CommissioningCommissioning 2020

Lt. Colonels Abraham and Louise Johnson receive Order of the Founder

Lt. Colonels Abraham and Louise Johnson receive Order of the Founder

June 3, 2020, Suffern, N.Y.— Lt. Colonels Abraham D. and Louise H. Johnson (R), were admitted to the Order of the Founder (O.F.), the highest honor that The Salvation Army can bestow upon a member. This award is rarely given and as recipients, the Johnsons receive special status and a place in history for having modeled the values and ideals that exemplify true Salvationism during their 86 years of combined active service as officers. The award was presented following the commissioning of the Messengers of the Kingdom session.

The Johnsons were cited for building the Harlem, N.Y., Temple Corps and Community Center in 1987 (the largest Salvation Army facility in the world at that time), rendering frontline service in the aftermath of 9/11, and for raising awareness regarding issues of race equality and inclusion in the territory and the world. Other acknowledgments included receiving a certificate of achievement from General Eva Burrows in 1999, being highlighted in the book Soldiers of Uncommon Valor: the History of Salvationists of African Descent in the United States in 2008 and receiving the USA Eastern Territory’s Empowerment Life Achievement Award in 2018.

Commissioners William A. and G. Lorraine Bamford, territorial leaders, presented the O.F., award on behalf of General Brian Peddle, leader of the international Salvation Army. Restrictions imposed by the current COVID–19 pandemic prohibited him from being present, but Commissioner William A. Bamford III recited the General’s words. “I hereby appoint Lt. Colonels Abraham D. and Louise H. Johnson as members of the Order of the Founder and direct their names to be inscribed on the role of the Order of the Founder, dated on the 13th day of June of the year of our Lord, 2020.”

In response, Lt. Colonel Abraham Johnson said, “Thank you very much for this recognition. It’s an honor. I have seen so much improvement in leadership in the Afro American world expressed in the last 57 years. We’ve been able to train and put in position divisional commanders, general secretaries, and youth leaders. It is a dream that has come true. I know that in days to come, greater things are going to happen, not only for Afro Americans, but for all Salvationists, especially the minorities who are doing their best to uphold the standard of holiness and Salvationism and to be of service to others. May God be on all our officers, soldiers, and recruits in the name of Jesus. Amen!”

by Warren L. Maye

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