23 May 2023

Immeasurably more: Welcoming the 2023 High Council

Major Julian Watchorn

The 2023 High Council
Members of the 2023 High Council

Major Julian Watchorn reports on the Welcome to the 2023 High Council and Farewell to the General and Commissioner Rosalie Peddle.

Called from every corner of the globe, 109 members of the 2023 High Council gathered in Westminster.

They celebrated and gave thanks for the leadership of General Brian Peddle and World President of Women’s Ministries Commissioner Rosalie Peddle, and prepared to elect, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the 22nd General of The Salvation Army. As the International Staff Band played ‘They Shall Come from the East’, each Council member entered the auditorium to present themselves before the General. Members of Southwark Corps shared Revelation 7:9–17 and Revelation 5:1–14.

The High Council members stood as the General charged them to carry out their duties. Affirming them as vessels of God’s purpose, he stated that they had a sacred engagement and urged them to seek the will of God and be humble and courageous. He emphasised that this was not about being equal to a task but rather about being available to God. Quoting Isaiah 41:10, he told them not to be afraid for God has promised to be with them. He then prayed they would come together in unity and holiness.

The lyrics of ‘Way Maker’ formed the basis of a prayer time led by International Headquarters staff members.

In a vibrant display of worship, African Praise Fellowship Zimbabwe sang and played joyful renditions of ‘God Be with You Till We Meet Again’ and ‘Onward, Christian Soldiers’ with voice, tambourines and hosho, received appreciatively by the congregation.

A photo of General Brian Peddle and Commissioner Rosalie Peddle on stage in Salvation Army uniform giving The Salvation Army salute - an index finger raised to Heaven. there is a Salvation Army officer holding a Salvation Army flag in the background.
The evening included the farewell and retirement of General Brian Peddle and Commissioner Rosalie Peddle

Members of the International Children and Youth Advisory Group outlined their priorities for the Army they dreamed to see, encouraging everyone to create a space where these things are possible.

Konverse Dance Crews from Barking Corps performed two numbers in stark contrast: a gentle reminder of the beautiful name of Jesus, before a more upbeat dance to ‘I Fell in Love with God’.

The ISB played ‘Called to Serve’, a piece written for the occasion by Kevin Larsson featuring the tune ‘I’ll Not Turn Back’.

After further singing, a video focused on the General’s call to the Army to ‘Be Ready – Be Engaged – Take Responsibility’.

The General and Commissioner Rosalie’s daughters, Stephanie Forystek and Major Krista Andrews, spoke with warmth and affection of their experience of having parents who are dedicated servants of God and The Salvation Army.

The International Staff Songsters sang ‘He Will Hold Me Fast’, a reminder of the faithfulness of God.

Commissioner Rosalie spoke of God’s faithfulness throughout her officership. She gave thanks for family, including her husband, and others. She declared that retirement was simply getting ready for what God had planned next.

Reflections and tributes from colleagues described them as humble, approachable, engaging, visionary and innovative. They were thanked for being the light that helped others to see Jesus.

In his message, the General referred to John 3:16, reminding everyone that God so loved the world that he gave Jesus, bringing Calvary into view for the whosoever. Referencing Romans 5:6, he emphasised that while we were still sinners Christ died for us – but that this was not the end of the story, and that we need to be a post Pentecostal people.

Reiterating his call to the wider Army, he urged everyone to be watchful for the signs, for Christ will come again, and that everyone needed to live now in that context. In conclusion, he invited all present to stand under the banner of the God who can do ‘immeasurably more’ (Ephesians 3:20) and is with us all.

The congregation placed prayers for the High Council in golden bowls, echoing the reading from Revelation 5, which were to be shared with the Council at Sunbury Court later in the week.

After a final rallying cry to storm the forts of darkness, the General and Commissioner Rosalie left the auditorium with their family as the benediction was sung: ‘The Lord bless you and keep you.’

  • To watch a recording of the meeting, and for updates from the High Council, go to sar.my/highcouncil.

Written by

Photo of Julian Watchorn.

Major Julian Watchorn


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