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Meet the officer – Major Scott Smallacombe

1. What is your current appointment and what do you find most satisfying about it?

I am currently the Corps Officer at Shepparton Corps in Victoria. One of the things I find most satisfying is also something that is more challenging about this role. Corps officership in country towns is incredibly broad, and different from in suburbia. This is both incredibly energising (lots of scope) but can risk being overwhelming (so much that needs response).


2. Away from the appointment – if that’s possible! – what do you do to relax or unwind?

I don’t get heaps of time at the moment, but when I can I really enjoy walking. My longest walk was the Camino de Santiago, where I walked roughly 800km from St-Jean-Pied-de-Port in France to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. It took 36 days; most days walking about 25 km from town to town, meeting people from all around the world.


3. What’s a favourite Christian song and why do you like it?

I am famous for having lots of favourites of many things: favourite songs, favourite psalms, they just keep changing. At the moment, I would say I really value the sense of mystery and awe in ‘Oceans (Where feet may fail)’, and a long-term favourite would be ‘To be like Jesus, this hope possesses me’ by John Gowans and John Larsson as it reminds me that the life of holiness is not one of musts and must-nots but rather of becoming like the one you love.


4. If you could have a good talk with a biblical character apart from Jesus, who would it be and what would you talk about?

I would love to sit down with Paul as I am currently writing a Masters’ thesis looking at 1 Corinthians 7:17-24 about slavery. I think the question of slavery in the Early Church is a helpful lens through which to explore issues around the use of power in the Early Church and can speak to us still today. Paul can write to the Galatians that in the church “there is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28 NIV), yet he never seriously challenges slavery. If I could speak to Paul, my thesis would be done in no time!

5. If you were talking to a group of Salvationists and they asked if you recommended officership or not, what would you say?

Officership is not easy, but it is an incredible journey and no two journeys are the same. I have found myself doing things I would never have dreamed I might do, such as working with the homeless community, out-of-home care, alcohol and other drug recovery programs, leadership roles within social mission as well as corps officership. Each has brought different challenges, but also opportunities for learning and growth. If you suspect this is the life you’re called to, speak to someone about it.

Interview by Major Mal Davies


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