21 May 2023

The Archbishop of Canterbury addresses the High Council

Today (Sunday 21 May 2023) has been a special day of prayer and worship for High Council members under the leadership of Commissioners Massimo and Jane Paone.

The morning commenced with voices and hands lifted in praise as members of the High Council sang ‘How great thou art’, creating an atmosphere of thankfulness, readiness and openness to hear from God.

To discern God's voice

As Commissioner Massimo Paone shared his Bible message, he reminded members of their sacred task to discern God’s voice and the Holy Spirit’s guidance. Being together for the High Council is both a spiritual exercise and a great responsibility where officers are called to be of one mind. But they are not alone, for the international Salvation Army is praying for them.

The room became a powerhouse of prayer as members gathered in small groups to pray for one another. These moments together were precious as High Council members prepare for the responsibilities that will be theirs in the coming days.

Ecumenical greetings

High Council members met after lunch to spend the afternoon with the Most Revd and Right Honourable Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury and his wife, Caroline, and Bishop Graham Tomlin with his wife, Janet.

Commissioner Jane Paone (Secretary for International Ecumenical Relations), shared three video greetings for the High Council members from Bishop Ivan Abrahams (General Secretary, World Methodist Council), the Revd Dr Casely Essamuah (Global Christian Forum) and the Revd César García (Conference of Secretaries of Christian World Communions). These films offered encouragement to the members.

'God is faithful to his promises'

An informal interview with the Archbishop of Canterbury and Commissioner Jane Paone provided a rich insight into the journey of the Archbishop from his childhood through to the present day. When asked what his message to The Salvation Army would be, he said, ‘You are people who demonstrate that God is faithful to his promises. Not that we are good, but that God is faithful. This is what The Salvation Army has always done. God is faithful. He never fails us.’ In sharing his thoughts around his wife’s ministry, he said ‘Behind every great man, there is a greatly surprised woman!’

There are two commandments he encouraged High Council members to live by:

  • to wash each other’s feet
  • the other to love each other

Reconciliation is a key underpinning of the Archbishop’s ministry and he is a firm believer that miracles still happen today.

In his homily, the Archbishop of Canterbury reminded the members of Luke 18:27 and that what is impossible for human beings is possible for God. He expressed thanks for all that The Salvation Army does, saying, ‘In God’s great mercy, may he renew us all in our service.’

Prayer resources

The High Council will convene on Monday 22 May 2023. Please continue to cover the High Council in prayer during these sacred days, knowing that our faithful, all-knowing God hears the prayers of his people when we pray full of faith. Find resources and a prayer guide for personal, small group or corps (church) prayer at: sar.my/prayforhighcouncil

Report by Lieut-Colonel Jennifer Groves

Tags: 2023 High Council, News