09 May 2012 You are here:

New leadership for The Salvation Army in the UK and Ireland

Commissioners André and Silvia Cox have been appointed as Territorial Leaders

African-born Commissioner André and his wife Commissioner Silvia have spent the past four years as leaders of The Salvation Army's Southern Africa Territory, which includes work in the countries of South Africa, Lesotho, Namibia, the Island of St Helena and Swaziland.

Now based at the church and charity's headquarters in Southwark, London, the couple take on responsibility for more than 800 Salvation Army churches and social work centres, and many thousands of ministers, church members, employees and volunteers in the UK and Ireland.

The Cox's succeed Commissioners John and Elizabeth Matear, leaders since 2006 and who have now retired to Nottingham.

Born in Harare, Zimbabwe to an English father and Swiss mother, Commissioner André spent his childhood years in Zimbabwe and the UK, before moving to Switzerland where he met and married Argentinean-born Commissioner Silvia.

The couple became ordained Salvation Army ministers in 1979 and spent the early years of their ministry as church leaders in Switzerland. In 2005, the couple were appointed as Territorial Leaders of The Salvation Army's work in Finland and Estonia; a post they held until they took command of the Southern Africa Territory in October 2008.

The Commissioners, who have three daughters and two grandchildren, have a strong commitment to family and are keen walkers.

Commissioner André says: "As we lead The Salvation Army's work across the UK and Ireland, we reaffirm the long-held commitment to offer unconditional love and support to people at all levels of need, without judging or condemning them. Many people in the developed world are living in fear as their jobs are lost and economies crumble and we particularly want to celebrate and nurture families to help them deal with the pressures and demands of modern society.

"Having travelled around so much we have learnt to value other cultures and this has greatly enriched out lives. Serving in Southern Africa, we have seen some of the greatest challenges including drought, diseases, unemployment, hunger and poverty, but our brothers and sisters in Southern Africa taught us to be ever hopeful, no matter what our circumstances, and in the transforming power of God to change lives for the better.”