Lieutenants Steve and Mel Scoulding share their thoughts about Commissioning Day at Westminster Central Hall (9 July 2011).
There are a few occasions in life when you wish that you could bottle each moment, so you could take it out again at your leisure and enjoy every detail. Today was one of those days as we celebrated our Commissioning and Ordination as Salvation Army Officers.
Coming at the end of two years of formal residential training at William Booth College, which itself followed five years of journeying towards Officership, we were in some ways well-prepared. We cadets had certainly spent time in preparation and rehearsal, so that we knew what was happening when and could sing our Sessional and Dedication songs without too much difficulty. But it s not easy to be prepared for the emotions of such a day.
The solemnity of Wednesday s Covenant Day set a seal on what God has called us to by reminding us that covenants with God are sacred and not to be entered into lightly. The sense of peace that followed the signing of each Covenant was overwhelming and we looked forward with eager anticipation to sharing our Commissioning Day with family and friends.
A ramshackle band from the Friends of Christ Session serenaded us before breakfast, making sure that nobody overslept! Two coaches took us to Westminster and almost before we knew it, we were into our final run-through. Then it was time to meet up with family and friends, checking that those not yet there were on their way, before entering the Main Hall for the first meeting of the day.
We will never forget the joy of looking around and spotting so many familiar faces: from Chatham, from our placement corps of Reading and Bexleyheath, from our former workplaces and from those chance encounters that God has made possible. The meeting seemed to move effortlessly towards Commissioning and before long it was our turn. Standing facing the Territorial Commander as he commissioned and ordained us, and gave us each an individual verse of scripture, was a particular highlight.
After an interval to once again catch up with family and friends, we were back in the Hall, this time wearing our new Lieutenant s uniforms and Sessional flags, waiting to march out in celebration. The noise of the air-horns, the cheering and clapping, and the smiles on everyone s faces was overwhelming. It felt like we marched on air because we were so well-supported! Our thanks go to you all, for your love, constant encouragement and your prayers.
The next chapter is just beginning as we prepare to lead St Helier Corps, Jersey, but we will never forget this very special day of celebration. We are truly blessed.