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The General’s call for ‘transparency and accountability’

Delegates from around the Salvation Army world gathered in Orlando, Fla., for the “Global Conversation,” an international event held in partnership with the National Social Services Conference and hosted by the Southern Territory. The Global Conversation was a time of reflective listening, meaningful conversation, and enriching appreciation for the internationalism of The Salvation Army. The significance of the event was punctuated by the presence and participation of General André Cox and Commissioner Silvia Cox, who actively participated in round–table discussions.

A total of 275 people attended the Global Conversation either as participants or as observers. Another 419 people engaged in the conversation online, spending an average of 90 minutes in interactive dialogue.

On Friday morning, Commissioner Gerrit Marseille, international secretary for program resources at International Headquarters (IHQ), recounted the purpose of the Global Conversation during the plenary session and encouraged delegates to keep the conversation going upon their return home. He also offered a prayer of thanksgiving for all that was accomplished.

Major Dean Pallant, undersecretary for program resources and the Global Conversation coordinator, began a thoughtful probing when he asked, “So what now?” He also asked delegates to contemplate what God had been saying to them individually during these days. “What have you learned?” This conversation formed the starting point for a 500–word theological reflection, which each delegate is required to submit to the IHQ Program Resources Department upon their return home.

In his keynote address, the General told delegates that God had brought each one of them to the conference for a purpose. He also encouraged his listeners to keep the conversation going. He was frank in his presentation, telling Global Conversation delegates that this is a watershed moment in the history of The Salvation Army and that, as an organization, “We are going to have to ‘up our game’ if we are going to significantly continue to impact community in the days and years ahead.”

The General continued, saying that The Salvation Army is “a force for positive change. However, the hallmark of our movement needs to be grounded in transparency and accountability.” He spoke about the need to ensure that corruption is banished and, in a realistic nod to the challenges facing the Army today, he acknowledged that good and evil are present in The Salvation Army but reminded delegates that “no one is above the law!” The General also suggested to delegates that a culture of change is needed in The Salvation Army, which will bring it back to its founding roots.

The Global Conversation was a significant event in the history of The Salvation Army. Not only was it a time of deep reflection and an intentional review of strategic questions, it has helped to shape the global Salvation Army landscape and deepened the understanding and need for theological reflection and discussion while creating an appreciation for transparency and accountability in all that takes place.

The General and Commissioner Cox concluded their time in Florida by leading Sunday worship at the Clearwater (Citadel), Fla., Corps, which coincided with The Salvation Army’s International Day of Prayer for Children. During the morning meeting, the General enrolled five junior soldiers, six senior soldiers, and three adherent members. The international leaders were supported by Southern territorial leaders Commissioners Donald and Debora Bell, along with officers, soldiers, and friends from the territory.

Major John P. Murray, MA, APR, is the
IHQ Communications and Literary Secretary.
To read the papers and feedback from the Global Conversation, go to:
www.salvationarmy.org/globalconversation
Photos are available on the IHQ Flickr site:
sar.my/globalconvpics

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