Messengers of Faith reflect on 50 years of ministry

The Messengers of the Faith session of Salvation Army cadets reunited to celebrate 50 years since entering Training College at 55 Livingstone Road, Petersham, in Sydney.

Seventeen members of the session, together with five non-sessional spouses, met to celebrate God’s providential guidance and to encourage each other. The reunion was held at Bethshan Camp and Conference Centre at Wyee on NSW’s Central Coast, on the weekend before Anzac Day. People had travelled from as far as Victoria’s south coast, western NSW, Queensland’s Sunshine Coast and many places in between.

Sessional member Lillian James said the mission of the session was still integral to their everyday lives. “It is important because it defined our lives in 1967, and still continues to make us aware of our mission in life today,” she said.

While most of the Messengers of the Faith have kept in contact, some had not seen one another for at least 45 years. The reunion provided opportunity for meaningful conversations, “catching up” with news, reminiscing about college days and past activities and sharing about their wide range of appointments. 

Great singing was enjoyed, and inspiring devotions were presented by non-sessional spouses to begin and end each day. The weekend concluded with the group attending the Sunday morning meeting at nearby Tuggerah Lakes Corps.

Twenty-three Messengers of the Faith cadets entered the Australia Eastern Territory Training College in 1967 and have since served the Army across Australia and in Papua New Guinea, Pakistan, Korea, Russia, Congo, India and London (International Headquarters).

Colonel Joy Shree Inbam, who joined the session in 1968 for the second year, rose to become Chief Secretary in Madras (Chenai), India, while Lieut-Colonel Bram Hindle was the Property Secretary in the Congo, until he and Judy were evacuated home to Australia during the Congo civil uprising.

Major Ken Middleton was the International Auditor at IHQ, and in Australia Major Peter Holley served as National Secretary. Lieut-Colonels Bram and Judy Hindle and Major Cec Woodward served on boards at Territorial Headquarters in Sydney. Cec and Major Lyn Middleton served on the Moral Issues Council. Major Lionel Parker spent 17 years as the Flying Padre in the Australian outback, based at both Longreach (Qld) and Darwin (NT).

The Messengers of the Faith service to God is marked by innovation, initiative and faithfulness, and as they reflected on their 50-year journey, their message to the current cadets was filled with wisdom.    

“Officership has been an amazingly interesting adventure, bringing privileges and challenges undreamed of 50 years ago,” said Hazel. “It is my hope that the current cadets experience the full measure of God’s enabling grace to do his will for them each, and enjoy his blessing on their ministries, whatever happens and wherever they go.

Lillian agrees: “If they remain true to the standards and doctrines of The Salvation Army, their place in the scheme of leadership, accepting a shepherding role, with all such responsibilities, they will then be humble enough to survive the journey,” she said.