals live and work that has the most impact on trustworthiness. We don’t know how trustworthy a public figure is who speaks on the evening news, but we sure know about the trust we can place in a co-worker or family member. It’s these almost private actions that can have such public consequences.

Joan Kroc saw in the sum of private and individual actions throughout The Salvation Army that there was trustworthiness. That is awesome and should put us quickly on our knees!

The second aspect of this gift of trust is different although still about trustworthiness. We have been entrusted with her dream, and that should encourage and challenge us. In the June 30, 2002 New Frontier, Joan Kroc was quoted at the dedication of the San Diego Kroc Community Center as saying, “This is a miniature peace center. There are 47 languages spoken in this neighborhood. Here, children will learn of each other—that’s more important than this being a center for recreation.” A dream of peace, of investing in children and youth to impact “peace on Earth” through understanding international relationships—and getting on with each other even when we’re diverse—is a consistent passion of Mrs. Kroc’s philanthropy.

Christmas is not the only season that “owns” the desire for peace on Earth. This gift demonstrates that The Salvation Army is believed to be an organization that cares about, supports, teaches, demonstrates and promotes all that goes into “peace.” The implication of this is that the Army understands at least three key elements of peace.

One element is internal and individual peace—the kind that comes from knowing the “peace that passes understanding,” knowing Christ. A second element is the peace where there is conviction and hope that situations can change—the kind that anchors those in recovery, or those fighting poverty or betrayal. A third element is peace as the absence of hate—the kind that refuses to despise and condemn those who are different from us—the kind that is essential to “learn of each other” in a miniature peace center.
This gift should be very convicting. May each of us who make up the sum of this movement called The Salvation Army be trustworthy today and tomorrow and the next day.

Joan Kroc 1928-2003

Joan Kroc 1928-2003

Joan Kroc 1928-2003 Joan Kroc emerged from modest beginnings to become a leading

She forced us to dream big

She forced us to dream big

by Linda Bond, Commissioner –  It was the Martin Luther King Jr

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