National Capital Band visits Brazil
By: Kathleen Jensen
Pass any shop in Brazil and you will see the most recognizable symbol of the country, Christ The Redeemer, a giant Art Deco figure of Christ with arms open wide, standing on a mountain, visible to much of Rio de Janeiro. That image marked the start of the National Capital Band’s trip to Brazil in November 2022. The trip began in that city and culminated in a congress of Salvationists, “Others,” celebrating the 100th anniversary of The Salvation Army in Brazil, led by General Brian and Commissioner Rosalie Peddle.
As band members stood at the feet of this enormous concrete figure of Jesus, Potomac Divisional Commander Lt. Colonel Allan Hofer noted the words embroidered on the pockets of the guards there—Mission: Christ Present. This became the unofficial motto of the band and the trip; the heart of what Salvationists do: present Christ and experience Christ present in our midst.
Present Christ. The first official duty of the band, a parade of witness, kicked off as band and local Salvationists marched together. The band drew people over with music, so soldiers and officers could testify and preach. The band and soldiers also met together at the beautiful Presbyterian Cathedral for a Rio de Janeiro celebration service of 100 years of The Salvation Army. It was the first time American and Brazilian Salvationists had the opportunity to sing together. The band supported the singing and preaching.
Present Christ. A curving mountain road trip took the band to its second destination of Petropolis, a city without a Salvation Army corps. The area recently suffered dreadful flooding, and the Army responded to the crisis. Through this door God opened, locals and Salvationists enjoyed an evening of music at Palácio Quitandinha. The enthusiastic response of the audience felt more like a party than a concert, with pictures and conversations in English/Portuguese. Major Anne Westmoreland, NCB executive officer, said she “experienced first-hand how music connects…across generations, cultures and even languages.” Lt. Colonel Hofer stressed the opportunity and future foothold for Christ’s work presented in such connection.
Christ Present. At a camp outside Sau Paulo, the NCB joined with Brazilian Salvationists for the 100th Anniversary Congress. The band supported The General and the ministry of the weekend alongside the musicians, officers, and soldiers in the Brazil Territory. Band members sang in Portuguese with the Territorial Songsters, accompanied timbrelists, augmented the Territorial Praise Band, and accompanied singing. General Brian Peddle and Commissioner Rosalie Peddle challenged all to not only celebrate the past but prepare to seize the future. The General exhorted Salvationists to be sanctified to do the work ahead of them, musing that he hoped to see all of them, and more of them, in Glory. People lined the altars and aisles in response.
A highlight was sharing with fellow Salvationists whose unfettered expression of faith was an inspiration, particularly in the fervency of singing. The power went out: the singing got louder. Accompaniment faltered: the singing went on, stronger. Flags waving, bodies swaying and even dancing, the band joined in singing in Portuguese the song written especially for the congress: “Others, for the glory of God!”
Christ Present. With the congress concluded, an ensemble remained in Sao Paulo to conduct an adult music leadership workshop while most began the trek home. Music leaders from around the Brazilian territory met, and Lt. Colonel Hofer led a short consecration service for musicians in the territory, reinforcing the message of the General to sanctify themselves to do the work ahead of them for the future. All went home with hearts full, singing “Others! For the glory of God.”