19 July 2023

Commissioning at Together 2023: Reflecting the light within

Major Julian Watchorn

Major Julian Watchorn reports on this year’s Commissioning meetings.

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An excited air sat upon a full house as family, friends and prayerful supporters from around the territory gathered for the commissioning of the Reflectors of Holiness.

Chief Secretary Colonel Paul Main welcomed everyone, including ecumenical and international guests. The cadets approached the stage from around the auditorium carrying candles as the International Staff Songsters sang ‘Shine on Us’, accompanied by the International Staff Band. The Chief Secretary prayed that we might each receive the holiness of God.

The congregation sang ‘Holy, Holy, Holy’ and there was a real sense of collective testimony as this group of worshippers sang of the faithfulness and goodness of God.

Cadet Patsy Attwood passionately introduced the key verses of Scripture for the morning taken from 2 Corinthians 3:6 to 18. The congregation were encouraged to look at their own reflections on flame-shaped mirrored cards and invited to pray that they might each reflect Jesus.

There were further prayers for families, refugees and those who find their way to The Salvation Army around the territory, that they may find a place of welcome.

The ISB shared the reflective ‘Covenant Worship’, based around the tune ‘O Worship the Lord in the Beauty of Holiness’.

Territorial Candidates Director Major Mark Sawyer encouraged everyone present to ‘be the light’ and reflect on if they are where they are meant to be.

Cadet Hannah Turnbull shared her testimony. She spoke of what it means to her to be a Reflector of Holiness, owning that she is not perfect, but serves a God who is, and testified that she knows her redeemer lives.

There was a sense of enthusiastic energy as the congregation joined in singing ‘The Way It’s Gonna Be’, complete with actions.

The training principal, Lieut-Colonel Judith Payne, presented the cadets to Territorial Commander Commissioner Anthony Cotterill, affirming that they were prepared and ready to serve as spiritual leaders. The TC accepted them and gave thanks for those who had trained them and for the faithfulness of God in bringing them to this point.

The cadets sang their dedication song, ‘On Holy Ground’, before making their declaration of faith in reciting the Salvation Army doctrines.

After a time of prayer, Territorial Leader for Leader Development Commissioner Gill Cotterill addressed the cadets. Referencing their dedication song, she spoke of this moment being holy ground and, referring to 2 Corinthians 3:18 – which speaks of unveiled faces reflecting God’s glory – quoted these lyrics: ‘Now we look into the mirror,/ It’s your image that we see,/ Reflecting back the people/ You created us to be.’

She prayed that their lives would blaze with the glory of God’s radiance, and called on all present to be reflectors of holiness, compelled by love. Inspired by the witness of a bus driver, she urged everyone to be a witness where they are and asked what difference would be seen in them tomorrow.

She implored all believers to love one another, even when they disagree, reflecting the glory of God through the love that we show to each other. Much as the moon has no light of its own but only that which it reflects from the sun, everyone should let the light of Jesus shine through them as a mirrored image.

After a time of prayerful response, the meeting concluded with ‘Purify My Heart’ and ‘The Blessing’.

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In the afternoon praise meeting, a festival atmosphere greeted the newly commissioned lieutenants, with air horns, cheering and applause ringing out.

The congregation sang ‘Shine, Jesus, Shine’ before the lieutenants marched to the platform and sang their sessional song.

A playful video filmed at William Booth College introduced the children of the new officers, before a creative prayer time.

Director of Family Ministries Major David Betteridge played ‘Send to All’ with the TC’s phone, challenging all present to display holiness to everyone saved in their phone contacts.

Major Wendy Stanbury (William Booth College), Assistant Principal Major Althea Bawden, Cadet Dave Perkins, Domi and Henry shared in an intergenerational Bible discussion about holiness and, after each being encouraged to ‘flame on’ in their own unique way by the worship band, the congregation were sent out to reflect holiness in their communities, exuberantly singing ‘Let Us Go Out into the World with Love in Our Hearts’.

Written by

Photo of Julian Watchorn.

Major Julian Watchorn

Editor, Salvationist magazine

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