Celebrations as Salvation Army opens in Slovakia
17 September 2015
Spontaneous hallelujahs and enthusiastic applause resounded through the hall in Bratislava when the Chief of the Staff, Commissioner William Roberts, declared Slovakia to be the 127th country in which The Salvation Army is at work.
Acting on behalf of the General, Commissioner Roberts said the country would now be part of the newly named The Netherlands, Czech Republic and Slovakia Territory.
The Salvation Army had been active in Czechoslovakia from 1919 to 1950 before it was suppressed by the Communist government. It returned to the Czech Republic in 1990, but for Slovakians it has been a 25-year wait for the Army to establish itself in their country.
At the official inauguration on Saturday 5 September, representatives from the Slovakian Government, local municipalities, churches, and non-governmental organisations joined Salvationists and friends from many European countries in a joyful celebration. The Amsterdam Staff Songsters and a worship group from Brno Corps in the Czech Republic engaged the congregation in worship.
In a simple, yet solemn ceremony, Commissioner Roberts handed over a new Slovakian Salvation Army flag to Commissioner Hans van Vliet (Territorial Commander, The Netherlands, Czech Republic and Slovakia) with the words: “Commissioner, here is your flag, under which The Salvation Army will fight against sin, help people in need and seek salvation for those who need it.”
Commissioner van Vliet, in turn, called on Captains Vitalie and Inna Chiriac, as the new regional leaders for Slovakia, Majors Tonnie and Ria Scholtens, as officers-in-charge for the Czech Republic and Slovakia, and Captains Josef and Stáňa Knofliček, who had pioneered the work in Slovakia, to “take up your responsibility, go for the mission, serve our God and serve people”.
The day concluded with a concert by the Amsterdam Staff Songsters. The group's passionate singing inspired people to stand, clap and even dance in a celebration of God.
Celebrations continued the next day with a morning open-air concert in a small settlement outside the town of Pezinok, before the weekend culminated in another celebration meeting in the Roma village of Plavecký Štvrtok. Commissioner Roberts challenged the congregation not to forget the Lord. He encouraged everyone present to consider the question: “Where would you be without the Lord?”
The meeting concluded with a rousing rendition of O Boundless Salvation! before the Amsterdam Staff Songsters spread through the congregation and encouraged everyone to join in singing Praise His Holy Name.
Report courtesy of IHQ