Commencement ceremonies held at Crestmont campus.
Lt. Colonel Donald Bell addresses the Visionaries Session of cadets.
Salvationists, families and friends gathered on the broad lawn at the College for Officer Training, as the Visionaries Session of cadets—resplendent in blue dress uniform—marched in smartly, taking their place at the front of the crowd as commencement ceremonies began. Marching with them were the cadets of the Heralds of the Good News Session.
It was the first event in a weekend filled with celebration—three special days that brought to conclusion two years of studies and marked the beginning of active officership.
Major Donald Hostetler, training principal, warmly greeted the crowd and Major Arvilla Hostetler, campus services director, opened the meeting with prayer.
Guests Commissioners Earle and Wilma Maxwell were introduced by James Reeves, chair, Crestmont Council.
Commencement speaker Lt. Colonel Donald Bell, chief secretary, addressed the cadets: “Visionaries—we have asked the Lord of the harvest for workers, and on Sunday you will be sent to your first appointment as officers, workers in his harvest field.
“As you leave this protected place, each one of you will become uniquely connected to a network of lost people, who will constitute your calling,” he said. “If your ministry is to bear fruit, if you want to make a difference in your community, it will be because indifference has been replaced by love and concern.”
Bell reminded the cadets that they were to be citizens of a different place. “The ways of God’s kingdom run counter to the ways of our world,” he said. “It instructs us how to think, how to go about our ministry, how to raise children, how to use our time and money—it even tells us how to relate to our enemies…every action, every attitude should be a statement to the world that there is a better way to live.”
Emphasizing the importance of incarnational living, he told the Visionaries that living as worthy citizens is essential to the Army’s mission. “People need to see the gospel lived out if they are to truly comprehend it.”
He also encouraged the cadets to “go to your appointment as if it were your appointment for life.” He admitted, “Of course, it probably won’t be. But it will be an appointment you will never forget.”
Commissioner Philip Swyers, territorial commander, presented certificates and 12 academic degrees to the Visionaries.
Cadet Daisy Darnell was the Visionaries’ session speaker.
The session song, “Catch the Vision,” (words by Lt. Colonel Diane O’Brien, music by Duncan Sutton) was sung by the College for Officer Training Chorus.