In a historic first, planners added a new Camp Meeting this year, on Saturday morning. Led by Commissioners Robert and Alice Watson, former USA national leaders, it featured participation by all five Generals.
Generals John Gowans and John Larsson, longtime friends and collaborators on 10 Salvation Army musicals, led in choruses such as “To Be Like Jesus,” “Yes to Your Will,” and “Burning, Burning.”
Following a prayer by Commissioner Freda Larsson, General Paul and Commissioner Kay Rader came to the platform together to give their joint testimony of a life spent together as egalitarian partners in ministry.
“God has uniquely gifted couples for ministry,” said the General. “Each person operating in their gifting maximizes the partnership.”
Then General John Larsson, from the piano, provided a rare glimpse into the creation of “Someone Cares,” for which Gowans wrote the words and Larsson the tune.
Mrs. General Maude Tillsley recalled fondly one “wonderful memory” from OOB of the day General Arnold Brown introduced the chorus “Burning, Burning” to a North American audience for the first time. Hundreds came to the altar that day, but she recalled one in particular, a 10–year–old boy who “pushed the sawdust aside” and knelt at the Mercy Seat to accept Jesus. She said he is still an active Salvationist today.
Then, General John Gowans, in his inimitable style, gave a recitation from John Masefield’s “Everlasting Mercy” about its main character, Saul Kane, who rose from depravity when he found the Lord.
General Eva Burrows spoke of a song that particularly moves her: “His Provision,” a Gowans song set to music by Ivor Bosanko. A territorial commander in Australia at the time she first heard the song, she was “bewildered about some decisions that had to be made.”
But hearing the words, “Holy Spirit, promised Presence, fall on me,” she said, “I sensed the Spirit of God coming as an anointing on my heart. And I sensed the whole congregation was feeling the same thing.”
General Bramwell Tillsley, in the morning message, said he had been drawn to his theme when he heard that in a recent survey, people said that the deepest issue with which they struggle is anxiety.
“Many people live in perpetual anxiety,” he said. “We are crucified between two ‘thieves’: regrets about yesterday and worries about tomorrow. So we are unable to live life in the present.”
The General focused on a passage of the J.B. Phillips translation of Philippians 4.
“Don’t worry over anything whatsoever; tell God every detail of your needs in earnest and thankful prayer…” General Tillsley emphasized “right praying, right thinking, and right living.”
In his altar call, he urged everyone to give every anxiety to God and confessed that he and his wife do that every day for a grandson and nephew who are “far from God.” His gentle plea drew many people to the Mercy Seat for prayer.