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S1-S2 Ethnic Roots

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Judges 6 tells the story of Gideon's call to save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Upon being approached by a messenger of the Lord, Gideon explained that he could not understand how the Lord could be with him and his people. He looked around him and was overwhelmed by the vast needs in his land.

African American populations in the Southern Territory could be viewed in the same way that Gideon viewed his own people. While there are many needs to meet, there have been too few Salvation ist leaders of African American descent, said Major Maurice Smith, assistant secretary of the Mission Growth and Multicultural Ministries Department. His goal for the African American population of Salvationists is to recruit more officers. "There's a need for it because the leadership is very low compared to the percentage of the population we're trying to reach."

A 2000 census showed that of 10 U.S. cities with populations of 100,000 or more, eight of them that had the highest percentage of African Americans were in the South. The highest percentage of African American people reside in the following divisions: NSC, ALM, Georgia and NCV.

But while the tasks of raising up strong leadership and reaching such a large population with the gospel are large in scope, Smith has hope for the future. When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon about raising up his army, he was reminded that the Lord was with him. And in the South, God is preparing young African Americans to take up the challenge and follow His call to officership.

One such example is found at the Greenville Corps in Greenville, Miss. Sgt. Ralph Ricardo "Rick" Boone and his wife, Darlene, have been serving as Greenville's corps administrators, planting seeds of inspiration in young people. Those seeds are starting to produce a harvest of young adults who are interested officership. The Boone's are themselves a living testimony. They're currently being considered to become auxiliary captains and are enrolled in classes.

Another facet of the need for more African American officers, expressed Smith, is the fact that Kroc centers are being built in cities where African American populations comprise a large percentage. To help officers reach this segment, the Territorial Committee for Salvationists of African Descent has been established. "Per the committee's recommendations, we are trying to develop more diversity training in the Georgia division," said Smith. He hopes that other divisions will follow and mentioned that the Corps in Orangeburg, S.C., is a good example of a culturally healthy corps. (See Meeting A Need) Led by officers Captains Phillip and Glenda Priest, the corps has soldiers from many ethnic groups. In the midst of such a diverse membership, Smith said the unity is obvious. "It's working really well."

Gideon, too, learned that when God is present, even the most overwhelming needs are surmountable. He learned that obedience to the Lord is everything; in the same respect, the call to officership is open for Salvationists of African American descent. God's encouragement to Gideon still stands today: The Lord is with you, mighty warrior...Go in the strength you have... Am I not sending you? (Judges 6:12-14)


 

 

Changing ethnic landscape expands USA Souths multicultural awarenes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Southern Territory is an ever-changing landscape with new structures being built daily; that landscape has also changed dramatically as new faces from multiple corners of the earth have chosen to reside in the South. Due to large representation of ethnic groups in every division, the Army is also changing. The approaches to ministry are expanding, and the Territorial Mission Growth and Multicultural Department aims to widen the expanse in all 15 Southern states.

The department's mission is clear: to initiate, foster and improve multicultural integration among Salvationists by encouraging and promoting the intentional outreach to people of all ethnic groups with the ultimate purpose of winning them to Jesus Christ. With ethnic groups from Haiti to Korea to Latin America and India, Major Fernando Martinez, multicultural secretary, understands the desire that different cultures have to retain their roots and maintain cultural traditions and flavors of worship. He also emphasizes the importance, however, of unity among diversity. "We are here to integrate all these different groups as one Army," he said.


Joie, Joie, Joie! C'est la joie, Qui regne dans l'Armee was the sound that echoed throughout the Miami Hialeah Corps as Major Steve Hedgren, Florida divisional commander, commenced the corps' third Haitian rally.

Commissioners Paul and Jajuan Kellner, retired territorial leaders from the Zimbabwe Territory, were special guests. The commissioners served in the Haiti Division as well as the Jamaica Division in the 70s and shared words of welcome in French. Majors Ron and Carol Busroe, divisional leaders in Haiti, were also present. En route to the rally, the Busroe's plane was delayed because of civil strife in Haiti, so they shared their concerns about the nation and why the Army is so important. They spoke of needing skilled Christian workers to help in the "rebuilding" of the country.

 

 

Captains Phillip and Glenda Priest serve others with a smile at the Orangeburg, S.C., Corps.

 

The Orangeburg, S.C., Corps celebrated its 79th anniversary May 5-6, 2006, with a breakfast and open house. Mr. Paul Miller, mayor of Orangeburg, attended on behalf of the community to say thank you to The Salvation Army for its service. Also in attendance were 40 community guests and Advisory Board members.

The corps, led by Captains Philip and Glenda Priest, represents the multicultural ethnicity of the community it serves, reminding residents that the Army is more than a social services entity; it is also an invitation for all cultures to gather together and worship. "It is important for the community to understand that we are a church," said Glenda Priest. During the open house, community residents toured the facilities and attended an auction at The Salvation Army Thrift Store.

During the weekend's events, active Advisory Board members - such as Mr. J.C. Pace - were honored, and community members who were helped through the Army returned to express their gratitude. Mr. J.C. Pace was awarded a lifetime membership for his service on the Orangeburg Advisory Board for 18 years. Community resident Mrs. Shirley Powell thanked the corps for the assistance she and her family received through the corps programs.

Last year alone, those programs served the needs of 1,340 people, 296 of which were new to the Army's ministry.


INDIAN REVIVAL  

The Irving, Tx., Corps held a revival meeting Aug. 31-Sept. 1, 2006, to encourage and minister to the Indian community. More than 500 people from India, living in suburbs of Dallas, attended the meeting, said Sgt. Moses Billy Raj, the territorial Asian ministries consultant for the Multicultural Department.

The event aimed to reach those who have come to the U.S. to work in fields such as technology, engineering and medicine. A recent statistic, said Raj, shows that there are 300,00 Indians in Texas alone. "There is a great demand for Salvation Army ministry among the Indians," stressed Raj. Many in attendance rededicated their lives to the Lord.

Captain Srikant Bhatnagar, director of the Indian-Asian Outpost, said the meeting encouraged unity among the Indian community. He also said that the meeting offered more understanding about what the Army does. "A lot of Indians now know [The Salvation Army] is a church."


International theology & Ethnics Symposium

The partner territorial delegates from India enjoy fellowship with sponsor territory delegate Sgt. Moses Billy Raj and General Shaw Clifton and Commissioner Helen Clifton during the International Doctrine Council in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The second International Theology & Ethics symposium was held in Johannesburg, South Africa. There were 57 participants from 37 countries, territories and commands as well as General Shaw Clifton. Selected delegates were to present papers and give formal responses to issues that matter to Salvationist theologians and ethicists. From the Southern Territory, Commissioner Phil Needham (R) and Sergeant Moses Raj made presentations. This year's theme was "People of God: Salvationist Ecclesiology." Colonel Earl Robinson, the chairman of the International Doctrine Council, made a point in his keynote address that "as we face the better-educated 21st century world, we also face the pressing need to nurture our Salvationist theologians and ethicists. The Army needs those who can think, discuss, write critically and biblically about issues that matter. The Army, as we know it," continued Colonel Robinson, "is in transition-from a movement to a church. We are self-evident enough to believe that we are a church with a difference, with a strong sense of mission and a three fold mission at that." That threefold mission was penned by General John Gowans (R): "To save sinners, grow saints and serve suffering humanity." Since most of the delegates came from Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe, the symposium was rich with multicultural, spiritual perspectives. Africa was chosen to provide an environment for the practical development of cross-cultural theology and ethics while demonstrating an international Salvationist perspective. Many delegates came from partner territories such as India. Sergeant Moses Raj was able to fellowship and listen as the India divisions shared their mission and outreach ministries. The Indian Army is growing at an alarming rate, and the officers at the symposium expressed their gratitude to the USA Southern Territory, saying that the mission giving of this territory supported them in building God's Kingdom and in sharing the Good News in India.



  GOD'S HUMOR

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Major Nancy Martinez

God has a great sense of humor. Have you ever closed your eyes; dreamed and imagined God making the heavens and the earth, separating the waters, filling the sea with fish, creating the animals, the stars and everything that we see in our surroundings? God took time to create it all, and now we enjoy and rejoice in His creation. Chapter 1 of Genesis says: God saw everything that He had done, and it was very good.

God also took time to make everything colorful, but when did He decide that we were to be also in different colors? Did He know that we would have so many problems in accepting each other as living creations of the same God? Did He know that it would take great effort in showing true love to our neighbor, only because they were different? Still, in His wisdom, God created us unique; none of us are equal to one another, each one of us has our own DNA-that identifies us as distinct - with the capacity to cry, think, love, laugh and dream.

I want to share with you a interesting experience that made me think once again of God's good humor. A couple of good soldiers, dedicated to spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, responded to God's call to work with the Hispanic ministry in a corps. They are Cuban-born, Spanish-speakers of dark complexion. They work with Latinos coming from various places like Guatemala, Mexico and Honduras. Because of their skin, people in their town assume that they are African-Americans like them and that they speak perfect English.

People are amazed at hearing these soldiers speak and when they present themselves to Latinos, the first impression Latinos have is that they don't speak Spanish. The Latinos then feel intimidated by people whom they assume will not be able to understand them. But great is their surprise when they hear the brother and sister in Christ speak perfect Spanish!

Who can understand this? God - our Creator understands it. God is the only one who can break the barriers of discrimination against our color, race or language. God does have a sense of humor. I imagine that He really enjoyed the development of His creation and even today He greatly enjoys when He sees that people unite in many places because of a single praise song.

John 3:16 says, God loved the people of this world so much that He gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in Him will have eternal life and never really die. Glory to God that in the heavens we will not have communication problems; we will not have languages that separate us; there will not be colors that distinguish us and we will all be one to enjoy the infinite presence of our Savior Jesus Christ.

 GROWING BY THE

The corps in Lawrenceville, Ga., is growing by the nations - literally. Of the 28 newly enrolled soldiers, more than a third of them are from nations spanning the globe. And that's not including the large Korean contingent already so active in the corps.

One reason for the wide span of cultures knocking on the corps door is the changing demographics of the Lawrenceville area, said Captain Anne Westmoreland, corps officer with her husband Captain Bobby Westmoreland.

Another reason for the cultural balloon is that the corps now has Korean associate offices. "We've been able to reach out to the Korean community much more so than before," said Anne, "and we also have a Hispanic ministry." One of the newest Korean soldiers, Sera Lee, helps tremendously in the corps children's programs. She is also an active member of the Korean worship team, singing, playing the piano and the cello.

The Hispanic praise band is "a wonderful mix that adds to our worship," said A nne. Ruth Kenyon leads worship in the bilingual Holiness meeting, and also serves in the youth and women's ministries.

What the corps has gained from the cultural diversity, said Anne, is unity. "We are very strong as one corps. It is wonderful to see the different cultural expressions, but with unity among the diversity."

Newest soldiers have come from places such as Puerto Rico, Korea, Jamaica, the U.S. and Sierra Leone. Sammy and Jennifer Gomer-de-Gomez, of Sierra Leone, bring to the corps two hearts eager for evangelism and youth outreach. "Sammy is involved in League of Mercy, as well as our teen programs," said Anne. "He witnesses wherever he goes. And Jennifer is also involved in our teen programs as well as the nursery."

Anne Westmoreland said that there are many different avenues through which people of a variety of ethnicities have found the corps. "Folks have come in just looking for a church, others through social services, corps programs and outreach." Regardless of how the nations have come to the corps, Anne said that the reason they stay is the same. When asked why they come back, she said that visitors' reply always has to do with the warmth they feel at the corps. "The soldiers here are very loving and welcoming. People feel welcome, they feel loved and they feel accepted - as they are."


 
 
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