Before I became a Salvation Army Officer I was going to be a professional photographer. So in some regard, I should be embarrassed by the quality of this shot! So many things wrong with it, from focus to composure to balance…. oh my. But here it is.
I include it because in my last post I said I would tell some of the wonderful stories of ministry. And quite honestly there are more of these moments and the tough ones. The difference is, the comments intending to hurt seem to be like velcro! They stick so much better than the positive comments.
This was from our first aboriginal round table which we did at The Salvation Army’s camp in northern BC. It was a wonderful combination of cultures and a great reminder to me, and to the those in attendance, that while the indigenous community might be different, it is by no means inferior – and in fact I suspect in many ways it is superior.
Those of us who come from the history of conquering and colonizing need to get to a point of confession, that while we might personally have hurt or stolen land, we are the heirs to this type of behaviour. We possess that which was given wrongly. Time and economics might not be able to restore all, but our confession to this and our admission of that history are important.
This photo, therefore, represents one of those “best moments” of ministry as we found ourselves in partnership with some truly remarkable people. I will look back upon this poorly taken picture with a heart of gratitude for this ministry opportunity.
Last week we found ourselves in Orford Quebec at the divisional retreat. This is a small perhaps better described intimate division. We had a wonderful time en francais and each day seemed to bring something different. We explored Sherbrook Quebec where we had never been – ate poutine at Le Shack – a real unique experience! Oh and delicious too.
I was really taken with the teaching of Colonel Daniel Naud. This man is a wonderful teacher and his gentle but authority teaching really gave us reason to think. His word to us was entirely set in the Word of God and his personal illustrations brought a sense of genuine leadership. He is the TC for France and Belgium and obviously a wise and thoughtful leader.
One of our team building exercises was putting together a puzzle – thus the feature image above. Did I mention how good the food was? DELICIOUS!
Next week will mark one year since we came to our new positions. Friends tell me they weren’t surprised but I was…seriously, I started this journey of Salvation Army officership thinking I would be a corps officer. We launched from CFOT to a small corps in rural Ontario and while life outside the big city was a bit of mystery to me (why do gas stations close at 6 pm on Saturday?) it was delightful to see the corps grow and new people come to faith.
A second corps took us back to the big city and I missed the small town!
Then on to DHQ and five years in youth work where camp life was my greatest delight! I wouldn’t want to do it now (it’s a young man’s sport) but it was great while it lasted.
Two more corps where I fell further in love with leading worship, setting strategic direction and exploring how as a community we might share the Gospel creatively with our neighbours.
Two more DHQ appointments, one as AC and one as DC and then to THQ. I remember getting an email from a friend welcoming me, tongue in cheek, to the tower of power. That was five years ago and I’ve had three appointments. So with this anniversary approaching, I’ve been reflecting on what I have learned.
Life on the seventh floor has been about learning, listening and leading. The view from here is different too – when I would look at decisions from my small place somewhere on the field the right decision for The Army seemed obvious! Why are we doing this I would quip. But making decisions isn’t so simple and it isn’t so simple. There are many things to be considered and when you don’t have all the information it’s hard to understand.
I’ve also learned that my partners in ministry are wonderful people with pure motives and a deep desire to do what is best. They are fun to work with, having great backgrounds and work tirelessly. There is a sense of responsibility that cannot be denied and while it is not burdensome, it does stay with us as we attempt to make the best decisions we can for now and for the future.
So a year later I sense that this is a good fit for me but really, one day, I hope to be a corps officer again. Let’s see what happens!