A Cause for Celebration!

AmsterdamOost

Sometimes I get nothing but good news. A friend of mine from the Netherlands shared this beautiful image with me. Yesterday, 12 July 2015, Ronald Bar and Gertjan Nicolaas, who are gay Salvationists (and in uniform no less!), received a blessing by their corps officer (similar to a pastor) at the Amsterdam East (Oost) Corps (Church). They have been in a committed relationship for 25 years. Not only did The Salvation Army acknowledge this, but celebrates this as well!

I could not believe this great news. I am so happy that this may be done in the Netherlands. I hope some day that this will be able to be acknowledged and celebrated all over The Salvation Army world. We speak about comforting the marginalised. The Netherlands has shown us the way!

Moge God zegene de gelukkige paar! (May God bless the happy couple!)

Boundless 2015

rainbow shield

This past week The Salvation Army held an International Congress in London, UK. The theme for it was “Boundless 2015”. This was taken off of William Booth’s most famous hymn, “O Boundless Salvation”. The Salvation Army is currently in 126 nations worldwide.

The last Congress was held in 2000 in Atlanta, USA. Normally these congresses are held every 10 years. For some reason there was none held in 2010. I’m not certain why.

A lot of money is spent on these congresses. I’m not privy to how much is actually spent. One could make the argument that the money could be spent on far better purposes, but I also believe it serves a greater purpose for fellowship. It’s not as if these Congresses happen every year and the last one was 15 years ago.

The Salvation Army divides the world into territories. Each territory designed its own pin. These pins become collectable items quite quickly; however, the most sought-after pin did not come from a territory, but was an unofficially produced Rainbow Salvation Army shield. (See the picture above.)

When I saw these pins, I rejoiced. I know that I am not alone in my denomination and in my beliefs. I know that we are on the beginning of a long journey which will eventually lead to full inclusion of all LGBT Salvationists. I long for that day. I know that this inclusion will take time and will involve a lot of love. We will need to be patient, but also persistent.

This Rainbow Shield has given me hope! I am so grateful for it.