Q&A with Commissioner Kay F. Rader

Commissioner Kay F. Rader served as World President of Women’s Organizations from 1994-1999.

Commissioner Kay F. Rader served as World President of Women’s Organizations from 1994-1999. She and her husband, General Paul A. Rader (Rtd), served in several USA appointments and for 22 years in Korea before his election to General. The Raders live in retirement in Kentucky.

01. How did you become involved with The Salvation Army?

As a non-Salvationist, I met The Salvation Army when I was a freshman at Asbury College (now University) because I began dating a third-generation Salvationist. At the end of my sophomore year, we became engaged and shortly afterward I was enrolled as a Salvationist.

02. What led you to officership?

Earlier on in my walk with the Lord I felt a call to missionary service, so the worldwide Salvation Army appealed to my sense of calling to serve the needy of the world.

03. What was most rewarding to you in your service as an officer?

Seeing precious souls transformed by grace at Army penitent forms and through the Army’s programs of rehabilitation. It was also rewarding to have a part in the training of young men and women to become officers themselves.

04. What was most challenging?

The process of trying to help people in dire need while at the same time making sure they maintained their individuality and sense of independence. As an officer, with each new appointment it was often challenging to make necessary adjustments to new environments, people, programs, places and in the case of Korea, a new country and culture. Keeping healthy and fit were challenges as well. 

05. What is your favorite program or event in The Salvation Army?

Choosing only one is difficult. I think of commissionings, Gowans and Larsson musicals, congress meetings and corps family communal meals. 

06. What has had the most impact on you as a Christian and/or as a leader?

I would have to say Christianity modeled in our home by my parents, Reverend J. O. and Edith Fuller. Beyond that, a host of saintly mentors: my favorite Asbury professor, Lavetta Serrott; also, Ruth Bell Graham, Elisabeth Elliot, Colonel Mina Russell, Mrs. Colonel Virginia Talmadge, Mrs. Commissioner Irene Carr, Mrs. Commissioner Pauline Hunter, Commissioners Harry and Wyn Read, General John Gowans, Colonel Qwon Kyung Chan and Amy Carmichael.

07. What do you do to nurture your soul these days?

Using the corps Bible reading plan, I read the Bible through every year, read through the Salvation Army songbook, one song a day, read My “Utmost for His Highest” devotionals and Amy Carmichael’s “Edges of His Ways,” and spend time in prayer both on my own and with Paul in our joint prayer/worship time each day. Paul Rader is and has been for a very long time my favorite preacher. His comments and prayers are nurturing to my soul to this day. 

08. What book are you currently reading (or a book you recommend)?

I am always reading Amy Carmichael’s “Edges of His Ways” and I highly recommend Elisabeth Elliot’s biography of Amy Carmichael, “A Chance to Die.” Also, Eugene Peterson’s “The Pastor: A Memoir” and Melvin Jones’ “That Contentious Spirituality.”

09. What is your greatest joy in retirement?

Remembering the incredibly wonderful lives we have lived as officers of The Salvation Army. Having the luxury of extended devotional times both on my own and alongside Paul as we share God’s grace together. Having time for family, our children, their children and now almost eight great-grandchildren, plus members of our extended family.

10. What is your hope for The Salvation Army in the next decade?

That The Salvation Army will remain a Salvation Army standing true to its doctrines and principles, its zeal to win the lost to Jesus, its compassion for suffering humanity, and that all Salvationists will resolve to embody the Army’s mission statement. 

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