FRIENDS and Salvationists from around the UK and beyond gathered at Westminster Central Hall, London, for the commissioning of the Prayer Warriors Session of cadets, led by General Shaw and Commissioner Helen Clifton.
Earlier in the week the international leaders had taken part in Covenant Day meetings in the red room at Sunbury Court. This was the first time since the building of the William Booth College, Denmark Hill, that this sacred occasion – when cadets sign their officers covenants – had taken place away from the college's assembly hall. This was because of extensive building work taking place there.
General Clifton said Covenant Day had been a profoundly moving and uplifting occasion. He added that he was 'deeply moved by the cadets' sincerity of heart, strong intentionality and sacred determination'. During Covenant Day General Clifton had urged cadets to remember that 'following Jesus was the greatest adventure in life'.
Commissioner John Matear (Territorial Commander, UK Territory with the Republic of Ireland) introduced the Cliftons to the congregation at Westminster Central Hall and also acknowledged the presence of Chief of the Staff Commissioner Barry Swanson and Commissioner Sue Swanson, whom UK Salvationists had the first opportunity to greet since their arrival at International Headquarters in May. International secretaries were welcomed, as were service heads and divisional leaders from the UK Territory.
In his Bible message General Clifton again referred to the 'adventure' of serving and reassured the cadets that, in spite of difficulties they may face, the adventure would bring fullness of joy in Christ.
Training Principal Major Norman Ord presented the session to the General. After singing their dedication song, 'From this Moment On', and making their declaration of faith the cadets were invited to make their promises, based on the covenant they had signed earlier in the week.
Each cadet stepped forward to receive his or her commission from General Clifton and was given words of encouragement from Scripture. Four cadets of the Prayer Warriors Session are from The Netherlands and Czech Republic Territory so it was appropriate that prayers of dedication were offered by their Territorial Commander, Commissioner Hans van Vliet, as well as Commissioner Helen Clifton.
Commissioner John Matear offered a final petition to the Lord after moments of shared prayers when the new lieutenants were joined by family and college staff.
The final meeting of a commissioning day has always been marked by excitement and exuberance. This year was no exception, but making an appearance for the first time alongside the horns, banners, whistles and cheers was the vuvuzela! The newly commissioned lieutenants entered to the march 'Prayer Warriors UK'. When all the lieutenants had taken their place they sang their sessional song 'Prayer Warriors'.
During the meeting Commissioner Clifton shared a story about her grandson becoming a junior soldier and used this to speak about the enthusiasm of God's people for sharing the gospel.
In his Bible address the General likened prayer to conversation, communication and the companionship of Christ, illustrating his address with personal words of testimony.
A period of prayer, led by the TC, followed the General's address. Many people knelt at the mercy seat. The day concluded with the Founder's Song followed by a sung benediction from the William Booth College community.