Commissioner Bell Calls for Love, Unity in New #Others Video
By: Laura Poff
Commissioner Don Bell, territorial commander, released a video statement on Facebook in response to the recent shootings by police in Louisiana and Minnesota and the killing of police officers in Dallas, Texas. The video calls for love, action and unity at a time when division, anger and fear grips the nation.
“I want to encourage my fellow Salvationists of the Southern Territory USA to lead with love, listen authentically and honor the image of God in every person you meet,” he said in the statement.
While the video was prompted by recent incidents, Commissioner Bell said it responds to a much bigger issue.
“Our country is facing a crisis, and it’s accelerating on every level,” he said. “We have issues of violence and of fault-finding. We want to turn from fault-finding to finding solutions.”
Prior to filming, the territorial commander invited a diverse group of young adults from the metro Atlanta area to meet in the executive boardroom at THQ for a frank discussion on race, violence and the recent events that sparked outrage and division. The conversation concluded with an endorsement of Commissioner Bell’s statement, which was filmed later that afternoon with the young adult committee standing behind him in a show of support and unity.
Commissioner Bell called on Salvationists to pray and re-commit themselves to the Southern Territory Mission Statement, which challenges us to “love inclusively.” He believes that corps of the USA South need to engage in thoughtful dialogue with people in their communities about the issue and that soldiers need to be willing to step outside of their walls and demonstrate their love and compassion for people through participation in prayer vigils and other community events promoting peace and unity.
“The Salvation Army is a small church with a lot of influence, and we need to use that,” Commissioner Bell said. “We need to be engaged in discussion and involved in our communities beyond the corps.”
“The longer we remain silent, the less significance the church has,” Commissioner Bell said. “My greatest desire is that the corps will find out what they can do in their community to address the issues in a civil manner. These problems are very deep-seated. There may be backlash, but this is who we are and this is a moment when we prove that we believe what we say we believe.”