The Salvation Army challenges Nashville’s views on homelessness

The Salvation Army challenges Nashville’s views on homelessness

By: David Ibata

A local honky tonk owner got so frustrated with the presence of homeless people in downtown Nashville, Tennessee, he ] produced and distributed a video showing them sleeping on stoops and begging in the streets. Tourists, a narrator says gravely, “come from across the globe to see what everyone is talking about, but when they get here, this is what they will remember.”

City leaders got the message. The Nashville Metro Council this spring debated a bill that would ban panhandling at bus stops, sidewalk cafes, day care centers and schools; near banks, ATMs and business entrances; and along certain streets popular with visitors.

Major Ethan Frizzell, area commander of The Salvation Army, is taking a different approach. On May 31 at Schermerhorn Symphony Center, he announced the #90 Day Challenge to address chronic homelessness through engagement and street-level case management in the Nashville Downtown District.

Speakers included Commissioner Danielle Barnes of the Tennessee State Department of Human Services; Commander Gordon Howey of the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department; local business people, and Nat Kendall-Taylor, CEO of the Frameworks Institute, a national think tank.

Walker Mathews, an advisory board member, and his wife Renée presented a $50,000 check to support the addition of a Salvation Army case manager for the #90 Day Challenge.

The Nashville Area Command also has partnered with The Contributor, a newspaper sold by homeless and formerly homeless residents. Major Frizzell has committed to writing a twice-monthly column, and the Army helps pay for its placement in the paper.

“Two of our donors asked if we were familiar with their work,” Major Frizzell said. “Did I see The Contributor as an asset, a positive nudge to employment, or was it panhandling?”

Major Frizzell met with Cathy Jennings, The Contributor’s volunteer executive director – its staff, except for the freelancers who write the stories, work without pay – and came away impressed.

“I’m challenging poverty bias both in language and experience in Nashville, and I thought The Contributor would be a wonderful place to challenge the community and use behavioral insights to create improvement,” he said. “Where better to have a conversation about alleviating poverty than in a newspaper of microentrepreneurs, bought by people who support these micro-entrepreneurs?”

Started in 2009 as a nonprofit social enterprise, The Contributor comes out every other week. The papers are sold by independent vendors who are trained and receive a yellow badge and 10 free copies to start out. Each vendor purchases his or her papers at 50 cents a copy and sells them for $2 apiece, the difference being theirs to keep.

More than 3,200 vendors have sold in excess of 6 million copies of The Contributor over the last 10 years, generating more than $15 million in income for themselves. Seventy percent of those selling The Contributor for at least six months have obtained housing, the organization says.

Jennings said she and the major “both feel people who live in our communities without homes are still our neighbors. All our quality of life is bound together. We rise together, we fall together, we can’t be separated.”

“We publish a newspaper, and that paper has all sorts of purposes,” Jennings said. “It’s a real newspaper. We have people write stories for us. Some of our vendors contribute, too. We speak to social justice issues and try to give a voice to people in the community who don’t have a voice.”

Half of The Contributor’s support comes from newspaper sales – its circulation is about 10,000 – and half, from donations. At the moment, it has about 300 vendors trained and 150 selling.

Jennings tells of a former TV cameraman who fell and broke his hip, was in rehab and tried to start a business. Then 2008 happened, “when everything fell apart.” The man ended up living in a barn. He started selling The Contributor, bought a lawnmower and started mowing peoples’ lawns. Today, he has a riding mower, a truck, a trailer and a small house outside the city.

“Something clicks when someone starts selling the paper,” Jennings said. “It’s a business. It’s dignity. They make relationships with the customers they’ve sold to, the people who’ve helped them regain their sense of dignity and purpose.”

Major Frizzell has a three-part strategy “to introduce the language of neighboring” to the homelessness discussion: First, the Army encourages a public narrative that recognizes everyone who lives in Nashville is a Tennessee neighbor. “By humanizing our neighbors, it helps increase the public will for support.”

Second, the Army aims to work with Nashville Metro government on the city’s strategic plan to reduce the lived experience of homelessness.

Third, the Army will introduce a prompted journal among those experiencing homelessness. “A prompted journal walks a client through the change process The Salvation Army uses, all behaviorally driven, so they can choose and prioritize their quality of life goals,” Major Frizzell said.

The major’s articles first appear in The Contributor and are then posted online on The Salvation Army of Nashville’s blog.

“This allows The Salvation Army to be very transparent,” Major Frizzell said, “and allows us to be an active partner in designing the policies of a major city.”


Countdown underway for 2020 congress

Countdown underway for 2020 congress

By: Dan Childs

Preparations have begun for the USA South’s first territorial congress since 2008. The upcoming event will unfold June 5-7, 2020, in Atlanta.

The congress will be held at the Infinite Energy Arena in suburban Gwinnett County. The venue was the site of the 2008 territorial congress.

Territorial congresses are customarily held every four or five years. The South, however, opted to forego a congress in 2012 or 2013 and direct its energy and attention to preparations for the Boundless International Congress in London in 2015, which commemorated The Salvation Army’s 150th anniversary.

The 2015 congress was, in fact, planned by Lt. Colonels Eddie and Kathy Hobgood, who currently serve as secretary and assistant secretary for program in the South. The Hobgoods will likewise coordinate the planning and preparation for the 2020 congress, which is in its early stages. Registration is projected to begin early this autumn.

“I’m sure our congress will tie in directly with General (Brian) Peddle’s Call to Mission, so that will be one of the key themes that will be incorporated into each of the four programs,” Lt. Colonel Hobgood said.

In his 2019 New Year message, General Peddle challenged The Salvation Army to live in a state of readiness to accomplish God’s purposes and called on Salvationists to be “battle-ready.”

Lt. Colonel Hobgood added that the three-day event will consist of united sessions on Friday evening, Saturday morning and evening and Sunday morning. The commissioning of the Messengers of the Kingdom will be the focal point of Sunday morning’s session.

The commencement of the Messengers of the Kingdom session, followed by the Silver Star Luncheon, will be held on Friday, and a territorial officers councils will take place that afternoon. Saturday afternoon’s festivities will likely include rallies for men, women and young people. Childcare services will be provided throughout the weekend, and separate programs will be held for junior soldiers.


Messengers of Compassion challenged to strive for knowledge, wisdom

Messengers of Compassion challenged to strive for knowledge, wisdom

By: Dan Childs

Midway through the Commencement of the Messengers of Compassion, Colonel Ralph Bukiewicz said, “We get to brag on God today. We get to look around and say, ‘Look at what God has done,’ … and we get to look at the opportunities that now lay open as a result.” But the chief secretary, the commencement speaker in the May 31 service at Atlanta Temple Corps, acknowledged that academic training, valuable though it may be, is not an end in itself.

“We know that applied knowledge is the doorway to wisdom,” he said. He told the cadets that in the years to come, they would have ample opportunity to apply the knowledge they have acquired and, in the process, gain wisdom. Wisdom would be theirs not because they have been educated but as a result of their own effort and determination to apply what they have learned.

He urged the 18 Messengers of Compassion to be steadfast in their focus on the roles they have been called on to play in the building of God’s Kingdom.

“It’s important that we not get distracted by how the world would look at those degrees and that academic achievement but that we keep our eyes fixed on how it fits within that purpose that God has called all of us to.”

Colonel Bukiewicz challenged them to show the compassion reflected in their session name. “People won’t care how much you know until they know how much you care,” he said. “It’s now the equipping through the knowledge that’s been gained that allows you to expand that care and compassion.”

Cadet Lara Sassano, the session speaker, called on her session mates to fulfill their calling as they set out to claim their appointments. “The world needs a shepherd, the world needs compassion and the world needs us,” she said. “Messengers, may we be the hands, the feet and the eyes of Christ to a world that so desperately needs it.”

The service included the presentation of degrees to the Messengers of Compassion as well as recognizing officers who have attained degrees over the past year through the School for Continuing Education. Also recognized were officers and staff who have completed learning programs in the Jack McDowell School for Leadership Development.

The program concluded with the presentation of the Principal’s Award to Cadet Cornelius Walton and the Commissioner’s Award to Cadet Lindsey Galabeas.


The Salvation Army mobilizes to offer meals, comfort in Oklahoma, Arkansas flooding

The Salvation Army mobilizes to offer meals, comfort in Oklahoma, Arkansas flooding

By: Cindy Fuller

The Salvation Army partnered with Tulsa County, Oklahoma, the weekend of June 1-2 to stage a fixed feeding site in a neighborhood hard hit by flooding from the Arkansas River. About half of the area was submerged, water was up to roof lines for several blocks and hundreds were displaced.

Residents began returning Saturday, June 1, and The Salvation Army was there. Two canteens (mobile feeding units), two rapid response units (catering trucks), and a Salvation Army kitchen delivered meals, water, cleaning supplies and hygiene kits.

As the word spread of the Army’s fixed feeding site in Sand Springs, volunteers, survivors and first responders arrived for a lunch of hot dogs, chips, a dessert and a cold bottle of water. For some, it was the first break they’d had since early morning.

By Wednesday, June 5, Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services teams in northeast Oklahoma had served more than 6,900 meals, 8,800 drinks and 3,500 snacks. Canteens and rapid response units were moving through Sand Springs, Bixby, Leonard, Muskogee and West Tulsa. The Salvation Army also assisted flood relief efforts in Fort Smith, Arkansas.

Trained personnel from Conway, Fayetteville, Hot Springs and Mountain Home, Arkansas; and Chickasha, Enid, Lawton and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, provided support and encouragement.

Salvation Army partners Webco Industries and National Charity League provided volunteers; the doTERRA Helping Hands Foundation, comfort kits; Newton Wall Co., paper products; and Reddy Ice, ice and an ice container.

Cindy Fuller is communications director for the Arkansas-Oklahoma Division.


South given a mighty vision of a mighty God

South given a mighty vision of a mighty God

By: Brad Rowland

On the evening of Saturday, June 1, the Messengers of Compassion Session joined forces with musicians and artists from across the Southern Territory to present a spectacular and worshipful production. The program, titled “Mighty To Save,” was driven by the premise of General William Booth’s “A Vision of the Lost.” It began with a dramatic presentation of Scripture, centering on Isaiah 49. At its conclusion, the simple declaration that “Our God is mighty to save” provided the backdrop for the remainder of a memorable evening.

Interspersed with artistic triumphs were stirring testimonies, with Cadet Sarah Nance, Cadet Trevon King and Cadets Michael and Amanda Cain sharing their stories of triumph and redemption. That outward expression of inward change added poignant context to the proceedings, while allowing for reflection from those in attendance.

“I have chosen to forgive and seek forgiveness because he forgave,” said Cadet Nance. “I know now that I am loved immeasurably more than I could ever imagine by my heavenly father. He sees me as worthy. He calls me daughter. He is my light and my salvation. Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life. Of whom shall I be afraid? And by his grace, I stand before you today redeemed, restored and a Messenger of Compassion.”

In furthering the worshipful attitude of the evening, Ronnie Murchison, accompanied by transMission, contributed a set of praise songs. A central selection, “I Will Fight,” encouraged attendees to “come and join God’s army now,” insisting that “there is room for all who have laid down their lives and picked up their cross.”

The Messengers of Compassion also took part in musical performances in their own right, with soloist Cadet Rachel Pruitt leading a jazzy presentation of “We are Soldiers in the Army.” In addition, youth from the Evangeline Booth College executed a musical presentation of Kirk Franklin’s “Lean On Me,” illustrating the talent and Christian spirit that moves beyond the cadets themselves.

In addition to Cadet-driven worship and participation, the Southern Territorial Band and TAM dance ensemble joined forces to deploy a professional-quality artistic experience. Nick Simmons-Smith, territorial music secretary, presented a new musical selection based on General Booth’s “A Vision of the Lost,” with expressive movement and fantastic visuals.

Prior to the start of the selection, Cadet King set the table with a simple challenge.

“Sometimes in our efforts to do the most good, it can get easy to turn our eyes away from the mission,” he said. “But I believe that, where we have lost focus, we can turn back – we must turn back – and answer the call of our Lord and Savior to rescue the perishing.”

The musical feature included the tunes of “Rescue the Perishing,” later sung by Cadet Jae Sung Park in unforgettable fashion, and “Love Lifted Me,” with references to a vision of a dark and stormy ocean clashing with lightning and thunder. In the midst, the theme of one emerging from the stormy water with an eye toward going back to save others was clear.

“Rescue the perishing,” the song says. “Care for dying. Snatch them in pity from sin and the grave. Weep o’er the erring one. Lift up the fallen. Tell them of Jesus, the mighty to save.”

Cadet Roger Galabeas offered an inspiring vocal rendition of “Rescue,” a contemporary selection from recording artist Lauren Daigle. He was supported by the Southern Territorial Band, TAM Dance Ensemble and transMission in a fitting and powerful message and charge to rescue others in the vision of Jesus.

On the heels of the vivid imagery created by the combination of music and art, Commissioner Willis Howell, territorial commander, provided a call to action; to search for those who are in need and do one’s best to save them.

“What would you give for God to send someone searching for them?” Commissioner Howell said. “What would you give for God to send someone to rescue them? How fervent is your prayer that that person is approached for the sake and the cause of Christ? How heartbroken would you be if you ever learned that the Lord moved in someone’s heart to have a word, and they didn’t?”

The cadets’ vocal benediction titled “The Blessing,” provided a portrait of what they had experienced. While the night featured high-level performance and, in turn, emotional resonance, the overarching charge and message were clear.

“My friends, each of you who carry the name of Christ, and all the more so if you call yourself a Salvationist, this is our call,” said Commissioner Howell. “What will you do?”


Paying tribute to Divisional Man of the Year recipients

Paying tribute to Divisional Man of the Year recipients

Five divisions in the USA Southern Territory recently paid tribute to distinguished men by announcing their Divisional Man of the Year recipients at divisional men’s camps. As shown below, these men are serving their corps, their divisions and The Salvation Army in many ways.

Robert Krebs — Florence, Alabama — Alabama-Louisiana-Mississippi Division

Robert Krebs is a living example of a servant of God. He helps with every event at the corps and asks for nothing in return. He was recently named the safety sergeant and makes sure that the building is safe and efficient when in use and secure when closed. He assists daily with the after school program and makes sure the children receive their snack and that the facility is clean after they depart. He also helps with the setup and cleanup for women’s and men’s ministry programs. He also helps with midweek services. Robert fills in as needed with custodial services at the corps and the Center of Hope. He is an excellent volunteer bell-ringer and helps in any way he can with the kettles. He also pitches in to help pick up and unload daily donations. He stands ready to do whatever God opens the door for him to do. The Salvation Army is blessed to have

Michael Schlichting — Russellville, Arkansas — Arkansas-Oklahoma Division

To say this man is active in the corps ministry would be an understatement. He has touched virtually every aspect of corps life, including the hearts of those in the corps. He is always encouraging youth, he started a youth worship band, takes the kids to Divisional Arts every month and volunteers with the DARTS Band, teaches nursery lessons and memory verses, takes care of the kids in the nursery most Sundays and Thursdays, and he helps every week with youth programs. Michael is very active in Russellville’s Men’s Club, and he volunteers to help with cleaning, yard work, painting and helping secure and collect donations. He helps with kettles and Angel Tree, fundraisers, and he preaches as needed. He is an active member of Corps Community Ministry. He has even helped with the Family Store by doing pickups, helping with our rag deliveries, moving furniture and recycling old electronics. All of that is just the tip of the iceberg … there are many things that don’t even fit into a category. The Russellville Corps would not be the same without Michael.

Felix Quinares — Marietta, Georgia — Georgia Division

Felix Quinares is involved in many aspects of the corps. He is a Bible study teacher, character-building program teacher, involved in canteen ministry, Men’s Club president, corps cells leader, and he is involved in visitation ministry. He is a driver for corps pickups for various corps programs, a Sunday school teacher, and he does maintenance and landscaping as well as painting and repair in the corps. He is a volunteer bell-ringer and a volunteer helper at VBS. One of his greatest ministries is that he consistently invites people to church and offers them transportation. Felix is the substitute drummer for praise and worship, and he does pastoral care and leads devotionals. He also has made himself available to be with corps members during difficult times. He is always at Men’s Camp and encourages others to come. Felix accepted Jesus as his savior at The Salvation Army and became a soldier. His wife is also a soldier and his children are junior soldiers. He is an example of a good and faithful soldier, father, husband and servant. He always wears his uniform with respect and dignity. He has a good testimony of Jesus Christ in him.

John Travers — Frederick, Maryland — Maryland-West Virginia Division

John Travers is one of those rare soldiers which every corps desires and needs. He is a pillar in the Frederick Corps, always a source of support and encouragement. He is an active musician and bandsman and plays bass in the praise band. When the corps officer is not at rehearsal or present on a Sunday, he takes an active role in leading the band. John can be found at the back of the chapel on Sunday, making sure the audio-visual equipment is in working order. He takes time to train the young people to run the sound board and presentation material. He is always looking for ways to help others and make sure that everyone has a great worship experience. John is a great husband and a caring father to his twin teenage girls. He is truly the spiritual head of his household and makes sure he is setting the right example for his family. He is known and well-respected across the division. He practically grew up at Camp Tomahawk and is a great asset to the camp. The Frederick Corps treasures this man of God who takes his walk seriously.

Joe LaSalle — Concord, North Carolina — North-South Carolina Division

Joe is the corps sergeant major, and he is involved in every aspect of the corps. He is a driver for pickups, a Sunday school teacher, Men’s Club member and Adventure Corps leader. He records the names of the seekers on Sunday, as well as the number of people attending all corps meetings. He is also Concord’s social services director, providing oversight for shelter and social services ministries. Joe makes himself available to preach in the absence of the corps officer and conducts the mid-week Bible study when needed. He is a wonderful witness to the corps people, shelter residents and anyone who comes in for assistance at the social services office. A kind-hearted man who gives of himself willingly and abundantly, Joe is a godly man who loves and serves the Lord with all that he has.


Messengers of Compassion session celebrates those who helped guide them at Silver Star Luncheon

Messengers of Compassion session celebrates those who helped guide them at Silver Star Luncheon

By: Brad Rowland

During a jam-packed Commissioning weekend, the cadets of the Messengers of Compassion Session paused to pay tribute to family members and mentors who have made a significant impact on their journey at the Fellowship of the Silver Star Luncheon on Friday, May 31.

“This event is really about you, the families and mentors,” said Major Donna Israel, secretary to the Fellowship of the Silver Star. “The rest of the weekend will focus on the Messengers of Compassion, and there will be plenty of time for that. But we want to celebrate you and their love, and their thanksgiving for you in their lives.”

The fellowship, created in 1930 by General Evangeline Booth, honors parents, designated spiritual parents, and/or mentors for their impact on the lives of cadets. New members are honored with a certificate and pin, with the opportunity for fellowship, recognition and reflection.

The luncheon included a moving testimony from Cadets Jae Sung Park and Hye Sung Yun, detailing the influence of their parents and other leaders.

“We want to take the opportunity to thank our loving parents and our mentors, who have led us here today,” said Cadet Park. “With their guidance, we were able to live a life of obedience to God.”

The Messengers of Compassion, offered a touching rendition of a song titled “Your God Will Come,” while later bringing a vocal benediction titled “Compassion Hymn” to put a fitting punctuation mark on the worshipful gathering.

Before the luncheon concluded, however, Commissioner Barbara Howell, territorial president of women’s ministries, acknowledged those being honored while also pushing forward with a challenge to everyone congregated.

“Can I ask something of you? Can I ask you to please pray? Please continue to pray for these new, soon-to-be lieutenants,” said Commissioner Howell. “They aren’t done with this journey called life. They haven’t arrived. They’re just starting a new journey. They are going to face, in serving out their calling, some challenges … but there will also be great celebrations. Please continue to be with them as they take on this journey. Please be with them through prayer.”


Engage conference blazes trail for The Salvation Army’s re-engagement with mission

Engage conference blazes trail for The Salvation Army’s re-engagement with mission

By: Dan Childs

Steve Carter, the noted pastor and speaker, has become a familiar figure at Salvation Army gatherings in recent years, and his appearances at those gatherings have in turn afforded him a unique perspective on the Army. Carter, the featured speaker in the opening session of the Engage Conference held May 31-June 1 at Atlanta Temple Corps, said his affection for the Army and his alignment with its mission continues to grow.

“I look at the Army, and I see Jesus,” he said. “You have something really special. So I have one question: Why do you keep it to yourself?”

The Engage Conference brought together officers and soldiers from across the USA South. It followed last year’s Ignite Conference, which addressed The Salvation Army’s need to reconnect with its “WHY,” its mission of saving souls. Commissioner Willis Howell, territorial commander, had opened that conversation in 2018 by noting that the Army had become too preoccupied with its WHATS and HOWS and had lost touch with its WHY – its passion for winning people to Christ.

Engage was a gathering to help reroute the Army back to its mission of witnessing to a hurting and despairing world outside the doors of the corps. “We need to re-engage,” Commissioner Howell said. “There literally is a world dying out there. And they’re not beating our doors down. So I had this crazy idea. Why not go where they are? Why not engage them? We have a cause to fight for. We have a Savior to live for. Why wouldn’t we want to engage people about that?”

To help redirect the Army back to its heritage of soul-winning, speakers in breakout sessions addressed issues central to evangelistic outreach: the role of discipleship (Commissioner Phil Needham), using our social services outreach as an avenue for witness (Lt. Colonel Dean Hinson), reconciling cultural differences (Dr. James Logan), living an invitational life (Carter), the challenges of witnessing in contemporary culture (Envoy Steve Bussey) and the opportunity for engaging through the Army’s innovative Pathway of Hope initiative (Mindy McCormick).

Carter keynoted the opening session on Friday evening, and Bussey of the USA Eastern Territory was featured in Saturday afternoon’s closing session. Carter addressed how Scripture calls believers to engage with the world and win disciples for Christ.

“Many of us want to engage, but many of us resist how God has hard-wired us,” Carter said. “Do you know that God has hard-wired you, without you even knowing it, to be someone who gives life? This is what God created you to be.”

Bussey and his wife, Sharon, are co-directors of the Eastern Territory’s Salvation Factory, which seeks to explore innovative concepts and techniques for use in the Army’s mission. In his closing session address, Bussey stressed that the Army faces formidable challenges by the complex and volatile culture it is called to lead to salvation. The good news is that The Salvation Army was built to be innovative and adaptable, that it was designed for stability while allowing for agility and flexibility

“We are made to adapt – it’s built into our DNA,” he told attendees in his breakout session. “We need a creative approach to spiritual warfare.”

Bussey’s closing message – titled “Purposefully Pivoting/Engaging Our Why” – called for the Army to resolve any questions about its identity and its purpose of saving souls. Additionally, it must be willing to constantly try new approaches (“William and Catherine Booth were always trying new things, and if they didn’t work, they would end them and try something else”) and establishing new ministries without being defined by them.

Territorial Sergeant Major John Reeves, who led Saturday morning’s devotional, challenged the Army to “boldly go where no man has gone before,” just as the crew of the Enterprise did on TV and in the movies in “Star Trek.” He said the bold proclamation of the gospel should be the driving passion of the soldiers of the South.

The two days of Engage concluded with a question-and-answer session with a panel of four: Commissioners Willis and Barbara Howell, Reeves and Jeremy Rowland, the assistant territorial sergeant major. Questions and comments touched on outreach to youth and young adults, the interlocking roles of corps officers and their soldiers and overcoming the fear of rejection in witnessing. The territorial commander was also asked what expectations the South’s leadership has for engaging the WHY.

“What are we looking for? Act. That’s all I’ve got. You are the sum total of The Salvation Army within the circle in which you move,” Commissioner Howell said. “If all you do is walk out the door today thinking about what a great conference we had, then we’ve fallen short. I want you to infect others with what you’ve been given here. The minute you walk outside, I want hell to tremble. That’s the challenge.”


Messengers of Compassion called to action

Messengers of Compassion called to action

By: David Ibata

Bringing a message on compassion to the Messengers of Compassion and others at Sunday morning’s Ordination and Commissioning service, Commissioner Willis Howell spoke of the photographer who took the heartbreaking picture of a starving child in Sudan.

In 1993, Kevin Carter traveled to Sudan to photograph the famine. He came upon a little girl too weak to stand, struggling and whimpering as she crawled to where food was being distributed; a vulture lurked on the ground behind her. “If the sight of this child crawling to be fed, if that doesn’t stir the world to action, nothing will,” he thought.

“Once this picture was taken, he stayed there 20 minutes or so, waiting for the bird to fly away,” Commissioner Howell said. “When it didn’t, he finally shooed it away. Once that was done, he sat under a tree, watching this child struggle a little longer.”

The photo won Carter a 1994 Pulitzer Prize. But when word got out that he had done nothing to help the child, “what had been praise and recognition … quickly turned into disbelief, condemnation, scorn.” Less than a month after accepting the prize, Carter committed suicide.

“Is there anyone in this room who thinks Kevin Carter didn’t feel compassion for this girl?” Commissioner Howell asked. “What bothers you and bothers me is that he didn’t do anything. He didn’t act on his compassion.

“Regardless of how strong the feeling may be, compassion that doesn’t lead to action is worthless. I can’t think of the Kevin Carter story without asking a question of myself: How am I different from him when I feel compassion for those who hurt, when I feel compassion for those who ache, when I feel compassion for those who are suffering, and I do nothing about it?”

The territorial commander urged the Messengers of Compassion to not let their session title become just a label. Warning he was about to speak bluntly, he said, “Hell is going to be full of people who felt compassion in their lives. … Feelings alone change nothing of this world’s pain and suffering.

“The world needs people who are actively and intentionally spreading the message of compassion – those who will roll up their sleeves, get their hands dirty, and actually deliver the life-changing, lifesaving compassion of the loving God. Is that you? Is that our territory? Is that our Army? Oh, I wish to God it is. Please, God, make us like you.”

Cadet Lindsey Galabeas, session representative speaker, said, “God’s compassion can burst through the darkness in an instant and remind us we are never alone. This is a transformative power of compassion. One of the great privileges we have as believers we share this power with others by imitating God through acting compassionately.”

“We can all be messengers of God’s compassion by showing kindness to others,” Cadet Galabeas said. “We are compassionate through acts of kindness, service and humility toward others. When we choose to be compassionate, we are sharing light and hope with a dark and dying world. This is what it means to be a Messenger of Compassion.”

In the final gathering of the weekend, the Now Go! meeting Sunday afternoon, Commissioner Howell and Major Ray Cooper announced the 2019 World Services Ingathering, The Salvation Army Southern Territory’s gift to overseas programs: $10,809,525.

Commissioner Howell also presented the second Commissioner Ruth Osborne Fellowship Award, a $2,500 fellowship to encourage leadership development in young adults. The recipient was Emaniel Brifil, missions program coordinator for the Florida Division.

Returning to the theme of the weekend, Lieutenant Cornelius Walton, the session speaker, spoke of a Christian man who forever regretted not having offered a cup of hot coffee to a homeless person he encountered on a cold February morning in Chicago.

“Jesus said in the Book of Matthew that whatever you did for the least of these homeless brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me,” Lieutenant Walton said. “If God has given us the ability to be his Messengers of Compassion, we cannot ignore the physical and mental needs of others. … Being a Messenger of Compassion requires more than words. It requires actions.”

Lieutenant Walton told those in attendance God had not called them to an easy assignment.

“If we didn’t experience suffering, how can we ever relate with those who are going through it?” he asked. “We have been redeemed by Jesus Christ to let others know there is hope in the midst of their suffering. In this world we will have trouble, but Jesus Christ has overcome the world.”

Commissioner Barbara Howell gave the charge to the newly commissioned lieutenants, Salvationist Services Corps teams heading to summer postings and officers going overseas.

“We serve under our Blood and Fire banner of transformation, believing as this great Army family we are all stronger together, and each of us can be a transformational influence right here where God has placed us,” Commissioner Barbara said. “So, let us march forward with confidence, knowing if we apply the values of the Kingdom we will forge a path to victory.”

She cited 1 John 3:18: Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. “My dear Messengers of Compassion. My dear missionaries. My dear summer service team members. Let’s not just talk about love. Let’s practice real love. This is the only way to show we are living in God’s reality.”

“Go and make disciples. Go and change the world for God. Just go, go and go!”

Learn more about USS Commissioning at

Florida contingent discovers blessings in Barbados

Florida contingent discovers blessings in Barbados

By: Brad Rowland

In early May, the Florida Divisional Band and Creative Arts groups embarked on a weekend of ministry and mission in the Barbados Division.

“Barbados was a great trip for our Florida Divisional Band and Creative Arts groups,” said Tom Hanton, divisional music director. “We went in the name of the Lord to bless those that would hear the gospel and ended up being blessed right back by the people of Barbados. We were able to enjoy comradery and music together as we joined with members of the Barbados Divisional Band at many of the meetings.”

The journey began with the accompaniment of an advisory board meeting and dinner in the region, as the group’s musicians aimed to support local Salvation Army work. From there, a small ensemble accompanied the reopening of the Speightstown Corps, and the full groups, both band and creative arts, took part in concert settings, ministering alongside soldiers in Barbados.

Sandwiched between artistic endeavors, though, was an important opportunity for service. A project of painting the local corps was undertaken, with dozens from Florida pitching in to accomplish what was a helpful and missional task.

Perhaps the highlight of the weekend was a march of witness and open-air concert in Bridgetown, with ensembles from Barbados taking part in the festivities. A combined praise team worshipped alongside the assembled crowd, with dance and timbrel brigades from the Barbados Division.

“Our trip to Barbados was an awesome opportunity and a humbling experience,” said bandsman Terry Wood. “As we joined in their worship and celebration, I could feel the presence of the Lord with us. The Army is clearly alive and well in Barbados.”

Finally, the group from Florida stood alongside their brethren from Barbados in supporting Sunday morning worship and performed a finale concert on Sunday afternoon, in which Commissioner Devon Haughton, Caribbean territorial commander, delivered the message.

“It was great to hear the territorial commander speak about God’s calling on all of our lives and how we can respond to that call,” Hanton said. “In addition to painting a building, playing for a building dedication, and marching through the streets of Bridgetown, we were really blessed by the worship and grand finale presentations done by the Barbados Salvationists! It was a true privilege to be a part of the 120 years celebration of The Salvation Army in Barbados.”