13 January 2024

Introducing the territorial leaders: Keeping the main thing the Main thing

Major Julian Watchorn

A photo of territorial leaders Commissioners Jenine and Paul Main.
Picture: Andrew King Photography

In their first interview as territorial leaders, Commissioners Jenine and Paul Main talk to Salvationist Editor Major Julian Watchorn about their focus as they take on their new responsibilities.

How are you feeling about your new appointments?

Jenine Excited, apprehensive and mindful of the expectations of others. I’m aware that we cannot please all people all the time.

Paul Excited, nervous and privileged. We’re grateful for the foundations laid by Commissioners Anthony and Gill Cotterill and intend to build on those foundations.

How did you come to the Army? How were you called to officership?

Paul We both come from Salvationist families. I had officer parents.

Jenine I had local officer parents.

Paul They were good role models and had a strong influence on our thinking and decisions about what God might be asking of us.

Jenine We were both greatly shaped by corps cadets and influenced by strong corps cadet guardians. In my case, that was also my mum.

Paul I was called during a corps cadet rally when I was 14 years old. I was obedient to that call a couple of years later in a corps meeting at Edinburgh Gorgie, when I found myself surrendering fully to God at the mercy seat not knowing how I got there.

Jenine My calling came when I was studying to be a teacher and I started to realise that this was not the path I should take. God stripped everything away that I had planned for my life and clearly directed me towards full-time ministry in The Salvation Army.

What is important to you other than your calling? How do you rest?

Paul Family is the most important thing. We have two children – both married – and four grandchildren. We are a close family and speak to each other most days. We also both enjoy walking. I’m quite creative and enjoy gardening and DIY.

Jenine I enjoy reading and also listening to podcasts, especially The All Terrain Podcast and The Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast

You have shared the leadership of many corps together, but there have been occasions when you held separate appointments. To what extent might this experience influence how you lead in your new roles?

Both We intend to lead together. We both love to lead but we see our past experiences of leading separately as influential and equipping for how we lead together. We hope that this will inspire other couples in joint leadership roles. Serving overseas has also widened our perspective on leadership within the international Salvation Army.

Are there specific passions or causes that God has laid upon your hearts? What will the Main era look like?

Both The most important thing is to keep Jesus at the centre. That we, The Salvation Army, would make Jesus visible to this world. We would like to demonstrate and witness the countercultural, upside-downness of the Kingdom. We want to be bold, to take Holy Spirit-led risks. We want to take the lead from Scripture to be courageous in listening to and acting upon the Spirit’s leading. To step out in faith. We have good people around us who will help us with this. We believe that we will see miracles and answers to prayer.

We are committed to listening to the territory’s young people. We are keen to get them involved at every level. Children and youth will play a part in our installation. We are particularly pleased that there will be a new Territorial Justice and Reconciliation Youth Forum, which will be starting this year.

We both feel strongly about equality, which we hope is demonstrated in our leadership style. Equality, diversity and inclusion are very important to us both. This needs to be preached and lived out.

What can the territory be praying for you?

Both We have made some bold statements in this interview, but if we are to see them fulfilled, we will need them to be prayed for.

We would ask for prayers for pace, space and grace. Pace – to manage both our expectations and the expectations of others and to be at peace about it. Space – for things that fill us up and inspire us. For conversations that do that too. Grace – discernment for those things that will challenge us and the Christian mission. Grace, too, to be the people God wants us to be.

More than anything else we would ask that, during our time as territorial leaders, the focus will continue to be Jesus, bringing more people to know him and that we will see God’s Kingdom come.

What are you most excited about?

Both Leading together. The opportunity to be bold, to continue to build and be part of this great team of people committed to serving Jesus. To have more opportunities to visit corps and centres and to hear what God is doing. We look forward to seeing and hearing the dreams and visions of God’s people around the territory.

We asked some children and young people to share some questions for you…

Do you like Peppa Pig?

Both Yes – we have young grandchildren who share this with us.

Do you like Marmite?

Jenine Yes. I eat it every day.

Paul No.

What more can we do to protect the environment?

Paul The territory has a plan to be net zero by 2040. That is a big commitment and won’t be easy. We all have a responsibility to do more, both personally and collectively through our corps and as a Church. We have an opportunity to speak to government and the territory’s environmental officer is supporting this agenda. We are reminded in Scripture of our responsibility to care for creation. It is one of our mission priorities.

Jenine Our carelessness always has greatest impact on the poor and vulnerable, therefore we have a responsibility to reduce that, and we will continue to support those working towards it. We are pleased that there are a number of corps that are now Eco Churches and we are encouraged to see more of these through Salvationist.

Written by

Photo of Julian Watchorn.

Major Julian Watchorn

Editor, Salvationist

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