I am sticking my neck out on this one.
I don't do this often.
And it concerns a Bi-annual event which all Salvation Army officers in the UK attend.
It's held in a lovely setting in Swanwick, Derbyshire, so that's what we call it.
We attend one of five identical sessions which last for two days.
It's a place that holds many memories, good and bad.
There are apocryphal tales of terrible food and accommodation.
Of single rooms and one bathroom with no shower between 20 people.
That last is true.
I am enough of an old Major to remember...
I guess the thing that concerns me most is the statement of those who have already been this year.
"We're finally being listened to by leadership"
Firstly, as SA officers aren't we the leadership?
We're the ones who meet the people and make the changes and share God's love.
One question and answer session isn't going to alter that.
Secondly, the implication is that we haven't been listened to before.
Well I have.
I've known territorial leaders who were so pleased to see me, their arms were outstretched for a hug.
I've known leaders who have known my name, without my name badge.
And more than that they've known the names of my children,
Or at least what gender they were.
They've known where I live, and work, and minister,
And some of my concerns.
They've even known who my parents are, and how they are.
I've known men and women of God who have impacted my life,
and the life of the UK territory in which I serve.
Please don't misunderstand me.
I have heard nothing but good about the Terrritorial Commanders.
I love the reports that they're 'human', as in they don't seem to be standing on ceremony.
But they are just that.
Human like you and me.
Called by God to love and serve him.
I thank God for all who have gone before.
And I look forward to Swanwick.
We go on Monday!