Take the journey together
e-connect spoke to Colonel Geanette Seymour, a retired Salvation Army officer who has taken up a six-month appointment as assistant national secretary for mission.
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e-connect: From your experience of officership, how do Salvation Army clients want to be treated?
Colonel Geanette Seymour: With respect and care, the same as each of us would choose to be treated. Grace and mercy are our mandate.
I’m faced with Christ’s golden rule, in your response: treating others as we would want to be treated ourselves. Can you affirm that, in your ministry, you’ve had the opportunity to both give and receive grace?
GS: Absolutely, and sometimes the act of ‘receiving’ is grace. It’s the hard part… we have less trouble, I think, being gracious, than we do in allowing other people to be gracious to us. It’s got something to do with our own sense of value... I don’t think we stand there and say things like, ‘I don’t need help’ … Somehow or other we see it as, ‘Well, I am here to do good, to be helpful. I’m here to make a difference.’ But it’s only when we get to the point, where it really is about relationship, that we achieve outcomes…
That doesn’t meant that we don’t take our place in the mechanism; if you are the case worker, or the officer, or the manager, etc.; you are what you are. But it’s actually how you go to work. It’s not the label that determines outcomes. It’s how you go to work.
Stepping up from retirement was an act of kindness and a response to a sense of duty on your part – what roles are you fulfilling in this short-term engagement?
GS: As assistant national secretary for mission, which is a privilege, I have the opportunity to support Lyn Edge in her role. As national secretary for mission, Lyn is working to bring the teams together and establish a strong and grace-filled national team.
Are there particular practical tasks that you’ve said you’ll undertake?
GS: Lyn has said to me that I will look after what’s labelled ‘social’, from a national perspective. It’s an area I have some awareness of and experience in. It’s where I find a degree of personal confidence and excitement and enjoyment. So, Lyn’s role for me in this interim period is to look after the social programs of The Salvation Army in Australia, in the remainder of this period and also heading into the future.
What advice do you have for Salvation Army employees during the Australia One merger processes?
GS: Take the journey together with grace. We are each integral to the outcome, whether for a short time or for the long haul. Be brave and let God use us to create what will be.
Go to part three