Captains Jeremiah and Kathryn Eisley | Rochester, N.Y., Corps

by Warren L. Maye

Ten years ago, then-Lieutenants Jeremiah and Kathryn Eisley began their ministries as newly appointed Salvation Army officers. Three days after their ordination, commissioning, and appointment, they were also married. Today, their ministry and marriage remain passionate and parallel.

Sometimes, a look at history can provide a vision of the future. Such was the case for Jeremiah Eisley. While sorting through a book closet, he found something that changed his life. “I was a volunteer at the Williamsport, Pa., Corps. As I unboxed books, I saw on full display the Christian mission that was raised up by God for the salvation of the world.” Contained in a few old doctrine books and tracts was Jeremiah’s introduction to a higher life of holiness. “This message was liberating! It ignited in my heart a calling on my life for ministry. I knew without a doubt that I was to become a Salvation Army officer.”

The Lord also knew how to reach young Kathryn’s mind and heart. “I was 14. God knew that I was a classic overthinker and told me in a way that I couldn’t possibly overthink—through a vision.” As she sat on the edge of her bed, He suddenly brought her into a beautiful and safe space. “It was the Seaside Pavilion at Old Orchard Beach, Maine. In that moment, I saw myself worshiping in full uniform, with red trim. I was the only person in the pavilion.” As quickly as the vision engaged her, it disappeared. “I was immediately back on the edge of my bed, but there was no way I could deny or even question what He was asking of me.”

Since that time, the Eisleys’ lives have been a great adventure. “There is no other line of work where I can enjoy the comradery that is so rare in other church traditions,” says Captain Jeremiah.

The Eisleys have also seen the fruits of their labor. “The teaching of holiness is the defining distinction of our movement, and my most cherished accomplishments always involve the visible transformation in someone’s life—or an entire congregation’s life.”

Being a conduit of God’s love to children motivates Captain Kathryn. “A priority for me in each appointment is to make sure that kids who come into our corps building know that they are loved and cared for here, no matter what kind of life they have waiting for them at home.”

Having a vigorous devotional life also keeps the couple strong. “I don’t know how I’d be able to do it any other way,” says Captain Jeremiah. “Each morning, I read a chapter from the Bible, followed by a prayerful devotion, and I finish with whichever book I happen to be reading at that time—usually an older devotional book or biography.”

Today’s fractured society can provoke concerns in every corps officer, but the Eisleys again look to biblical history to find hope. “This shouldn’t be anything new for us Salvationists,” says Captain Jeremiah. “We are in a war against sin. What keeps me excited is knowing that the victory is already ours through Jesus Christ.”

Captain Kathryn says, “It’s so easy to get anxious thoughts. But when I take a breath and come back to reality, I see an adventure waiting for me. The easiest way for me to dive into that adventure is to decorate my home and office immediately!”

Managing the high expectations of congregants can be challenging, particularly as officers move from corps to corps. “A soft heart and a tough skin” are needed, says Captain Jeremiah. “But I rely on Christ to navigate those expectations.”

These pastors feel they are blessed through sharing Scripture with others. “I feel most honored and appreciated when our congregation dives deep, asks questions, and experiences all of this in community,” says Captain Jeremiah.

Captain Kathryn says, “They have graciously told me how they appreciate my kind heart, compassionate spirit, and vulnerability. They continue to remind me that I am a blessing to them, and they bless me so much!”