Salvation Army stalwarts step down

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  • Major Rita Pittman, Divisional Director of Women's Ministries, Lionel Cann, Rosemary Phillips, and Major Frank Pittman, Divisional Commander.

    Major Rita Pittman, Divisional Director of Women's Ministries, Lionel Cann, Rosemary Phillips, and Major Frank Pittman, Divisional Commander.

Two long-serving Salvation Army employees have stepped down following more than a decade of service.

Lionel Cann and Rosemary Phillips were honoured at a standing-room only event held at the organisation’s North Street citadel.

Since 2005, Mr Cann co-ordinated the Soup Run and drove the truck servicing homeless members of the community.

Before that he was the manager at the emergency housing shelter. He also served as the director of the emergency disaster team.

Ms Philips began working for the Salvation Army after retiring from teaching, first as a spiritual development co-ordinator, then as co-ordinator for volunteers. In 2008, she became the chaplain for the social ministries department based at the Harbour Light Treatment Centre.

She said the most rewarding part of her work over the years has been “seeing the success”.

“Eight out of ten men that come through Harbour Light programme remain clean,” she said of the addiction treatment facility.

Since she began her work with the Salvation Army, Ms Phillips, 73, said there has been an increased demand for services, including addiction, emergency housing, and family food services.

“It’s almost reaching a crucial stage,” she said.

Work on addiction services, in particular, must be a priority going forward, she said.

Mr Cann agreed. “Alcohol, drugs, all those kinds of things, have impacted our society very negatively,” he said.

“As soon as our society takes some kind of responsibility for that, I think we’ll be able to take change.”

A self-described introvert, Mr Cann, 74, said his work with the Salvation Army had allowed him to “come out of that”.

The connection he has had with the people on the street, he said, had been inspirational.

“That’s my big joy,” he said.

“Meeting people who have difficulties, who have challenges — I think in some small measure I might have been able to help them.”

Ms Phillips described her journey with the organisation as an “awesome ride”.

She said: “This journey has allowed me to live by my philosophy of life”.

Major Frank Pittman, divisional commander, said replacing both Ms Phillips and Mr Cann would be a difficult task.

“When I refer to your work, I say ministry with deepest respect,” Mr Pittman said.

“You were more than just employees, you were people who worked because of ministry, because you loved people.”

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Published Aug 16, 2017 at 8:00 am (Updated Aug 16, 2017 at 6:54 am)

Salvation Army stalwarts step down

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