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Commissioner E. Sue Swanson succeeded Commissioner Helen Clifton as the World President of Women's Ministries for The Salvation Army worldwide on 2 April 2011.
Commissioner Sue Swanson supports her husband Commissioner Barry C. Swanson in the huge responsibility that is his as Chief of the Staff. They both took up their appointments on 1 May 2010. Their office is at The Salvation Army International Headquarters located in London, England.
Immediately preceding this appointment, the Swansons led the USA Central Territory since 1 October 2008, as Territorial Leaders. Commissioners Swanson were the administrative and ecclesiastical leaders of The Salvation Army in 11 Midwestern states, including more than 1,200 active and retired officers, 265 corps and almost 2,000 other centres of operation. Prior to being territorial leaders, they held other territorial, national and international appointments. Especially memorable were the 16 years they served as corps officers in various locations in the Central Territory.
Commissioners Swanson married in 1975. They entered the College for Officer Training in 1976 and were commissioned as officers in 1978. Lieutenant and Mrs Swanson were appointed to corps work in Michigan, continuing in this sphere of ministry for another twelve years.
In 2000 she attended The Salvation Army's International College for Officers (ICO) in London, England, where he underwent a specialised course of study with other Salvation Army officers from 26 countries.
In June 1990 Captain and Mrs Swanson were then appointed to Heartland Divisional Headquarters followed by another corps appointment prior to becoming the divisional leaders of the Heartland Division in August 1995, at the same time being promoted to the rank of major.
In July 1999 the Swansons' officer experience was further widened on being appointed to territorial headquarters in Chicago with promotion to lieut-colonel. This was followed by an appointment with promotion, to the USA National Headquarters, Alexandria, in July 2006, when Colonel Sue Swanson was the National Secretary for Women's Ministries.
In July 2007 the Swansons were promoted to the rank of commissioner and received overseas appointments. Commissioner Sue Swanson became the Zonal Secretary for Women's Ministries for the Americas and Caribbean Department at International Headquarters, London, England. Just one year later in October 2008 Commissioners Swanson returned to the United States to assume their appointments as territorial leaders of the USA Central Territory.
Commissioner Sue Swanson testifies that she has found meaningful ministry in all her varied appointments but, like her husband, especially cherishes their early corps leadership roles since she is strongly pastoral at heart. Born in Ohio, the commissioner is a fifth-generation Salvationist. She earned a degree in social welfare from Asbury College (now Asbury University) in Wilmore, Kentucky. After graduating from college she opened a crisis centre for runaway teenage girls in Chicago before marrying Barry and entering the College for Officer Training.
The Swansons are parents of four adult children: Joan Kurtz, married to Patrick; Will and Chrissy Swanson, who have two daughters, Luella and Martha; Michael who is married to Kristina Bonesteel and Andrea Strand, who is married to Colin.
William Booth, Founder of The Salvation Army, had a big heart of compassion. He was known to shed tears over the suffering of humanity. The women in his life shared this vision. Catherine, his wife, along with her daughters and daughters-in-law, longed for women to be empowered and offered inclusion by The Salvation Army. The Army is a place where they can shed their tears of spiritual longing, repentance, sorrow and joy - and find acceptance, faith for the future and opportunities for Christian service.
The phrase 'while women weep...' has been translated into many languages. In English, the international language of the internet, the initials are www. This is a challenge to us all, that even in modern days, women need the network - the world wide web - of The Salvation Army.
Women's Ministries has been an area of vibrant activity and witness for the Gospel since its launch in 1907. The most recent surveys show more than 500,000 members in the various groups. The Home League, which is the basis of Women's Ministries, peaked at 431,000 in 1995. It is our prayer that on the eve of the centenary year there will be more tears of joy than tears of sorrow; that there will be tears of laughter as well as tears of pain; but most of all, that joys and griefs alike will be shared in the many fellowships around the world. May the Founder's fighting spirit - to work and pray for a better life for all - continue to be a hallmark of Women's Ministries in every land.
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