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Salvation Army Generals

The high council

All generals, with the exception of General William Booth andGeneral Bramwell Booth, were elected by a High Council. This is a body convenedto adjudicate the fitness for office of a General to fill a vacancy in thatoffice. It comprises the Chief of Staff, all the commissioners, except thespouse of the General, and all territorial commanders. It meets at International Headquarters(IHQ), or anyplace in the United Kingdom, and is convened by the chief of staff. If therearises a need to adjudicate on the fitness of a General to remain in office, theHigh Council is summoned by the Chief of Staff and not less than seven othercommissioners, or if the Chief of Staff is not one of the requisitioners, notfewer than 10 commissioners, provided that no two requistioners are married toeach other.

The first High Council, comprising 63 members, met at SunburyCourt on 8. January 1929, following the absence through illness of GeneralBramwell Booth for eight months. They voted to conclude the active service ofthe General, then aged 73, on the grounds of ill health, and on 13. February1929 they elected Commissioner Edward Higgins to be the army's third General.Subsequently, a Commissioners' Conference agreed upon three reforms laterincluded in The Salvation Army Act 1931, namely:

  1. the abolition of the General's right to nominate his successor and the substitution of election of a successor by a High Council;

  2. the fixing of an age limit for the retirement of a General;

  3. the substitution of a trustee holding company to hold the properties and capital assets of The Salvation Army in place of the sole trusteeship of the General.

Later High Councils have been held in 1934, 1939, 1946, 1954,1963, 1969, 1974, 1977, 1981, 1986,1993, 1994, 1999, 2002, 2006 and 2011.

-- The Salvation Army Year Book