The 2006 Salvation Army High Council has elected the territorial commander for the United Kingdom and Ireland to be the 18th general of the international Christian charity organization.
On Jan. 28, the ninth day of the High Councils election meeting, Commissioner Shaw Clifton was elected to replace current General John Larsson upon his retirement from the position at midnight on Apr.1, 2006 the date of Larssons 68th birthday. The result of the election was announced by Commissioner W. Todd Bassett, president of the 2006 High Council.
Larsson, who was present at the international Sunbury Court conference center near London where the election took place, did not participate in the election. The retiring general did, however, deliver an announcement on behalf of Salvationists worldwide.
We thank God for the General-elect and Commissioner Helen Clifton, and for the way He has prepared them as his chosen ones, he said, according to a report released by The Salvation Army.
Clifton then spoke about his election as general and his appreciation of the High Council.
I want the whole world to know that God has been in our midst, he said. We have heard His voice.
I feel humbly proud to be succeeding General John Larsson and Commissioner Freda Larsson. God has blessed their ministry.
Clifton, 60, became an officer from Edmonton Corps, in the then British Territory, in 1973. He has served in his home territory, at International Headquarters, in Zimbabwe, the United States, Pakistan (as Territorial Commander), New Zealand, Fiji, and Tonga (again as Territorial Commander). He was appointed Territorial Commander for United Kingdom and Ireland in June 2004.
During the election process, five members of the High Council had accepted nomination for the office of General Commissioners: Shaw Clifton, Israel L. Gaither, Hasse Kjellgren, Carl Lydholm and Christine MacMillan. Two other members Commissioners Phillip Needham and Linda Bond were nominated but declined to stand for election.
Following the announcement in the High Council chamber of Cliftons election, Indian and African members of the High Council hung a traditional garland and sash around the neck of the Armys 18th general. Bouquets of flowers were presented to Commissioners Shaw and Helen Clifton by 11-year-old twins Jake and Jez Thomas, junior soldiers at Staines Corps the nearest corps to Sunbury.
I have not much to give Thee, Lord, concluded Clifton All I have is Thine. That is my simple but profound life-changing pledge in this sacred moment.
The new general will be welcomed by the public in Londons Kensington Town Hall on Apr. 8 at 4 p.m.