New Salvation Army officers take over in Williston

Rachel and Joseph Irvine, the new officers at the Salvation Army in Williston.

Joseph and Rachel Irvine, who are both lieutenants with the Salvation Army, like to joke that they’re about as close as it gets to a dynastic marriage in the church.

Both of their parents were also Salvation Army officers, and before Rachel Irvine’s parents became officers, they were part of the ministry Joseph’s parents oversaw.

Now the two have come to Williston, where they will oversee all of the church’s program’s in Williams County.

Despite the joke about a dynastic marriage, the two actually weren’t sure at first they wanted to become officers, the term the Salvation Army uses for its ordained ministers.

“We took a little time and prayed on it,” Joseph said.

For Salvationists, the officer position is an important one, because officers do more than just preach. Joseph said one of his friends said the position is more like a full-time director of an agency and a part-time pastor.

“Both of those are really huge responsibilities,” he said.

There’s also a thrift store to oversee, community functions to take part in and the entire local church organization to oversee.

“It’s a hard row to hoe sometimes,” Rachel said.

But the pair are excited to be in Williston and to see what the future has in store. They’ve heard stories about the need that exists here and the generosity, as well.

One thing Joseph thinks is key is serving as a place where connections can be made, so whatever needs the community might have can be met.

“I see that the Salvation Army can take a step forward to fashion these connections (in the community),” he said.

This is the second posting for the couple, who previously led the Salvation Army in Beatrice, Nebraska. They also had the experience of growing up as the children of officers, so moved around regularly.

“You get to see all kinds of different places,” Rachel said.

Although every community has different needs, the couple is looking forward to the challenge here.

“I, for one, am really excited about the possibilities,” Joseph said.

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