“Lives will be changed today because the presence of the Holy Spirit is among us,” said Major Eric Bond, principal, College for Officer Training (CFOT), at the morning service that officially welcomed the 11 cadets of the Ambassadors of Holiness Session.
Held in the CFOT chapel in Winnipeg, the worship service brought together friends, family, CFOT staff and divisional and territorial leaders to celebrate a new session of cadets entering training to become Salvation Army officers.
Following the opening challenge from the principal, the CFOT worship team led the congregation in song, concluding with words of adoration: “I exalt thee, O, Lord.” Cadet Kristen Gray and Colonel Ann Copple, territorial secretary for women’s ministries, offered prayers.
Commissioners William W. and Marilyn D. Francis, territorial leaders, then installed Majors Eric and Donna Bond in their new appointments as principal and director of spiritual formation.
During a testimony period, Cadet Peter Kim, out of the Toronto Korean Corps, Ontario Central-East Division, described his relationship with God: “I have experienced the graciousness of God through his arms embracing me when I needed to be embraced.” Cadet Joyce Wilson from Suncoast Citadel, Goderich, Ontario Great Lakes Division, affirmed her calling to officership: “God had been preparing me for this moment. He used my previous work, my family, my experience, everything to prepare me for this, and I know that I am where God wants me to be.”
Commissioner William Francis shared an inspiring message on holiness from Zechariah 14:16-21. “God wants us to be holy to partake in the holiness of God,” he said. “Not someday; God wants us to be totally given to him now!” Many individuals responded to the message of holiness by kneeling at the mercy seat.
The service concluded with a sung benediction: “As we leave this place, Lord, we know that you are near, always at our side!”
A public meeting was held later in the afternoon at Southlands Community Church to welcome the new cadets. With over 230 in attendance, the crowd cheered as the national flags of Canada and Bermuda were marched into the sanctuary, followed by Commissioners William and Marilyn Francis and Majors Eric and Donna Bond. As the excitement mounted, the Ambassadors of Holiness flag bearer, Cadet Joshua Downer, out of Mountain Citadel, Hamilton, Ontario Great Lakes Division, led his session-mates as they marched in.
“Within this session, we have two married couples, six singles, one single spouse and we are waiting on two single cadets from the India East Territory,” said Major Eric Bond. He also introduced a married couple from the Korean Territory who have joined the Prayer Warriors Session for their second year of training.
Cadet Joshua Downer, in an interview with Major Keith Pike, director of personnel, CFOT, shared a Scripture verse that holds personal meaning for him: “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it” (Mark 8:35). In his following remarks, Cadet Downer said that he wants God to “break me when he wants to, mould me when he wants to and prepare me as he wants to.”
As Cadet Grace Kim, out of the Toronto Korean Corps, played Jesus the Name I Cannot Speak on her cello, a hush fell across the congregation. With the presence of the Holy Spirit evident, Commissioner William Francis dedicated the Ambassadors of Holiness Session and their flag.
“The word holiness has never been used before in a sessional name,” said the territorial commander. “Cadets of any session will take on the personality of their sessional name. May that be true for you. May each of you be Ambassadors of Holiness.”
In his challenge to the congregation, Commissioner Francis spoke from Galatians 2:11-20. “In handling our own self, our sin, we need to remember that our sin has been crucified with Christ,” he said. “We are not improved—we are changed. The old life has died, and there is a new life, which is Christ in you. Be victorious. Be men and women filled with the Holy Spirit.” At the conclusion of his message, men and women knelt at the mercy seat while the congregation sang Fill My Cup, Lord and I Surrender All.
During the celebration meeting, Commissioner Francis installed Majors Junior and Verna Hynes as divisional leaders for the Prairie Division. The territorial commander encouraged them to lead the division with a vibrant prayer life proclaiming the gospel of Christ through their ministries. Major Junior Hynes pronounced the closing benediction: “Thank you, Lord, for this day of celebration in which God has been present and moved in our lives.”
Major Margaret McLeod is the director of academic studies, CFOT.