The High Council

Tomorrow sees the commencement of the 17th High Council of The Salvation Army to elect the 19th General of The Salvation Army. For those unaware there is only ever one active General in The Salvation Army, and technically (since General John Gowans) Generals are the only officers to have an (R) signifying "retired" after their name. Further, this is the only place within the Army where voting is permitted. Gowans believed that officership was for life. Generals are elected for a period of five years, but are not permitted to go past the age of 68. Gowans and Larsson were two whose terms were shorter than the 5 year period due to their age. It is possible at the end of their 5 year term for the General to be extended, if enough support is given from Commissioners throughout the world. This occurred for General Eva Burrows back in the early nineties; her term being extended by 2 years.

I'm very interested to see how this High Council transpires. Not simply because we will find out in the coming weeks who will be our next General - will they be male or female? married or single? from a developed or underdeveloped part of the world? All these questions will soon be answered. I'm also interested, though, because it's been 5 years since the last High Council where General Shaw Clifton was elected, and in that time social media has transformed the way that we communicate. I'm very interested to see what impact these methods of communication have upon both the proceedings and how we who aren't involved participate. Certainly the last High Council included regular updates via the internet and by email, but of course many of the participants are regulars on Facebook and Twitter and some have their own blogs that they update. I'm wondering what communications will come via these means... Only time will tell.

For those interested, there is a website which I presume will continue to be updated throughout the course of the High Council. It's accessible here. Further there is also a live webcast of the first meeting scheduled to commence at 16:00 GMT on 22nd January (3:00am AEDT for the keen). It's accessible here.

Finally, I encourage you to pray for the proceedings of the High Council and those who are participating in it. I'm certain that they will value our prayer support. Pray for the election of the right person, and the assurance that God's will will prevail.


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