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Satterlee. Major Allen

Still faithful

It rarely happens that officers go back to appointments where they have previously served. After having served as the assistant corps officer in St. Petersburg 31 years ago I am back now as corps officer. Coming back has been a very strange blend of the familiar and the unknown. Some streets look the same while others are hardly recognizable. In the corps building the gym is still the same blaring blue it was back then but a stage that used to be there is gone. The seating in the chapel is as it was, but it is a different color now. Some of the things I remember happening still seem as fresh as today's thunderstorm, but all the players of that scene are now gone. I am alone with the memory.

What has been surprising since coming back is the number of people I have met who were here when I was. I have been here, there, everywhere, while they have remained in this place, faithfully serving as the years have passed. They have experienced the ebb and flow of corps life for at least the 30 years I can account for. Through the feast times and the lean times they have remained faithful.

Driving through the streets of St. Petersburg I find myself warmed to find a landmark still in its accustomed place that somehow missed the vision of an engineer or planner who thought that the space might be used better for a parking lot or yet one more set of condos. All the while, the true soldiers have taken their places Sunday after Sunday until the weeks stacked themselves into years and the years into decades. Someday, like so many of the comrades that we now miss, they will draw their last breath. They will come back into the corps building one last time for us to bid them farewell. We will speak of their faithfulness and recall days when all of us had more energy. We will feel sorry for those whose only association with them will be hearing their name or seeing their picture while missing the living, breathing, laughing, crying, singing, praising, sometimes complaining, person that they were. And we will say of so many of these, my friends, that through all that happened they remained faithful to their Lord and to the Army.

As I think of these I reflect: How much have I changed since those bonny times of my first year of officership? Have my beliefs altered? Have I taken a step back, or have I kept moving ahead? Have I been faithful?

I remember in those early days how privileged I felt to take this pulpit in St. Petersburg, open the Word and share with the people of God. Having seen over the years the transforming power of that Word, I feel it even more of a privilege today. I remember the fire that burned in those first months of officership. And the fire still burns. I have jettisoned things that seemed terribly important to me when I was younger. In the course of the journey I found that a lot of it wasn't important at all. On the other hand, that which is most essential, that which is life and death, Him I have held onto as if my life depended on it. Indeed, it does.

The faithful soldiers of St. Petersburg remind me that clinging to Christ is indispensable through the best and worst, the thrilling and the mundane. This life in Christ is the very definition of what genuine living is, the only thing that makes sense in a world full of forgeries. It is worth enduring changing officers, building renovations, going to the corps when I'd rather stay home, singing songs that I sometimes only half believe, when obedience is not always joyful. Because in all the years that pass, no matter who we meet, greet, forget and love along the way, what is critical is Christ first, Christ last, Christ always.


Heartbreak Hill

There is a steep hill just around the corner from my house. During my morning walk I must negotiate that hill, but I have a choice - I can either plow ahead and get it over with, or I can go another direction that has a gentler, if not much longer, incline.

My personality is such that I want to get it over with, and so on most mornings it's "full speed ahead."

The problem with going up that hill is that my body naturally leans forward, and my eyes are on the ground beneath by moving feet. I'm fully aware of the crest of the hill, and what lies beyond - a much easier walk and the eventual promise of home.

But while my eyes are downcast onto that pavement, all I see are the temporal things slowly passing by - a rock here, a pebble there, a crack in the street, a newspaper.

These are like events that parade by as life plays itself out. We celebrate milestones, like birthdays, vacations and weddings. We endure the hardships, like the loss of a loved one, financial struggles and disappointments.

Whatever goes by, we would be so much better off if we keep in mind what awaits just over the crest of the hill.

The Apostle Paul negotiated his hill just fine, by forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before (Philippians 3:13). He knew Jesus held the prize reserved just for him.

You may be going through unimaginable difficulty. Your eyes may be downcast, but lift them up toward the hillcrest just ahead.

Heaven is worth the struggle.


Mrs. Major Mae Belle Tanner

Mrs. Major Mae Belle Tanner was promoted to Glory July 16, 2006, from Sarasota, Fla. The funeral service was held at the Sarasota Corps with Major James Smith presiding and Major Bert Tanner speaking. Burial was in Palms Memorial Gardens.

Mae Belle Blanchett was born April 6, 1918, in Coffee County, Georgia, and moved to Florida in her early years. At the age of 9 she was converted and became a member of the Sunbeam program in West Palm Beach. In 1935 she attended a service in which Commissioner Samuel Logan Brengle brought the message, and she states it was then she was "fully converted." At the age of 20 she and James Tanner were married and after his conversion they entered training in Atlanta and were commissioned in April 1942. Most of their active service was spent in corps appointments in Florida, but they also served in Georgia, Mississippi and Oklahoma. Their last appointment before retiring Jan. 31, 1980, was Sarasota, where they served 11 years. James passed away May 4, 1993.

Throughout her life Mae Bell was outgoing and loved people and ministered to them in a capable, caring way.

She is survived by sons Major Bert Tanner and Monroe (Monty) Tanner; daughters Suzi Owens and Attavia Facciolo; and 11 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.


Major Dorothy Riggs receives her retirement certificate from Lt. Colonel Robert Tritton.

Major Dorothy Yvonne (Waltman) Riggs was honored in a traditional Salvation Army retirement ceremony at the corps in Huntsville, Ala., after 36 years of active service as an officer.

She received her calling to serve the Lord as a Salvation Army officer during a Corps Cadet meeting. In 1970 she entered training and was commissioned June 11, 1972, with the Lightbringers session. Her first appointment was as the assistant corps officer in Annapolis, Md. In September 1975 she married Captain Greg Riggs, whom she met when she was a cadet. He was later promoted to Glory.

Major Riggs has served all over the Southern Territory, including four appointments in the Alabama-Louisiana-Mississippi Division. Other appointments were in the Maryland-West Virginia, Kentucky-Tennessee, Arkansas-Oklahoma, Georgia and Texas divisions.

"Dorothy was an excellent officer. She could run programs that would outshine anyone," said Major Sue Dorman. "She has a strong spirit of Salvationism, and a love for the Army that exceeds anything I have ever known. Even in her retirement, she will be an excellent officer and a source of help to any corps that needs her."

She has two sons, Michael and Andy, and two grandchildren, Brian and Greg.

 






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