The High Council chamber was a sacred place of prayer this morning (Saturday 27 May 2023) as members gathered to elect the 22nd General of The Salvation Army.
Throughout this week, prayer has been the underpinning of all that has taken place. The prayers of the worldwide Army and those of the 2023 High Council members have united and God’s presence has been keenly felt.
The President (Commissioner Brad Bailey) welcomed members to this sacred and solemn moment in which they have the privilege and high honour to partner with God to choose the man or woman who will lead The Salvation Army in the coming days. ‘Together we dedicate ourselves to deposit ourselves again into the hands of him who is what we are not, with the complete assurance that he is here leaning into this sacred moment with us,’ he said.
The Chaplain (Commissioner Yusak Tampai) introduced his theme for today: ‘We are in this together.’ Through the singing of the song ‘Kings of kings, majesty’, the presence of God could be felt in the chamber as members lifted in prayer the words of the chorus – ‘Your majesty, I can but bow; I lay my all before you now. In royal robes I don’t deserve, I live to serve your majesty.’ This was followed by members reading prayers received from the USA, Kenya and India, amongst other places.
Interspersed with the singing of ‘Precious promise God hath given’, Colonel Samuel Baah (Territorial Commander, Malawi Territory) shared a devotional. He focused on two verses of Scripture: ‘We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you’ (2 Chronicles 20:12 New International Version) and ‘Then Moses said to him, “If your presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here”’ (Exodus 33:15 NIV). The colonel encouraged the members to fix their eyes on God. ‘We are here to rely solely on the strength of God,’ he said, ‘and to ask him to take all the glory and honour as we go into this exercise [the voting process]. We need God to stand by us.’
A time of prayer followed before the President guided the Council into the election process, which was undertaken in silence as a solemn and sacred duty.
This resulted in the election of Commissioner Lyndon Buckingham as the 22nd General of The Salvation Army.
Beautiful moments of prayer were shared with General-elect, Commissioner Lyndon Buckingham and Commissioner Bronwyn Buckingham. Of special significance was the first blessing and prayer shared in the Māori language by New Zealanders in the chamber to honour the people of their homeland.
May God bless the General-elect! May God bless The Salvation Army!
Report by Lieut-Colonel Jennifer Groves