Guide to a High Council
Find out more about the Salvation Army's 2023 High Council with this guide from International Headquarters.
Remember to visit the High Council homepage for the latest news.
Download the guide
- A Guide to a High Council (English)
- Un Guide Pour Un Haut Conseil (Français)
- Uma Guia Para O Alto Conselho (Português)
- Guía Para un Consejo Supremo (Español)
- Mwongozo Wa Baraza Kuu (Kiswahili)
- हाई काउन्सिल के लिए एक मार्गदर्शन (हिंदी)
- உயர்மட்ட ஆலோசனை மன்றத்திற்க்கான வழிகாட்டி (தமிழ்)
Frequently Asked Questions
The sole purpose of a High Council is to elect a new General for The Salvation Army.
Members spend time in prayer and worship, and in discussion, before making nominations and participating in the election.
General Brian Peddle and Commissioner Rosalie Peddle will be retiring in August 2023. Each General may serve a term of up to five years unless he or she reaches the mandatory retirement age of 68 before the end that term.
- Active commissioners who are territorial commanders or who hold an international or national headquarters or territorial leadership appointment*
- Territorial commanders with the rank of colonel
- Territorial leaders with the rank of colonel
The High Council is made up of:
*Excluding the spouse of the General
See the full list of officers who have been summoned to the 2023 High Council.
Some aspects of the High Council are governed by British Law, including a requirement that the council is held in the UK. Council members must meet in person (rather than online).
Every member of the High Council can nominate someone as a candidate for General, and any active Salvation Army officer can be nominated. Any officer who receives three or more nominations can choose to become a candidate.
The council prepares questions for the candidates. These usually cover a candidate’s vision for The Salvation Army, their approach to leadership and their thinking on belief and practice. The questions and answers are confidential and are not published outside of the High Council.
A shorter questionnaire is also addressed to the spouse of any married candidate.
Each council member votes in turn, going to one of the private voting rooms to mark their ballot paper. Members vote for a single candidate.
To be elected, a candidate must get the vote of more than two thirds of the members present.
If no one is elected, the candidate with the fewest votes must drop out and a second ballot is held. Again, a candidate must get the vote of more than two thirds of those present to be elected.
Balloting continues until one of the candidates is elected. From the fourth ballot onwards, a candidate only needs the vote of more than half the members present to be elected.
When a new General has been elected, the doors of Sunbury Court are opened and the President announces the new General-elect.
The news is livestreamed around the world. Watch live at sar.my/highcouncil.
As an international church family we have the responsibility and privilege to pray for the members of the High Council. Find ideas for personal, collective and public prayer in our High Council Prayer Guide.
Everyone is invited to attend the official Welcome to the 2023 High Council on Saturday 20 May. Join the congregation at Central Hall Westminster in London or take part online.
You can also let the High Council know how you are praying for them. Share your prayer here and it will be made available for High Council members to read in the prayer space at Sunbury Court. Prayers can be shared in any language.
William Booth set out regulations for what was then the Christian Mission in the 1878 Deed of Constitution. This was a non-variable Deed Poll, meaning that changes could only be made through a private Act of Parliament. Acts were passed in 1931, 1963, 1968 and 1980.
Schedule 4 of the Salvation Army Act (1980) governs aspects of how the High Council functions today. The General, with the agreement of more than two thirds of the commissioners, has the power to amend Schedule 4 without reference to Parliament.
Read more about the Salvation Army Acts on the International Heritage Centre blog: ‘The Foundation Deeds have never failed’: The Salvation Army Acts deconstructed.
High Council Process
A High Council is convened and begins with prayer and worship
The 2023 High Council will meet at Sunbury Court.
A President, Vice-President and Chaplain are elected
Once elected, the President takes over leadership of the High Council from the Chief of the Staff. The Chaplain's role is to arrange worship meetings and times of prayer.
The High Council agrees Orders of Procedure
These govern how the High Council operates. Each High Council is free to make changes to the Orders of Procedure.
The Committee of the Whole discusses any matters relevant to the election
Any subject related to the Army and its mission can be discussed.
Council members make nominations
Any active Salvation Army officer can be nominated as a candidate for General.
Nominees accept or decline
Any officer who receives three or more nominations can choose to become a candidate.
Candidates respond to a questionnaire and give speeches
Questions usually cover a candidate’s vision for The Salvation Army, their approach to leadership and their thinking on belief and practice.
Council members vote in turn, going to one of the private voting rooms to mark their ballot paper.
The new General-elect is announced
The doors of the High Council chamber are opened and the President announces the new General-elect to the world.
Tags: 2023 High Council