24 May 2023

'The two High Councils I attended were mountaintop experiences'

Commissioner Freda Larsson

Photo shows Freda Larsson.

Commissioner Freda Larsson shares how God remains her daily strength.

This weekend our thoughts and prayers turn to Sunbury Court, where the High Council is gathering to elect our new General. It was natural, therefore, that when I received an invitation to share my own story in Salvationist of how God has been – and is still – working in my life, a trip down memory lane helped me realise just how much my own life has been changed and enriched by events that I have attended at Sunbury Court.

My association with that centre began with a Torchbearers weekend when I was in my early 20s, followed a few years later with a Candidates weekend, just before I entered the International Training College in 1963. Since then, I have participated in a variety of events there, including house parties, retreats, conferences and the bringing to life of many of the Gowans-Larsson musicals. Each event has had its own impact on my personal life and development.

The two High Councils that I attended were definitely mountaintop experiences. In each case, once the official and legal aspects of the process were settled, the awesome responsibility of the event for all participants became the overwhelming feeling. As we prayed together for the Holy Spirit’s guidance, a hush began to descend on the whole group.

A day later the hush became complete silence as we listened to those who had accepted a nomination answer deeply personal questions and give their speeches, following the rule that there should be no reaction from the floor.

In every High Council this silence is maintained throughout the whole balloting process. Even as I write I can still feel the power of those solemn and precious minutes or even hours of prayer.

In 2002, when my husband was elected as General, as I was thinking of the awesome responsibility that lay ahead, I recalled a verse from Scripture that I had embraced as a cadet, and which had been very important to me ever since, as the ever-expanding opportunities for service increased: ‘I can do all this through him who gives me strength’ (Philippians 4:13).

I really needed the assurance of that verse on that day more than ever. The Lord was gracious, and I felt the power of those words as we lived through the following three-and-a-half stimulating and inspirational years.

I can testify that this is still my experience today. My life is very different in retirement, but the Lord still gives opportunities for service, often in very unexpected ways, and I still rely on him for my daily strength and the guidance needed for each task.

Written by

Photo of Freda Larsson.

Commissioner Freda Larsson

Retired Officer

Discover more

Let's pray as our international leadership elects the next General of The Salvation Army.

Salvationist shares General John Larsson’s guide to how a General is elected.

Commissioner Jane Paone encourages Salvationists to pray for the 2023 High Council.

Be inspired by personal faith journeys.

Related tags