The Florida Division (USA Southern Territory) dedicated the Center for Holiness Studies, the first such institution in The Salvation Army. Special guest for the occasion was General Linda Bond supported by USA National leaders, Commissioners William and Nancy Robersts, and Southern Territorial leaders, Commissioners David and Barbara Jeffrey. Located at the Florida Division’s Camp Keystone, nearly 200 people were in attendance for the dedication on October 25, 2012.
The center blossomed from an original idea articulated by the soldiers of the Florida Division following a divisional Holiness Retreat in 2008. As the vision took shape and was molded by the divisional commander, Lt. Colonel Vern Jewett, three objectives were created:
1) The development of curriculum for holiness study beginning with basic instruction and “moving deeper into biblical and doctrinal stuies on a wide range of holiness topics.”
2) Ongoing opportunities for soldiers and corps groups to pursue holiness studies in both individual and group settings.
3) The establishment of an annual holiness institute for soldiers to be hosted at Camp Keystone.
In his opening remarks, Lt. Colonel Jewett shared that the center’s goal is to “promote holiness of heart as a hallmark of Salvationist life.” Jewett also shared that several annual events are planned annually: Soldiers Divisional Brengle Institute, Officer Seminar on Teaching Holiness, Officer Seminar on Preaching Holiness and a Deeper Life Retreat.
General Linda Bond endorsed the center, declaring that, “Holiness means to be an authentic Christian. It means that Jesus Christ has chosen to enter our flesh and blood in order to live out His life in our personality. We are to touch with His hands…The world is expecting holiness, and often sadly, their expectations of a Christian’s holiness is higher than ours. This center, then, must be more than brick and mortar. To accomplish God’s purpose it must live and breathe and come alive as a place the promotes and demonstrates and allows for the Holy Spirit to do His supreme work in our Army by filling its soldiers.”
Following the ribbon cutting the crowd toured the state-of-the-art facility that includes a library and media center, classrooms and a lecture hall, places for quiet reflection and offices for support staff.
For more photographs documenting this historic occassion please click here.
-Major Allen Satterlee