International Headquarters says farewell to International Leaders
Officers and employees from the International Headquarters (London) came together on Wednesday, 2 August 2023 to say thank you and farewell to General Brian Peddle and Commissioner Rosalie Peddle as they departed for Canada to begin their retirement.
Throughout the meeting, musical accompaniment was ably provided by the IHQ Staff Band and the IHQ Community Gospel Choir.
The farewell meeting opened with a welcome from the Chief of the Staff (and General-elect) Commissioner Lyndon Buckingham. He said, ‘My prayers and welcome to you all at this farewell as we celebrate, pray for and thank our international leaders. They share some 46 years of faithful dedicated, covenanted service and we give thanks for this as they close one chapter in their lives and open another.’
The congregation sang ‘We want to see Jesus lifted high’ before Commissioner Bronwyn Buckingham led everyone in prayer. Recognising both the significance and the emotion of the day, she said, ‘Father, we thank you knowing that you are with us here today. We want to see Jesus lifted high for everyone. We thank you for our friends, General Brian and Commissioner Rosalie. We acknowledge their last five years of service and we thank you for protecting them. May you continue to show them your favour and show them the peace of the Lord that passes all human understanding.’
Leadership under trying circumstances
Commissioner Eva Kleman (Zonal Secretary for Women’s Ministries) addressed the congregation and the departing leaders. She said, ‘These are the people who have prayed for you during every bumpy take-off and landing. We value your friendship and fellowship here at IHQ. Now the time has come for our farewell.’ The Commissioner balanced an amusing yet thoughtful address, highlighting the meaning of retirement and focussing on the new pleasures to come, including fishing, biking, shopping with grandchildren and drinking good coffee.
Director of International Emergency Services Damaris Frick spoke on behalf of IHQ employees and focussed on the serious work that the General and Commissioner Rosalie had completed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Highlighting their leadership under especially trying circumstances, she said, ‘You adjusted to working on-line, Tweeting and producing films. You emphasised ‘together’ and rolled up your sleeves sharing the moment of your COVID-19 vaccinations to encourage others. You signed the COVID-19 vaccination equity declaration to show our love for one another.’ She ended her address with a heartfelt vote of thanks on behalf of all IHQ employees.
‘A wonderful, incredible journey’
Commissioner Rosalie Peddle spoke warmly to past and present colleagues and employees. Giving a vote of thanks to them all, she said, ‘This is the day that the Lord has made and we will rejoice in it. We are looking forward to retirement. My sadness is in leaving this (IHQ) family, and my gladness is in returning to my home and family. It has been a wonderful, incredible journey walking with you all. Your faith and joy in the Lord has been so impactful for us. I know that God is good and faithful and has a plan for us now. God be with you until we meet again.’
The IHQ staff Band, conducted by Commissioner Debbie Graves, played ‘Move Holy Spirit’ inviting quiet contemplation from the congregation, before the Chief Secretary Colonel Peter Forrest presented gifts to the departing leaders. These included a copy of the 2023 edition of ‘Who’s Who,’ and a British jigsaw puzzle. The Chief of the Staff (and General-elect) Commissioner Lyndon Buckingham then presented the retirement certificates. He said, ‘The signatures on your covenants resulted in years of service, sacrifice and fruit. You have touched many lives and shared many words. You have been faithful servants and we honour you for this and for your salvation of the lost.’
Still amazed at God’s grace
Retiring General Brian Peddle responded saying, ‘Words will not be sufficient today to express our gratitude and thanksgiving. Commissioner Lyndon Buckingham has been the best Chief of Staff I could have hoped for – loyal, challenging, wise and Godly and with me in every conversation. Alongside us throughout has been Commissioner Bronwyn and we bless them both and commend them to you. This morning is about saying thank you and bless you, bless you, bless you to you all. My other thanks are to God because I am still amazed at his grace.’
Reflecting on their lives of joint ministry, General Peddle encouraged everyone and shared his approach to ministry saying, ‘Give of your all; do not hold back. God is always there. We have not turned our backs on something uniquely divine, and God has not turned his back on us. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and he will not fail you. Challenges are diminished by the Almighty. They are blessed by his grace, mercy and love. Do not be afraid, the Lord is with you. Here at IHQ today we have people who have shared this with us. We are grateful to you all. May the Lord bless The Salvation Army.’
Leaving the building for one final time
Following a rousing rendition of ‘Guide me, O thou Great Jehovah’, Commissioner Lyndon Buckingham invited the departing General to unveil his portrait which will be displayed at IHQ with other past leaders, before concluding the meeting with a Benediction.
After the meeting, officers and staff enjoyed a final opportunity to share tea and fellowship with one another, before finally saying goodbye to General Peddle and Commissioner Rosalie as they were applauded in the traditional way leaving the building for one final time.