The Chief of the Staff (Commissioner Brian Peddle) and Commissioner Rosalie Peddle (World Secretary for Women's Ministries) entered the meeting hall of the Japan Territorial Headquarters, Tokyo, to the lively sound of the Japan Staff Band and a warm welcome from the congregation. The occasion was the installation meeting of new territorial leaders, Colonels Kenneth and Cheryl Maynor, who had recently arrived from New York, USA.
Under the tricolour Salvation Army flag, the colonels were charged by the Chief to carry out their sacred task of leadership. The congregation was surprised and responded warmly when the new leaders responded not in English but with a clear 'itashimasu' – Japanese for 'I do' or 'we do'. The congregation, made up of retired leaders, officers and soldiers embraced the occasion as the beginning of a new chapter in the journey forward for the territory.
After a powerful dedication prayer by Commissioner Rosalie Peddle during which time Colonels Maynor knelt at the mercy seat, the Chief of the Staff presented the new Territorial Leaders as the congregation expressed joy and gratitude. Introducing the Japan Staff Band, Colonel Kenneth Maynor ceremoniously removed his New York Staff Band tiepin, saying: 'For many years as executive leader, I proudly put on this pin. But from this day, I will not wear it again. Goodbye New York Staff Band, hello Japan Staff Band!'
In his Bible message, the Chief of the Staff told the congregation: 'Today, a new chapter of this territory starts.' Referring to the apostle Paul’s writings about finding hope in Christ, the Chief challenged: 'Our hope is not in history, our hope is not in our programme, our hope is not in centres. But our hope is in Christ, the living hope.'
Responding to the Chief’s call to renew their hearts with 'hope in Christ', many people joined Colonels Kenneth and Cheryl Maynor in prayer at the mercy seat.
After the meeting, hundreds of people waited patiently to greet their new leaders.
Next morning, the international visitors and Colonels Maynor toured The Salvation Army's Suginami Complex – which includes the training college, a women’s home, a senior citizen care home, a hospital that offers terminal care, a corps (church) and a thrift store – meeting and greeting staff, residents and visitors as they did so. The excellence in programme delivery, outreach and dedication to the mission of The Salvation Army was very evident.
The territory is poised to embrace its challenges and rely heavily on the guidance of the Holy Spirit as it forges a path to the future.
God bless The Salvation Army in Japan.