Hershey, Pa., Sunday, June 12—By the final day of the Ordination and Commissioning 2022, it was clear that “Together in Perfect Unity” was much more than a slogan; it had become the mantra of the Messengers of Reconciliation session. They enthusiastically embraced their first appointments as Salvation Army officers in the USA Eastern Territory.
Their fervor and that of 1,800 Salvationists in Hershey’s Great American Hall had grown since the festivities began on Friday. That evening, the “Together With One Accord” Vision Report outlined the progress to connect with the soldiery in every division. Representatives also explained specific aspects of the territory’s mandate: “To live for the glory of God and the salvation of the world” and to be an “Army united in purpose and actively pursuing God’s next Great Awakening.”
Saturday’s Star Search Awards Ceremony further energized hundreds of young people to strive to do their best for Christ through music, dance, and Christian character.
These events and more served as the backdrop to a spiritually moving and memorable Sunday morning service as each Messenger of Reconciliation received his or her ordination, commissioning, and first officer appointment. Worship led by the New York Staff Band, the Eastern Territory Staff Songsters, UNBOUND, the dance troupe MOVE, and congregational singing set the tone for the meeting. Honored via video were faithful officers who have been promoted to Glory.
Senior Soldier Bhule (pronounced “Boo–slay”) Dlamini brought an insightful and heartfelt message that vividly illustrated the need for forgiveness and reconciliation in our world today. He talked about the loss of loved ones during the pandemic; his South African (Zulu) heritage; his marriage to Stacey, a white Nova Scotian, and their adoption of two black orphaned South African children (a girl from a Salvation Army children’s home and the other who is his actual brother); and the Dlamini’s two children by birth.
“If we were in the South Africa that I grew up, our family would have been illegal,” Dlamini said. “We would have been classified into three different race groups: white, black, and colored, which is people of mixed race. We would not have been allowed to live in the same place.
“But God brings us together with all our differences into one family. Hallelujah! That is what God does. Look across the room. Look at the people in your row. Look at the people behind you. This is God’s family. So, the heart of the Lord for His Church is that we may all be one, as He is with the Father.”
Many Salvationists lined the mercy seat in response to the message as Commissioner William A. Bamford III, territorial commander, and Lt. Colonel James LaBossiere, the College for Officer Training (CFOT) principal, prayed earnestly for reconciliation in the world.
Lieutenant JoeQuetta S. Sorrells, the representative speaker, offered a powerful message that began with heartfelt thanks to everyone who had supported the journey of each Messenger of Reconciliation. “We want to thank the territorial leaders, the officers, and staff at the CFOT, Colonels Jim and Pat LaBossiere for your love, prayers, and support throughout our journey, and to all the divisional leaders and soldiers who have encouraged us.
“To the Messengers of Grace, and the Reflectors of Holiness, our sister sessions, thank you for helping us. It is only by the grace of God that we’re here. It is only by His strength,” said Sorrells.
“As I prayed to the Lord for something to say this morning, He said something so simple, yet so divine, ‘Just remember that I have called you for battle. You are handpicked to help reconcile your family and friends back to Christ and reconcile the communities in this world back to the love of Jesus. You’ve been handpicked to stand on the front line of a fallen world.’”
Sorrells faced her session and promised, “If you’ll fight with me, I’ll fight with you!”
Appointed to serve
Lieutenant Adam Mack received The Commissioner’s Award. Mack, who is originally from Glens Falls, N.Y., and who will now serve with his wife, Lieutenant Krystal L. Mack, as corps officers in Tonawanda, N.Y., was nominated by his peers and so honored by the Executive Council because of his academic achievements, overall attitude, and spiritual life. Via video, Lt. Colonel Patricia LaBossiere, assistant training principal for ministry development, said Mack had been recognized for being “all in,” in terms of the entire training experience. “I am excited to see what the Lord is going to do in the life of this [officer],” she said.
An exuberant appointment service followed, as each Messenger of Reconciliation was selected to serve in corps around the territory to bring hope and healing to communities.