3 October 2023

Cadets called to champion the mission

Major Julian Watchorn

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Major Julian Watchorn reports on the formal welcome of the Champions of the Mission session.

After pre-meeting music from Regent Hall Songsters, a contemporary worship group and a composite band, Principal Lieut-Colonel Judith Payne greeted everyone present by making the connection between the new session and the new Territorial Headquarters in Denmark Hill, which will help provide fresh opportunities for mission.

A guard of honour, comprising individuals seen as champions to the cadets, greeted them as they entered the Assembly Hall to the march ‘Soldiers of Christ’, accompanied by applause and cheers.

Captain Ian Standley (William Booth College) played the shofar, a traditional Jewish horn, as Scripture was brought into the hall and placed on the mercy seat to signify its central place in the cadets’ training. The cadets then read Matthew 28:18–20, acknowledging Jesus’ command to go and make disciples.

A photo shows a cadet marching in with a flag.
Picture: Andrew King Photography

The congregation sang ‘O Church, Arise’ (SASB 819) before former international leaders Commissioner Gisèle Gowans and Commissioner Freda Larsson shared memories of mission from their ministry, along with Scripture that had upheld them.

Territorial Secretary for Leader Development Colonel Jenine Main acknowledged the international and territorial guests present, along with family and friends, then opened the meeting in prayer. Territorial Candidates Director Major Mark Sawyer – who had been charged with getting the cadets to this point – officially commended them to Territorial Commander Commissioner Anthony Cotterill, who in turn handed them over to the college for training to become Salvation Army officers.

The cadets sang their sessional song, ‘Telling Your Story’, with lyrics by Major Simon Clampton (THQ) and music by Alan Williams.

Videos from Lieut-Colonel Ian Barr and Major Ian Loxley encouraged the cadets to be champions of the mission, giving examples of others who had followed Jesus’ example to be champions of the people.

A photo from behind shows a cadet saluting in front of the Principal and Territorial Commander.
Picture: Andrew King Photography

After the congregational song ‘Cornerstone’, each cadet brought a sentence identifying their hopes for the next two years. The TC addressed the cadets, acknowledging that, over time, cadets often come to represent their sessional names, which means it is not a question of what they will do but who they will be. Referencing ‘Cornerstone’, he declared there is only one champion: Jesus, who has no rival or equal and is Lord of all. It is not about the cadets, he emphasised, but about Jesus.

Referencing the origins of the word ‘champion’, the TC said that the cadets need to be combatants and warriors for the mission of Christ. Drawing on the five references to the word ‘champion’ in the New International Version of the Bible, he emphasised that Christ is the champion and is victorious. With further reference to Hebrews 12:1, he reminded the congregation that they are all called to be champions of the mission.

A photo shows Captain Ian Standley playing the shofar.
Picture: Andrew King Photography

As part of a time of response and prayer, the worship group and soloist Anais Spencer (New Addington) created a beautiful stillness and atmosphere with the song ‘So Will I’.

The cadets received words of Scripture from their champions, before Chief Secretary Colonel Paul Main concluded the meeting in prayer and Regent Hall Songsters sang a benediction, ‘It Is You’, over the cadets.

Sunday’s meeting picked up the theme of everyone being called to be God’s champions where they are. Matthew Standley (Regent Hall) gave a testimony and challenged the Army to continue widening its mission opportunity as it embraces technological advancements.

Lieut-Colonel Judith challenged the congregation to be more, expect more and want more of the Holy Spirit, with whom everything is possible.

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Photo of Julian Watchorn.

Major Julian Watchorn


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