Outdoor Flag-raising Commences 'Raised Up' World Youth Convention

Released 16 July 2010

VUVUZELAS, voices and vibrant passion marked the brief opening ceremony of The Salvation Army’s Raised Up World Youth Convention at the University of Stockholm, Sweden, on Thursday 15 July 2010.

More than 1,000 delegates exuberantly gathered in the outdoor area between the main auditorium and the exhibition tents to watch Salvation Army, Swedish and Raised Up flags rise up the tall flagpoles.

The focus was on God as the delegates sang praises to him and a brass band played ‘I'll Go in the Strength of the Lord’ while the flags were raised.

In welcoming to Sweden all the convention delegates and The Salvation Army's world leaders, General Shaw Clifton and Commissioner Helen Clifton (World President of Women's Ministries), Commissioner Vic Poke (Territorial Commander, Sweden and Latvia) said, ‘For 120 years Salvationists from this land have travelled to other lands with the gospel of Jesus but today the world comes to Sweden.’

He added that ‘God will use this event to transform the Salvation Army world for this generation’.

Commissioner Ros Poke (Territorial President of Women's Ministries, Sweden and Latvia) read paraphrased selected Scripture verses from Isaiah 11 and 12 focusing on the fact that ‘God has gathered Salvation Army youth of the world together to proclaim the name of the Lord and to shout aloud his message’.

Prior to the flag-raising ceremony the General and Commissioner Clifton, along with Commissioners Barry (Chief of the Staff) and Sue (World Secretary for Women's Ministries) Swanson, were enthusiastically welcomed onto the university campus by delegates from Zambia.

The Army leaders enjoyed a brief tour of the tent exhibits and mingled with a multitude of joyous delegates.

The Chief of the Staff was part of a panel of Salvationists who participated in a press conference with representatives of the Swedish Christian media. Commissioners Amos Makina (International Secretary for Africa) and Lalkiamlova (International Secretary for South Asia) and World Youth Convention delegate Meble Birengo from Kenya East Territory were the panel’s other members.

The Chief outlined the importance of the World Youth Convention to the future of The Salvation Army, with each of delegates being hand-picked because of their potential, abilities and passion.

He explained that this was only the fourth international youth event in the 145-year history of The Salvation Army. He said the interaction and education opportunities provided by this Raised Up convention were invaluable for the ongoing, wide-ranging Salvation Army work, including spreading the salvation message of Jesus Christ, assisting in poverty reduction and fighting human trafficking.

He pointed out that representatives of 94 of the 121 countries where The Salvation Army is operating were taking part in the convention.

In response to questions from the media the panel spoke about a number of Salvation Army programmes throughout the world that are making positive spiritual, physical and emotional differences to many thousands of people.

 Report by Major Laurie Robertson

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