On File

– 30 –

And the LORD answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.”

– Habakkuk 2:2

SAconnects (the magazine) would be remiss if it were to overlook the promotions to Glory of two beloved editors of Salvation Army publications, Lt. Colonel William D. MacLean and Major Charles F. Olsen.

Hopefully, their legacies will inspire young writers to pick up their pens, boot up their tablets, and take firm hold of the Army’s literary baton.

‘Hot off the press!’

Lt. Colonel William D. MacLean
March 16, 1933–April 24, 2017

“The preparation, production, and distribution of publications in The Salvation Army is a privileged ministry,” wrote Lt. Colonel William D. MacLean in his final “Edlines” column for Good News! Under his leadership as literary secretary (1990–97), the territory’s monthly paper of record went full color.

In a decade of natural disasters, particularly Hurricane Andrew in Florida and “The Storm of the Century” in the East, as well as acts of terrorism (first World Trade Center attack), MacLean focused on timely reporting of the Army’s response to such horrific events.

Perhaps the most exciting instances of well–timed internal reporting were the first–ever Commissioning editions, covering the Army’s graduation services for new officers. The issues featured the new lieutenants and their first appointments. Good News! staff distributed copies immediately following the announcements.

During his career, MacLean served as editor and/or editor–in–chief of 14 official Salvation Army publications in English, French, and Spanish. During his tenure in Canada, the War Cry magazine received the Canadian Church Press “Best Cover” Award in 1984 and the “General Excellence” Award in 1985.

His writings were also published in local newspapers. He was an event speaker and served on the Salvation Army’s National Scouting Commission, the Boys Scouts of America National Commission on Scouting, and the New York Staff Band (NYSB). He was a devoted husband to Lt. Colonel Barbara MacLean and a loving father.

‘G.I. Jesus’

Major Charles F. Olsen
July 11, 1932–February 7, 2017

In his early years, Major Charles F. Olsen served as the Good News! production manager. It was on his watch that the paper, started in 1978, evolved into a public relations newsletter in 1984. “The then–territorial commander, Commissioner Paul Carlson, asked Colonel Paul Seiler if I would start a newsletter with up–to–date information on fundraising, public relations, USA East missionaries, and territorial news,” Olsen wrote in 2004.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, Olsen was a proud New Yorker. He first heard the Gospel as a child at a Presbyterian church. At the age of 13, his parents passed away. He and his two younger brothers went to live in a childrens’ home. He received music instruction there and joined a band. His teacher later secured a job for him at the Salvation Army’s Star Lake Camp.

By the invitation of a NYSB instructor, he attended the Brooklyn Citadel Corps. In 1947, he became a soldier. He also met Bernice (Bunny) Ellis, the love of his life.

Olsen served in the U.S. Navy. Many sailors who sought his advice nicknamed him “G.I. Jesus.” The chaplain said, “he was different from the others; they knew it, and they liked it. They said to him, ‘You are not talking your religion, but living it.’” Of this, Olsen replied, “This was the nicest thing that could ever happen to me.”

In 1952, Olsen joined the NYSB. He secured work in the Public Relations Department, where he loved working for the then–Major Andrew S. Miller. Charlie and Bunny entered the School for Officer Training and were commissioned as officers in 1963.

End of an era

This article is entitled “–30–” because in journalism and in public relations, that number, appearing at the end of an article, denotes completion.

MacLean also used “–30–” as the title of his final “Edlines.”

Olsen and MacLean have surely competed their work. May they forever be remembered as stellar literary pioneers.


by Warren L. Maye