5,400 attend The Gathering



By Christin Davis

For the first time in 15 years, 5,400 Salvation Army officers, soldiers and friends, with General Linda Bond, joined together for a Western Territory congress—The Gathering—at the Pasadena Convention Center in Pasadena, Calif., June 7-10.

Bond, once territorial commander in the West, returned to the territory as the international leader of The Salvation Army and is preaching in each main meeting about one facet of her vision: “One Army, One Mission, One Message.”

In the first meeting, June 7, territorial leaders Commissioners James and Carolyn Knaggs ushered delegates in the 55,000-square-foot exhibit hall into a time of prayer, and introduced The Gathering Prayer Chorus with music by Neil Smith and words by Lt. Col. Diane O’Brien.

“For where two or three have gathered together in my name, I am there in their midst” (Matt. 18:20 NASB), James Knaggs read.

The Territorial Band and Territorial Songsters both provided music throughout the meeting, and in a surprise presentation Knaggs commissioned the groups as the USA Western Territory Staff Band and Staff Songsters, led by Smith. The Territorial Creative Arts Ensemble also participated.

“In the 14 months I have been General, I have had the privilege of traveling all over the Army world,” Bond said following a video introduction of her. “I have to say, dear friends, you belong to a great Salvation Army, not because you made it so, but it is great because it belongs to God.”

Knaggs presented the first “One Army” award to Majors Darren and LeAnn Trimmer, of the Murrieta Corps, and Captains Tony and Jessica Markiewicz, of the Riverside Adult Rehabilitation Center (ARC), for the way they work together to welcome current and former ARC beneficiaries into the corps’ worship community.

Focusing on the first part of her vision, “One Army,” in her message, Bond said we must, first and foremost, be an Army of deep conviction.

“We have deep convictions about faith, salvation, and where power lies; the Army is doing battle against the devil and we know we’re on the winning side,” Bond said. “The battle is the Lord’s, but that doesn’t mean we sit at home and do nothing…We want the devil to know we are an Army on the move. We want the devil to know we will fight.”

She recited the words of Salvation Army co-Founder William Booth’s famous speech, “I’ll Fight.”

“This Salvation Army of the 21st century will never lose its passion; we will fight,” Bond said. “There’s something happening in The Salvation Army. I believe there’s going to be revival…that this is going to be a soul saving Army like we’ve never been in our history.” Salvationists today, Bond said, “do not want to do business as usual.”

She concluded with a quote from A. W. Tozer: “Anything that God has done anywhere else, he can do here. Anything that God has done for anyone else, he can do for you.” Bond reminded delegates this congress is not just a “holy huddle,” but that “God called us together to open our eyes to what he is doing. Something is going to happen that is really going to surprise us.”


See more photos from the meeting and The Gathering.

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