It is hoped the new appointment will see in a new era of closer collaboration in mission and evangelism between the eight individual Church Army divisions that work across fourteen countries.
Roy Totten, Chairman of the Church Army Board, praised the selection of Captain Johanson as the first International Secretary when he announced it to supporters and employees.
“Philip is held in high esteem for his wisdom and his courage in leadership. It did not come as a surprise when I received the request on behalf of all the Church Army Societies around the world to ask him to consider the newly created position of International Secretary.
“Although it is with some reluctance, we must be willing to allow Philip to follow God's calling on his life in this important new role.”
|QUOTE|The 59-year-old Johanson has been most recently been involved with Fresh Expressions where he has played a key role in bringing about greater co-working between the initiative and the work of Church Army.
Mr Totten added that, in the past sixteen years Captain Johanson has served as Church Army UK’s Chief Secretary, he “has helped lead the society through an incredible period of change and development”.
“We owe him a tremendous debt,” said Mr Totten.
Captain Johanson, who was the first lay person to ever be appointed as head of the 124-year-old Church Army, also expressed his delight at the latest turn in his work in mission.
“I am delighted to accept the post of International Secretary and I am humbled by the faith shown in me by my international colleagues,” said Mr Johanson. “It is a tremendous privilege and challenge to serve in this new role and through it to help raise the international profile and standing of the excellent work being done by Church Army societies across the globe."
|AD|Mr Johanson will work primarily to facilitate communication and cooperation between Church Army Societies and to encourage the growth of Church Army ministry worldwide when he takes up his new role in early 2007.
Responsibilities in the new role will also see Mr Johanson serve already existing international societies working in areas that overlap with that of Church Army. Young people can also expect to see the development of an exciting new international Gap Year Programme.
Commenting on his achievements as Chief Secretary, Captain Johanson added: "There has been a great deal of change in society and the Church and we have chosen to embrace it. There is a natural fear on the part of most people regarding change and some of it has been painful.
“With others in the Society, we have brought about a greater understanding and recognition of Church Army and the contribution it can make to the total mission of the Church. I am proud to have played my part in advancing the mission of the church in the UK and Ireland over the past 40 years.”
The search is already on in Church Army to find the successor to Captain Johanson, who will then be put before the Church Army Board this summer, hopes Mr Totten.