Two of the Salvation Army's highest ranking soldiers visited central Oklahoma over the weekend for Palm Sunday services at the Norman Corps.
Commissioners David and Barbara Jeffrey, who are commissioners over the Southern territory of the United States, arrived Friday from their home in Atlanta, where the Southern territory's corporate headquarters is located.
David Jeffrey delivered the sermon for Palm Sunday at the Norman Corps (church).
While in town, the Jeffreys will be given a tour of land at NW 10 and Pennsylvania that has been purchased for the Salvation Army's Central Oklahoma Area Command. The current Command, located on SW 5, will be razed as part of the city's Core to Shore project. In its place, a central park is planned.
“What we hope to accomplish is we're spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ,” David Jeffrey said.
He and his wife have been commissioners together since August 2011. The Jeffreys' territory includes 906,000 square miles with 345 corps (churches), 28,000 soldiers, 16,000 employees and 987 officers.
When asked about their role as commissioners, David Jeffrey said his job is somewhat like Walt Disney's career after he retired.
“It's very exciting,” Jeffrey said. “I just sort of go around and have fun and encourage other people and see what they're doing. To be a cheerleader, find out what people are doing right.”
Barbara Jeffrey said one of her favorite aspects of being a commissioner is her role in the Salvation Army's women's programs.
“I like to see women brought to the Army through the women's program,” she said.
In the Salvation Army, women and men are given equal opportunities, Barbara Jeffrey said.
“It's the best for that,” she said. “I'm an officer just like (David Jeffrey) is. I can stand on a pulpit on Sunday morning and preach just like he does,” she said. In fact, the Salvation Army's highest ranking soldier is a woman — Gen. Linda Bond.
And the two said it's not uncommon for married couples to serve together.
While in Oklahoma, David Jeffrey delivered a sermon at the Citadel Church, 2808 SE 44, on Saturday at a Soldier's Rally.
The service at the rally was titled “What do you have when you have Jesus?” and the theme was “The difference between missions and mission.”
“There's really only one mission, God's mission,” David Jeffrey explained. “But there are many aspects of that, where we try to do work in his name.”
One of the commissioners' goals is to further the Salvation Army's mission to eradicate sex trafficking.
“I know in the state of Oklahoma, there's a coalition run by the FBI, and the Salvation Army is a part of that. So, there's a good expression of it here in Oklahoma City,” he said.
David Jeffrey indicated that this issue may be one that becomes more troublesome for central Oklahoma because the area is growing rapidly.
“We're just trying to reach out and let these women know, people who are trapped in that, ‘you are loved and we do have concern for you and we want to help you in any way we can,' ” David Jeffrey said.