5 December 2006
Wellington, Tuesday 5
Issued on the Authority of Colonel Robin Forsyth
Chief Secretary, The Salvation Army, New Zealand Fiji & Tonga Territory
For further information contact:
David Smith: 027- 2466281
For Immediate Release
Salvation Army World Leader in Wellington
General Shaw Clifton, international leader of The Salvation Army, is in Wellington this week with his wife, Commissioner Helen Clifton. The UK couple are here for the ordination and commissioning of 11 new Salvation Army officers (ministers) on Saturday 9 December, which includes the Clifton's daughter and son-in-law, Jenny and Marcus Collings.
From its beginnings in 1865 The Salvation Army has ordained women in their own right. Jenny and Marcus (a New Zealander) trained at The Salvation Army's Booth College of Mission Campus in Upper Hutt and their first appointment as Salvation Army officers is to the Nelson/Tasman Bay area.
In January 2006 Shaw Clifton was elected international leader of The Salvation Army's 1.5 million members in 111 countries. The Cliftons have been Salvation Army officers for 33 years, serving in the UK, the US, Zimbabwe, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, and New Zealand. They directed The Salvation Army's work in New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga from March 2002 until June 2004.
The Cliftons were welcomed back to New Zealand with a powhiri on Monday 4 December at which their daughter Jenny Collings performed with a Wellington-based Salvation Army Maori group. Helen Clifton was a member of the same group during her time in New Zealand.
Shaw Clifton addressed the gathering in Maori and English, acknowledging the rich heritage of Aotearoa New Zealand, the land's beauty and also the tangata whenua whose home it had been for many generations.
Shaw Clifton's training as a lawyer, ethicist and theologian has seen him develop an extensive international teaching and writing ministry. He is a popular lecturer on Christian ethics and other topics, and is the author of six books. He has encouraged ecumenical and inter-faith dialogue, and called for renewed commitment to church membership and full-time Christian ministry.
Helen Clifton trained as a teacher and has maintained a strong interest in the educational field, particularly the impact of education on women in the developing world. Since becoming world president of women's ministries for The Salvation Army she has strengthened The Salvation Army's voice against the violation of women through sexual trafficking.
The new Salvation Army officers being ordained in Wellington this weekend come from varied backgroundsâ€”including the police, teaching, local church leadership and youth work. All are looking forward to serving fulltime within The Salvation Army.
Shaw and Helen Clifton were also to have attended the ordination of eight new Salvation Army officers in Suva, Fiji, over last weekend. They were disappointed their visit had to be cancelled because of the current climate of unrest in Fiji and urged prayers for peace in that country. 'Our hearts are with the people of Fiji and with Salvationists in Fiji,' he said.