Holiness Institute for Soldiers 2014
During the weekend of September 16–19, 35 Salvationists participated in the Eastern Territorial Holiness Institute for Soldiers, held at the Crestview Conference Center at Territorial Headquarters in West Nyack, N.Y.
Major Young Sung Kim, territorial ambassador for holiness, welcomed the delegates and then described the difference between “Chronos” and “Kairos” time. “’Chronos,’ is the actual physical time that we will spend in this place, as declared ‘holy ground,’” he said. “However, ‘Kairos’ is God’s time.” Kim said Kairos was the specific and opportune moment that God had placed the delegates at the institute to receive His holy word.
Following orientation, delegates had dinner and mingled. Among them were Commissioners Barry C. and E. Sue Swanson, territorial leaders, who, through prayer, inspired and encouraged each attendee.
The Swansons encouraged everyone to put away, for the short time they were at the institute, the problems of the world and to listen as the Holy Spirit spoke to them individually and collectively.
Representing the territorial cabinet, Colonels G. Lorraine and William A. Bamford, territorial secretary for women’s ministries and chief secretary, welcomed everyone to the institute of higher learning and of spiritual formation.
Delegates were particularly blessed by the musical ministries of special guests Major Donna Peterson, territorial evangelist; Envoy Kenneth Burton, O.F., assistant at the Harlem Temple, N.Y., Corps; the Greater New York Praise Band; and Envoys Steven and Sharon Bussey, Salvation Factory co–directors. Their music helped to set a spiritual tone for the various presentations made by special guests Lt. Colonel Lyell M. Rader; Majors Kellus D. and Marcia J. Vanover of the SWONEKY Divisional Visitation & Support Team; and Captain Cindy–Lou Drummond, the assistant training principal for administration at the College for Officer Training.
Lt. Colonel Rader delivered the opening session with a message entitled “Making Our Mark.” In marking Jacob’s life journey, Rader said Jacob fled Bethel to escape from his brother Esau and from God, he saw the ladder to heaven, he enjoyed 20 years of prosperity while perpetuating his own self–interests, he wrestled with God, he was made weak, and he finally returned home—humbled and ready to see his brother once again.
Envoy Burton and several members of the Greater New York praise band offered songs and hymns of praise, and an uplifting devotional message.
To begin each morning with a word of prayer and praise, the multi–talented Major Donna Peterson used her skill on piano and her giftedness as a composer to help each delegate assume an attitude of worship in anticipation of the teaching they would receive for the day.
Throughout the weekend, Major Kellus Vanover presented an historical and practical perspective on the views of Wesleyan–Arminian Salvationism. He presented 11 levels of God’s grace in our lives and explained how we can be saved, sanctified, and assured during our Christian journey. Delegates learned that, one day through His grace, they will see God’s glorification.
Major Marcia Vanover led the delegates in a discussion regarding how small groups can be of tremendous value to a corps congregation. “Warmth, depth, and strength are a few of the key signs of a healthy small group,” she said. To demonstrate the benefits of such groups, Vanover assembled the delegates into groups where they conducted discussions on the early church and how the author of Acts encouraged believers to be in community with other believers in their homes, places of worship, and with their family.
As an example, Vanover used the Apostle Peter’s character in earlier epistles depicting him as a nervous and unsure disciple who had turned his back on Jesus even during His moment of greatest need. Then, the Holy Spirit filled Peter with power. He ultimately saw how his potential could be fulfilled as a leader in Christ’s body.
Peter’s story deeply moved the small groups. They discussed how God was currently working His plan in each of their lives. Some delegates shared how God had saved them from addictions and from other vices.
Captain Drummond spoke to everyone about the virtues of being holistic in their search for holiness. “We should be fully alive in God, in our body, in our spirit, and in our soul,” said Drummond. She said that, while Christians focus primarily on the spirit and the soul, they should also keep their bodies “holy” as they are God’s “temple” and where His Spirit dwells. Drummond’s interactive approach to teaching holistic holiness brought into focus ways in which people can better listen to His divine guidance.
During the institute’s final evening, Envoys Steven and Sharon Bussey’s leadership of the praise & worship session gave the delegates much to reflect upon. As an object lesson, the Busseys handed each person a plain brick to hold as a symbol of the world’s attempt to stop the Holy Spirit’s work.
The Busseys directed delegates to write upon their brick the scripture Genesis 50:20 to inspire them to remember that “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”
On Sunday, delegates finished the weekend with a covenant service. And during the holiness meeting, they signed their Holiness Covenant, promising to use their new knowledge to grow deeper in their own holiness journey.
by Erik Muhs