International leaders mobilize retired officers
By Allen Satterlee, Lt. Colonel –
The Salvation Army Retired Officers’ Association (SAROA) celebrated its 85th annual reunion with special guests General André Cox and Commissioner Silvia Cox, World President of Women’s Ministries, accompanied by USA National leaders Commissioners David and Barbara Jeffrey and USA Southern territorial leaders Commissioners Don and Debi Bell.
Including members from all four USA territories, SAROA is the biggest retired officers’ organization in the world. This year’s gathering at St. Petersburg Corps in Florida, led by association president Lt. Colonel Don Canning and attended by more than 400 members, was the largest in recent years.
Silvia Cox spoke in the opening session, sharing how an unwanted puppy brought home by one of their children became an important tool in God’s work. “The experiences we have help us to trust God, realizing that he knows best even in the little details of our lives,” she said.
In the second session, the Coxes gave a review of Salvation Army work in countries they have visited. An offering was taken to provide funding for retired officers in the developing world and there was a roll call of officers promoted to Glory in 2016 from each U.S. territory.
A worship meeting on Saturday morning included the testimony of Bandmaster Nathan Farrell that concluded with a seven-trombone arrangement of “Going Home” from Dvořák’s “New World” Symphony. Following Silvia Cox’s explanation of The Whole World Mobilizing app, the General opened the Word of God.
“In a world of constant communication, it is becoming increasingly difficult to be heard,” he said. “Even prayer too often is a one-way street with us doing all the talking but failing to listen to what God has to say. Our challenge is to filter out what is unnecessary and hear what is important.”
He reminded his listeners: “We must listen to what God is saying. God not only speaks at a specific time but throughout our lives. We never stop learning … God is faithful. It is for us to give him wholehearted commitment, all of our heart, all of our ways so we are totally given to God.”