Leeanne begins a new adventure after long road to officership
BY ANTHONY CASTLE
After a decades-long journey, newly commissioned Lieutenant Leeanne Pattison can’t wait to begin her life as a Salvation Army officer.
For the past two years, Leeanne has been a cadet with the Defenders of Justice session at Eva Burrows College and was commissioned on Friday 24 November at Adelaide City Salvos.
She has been appointed to the Noarlunga Corps in Adelaide’s south and will take up her appointment in January 2024 as the Corps Officer.
After working in ministry roles for many years, Leeanne became a candidate helper at City Salvos, then a cadet-in-appointment.
“It was a process,” Leeanne says. “I was in my position at a corps for a couple of years, and I really felt that God wanted more of me. I considered a divisional role, and it didn’t feel right. I had struggled with this feeling for a while and talked with people about it. I was wrestling with something inside. I originally felt called [to officership] 20 years ago. There was a hurdle at the time, and I just stood back. I still did ministry roles, but I put officership on the back-burner.”
Leeanne was a Children’s and Youth Assistant at Parafield Gardens Corps in Adelaide for five years before becoming a candidate helper at City Salvos. The role of candidate helper prepares someone for training and officership by experiencing the work firsthand.
“The role of candidate helper was to work alongside the officers,” explains Leeanne. “I was doing sermons already in that space, learning the ins and outs of corps ministry, then coming to my time as a cadet there. Being in a corps setting really helps, with officers there to teach me the ropes. Overall, it’s been a good experience, being able to learn more on the job and see things you may not necessarily see.”
The cadet-in-appointment role involves remote study rather than living on-site at Eva Burrows College. The role has pioneered new forms of learning that have become more standard since COVID-19 restrictions.
“I had a day of designated classes I attended online,” explains Leeanne. “Two days a week at the corps and two study days. We also flew over about three times a year for orientation and intensives. It worked for me. As a single mum, I really needed to stay in Adelaide. You’re not with your session mates or your lecturers as much, but I still got to know my session well. You find different ways of connecting.”
Growing up as the child of Salvation Army officers, Leeanne first considered officership decades earlier. While feeling called to ministry, Leeanne wasn’t initially sure if officership was the right path for her.
“I had been through a really rough time, and I thought I was hearing wrong,” Leeanne says. “I thought, ‘I’m a mess, I can’t be an officer.’ I was at a real low point. I just pushed that aside and ended up studying community service, and then that led to my ministry roles. There’s been callings on the way, though, and I eventually got there.”
“I think it’s important to follow God’s lead,” continues Leeanne. “I think it’s been about stepping into the unknown, even the challenges I know are going to happen. There’s strength in that. I think I will see – both in ministry positions but also personally – that God can use me. That’s the important thing, listening to God and stepping forward.”