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Commissioners Noland honored at festschrift

Festschrift: fest (celebration) and schrift (writing). A book honoring a respected person(s) and presented to them during their lifetime. It generally takes the form of an edited volume containing contributions from the honoree’s colleagues, followers, and friends.

September 4, 2020—during a Facebook Live event via Zoom, the Commissioners Joe and Doris Noland, retired territorial leaders who have served the USA Eastern and Western territories, received an eBook compilation of essays from a representative panel of distinguished Salvation Army officers and friends. Each panelist had contributed an essay to the book and expressed his or her high regard for these iconic Salvation Army leaders.

This virtual event appropriately mirrored the Nolands’ legacy of innovation in ministry. Years before COVID-19 made online video meetings a necessity, the festschrift had been conceived as a global experience on the internet. Before eBooks became the publisher’s choice, this book of essays were envisioned as a downloadable digital file for readers everywhere. Today, organizers anticipate this cybernetic event will excite further use of cutting edge, 21st century technology in The Salvation Army.

Drug of Choice: Papers on Leveraging Creativity in the Salvation War, a Festschrift for the Nolands, follows a growing Salvation Army tradition, highlighted by the CREST publication, Hallmarks of The Salvation Army. This one, however, is the first to be presented virtually.


Heartfelt tributes

“To know them is to know the creative and innovative ways in which they have lived and ministered to all of us,” said Commissioner Jim Knaggs, who hosted the event with Commissioner Carolyn Knaggs. They led the conversations that began with congratulations and salutations from the panelists, beginning with Commissioner Lyndon Buckingham, Chief of the Staff.

 “Joe and Doris, you’ve been an inspiration,” said Buckingham. “You haven’t just talked about innovation and creativity; you’ve practiced it with a heart and a passion. Your goal and aim in every appointment that you’ve had, regardless of the portfolio, have been to find ways to be creative and innovative in sharing the gospel so that others might know the love of Jesus.”

Panelists reflected on how the Nolands broke old ways of thinking that inevitably lead to breakthroughs in ministry.

Commissioner Mark Tillsley said on behalf of himself and Commissioner Sharon Tillsley, “We love the Nolands. We’re so grateful that they’ve always been risk takers. Not always understood, but the proof has been in the results.”

Tillsley referred to the whimsical, pink, Big Bird–like character named “The Fringle” created by the Nolands to inspire students in Sunday school. Tillsley said, “I think that’s what we discovered in The Fringle. We read about and saw the explosion of ‘Sunday’s Cool’ with many of the results coming directly out of that character.

“Today, there’s a lot of talk internationally about pushing leadership to younger people,” Tillsley continued. “I realize that 20 years ago we were the recipients of that kind of push as our leaders took a chance on us, much to the perplexity of people who were looking on. But, we’re so grateful that you’ve been risk takers and we love you for it.”

Commissioner William W. Francis said, “Well, Joe and Doris, Marilyn and I think and pray for you often and talk about you. We wouldn’t have given up our time together with you in the Eastern Territory for anything. We learned much from both of you as innovators and risk takers. You came just at a time when we needed such risk takers.

“I’ll never forget the time I preached at a holiness meeting on Sunday morning on a beach in Hawaii—in shorts!” Francis recalled. “It was the only time I’ve ever preached in shorts. I was there with Joe and Doris and their children and we had a great time. It reminded me of our Founder who said, ‘Go for souls and go for the worst’ in an innovative way. Joe and Doris, you embodied that, and we honor you.”

“I love Joe and Doris,” said Major Rob Birks. “We share a home territory. While I was growing up in the West, they were legends from my youth. To grow up and get to call them friends is an honor. So, here in a movement that is super–regulated and regimented, your lives and ministry give me hope to be fully Rob.”

Danielle Strickland said, “A lot of times, visionary people just stay in the clouds. But you had a beautiful ability to see things from a larger perspective yet always stay rooted in mission. That combo inspired me.”

Major Stephen Court said,Thank you for everything. You make me want to give glory to the God for the creativity He manifests in your lives.”


A much-needed conversation

In response, Commissioner Joe Noland said, “Thank you for this recognition and for putting the spotlight on a topic that needs validation in the Army today. I can’t tell you how many young officers, Salvationists, and totally committed employees who have approached us with a longing for validation and to be released and empowered. They are longing for permission to go out on a creative limb.”

Noland continued, “Yes, creativity is our drug of choice.” He also thanked the essayists for their contributions, saying, “I especially thank the Lord for bringing me and Doris together. We are opposites in so many ways, yet our complimentary giftings fused us together perfectly for ministry.

“Our prayer is that this creative work will spark a much-needed conversation for this critical time and age and reignite a creativity bonfire.”

Doris said, “Creativity has never been an easy path in The Salvation Army. But wherever we see it, we applaud it.”

The entire conversation is currently available for replay on demand.

by Warren L. Maye


Notable Salvation Army thinkers and writers contributed to this work including one retired international leader, four current High Council delegates, five multi-book authors, and eight territorial leaders.

General Paul A. Rader (Ret.)

Commissioner Jim Knaggs and Major Stephen Court

Commissioners Carolyn and Jim Knaggs – “No Limits Together”
Commissioner William W. Francis – “The Holiness Dilemma”
Colonel Richard Munn – “Lean Right, Love Left”
Colonel Lyndon Buckingham – “A Little Greatness”
Commissioner Jim Knaggs – High Counsel
Commissioners Vibeke and Dick Krommenhoek – “God Beat In Time”
Major Stephen Court – “Out Of The Rubble… Revolution”
Commissioner Mark Tillsley – “Booth-Tucker And The Fringle”
Major Danielle Strickland – “Altars In The Street”
Major Rob Birks – “The Christmas Gecko”
Major Stephen Court – Eras: “Choice Of Drug”
Commissioner Joe Noland – “A Retirement Lament”

Essay titles are from various creative projects by the Nolands. The book title itself is derived from one of Commissioner Joe Noland’s popular quotes. The essays are not about the actual projects mentioned but use the titles of those projects as inspirational starting points for subjects such as holiness, cultural relevance in evangelism, justice, vision, and the use of story in evangelism.