Unpacking Selma…

A little over two weeks ago, my wife and I and kids relocated to Alabama. As we previously wrote, this wasn’t an easy transition, nor are we moving to a place where we currently have family residing there.

But here we are…and there is a lot to unpack.
I am working in one of the poorest communities in the country.
It feels like a mission field…and yet despite the whole “stay at home order” the people I have met (from a relatively safe distance) have been really friendly and polite. It must be a Southern thing.

Before I took this position, I met the board of directors along with the chairman of the board. He explained to me that Selma’s history is both a blessing and a curse. That despite the nationwide fame for the horrific Bloody Sunday incident on March 7th, 1965 which thrust Selma into the forefront of the civil rights movement, Selma has one of the highest poverty rates in the country – a curse of living through such a deeply entrenched historic moment…it tends to seep into the very foundations of the sidewalks and old yawning New Orleans styled buildings on Broad street, and on over the grotesquely named ‘Edmund Pettus’ Bridge (named after Edmund Winston Pettus who was a senior Confederate army soldier and an active Ku Klux Klan grand dragon member…for real?! – yes, the very same).

People don’t tend to forget those moments in history, nor should we. And here I am, working in the shadows of that history. I say that not to sound like a martyr, but rather an observer of a place which seems to be frozen in a time capsule. Many of the families who serve as foster parents for our organization are bridges of hope and love in such a cursed climate. They take in children regardless of race, creed or color. Many of the cases contain horror stories of abuse, while these would be saints work to help heal deep wounds of children who should be too young to know such hurt.

I am soaking all of this in right now.
There is certainly sobering brevity in it all.
But there is also levity from our amazing case workers who work tirelessly to ensure all children we serve are protected, cared for and have an opportunity for a better life.

I am just checking in to let you know that we are still here.
Even though we have changed addresses and zip codes, and yes, even uniforms…we are still here serving people in need. I am so thankful thus far for this journey. There will most definitely be days when I question everything. There will be speed bumps along the way, and maybe a flat tire or two…but God is good. He is still on the throne, and even in this time of great uncertainty with COVID19 (I’m sick of even saying or typing it)…We have the assurance of God’s very presence with us no matter where we are, or where we serve.

Until next time.
-From Selma AL.
I’m still Pondering…

Electing a new General of The Salvation Army…(UPDATED)


In reference to last week’s update on the office of General and that of our call to prayer, I would like to explore a little on the topic of how the Generals of The Salvation Army are elected. Of course usually an election of the General takes place at the end of the term of a General or when they reach the age of retirement. This time, however, circumstances as they are the High Council will convene hopefully some time later this Summer, in order to elect our next General of The Salvation Army.

As mentioned last week, General Linda Bond entered retirement abruptly and in the wake of her retirement the Chief of the Staff, Commissioner Andre’ Cox will lead this Army in the interim until the High Council is able to meet.

It is interesting to note who makes up the High Council and those with a casting vote. Territorial Commanders from around the world, some times this has numbered 100, last election cycle this numbered 109. These international and IHQ Leaders will gather together for prayer, deliberation and finally a decision. I would welcome your take on the High Councils process, and additional information that perhaps I have overlooked. I also recognize that when the High Council convenes they do so with reverent intent and much prayer. Though every church has its politicking, I would tend to regard this electoral process as prayerful and deliberately considerate of many things including age of specific candidates as well as the needs of our Army as a whole.

***Updated:  Since I initially wrote this the official Summons has been sent to all Territorial Leaders around the world and High Council will begin Monday, July 29th, 2013 at the Renaissance London Heathrow Hotel.  What I find encouraging about this process is that three days prior to the beginning of the High Council and its election process, starting on Friday, July 26th leaders will convene for prayer. ***


(General Bramwell Booth)


It is interesting to note some of the history of the High Council. The Salvation Army High Council can remove Generals from active service should the present General have health issues which would make them unfit to serve. This has only happened one time in its 109 years in existence when the then General Bramwell Booth was away from International Headquarters for several months time due to ‘health’ and he was asked to resign, when Bramwell, who was then 73 years old, refused a High Council was called and convened to vote for his removal. With a vote of 55 to 8, the High Council followed through with its plan to remove General Bramwell Booth as leader of The Salvation Army. The only problem was that General Bramwell Booth wasn’t ready to relinquish his role as General and Commander of the Army. He took his case to parliament (court) and hoped that a different result would come of the British court system getting involved. His attempt, however, failed and after two months of deliberations the court ruled in favor to uphold the High Council’s decision to have Booth removed as General.

Here is a good book for further reading on the above topic, written by General John Larrson: Image

As mentioned before please continue to keep The Salvation Army leadership in your prayers as well as the Chief of the Staff Commissioner Andre’ Cox as he leads us in the interim.

Information for continued reading:

Here is a link to see how the day to day proceedings from 2011 took place:


Currently we are unsure as to when this event will take place, but we do know that the High Council will be called and will convene later this summer, 2013.

I will attempt to post updates when possible. Here are a couple of links to help anyone interested in learning more about the high council and how it works:



Image(2011 High Council World Representatives & Army Leaders)

A CALL TO A MONTH OF PRAYER: https://scottstrissel.wordpress.com/2013/06/21/general-election-an-officers-perspective-and-a-call-to-a-month-of-prayer/


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