Worth fighting for


 

 

“I’ll fight. I’ll fight to the very end.” – General William Booth

The phrase ‘we will remember them’ has become synonymous with the remembrance of Australia’s wartime heroes. At significant moments throughout the year, Australians are reminded of those who made the ultimate sacrifice so that we as a nation and our allies can live in freedom. This coming Saturday is one of those well known reminders commemorating the 99th anniversary of the armistice agreement that ended the First World War.

These reminders are chilling. They signify bloodshed and sacrifice. These reminders are sad. They remind us of loved ones no longer with us and the enduring impact of war on our society. These reminders are motivating. They exemplify how far we’ve come and the courage and leadership required to avoid circumstances of conflict in future.

This remembrance anniversary holds not only significance as an international commemoration, but also for our movement. It was on the beaches of Gallipoli in 1915, through all the toil, the bloodshed and the misery that two legends were birthed. The courage and bravery of the Australian soldier and the unwavering wartime service of The Salvation Army.

Long before this conflict in the early 1900s commenced, The Salvation Army established its intention to live, love and fight alongside all humanity without discrimination, in the most desperate locations throughout the world. The spectre and reality of war highlighted this spirit and the need for the Salvos to be a physical presence in fighting all forms of injustice, be it in conflict zones, alleyways of major cities or in dusty streets of rural towns.

On arrival to Australia a few years back, Tracey and I were given some required reading to comprehend the fighting spirit that typified Salvos here in this nation. One of the manuscripts passed our way was a legend of the First World War and of our movement, Major William ‘Fighting Mac’ McKenzie. For those of you who don’t know, Fighting Mac was a Salvation Army chaplain who tended to the physical and spiritual needs of soldiers wherever they were on the front line. He saw things no one should see, and accepted a responsibility that no one should be burdened with. He went ashore with the troops at Gallipoli, and in one three-day period conducted 647 funeral services and received the Military Cross for his work, virtually unheard of for a military chaplain.

Fighting Mac served without fear, criticism, condemnation or any thought of himself. His ministry gave his comrades hope in their darkest of hours.

One of the 2,000 people who assisted in creating our new vision told me that our Army needs to come up with a vision statement worth dying for. At first I was taken aback by what was quite an arresting comment. But then it hit me – Jesus calls us to take up our cross and follow Him. This vision statement is a reflection of Christ’s mission, a mission he invites us to partner in with Him. He gave his life for this mission, and this is a vision that calls us to the same sacrificial living.

Today I also call out and thank those who have joined us in the trenches as we seek to fight alongside others. Our newly formed Cabinet have recruited some of Australia’s best and brightest talent to help the Army achieve greater impact throughout the nation. Three of our new Heads of Department have recently commenced their roles. I would like to acknowledge our Chief Financial Officer, Wayne Treeby; Chief Human Resources Officer, Penny Lovett; and our Chief Property Officer, Paul Walec who have showed tremendous enthusiasm for our mission to share the love of Jesus to all corners of this nation. Welcome to the movement!

I am so incredibly proud of Salvo heroes who live, love and fight everyday on the front lines, attending to the most pressing needs of Australians. To transform the lives of Australians with joy, peace and love… isn’t that worth fighting for?

2 Comments
  • Pam Stamos
    Posted at 08:20h, 14 November Reply

    We hear leaders talking about Australia One in such glowing terms but the people I talk to are definitely not echoing those sentiments. Change is good, but change for the sake of change is never good. There are other ways to save money that do not involve reducing influence. The Lord has grown the Salvation Army in Australia over many years. Do not stunt that growth by reducing access points, where people can physically connect. Australia is growing rapidly, we should be ever more available by increasing not reducing.
    We need to plan for growth not decay. We need to look at ways to recruit more cadets. Yes we need to cut costs, while continuing to grow, but cuts in education, reducing numbers of new qualified well equipped workers will not do this. Booth College in Sydney is an ideal location because of its closeness to the airport and the city. The money saved in transport costs must be huge. Do not throw away such a wonderful, valuable treasure.

  • Pam Stamos
    Posted at 10:43h, 16 November Reply

    • Booth College at Bexley North should be doing all of the Non-residential Cadet training, Staff development courses, courses for Corps Officers wanting to further their studies, Intensives, distance and on-line courses, higher education courses for non-Salvation Army students and VET programs. In other words, Booth College at Bexley North should provide all higher education and VET courses other than Full-time residential Salvation Army cadet training.
    I know the decision has been made but I believe that the School for Officer Training (full-time residential) should continue to be both in Melbourne and Sydney.
    Who made the decision to send Higher Education down to Melbourne and why? Booth College in Sydney was doing such a good job and had so many excellent people teaching and servicing theological students alongside the Sydney based cadets. Who made such a decision? Whoever did make the decision to choose Melbourne over Sydney did they first take a good look at what was happening in Sydney or did they just choose Melbourne because that was where everything else is going. Did anyone notice that the college at Bexley North (Sydney) is in a perfect location as far as being close to the city, train station and Airport? Any savings made by having everything in Melbourne will be lost in transport costs and reductions of student numbers.

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