Friends, family members and colleagues from the United States and beyond gathered at Dearborn Heights Citadel Corps (church) in Michigan, USA Central Territory, to celebrate the service of the Chief of the Staff (Commissioner William Roberts) and Commissioner Nancy Roberts (World Secretary for Women's Ministries). As they entered retirement, the commissioners' 45-year service was recognised by General André Cox and Commissioner Silvia Cox (World President of Women's Ministries), who led meetings across the Detroit area over the weekend.
The celebration of service started with the marching-in of flags that represented the different countries served in by the Chief and Commissioner Nancy – USA, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Kenya and the United Kingdom. Friends and colleagues Lieut-Colonels Lonneal and Patty Richardson, and Lieut-Colonels Mickey and June McLaren shared how Commissioners Bill and Nancy have served joyfully as officers and friends.
Representing the family were Becky Hurula and Barbara Steffes, daughters of the commissioners, who talked about times they shared in their parents' ministry. This led into the grandchildren sharing a musical presentation that was full of joy, laughter and memories. The presentation ended with the entire family joining to sing 'The Family of God'.
The Chief and Commissioner Nancy shared some of the great memories and experiences they have had. Some were familiar while others were a season of firsts. What became clear was that they had served joyfully wherever God led them.
After Dr Joseph Baunoch, nephew of the commissioners, sang 'His Grace Still Amazes Me', the General and Commissioner Silvia Cox presented the couple with their retirement certificates, recognising a combined total of more than 90 years' service as active Salvation Army officers. The meeting ended with Kenyan-style singing and dancing to the song 'We Are Marching'.
The next day, the General and Commissioner Silvia attended Sunday morning worship at the Southeast Michigan Adult Rehabilitation Center in Detroit, Michigan, where the General gave the Bible message.
From there they moved on to the holiness meeting at Royal Oak Citadel Corps, which began with a call to worship, 'Bless The Lord, O My Soul', by the singing company (junior choir). Commissioner Silvia Cox shared words of testimony and the General, in his Bible message, warned the congregation that one of the biggest things that leads people into spiritual weakness is thinking they do not have time for God. He challenged his listeners to remember to call on God. The General’s message was followed by a time of commitment and reflection.