The Salvation Army has announced that Canadian-born Commissioner Linda Bond has been selected as its 19th General, or world leader of the international Christian service organisation.
Bond, who is 64, becomes the third woman and fourth Canadian to hold the post of General of the Salvation Army since it was founded 146 years ago. She will succeed General Shaw Clifton, who will retire at the beginning of April 2011.
She was elected by the organisation's high council, which is made up of senior leaders from around the world and met two weeks ago in Sunbury-on-Thames near London. Bond currently leads the Salvation Army's work in the Eastern Territory of Australia, based in Sydney. As General, she will be based at international headquarters in London.
The General leads more than one million members of the Salvation Army in 123 countries. The organisation also employs more than 100,000 people who communicate in 175 languages.
The Salvation Army is one of the largest providers of social welfare in the world. Programmes include accommodation for homeless men, women, children and families; drug rehabilitation centres; schools; hospitals and clinics; HIV/AIDS projects, training centres and day-care facilities.
Recently, the Salvation Army has been involved in relief work in the aftermath of flooding in Australia (where Bond directed relief efforts), mudslides and flooding in Brazil, floods in Sri Lanka, and an earthquake in New Zealand.
Bond has 42 years' experience of Christian ministry and leadership. She has been serving in Australia since 2008. Previously, she worked as Secretary for Spiritual Life Development and International External Relations at the London headquarters. She has also served in leadership roles with the Salvation Army in Canada, Bermuda, the United Kingdom and the United States.
[With acknowledgements to ENInews. ENInews, formerly Ecumenical News International, is jointly sponsored by the World Council of Churches, the Lutheran World Federation, the World Communion of Reformed Churches and the Conference of European Churches.]