Welcome to Cadets | Weekend Wrap-up
Messengers of Reconciliation Welcomed
September 11, 2020—Reconciliation was the theme of this year’s Welcome to Cadets event held at the USA Eastern Territory’s College for Officer Training (CFOT) in Suffern, N.Y. In the midst of social and political crises across the nation as well as health challenges of pandemic proportions, The Salvation Army nonetheless marched 26 new cadets forward to deliver God’s message to the world.
Even before they gallantly entered the ceremonial hall, Commissioner William A. Bamford III, territorial commander, said to them, “Messengers of Reconciliation, you have arrived at the CFOT as a new session of cadets. But you must embrace the responsibility to share the reconciliation that can take place in one’s life through Jesus Christ.”
His voice touched a small and socially–distanced audience in the room. He also stirred a vast number of viewers via livestream. Bamford’s presentation included a moment of silence in remembrance of the lives lost during the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.
Bamford concluded, “As a Messenger of Reconciliation, you are needed now more than ever. We know of reconciliation that needs to be seen in our world today. I believe it was by divine inspiration that your session name was chosen for this particular season of life.”
The New York Staff Band ensemble provided preliminary music as well as a selection entitled “Christ Is All.” The band UNBOUND led worship. During the time of commitment, they rendered “And Now My Lifesong Sings.”
Colonels Philip J. and Deslea A. Maxwell, chief secretary and territorial secretary for Women’s Ministries respectively, echoed Commissioner William Bamford’s call for reconciliation. In her thoughtful testimony, Colonel Deslea Maxwell said, “I’m quite excited about this session name and I look forward to seeing what God is going to speak into your lives and do through you as you embrace this name and all that it means. It is a name that will be yours for the rest of your lives.”
Colonel Philip Maxwell said, “Yours is the responsibility to be the channel that speaks to a fractionalized and marginalized world and to invite them into a loving, dynamic, and restorative relationship with the heavenly father.” As an example of reconciliation in the Bible, he referenced the parable of the Prodigal Son and renamed it, “The running father” to highlight how it was the boy’s father, representing God’s response to mankind’s rebellion, who came running to reconcile a deeply broken relationship.
The livestream also included a session video, which carefully accentuated the dramatic entrance of the Messengers of Reconciliation. Prerecorded testimonies from Cadets JoeQuetta S. Sorrells and Cameron J. DeMatteo offered further insight into why Major Shaun P. Belanger, candidates’ secretary, called the session, “A diverse group of fine soldiers who have responded to God’s call for each of their lives.”
by Warren L. Maye