The Salvation Army Celebrates 150th Anniversary
by Kevin Sims
ONE hundred and fifty years ago today, on 2 July 1865, William Booth – an unheralded preacher from the British city of Nottingham – took on a new ministry in the rough, poverty-ridden streets of east London. That ministry became The Salvation Army, which today works in 126 countries around the world, offering hope and help to millions of people every year. The Christian faith that drove William Booth to help 'the least and the lost' still powers today's Salvation Army in its stated mission to 'preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and meet human needs in his name without discrimination'.
To mark the 150th anniversary, more than 15,000 Salvationists and friends have gathered in The O2 – just a few miles away from The Salvation Army's Whitechapel birthplace – for a five-day international congress under the theme Boundless – The Whole World Redeeming. (Visit www.boundless2015.org for more details.) Special 'Founders' Day' events attended by the movement's international leaders General André Cox and Commissioner Silvia Cox (World President of Women's Ministries) are also being held in the East End, recognising the remarkable achievements, influence and legacy of William Booth and his wife, Catherine.
Today, there are more than 1.5 million Salvationists serving God and mankind out of 15,636 corps and other church centres in 126 countries. Ministries include hospitals, healthcare clinics, primary, elementary and high schools, homeless shelters, senior citizens residences, emergency disaster services, addiction treatment centres and community programming.
Report by Kevin Sims
The Salvation Army International Headquarters
Tags: 150th anniversary, The General