YF Workshops Propose Change
(IHQ news report from Major Robert J. Ward–South Africa)
Anyone wandering around the various workshops would have been excited at the creative participation of forum delegates, all bringing their international perspective to the discussions. Eleven presentations were given by experts from many territories.
They included Captain Anita Brown (USA), Major Lenah Jwili (South Africa), Captain Dick Krommenhoek (The Netherlands), Lt. Colonel Stuart Mungate (Zimbabwe), Major Karunakaro Rao (India), Russell Rook (UK), Captains Geoff and Sandra Ryan (Russia/CIS), Lt. Colonel Brian Tuck (South Africa), Phil Wall (UK), Captain John Wordsworth (New Zealand), and Major Chick Yuill (USA Western).
The delegates attending each session were then subdivided into facilitated workshops. A set of more than 120 recommendations was developed covering a wide range of interests. Some common themes are already developing.
For instance, the delegates have reaffirmed that the ministry of The Salvation Army is to the poor, the weak and the lost. With this in mind, they request that the Army constantly examine its relationship with governments and other public funders in order to insure that this role and the prophetic voice are not compromised.
They urged the Army to commit itself at all levels, officers and soldiers, to the continual development of the family, equipping them to cope with the demands of this age.
The Army is being asked to re-examine some of its traditional views, including those on the sacraments, the requirement that officers may only be married to officers, the officer rank system (everyone a captain?) and the Salvation Army uniform, which delegates feel should be more serviceable and culturally appropriate (e.g. the chalwar/chemise of Pakistan).
The young people also recognized that we are a global Army which requires international networks of communication and other technologies and resources, and the development of youth leaders and pastoral care for officers and their families.
They affirmed that we should be more inclusive and encouraging of various styles and expressions of worship in our meetings, and use a greater range of musical styles (but contemporary is best!) The weapons used by the Army in its spiritual warfare should include the whole range of spiritual gifts (e.g. tongues, healing).
There is no doubt that the delegates want the best for the Army, and want it to be a mighty force for God. They don’t wish to throw all the tradition out, but prefer to see the Army open to new ideas and opportunities. One American delegate observed: “We may beat on the same drum, but we can use different rhythms.”