Response to Pillar Five Of General Eva Burrows’ Agenda for
“To support efforts for peace in the
world, and champion the principles of justice and equity.”
For those who don’t know me, I am
writing today from my little corner in the USA West Territory,
in response to General Eva Burrows’ call for direction, and
specifically for her fifth pillar of focus “to support efforts
for peace in the world, and champion the principles of justice
and equity”. I
come to you today as a Salvation Army employee of twenty-three
years, currently serving as the Territorial Social Justice
Ministries Director and Anti-Trafficking Contact Person, but
also as a lifelong Soldier in the Army’s ranks.
My thoughts come from the seats in the congregation,
the twenty-one years I served from the Music/Asst. Program
Secretaries office, and my two years within my current role in
Social Justice, and although I have learnt more than I could
ever imagine in my current role, I acknowledge that I still
have a long way to go in this field as I strive to do just as
General Burrows exhorts: to support efforts for peace and
champion principles of justice.
Scripture makes it clear that this
fight for peace and justice should remain at the forefront of
our lives as we travel our journey of spiritual formation and
strive to live a life like Christ, and I believe that the Army
has made this a priority throughout its existence.
We are known around the world for our ministries during
the War, for our Emergency Disaster response, and for the ways
in which we have fed and clothed those in need throughout the
years. We have
read the Founder’s call to “Fight” and heard of his famous
memo to focus on “OTHERS”, but how does this translate to our
everyday lives as Soldiers as we “stand against the
proliferation of weapons of war”?
I have to say that as a Salvationist I
had never heard of the stories of “The Maiden Tribute” or the
“Match Factory”, or even the campaign to free prostitutes from
bondage in early twentieth century Japan, until I started my
current role as a Social Justice Director.
I was well-aware of the many excellent Programs we had
to offer within the church but was unaware of our fight for
justice and equity outside of our four walls.
Now, does this mean that this fight was not happening
in my small corner of the world?
No, absolutely not!
And is it possible that as a Soldier I was so busy
running from one Program to another that I was oblivious to
the good work being done around me?
But as General Eva Burrows encourages, the need to
“encourage salvationists into a new awareness” is an ongoing
battle that needs to be fought.
We have come a long way, and I truly
believe that we have made great strides over the past 35 years
since this agenda was set before us by General Burrows.
I am so encouraged by the amazing work being carried
out around the world, the anti-trafficking programs serving
thousands of men, women, and children from around the globe
who have been enslaved against their will, the shelters set-up
to serve our brothers and sisters in the LGBTQIA+ community,
the education and awareness being put in place amongst
officers and employees as we strive to lift up those who have
experienced prejudice and inequity in their lives.
However, I also feel the juxtaposition of turning
inward and seeking to spend much of our time and energy on
“looking the part” and “creating a performance” rather than
turning outwardly toward those in need as we “speak out with
courage” and strive to be the hands and feet of Jesus in a
world where even the word justice has somehow become
it possible to minister to the Salvation Army Soldiers within
our four walls, focus on discipleship as we evangelize to
those wandering in the darkness, and also fight for justice
for the vulnerable being oppressed, downtrodden, and outcast
in society? I
believe so, and these six pillars are still applicable today
as we seek the Holy Spirit’s guiding and attempt to reach that
We, the Army, have been blessed with a
powerful voice, a seat at the table, and, compared to many,
great resources to do the Lord’s work around the world, so
let’s continue to do just that as we act justly, love mercy
and walk humbly with our God (Micah 6:8)!