Friday Night Welcome Meeting | Cadet David Dale
The atmosphere was charged with excitement and with expectations of an encounter with God Friday evening as the 2014 Canada and Bermuda Territorial Congress welcome meeting began. Joyous music and songs of praise to Jesus filled the Hershey Centre in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, under the banner One Army, One Mission, One Message.
The Canadian Staff Band filled the air with familiar tunes which were followed by the Ontario Central East Divisional Youth Chorus. The St. John’s Temple worship team, all the way from Newfoundland, Canada, then led the congregation in song declaring “How Great is Our God.”
Territorial leaders, Commissioners Brian and Rosalie Peddle, were introduced while members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police stood guard as international leaders General Andre and Commissioner Silvia Cox made their way to the platform. The Salvation Army London Citadel Timbrels then gave a spectacular performance that surely would have impressed Salvationists and friends.
Representatives of the Canadian First Nations shared expressions of love and respect with presentation of gifts to The Salvation Army, which was reciprocated by gifts to the representatives. Christian unity and respect for human diversity were celebrated while Commissioner Silvia Cox, World President of Women’s Ministries addressed the crowd in English and French; both of the official Canadian languages. She then read praises to the Lord from Psalm 113:1-3.
The theme of the conference was “one.” With a beautiful tune that would rival any Disney anthem, The Canadian Staff Band led us in the song “One,” penned by Major Kevin Metcalf. The entire stadium sang praises to God in unity “With One Mission of hope and freedom, and One Message of grace and pardon…” The Ontario Central East Divisional Singing Company harmoniously performed two songs of praise with astounding voices.
Commissioner Brian Peddle spoke of God’s transformative power, affirming The Salvation Army as a “vehicle God uses” to spread this message; a church “against which the gates of hell shall not prevail” (Matthew 16:18).
Using John 17:6-19 as the text, General Cox delivered a powerful sermon, reminding Christians of the one thing that unites us; we worship a Saviour who rose again and reigns! The General’s message inspired Salvationists to submit to God’s leading. Likening us to clay being fashioned in the potter’s hands, the General urged us to allow the Holy Spirit to continue to shape us and form us to become the people God wants us to become. General Cox pointed out that we can do nothing unless God is guiding us. We are not self sufficient. We can do nothing in our own strength.
Many people approached the throne of God in prayer. The meeting concluded with a unified Army prayerfully singing “Bless Our Army.” The congregation left the meeting, radiant with the joy of the Holy Spirit, knowing they had experienced an encounter with the living God. A fresh vision of unity in Christ was renewed within the hearts of God’s Army. God has empowered “One Army” to carry the “One Message” and “One Mission” of Jesus Christ to the world!