'Defenders of Justice' to be Ordained and Commissioned at Commissioning 2024

Apr 1, 2024

Major Anthony Juliana, President and Principal of the Evangeline Booth College, the training school for The Salvation Army Southern Territory, recently answered some questions about the Commissioning 2024 event for the Southern Spirit. In the interview below, he shares why this event is so important for our territory and for the mission of The Salvation Army, as well as why you will want to be a part of these transformative and holy moments.

Southern Spirit: What do you most look forward to when it comes to the Commissioning Event?

Major Juliana: The Commissioning Sunday worship is full of special moments for me. The recitation of the Officers’ Covenant reminds officers and soldiers alike of the covenants they have made with God regarding their life and the ministry of reconciliation to which they have been called (2 Corinthians 5:14-19). The recitation of the doctrines of The Salvation Army are foundational to what we believe, what we value, and the principles upon which we dedicate our spiritual development. The moment of individual ordination and commissioning is a spiritual moment like no other. The dedication to mission and ministry taking place at the holiness table is a holy moment.

But there comes a moment when cadets transition into Lieutenants, and that moment is transformative for people who understand what has just transpired. When the cadets come back into the chapel with their officer trim on their uniforms, it is exciting and holy simultaneously. It is, in a word, emotional. It represents the solemn and the celebratory. It exemplifies the end of one season and the beginning of the next. And it is a reminder that God still restores people from what they were in the past — the old has gone, the new has come — to who He has called them to be in the power of His resurrection. It is very sacramental in its spiritual connotation, individually and as a community of believers.

Southern Spirit: Where did the session name “Defenders of Justice” originate? What is the story behind the name?

Major Juliana: The General of The Salvation Army determines the names of the sessions. In this case, General Brian Peddle (retired) chose the names of the sessions from 2020 to 2025. The Defenders of Justice represent the session trained from 2022-2024. One of General Peddle’s priorities for the worldwide Salvation Army was its mission in social justice. The Defenders of Justice session name is an eternal reminder that Salvationists are called to “act justly” in all aspects of our mission and ministry.

Southern Spirit: What is the scripture associated with this year’s session, and are there any other scriptures that act as guideposts for the Defenders of Justice?

Major Juliana: The scripture most associated with the Defenders of Justice session is Micah 6:8 — “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

Additionally, the cadets of this session have taken on the verse Psalm 82:3-4, “Defend the weak and the fatherless, uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”

Southern Spirit: Tell us about the individuals who make up the Defenders of Justice session. How do you see God working through them?

Major Juliana: The Defenders of Justice session consists of 12 cadets. Five single men, four single women, one man married to an officer, and one married couple. The session is recognized for their closeness and camaraderie. Over their two years at the EBC, they have watched out for each other and served alongside one other in a compassionate way. The average age of the session is 39 years. They come from a variety of educational backgrounds, and three of them served in the U.S. Navy, and two in the U.S. Coast Guard. Of the 12, seven are first-generation Salvationists and three are children of officers.

I have already seen God working through these 12 beautiful cadets. Their compassion for people and the zeal for Biblical justice are unprecedented. They have won and will continue to win souls for Christ. They have served well during their summer and Christmas assignments. I sometimes joke afterwards, “They all came back to the EBC!” because I recognize their commitment to God’s call on their lives. They engaged so readily that I wondered if they would come back. But they are finishing well as a session. I know that they will take this same zeal into their first appointments, will preach the gospel with anointing, and will demonstrate the love of God in tangible ways.

Southern Spirit: What is your prayer and hope for the Defenders of Justice session once they are ordained and commissioned to the field?

Major Juliana: My prayer for them as new Lieutenants will be the same as my prayer for them as cadets. I pray they will be resilient in their spiritual lives and full of the Blood and Fire Salvationism that is necessary to lead God’s Salvation Army forward into the future. I pray that they will make wise decisions and love, serve, and disciple those to whom they are called. I pray they will remain committed to their call, their covenant, and their commissioning.

Southern Spirit: What makes the Commissioning event such an important part of the life of the Southern Territory?

Major Juliana: The Salvation Army is a spiritual movement. To be a movement means you need, well, movement — forward momentum. Commissioning weekend is a celebration of that movement. There is a recognition that God is still calling people into Salvation Army officership, and the Commissioning event gives God credit for the keeping of His covenant with officers as they keep their covenant with Him. Commissioning celebrates the infusion of new officer energy into the ranks and unites the territory under that banner.

Southern Spirit: What would you want someone to know who is reading about Commissioning and anticipating it or deciding whether to attend?

Major Juliana: Commissioning Sunday is more than a territorial church service. It is a time of worshipping God and giving Him glory for His providence in the mission and ministry of The Salvation Army. Additionally, the other events of the weekend, from the Commencement service of the cadets to the Ordination and Commissioning are all part of the larger picture of advancing the mission of The Salvation Army. Everyone who attends will return home richer for their experience. These events are not designed to simply keep people busy for the weekend. Each program builds the anticipation and adds to the overall resurgence of calling and covenant for families, friends, soldiers, and officers of The Salvation Army USA Southern Territory.

Please be in prayer for our Defenders of Justice cadets as they conclude their time of training and look forward to the life of mission and service God has in store for them. Come join us for this incredible time of ceremony and celebration at Commissioning 2024. Visit usscommissioning.org to register or find more information.

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