04 Aug From the National Commander
Whilst Tracey and I are on furlough over the coming weeks, I would like to keep the Australia One conversation flowing by taking the opportunity to introduce some of our new National leaders as guest bloggers on the ‘From the National Commander’ blog. It is my great pleasure to welcome to this week’s blog Captain Anne Jeffrey, the Central Victorian Division’s Secretary for Women’s Ministries and soon to be Assistant National Secretary for Women’s Ministries.
Commissioner Floyd Tidd.
Draw The Circle Wider
I was painfully shy when I was a child and would comfortably cling to my mother’s leg and hide behind her skirt. Being the youngest of four, it was easy to hide in the crowd and wait for them to take the lead. Those younger years of my life were influenced greatly by my immediate family, but there was also a wider circle of people at my home Corps who played a significant part in shaping me. Their influence, along with my own personal relationship with Jesus, enabled me to constantly step outside of my comfortable circle to embrace more and more of what God had in store.
In my current appointment I am privileged to regularly meet new people, and that circle of influential people grows wider. Recently I have had opportunities to be involved in forums and discussions relating to Australia One, and to consider where God is leading The Salvation Army. At a recent gathering it was my pleasure to meet some colleagues from the NSW/ACT and QLD divisions. It was evident very quickly through shared conversation and brain storming that collaboration is a strength of Women’s Ministries across Australia. It was exciting to see the passion and enthusiasm amongst those present as we affirmed our dedication to sharing the love of Jesus in all that we do. We asked ourselves some tough questions about our current reality, we spoke about the challenges and the disappointments, but there was a quiet resolve and a rising hope that ministry to women can be relevant and transformational.
As we focussed on our vision – “Wherever there is hardship or injustice, Salvos will live, love and fight alongside others to transform Australia, one life at a time, with the love of Jesus” – the words “alongside others” jumped out to me. I was sitting alongside colleagues I had never met before, but in that moment I knew that we would be better together! By ‘drawing the circle wider’ we gain perspectives, expertise, insights and wisdom that was previously missing to us. I was reminded of the words from Isaiah 54:2 – “Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes.” The wider the circle, the greater the impact.
How wide is your circle? When we ‘draw the circle wider’, we sometimes have to be prepared to let go of our mother’s leg; those things that have served us well in the past but that are no longer relevant or appropriate. We might need to get out from behind her skirt or those things that make us feel comfortable. If we want our lives and ministry to have greater impact, we need to be prepared to go wide and go together. We need to recognise that God is already at work in the world and go out alongside others, even beyond our circles, to share the love of Jesus.
Anne Jeffrey (Captain)