“Keep Calm, and Do the Mission.”
The USA Western Territorial Commander, Commissioner Kenneth G. Hodder, held a teleconference meeting on March 16 with Salvation Army executive leadership in the Western US regarding The Salvation Army’s response to COVID-19.
“I remain convinced that there is no other organization that is capable of addressing the broad variety of human needs that have emerged as a result of this crisis,” Hodder said. “The Salvation Army has the personnel, we have the infrastructure, we have the credibility, and above all, we have the mission. Our calling to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ and meet human needs in His name without discrimination positions us, and in fact requires us to play a unique part in addressing this situation.”
Monday’s meeting was the first of five meetings that will take place at 8 a.m. each day with all command heads.
The first meeting covered general outlines from Territorial Headquarters about how to proceed in the rapidly evolving situation surrounding COVID-19. Leaders discussed the latest updates from the CDC and then went on to articulate steps that The Salvation Army in the West will take in response to COVID-19. These included the following:
- The USA Western Territory will abide by the most recent guidance from the CDC on gatherings.
- Effective immediately, all officers in the Territory are appointed to Emergency/Disaster service.
- The Chief Secretary will take the lead as Incident Commander. In addition, all officers should consider themselves to be part of their respective divisional or command development departments.
- All Salvation Army units are to contact their respective government authorities and indicate that all Salvation Army facilities are available for use as quarantine centers, housing for medically fragile individuals, food distribution locations, coronavirus testing, and any other services as needed.
- Effective immediately, all officers are to be in Salvation Army uniform whenever they leave their quarters, regardless of the purpose. The Army must be readily available to all of the communities in which it serves.
- Effective immediately, the regular curriculum at the College for Officer Training, the seminary where future officers are trainined, is suspended, and all cadets will serve on Emergency/Disaster service in the California South Division.
- The Crestmont Campus Administrator will be responsible for ensuring that the campus is in full compliance with all CDC recommendations.
- Above all, every Salvation Army unit and officer will be personally responsible for conveying the message that the Army is hard at work feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, assisting families in need, supporting the elderly, and giving comfort to all who feel isolated, concerned and fearful.
“This is precisely the kind of moment for which the Army was raised up by God,” said Hodder. “We will live up to our legacy and our calling.”
The motto for the Army’s service in this crisis will be a simple one: “Keep Calm, and Do the Mission.”