FrontLines – News briefs of the West

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by Sue Schumann Warner –

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1 (KJV)

I don’t know where the years have gone. It seems like yesterday when I first walked into the New Frontier office at Crestmont—back when territorial headquarters was on the College for Officer Training campus in Rancho Palos Verdes—and began my association with The Salvation Army.

And now, I’m opening the door marked “retirement.”

It’s been an incredible 20-year journey; I’d like to use this last Frontlines column to say a heartfelt “thank you” to the Western Territory; to Salvationists and friends around the world with whom I’ve been privileged to meet and work; and to readers who make it all worthwhile.

I’ve enjoyed sharing this column—and my travels with the Army—with you.

First and foremost, my warm thanks and deep appreciation to New Frontier Publications founder and Editor-in-Chief Robert Docter, O.F.—a true friend, mentor, encourager, and inspiration—as well as the heart, soul, and compass of NFP. Bob’s journalistic integrity, clear and purposeful writing, and tireless encouragement for the Army to “be its best” will forever mark my own writing and professional ethic.

In my early days, Frances Dingman, New Frontier associate editor and museum curator, graciously provided not only a tutorial to the officer rank system and other Army protocol—all new to me—but also an appreciation for The Salvation Army’s magnificent history and mission. Bob Bearchell, assistant community relations secretary, kept me up to date with Army happenings throughout the West and across the nation; his knowledge of Army history was invaluable.

During the past 10 years I’ve appreciated working with Christin Davis, Karen Gleason, Kevin Dobruck, Luis Uribe, Stephen Martinez, Edie Jenkins, Buffy Lincoln, and Arlene de Jesus to publish and distribute New Frontier, Caring, and Nuevas Fronteras—some of the most outstanding publications anywhere in the Army world.

In all this time, though, I’ve never felt it’s been work. Reporting on and photographing the marvelous, selfless ministry of this Salvation Army has been a privilege. Meeting officers, soldiers, and volunteers on ‘the frontlines’—in Harbor Light facilities, ARCs, corps, advisory boards, in youth programs and other locations, has opened my eyes to the need that exists all around us—and the many ways Salvationists are meeting those needs, not just physically, but also in sharing the saving grace of Christ.

Telling the Army’s story—not only in the West, with its incredible new Kroc centers, growing women’s ministries, and vibrant expression of Salvationism—but in emerging nations, in struggling communities, and at scenes of horrific disasters—in Bosnia, Haiti, Cuba, Malawi, South Africa, Russia, Poland and other locales, and at ground zero in New York City, has encouraged me and strengthened my own Christian faith.

I hope reading about it has done the same for you.

So, thank you for letting me be a part of your life through this column and through the pages of this paper. It’s been a pleasure.

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