At this time of year, my thoughts always turn to the great work done by The Salvation Army around the world. It’s too bad that William Booth wasn’t Roman Catholic, because he would definitely get my vote for sainthood. Or to be more particular, I see William (along with wife Catherine) as:
- the patron saint of all who do urban ministry
- the patron saint of all who work with the poor
- the patron saint of all who help people dealing with addictions
- the patron saint of all involved with what we now call missional outreach
The first and second may appear similar but they’re not. Urban Ministry deals with more than just poverty, and poverty can strike those in the suburbs. (Trust me, this I know firsthand.)
As to my 4th point, I’ve written here before how in some respects the Booths invented missional. Their story should be required reading at all junctures of ministry training. I’ve posted this here and on Twitter more than once:
Q: Why are there no Salvation Army bloggers?
A: While everybody else is writing about it, The Salvation Army is out there doing it.
This year the Army celebrated its 150th anniversary. While reading an infographic on the back page of the Canadian edition of Salvationist I learned a few things.
- Although 1865 is considered the year of its founding, it was 1877 before Elijah Cadman began introducing military terminology
- A year later, The Fry Family introduced the first Salvation Army band in 1878
- The Army is now active in 126 countries
- The Army has built 350 hospitals, health centers and clinics
- The Army has founded 2,700 schools
In my part of the world this is the time of year the local corps (congregation) raises its entire year’s budget for the Family Services division. They can’t shake the sleigh bells anymore — retailers think it’s too disruptive, though the atmosphere it creates is great — but they are present in or at a number of grocery/department stores here.
Many people here don’t carry cash anymore. For that there are online kettles in most parts of the world where the Salvation Army operates.
- Salvation Army USA Official Site | Online Donations
- Salvation Army UK Official Site
- Salvation Army Canada Official Site | Online Donations
- Salvation Army Europe – Find Specific Country Territory
- Salvation Army Australia
This is a trusted, respected ministry. When you give, you’re giving locally. (Do your giving / while you’re living / so you’re knowing / where it’s going.) But don’t just give. Consider volunteering. Share the link to this article with Facebook friends. And by all means, find one of the many books that tell the William Booth or Salvation Army store and read every page.
Also check out these Booth quotations.