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Pilot to bombardier

Each morning, I spend some time in our café chatting with members of the local community – many of them homeless or living in hardship – who have dropped in for a coffee and a smile. While to most I’m just Mal, occasionally a newcomer will feel the need for some formality and use Major Mal, while even newer ones will call me Father or Pastor.

I’m not too fussed what they call me – to a degree! – and my grandfather probably had it worse – he was a brigadier!

Perhaps there are some other titles we could introduce. Hmm…

I’ve always wanted to be a bombardier. This used to be the crew member on a military aircraft responsible for the targeting and release of bombs. I could be The Salvation Army officer who just stands up during a meeting and shouts out a Scripture verse.

Mid-meeting, I would spring to my feet and yell: “Make straight the way of the Lord!” and sit down again. And people would just think, “Oh, that’s okay: he’s the corps bombardier.”

Or how about a commodore? I had a relative, by marriage, who was a retired and much-decorated air commodore, I thought it was a nice title.

The commodore at each corps would be the one who gives good hugs. Every now and then you have someone who’s had a bad week or is lonely or feeling down, and – as hard as it is in this litigious age – you just want to give them a hug.

I could give someone a hug and if visitors looked at us a bit oddly, the regular attendees would just say, “That’s okay, he’s our holding commodore.”

Another role would be for an ensign. The ensign would be responsible for learning and using sign language to be able to help those with deafness participate in worship. When the band is playing and everyone is singing, the ensign will stand to one side of the platform and sing along while also communicating the words to deaf attendees.

Generally, our congregations don’t have too many people with hearing issues, so it should be adequate to have one person trained to do this task. He or she would be the single singing signing ensign.

And finally, when I was a young boy, I watched ‘The Flintstones’ and was intrigued when Fred became the leader of the local Loyal Order of Water Buffaloes and was given the title ‘Grand Poobah’.

What a great title! Why do we have a Territorial Commander when we could have a Grand Poobah? I might write a letter to International Headquarters now and suggest the change. I’ll sign it from Bombardier Mal Davies.

– Major Mal Davies and his wife Major Tracey are the Corps Officers at Adelaide City Salvos


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