Tuesday, October 12, 2010
A HAMILTON CORPS FLASHBACK...
General Wickberg on his training days:
"We were 500 Cadets in my Session. Our Training Principal was Commissioner Charles Jeffries. But we did not see much of him except in big meetings and lectures. He had opened our work in China, and he loved China. He often spoke about that great country. But it impressed us more to learn that he had been the leader of the "Skeleton Army" that fought William Booth and his Salvation Army on the streets of Whitechapel. Until he was converted and became a Salvationist himself. He was a 'he-man', a quick-witted Londoner, a man of few words, always to the point, who could preach about hell-fire and the tail of the devil, so that we seemed to smell sulphur and brimstone!
"Towards the end of the Session nearly all the men had had an interview with the Principal – but not I. I had almost given up hope of being called. Then one day, after a lecture at Mildmay, I was called. But not into an office. The Commissioner was just ready to leave - putting on his coat. "How are you, Wickberg?" he asked. "What do you read?" - What a question I thought – and then I said: "I read the Bible and Orders and Regulations."
""Of course, you do," said the Commissioner, "what else?"
"Again I thought: 'What a question!' But then I took courage and said: "Well, there isn't much time here to read much else." I shall never forget his reaction. He grabbed me with one hand, looked straight into my eyes and said: "Wickberg, if you are going to do the work of a Salvation Army Officer as you should, you will never have more time than you have here." This he said and departed. But I never forgot it."
A short while later Lt. Erik Wickberg was commissioned to command the HAMILTON TEMPLE CORPS.
I recall General Erik Wickberg's visit to my officer parents' home. Whether there for a few hours or overnight, his visits always included taking time to look through my father's extensive library; many of those books are now on my shelves, including two gifted to me by the General.
Want an immediate insight into a person's thinking, their mind, their soul ?! On your next visit to someone's home, take time to peruse the shelves in their study- remove a book or two to ascertain the amount of wear and tear... What are the treasured resources that speak to their soul and molds their spirit ? The Bible might be the place to begin.
Dr. Sven Ljungholm
(Erik Wickberg (July 6, 1904 – July 5, 1996) was the 9th General of The Salvation Army (1969-1974).
Born in Stockholm to Officers David and Betty Wickberg. He had a keen mind, and as a teenager, he once beat the national Swiss chess champion. Erik became a Soldier of the Salvation Army in 1924 at Berne II Corps, being sworn in by Captain Otto Brekke. In 1925, Erik became an Officer from Bern 2 Corps, Switzerland. His first appointment was corps officer in Hamilton, Scotland. He then took on the role of Training (Education) Officer in Germany, and Private Secretary to the Chief Secretary and Territorial Commander. He went on to become Private Secretary to International Secretary, IHQ. Soon, he moved to Sweden as International Headquarters Liaison Officer. During World War II, he was appointed to Germany, where he was often obliged to sleep in air raid bunkers. When the war was over, he was assigned Divisional Commander of Uppsala, Switzerland Chief Secretary, Sweden Chief Secretary, Territorial Commander of Germany, and Chief of Staff, before becoming the General.