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‘Worth fighting for’

The Hayden Band Shell at Camp Wonderland in Sharon, Mass., looked like a boxing ring.

“Do you know what’s worth fighting for?” asked worship leader James Cox to nearly 500 delegates attending Family Camp. That Friday evening, a worship band from Brockton, Mass., home of such fighters as Rocky Marciano and Marvelous Marvin Hagler, played, kicking off a weekend of festivities under the theme, “Worth Fighting For—Our Families, Our Communities, Our God.”

Commissioners William W. and Marilyn A. Francis, special guests, returned to Camp Wonderland where Commissioner Bill had worked in his youth and where as a couple they had served for five summers as camp directors and as divisional youth leaders.

In his Bible study, Commissioner Francis said to the capacity crowd, “All Christians must become theologians. In the Greek, theo means God and logos means word, a rational discourse, so theology is a rational discourse about God.”

Saturday morning’s “Personal Training” sessions offered such workshops as “Stay in the ring: building a marriage that lasts,” “Team sparring: how small groups can make a real impact,” and “Perfect Stance: defending your faith without shutting down the conversation.”

On Saturday evening, the children enjoyed magic and a mustache party conducted by Captains Angelo and Virginia Bermeo, territorial evangelists. Amanda Thompson, of the Worcester (Citadel), Mass., Corps, shared how she survived the loss of her brother, Henry, and graduated from Gordon College, despite academic setbacks. Now, she leads a Bridging the Gap program, which is helping first–time offender adolescents.

Morning worship was highlighted by the Family Camp Chorus singing an original song by Anne Rich, assistant music & gospel arts director. The entire congregation was moved to “Open up and let the King of Glory in.”

Commissioner Marilyn Francis encouraged everyone with her heartfelt testimony offered both orally and musically on piano. “I got over my fear when I looked into Jesus’ face,” she said.

Commissioner Bill Francis brought the weekend’s teaching to a head when, during his sermon, he asked, “How are you going to get beyond your fear?” The answer he offered was, “radical trust in Jesus as Savior,” which many people sought at the mercy seat.

“Worth Fighting For,” a song also by Anne Rich and sung by the Family Camp Children’s Choir, framed the farewell service for Accepted Candidate Joshua Brookman of the Pittsfield Corps. Captain Jason Knaggs, divisional youth & candidates secretary, said, “Josh Brookman is a quiet guy, but when you meet him, it’s clear that he’s a disciple of the cross, that he loves Jesus.” Following in Brookman’s footsteps that day were 14 people who answered the call to become Salvation Army officers.

by Drew Forster

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