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definition - The Salvation Army

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The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army.svg
Classification Protestant
Orientation Holiness
Leader Linda Bond
Geographical areas Worldwide
Headquarters City of London, United Kingdom
Founder William Booth
Origin 1865
London, United Kingdom
Separated from Methodism
Ministers 22 million + [1]

The Salvation Army is a Protestant Christian church known for its thrift stores and charity work. It is an international movement that currently works in over 120 countries.[2]

It was founded in 1865 in the United Kingdom by William Booth and his wife Catherine as the north London Christian Mission and with a quasi-military structure.[3] The theology of the Salvation Army is "mainstream Protestant".[4]



  The Salvation Army founder, William Booth
  Women's dormitories operated by The Salvation Army, Washington, D.C. c. 1920

The Salvation Army was founded in London's East End in 1865 by one-time Methodist minister William Booth and his wife Catherine. Originally, Booth named the organization the East London Christian Mission. The name The Salvation Army developed from an incident on 19–20 May. William Booth was dictating a letter to his secretary George Scott Railton and said, "We are a volunteer army." Bramwell Booth heard his father and said, "Volunteer! I'm no volunteer, I'm a regular!" Railton was instructed to cross out the word "volunteer" and substitute the word "salvation".[5] The Salvation Army was modeled after the military, with its own flag (or colours) and its own hymns, often with words set to popular and folkloric tunes sung in the pubs. Booth and the other soldiers in "God's Army" would wear the Army's own Uniform of The Salvation Army|uniform, for meetings and ministry work. He became the "General" and his other ministers were given appropriate ranks as "officers". Other members became "soldiers".[6]

When William Booth became known as the General, Katherine was known as the "Mother of The Salvation Army". William preached to the poor, and Catherine spoke to the wealthy, gaining financial support for their work. She also acted as a religious minister, which was unusual at the time; the Foundation Deed of the Christian Mission states that women had the same rights to preach as men. William Booth described the organization's approach: "The three ‘S's’ best expressed the way in which the Army administered to the 'down and outs': first, soup; second, soap; and finally, salvation."[7]

In 1880, the Salvation Army started its work in three other countries: Australia, Ireland, and the United States. It was not always an official officer of the Salvation Army who started the Salvation Army in a new country; sometimes Salvationists emigrated to countries and started operating as "the Salvation Army" on their own authority. When the first official officers arrived in Australia and the United States, they found groups of Salvationists already waiting for them.

The Salvation Army's main converts were at first alcoholics, morphine addicts, prostitutes and other "undesirables" unwelcome in polite Christian society, which helped prompt the Booths to start their own church.[8] The Booths did not include the use of sacraments (mainly baptism and Holy Communion) in the Army's form of worship, believing that many Christians had come to rely on the outward signs of spiritual grace rather than on grace itself.[9] Other beliefs are that its members should completely refrain from drinking alcohol (Holy Communion is not practised), smoking, taking illegal drugs and gambling.[10] Its soldiers wear a uniform tailored to the country in which they work; the uniform can be white, grey, navy, fawn and are even styled like a sari in some areas. Any member of the public is welcome to attend their meetings.

As the Salvation Army grew rapidly in the late 19th century, it generated opposition in England. Opponents, grouped under the name of the Skeleton Army, disrupted Salvation Army meetings and gatherings, with tactics such as throwing rocks, bones, rats, and tar as well as physical assaults on members of The Salvation Army. Much of this was led by pub owners who were losing business because of the Army's opposition to alcohol and targeting of the frequenters of saloons and public houses.[11]

The Salvation Army's reputation in the United States improved as a result of its disaster relief efforts following the Galveston Hurricane of 1900 and the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. The establishment of Victorian bell-ringers raising charity today "helps complete the American portrait of Christmas", with over 25,000 volunteers taking up kettles over the holiday period in the U.S. alone.[8] The church remains a highly visible and sometimes controversial presence in many parts of the world.

In 1994, the Chronicle of Philanthropy, an industry publication, released the results of the largest study of charitable and non-profit organization popularity and credibility. The study showed that The Salvation Army was ranked as the 4th "most popular charity/non-profit in America" of over 100 charities researched with 47% of Americans over the age of 12 choosing Love and Like A Lot for The Salvation Army.[12]

Charity Watch rates the Salvation Army an "A-" to an "A".[13]

  Worldwide expansion

  The worldwide expansion of Salvation army
  Stamp USA 1965 commemorating 100 years Salvation Army
  • 1890 – Argentina, Uruguay
  • 1891 – Zimbabwe, Zululand
  • 1894 – Åland (until 1950), Hawaii, Indonesia
  • 1895 – Gibraltar (until 1968), Guyana, Iceland, Japan
  • 1896 – Bermuda, Malta (until 1972)
  • 1898 – Alaska, Barbados
  • 1901 – Trinidad & Tobago
  • 1902 – Grenada, Saint Lucia
  • 1903 – Antigua and Barbuda, St Vincent & the Grenadines
  • 1904 – Panamá
  • 1907 – Costa Rica
  • 1908 – Korea
  • 1909 – Chile
  • 1910 – Paraguay, Perú
  • 1913 – Russia (until 1923), Namibia (until 1914)
  • 1915 – Belize, Myanmar
  • 1916 – Republic of China (until 1951), Mozambique, St Kitts
  • 1917 – U.S. Virgin Islands
  • 1918 – Cuba
  • 1919 – Czechoslovakia (until 1950)
  • 1920 – Bolivia, Nigeria
  • 1921 – Kenya
  • 1922 – Brazil, Ghana, Zambia
  • 1923 – Latvia (until 1939)
  • 1924 – Faroe Islands, Hungary (until 1949)
  • 1926 – Suriname
  • 1927 – Austria, Estonia (until 1940), Curaçao (until 1980)
  • 1930 – Hong Kong
  • 1931 – Bahamas, Uganda, Namibia (recommenced) (until 1939)
  • 1933 – French Guiana (until 1952), Tanzania, Yugoslavia (until 1948)
  • 1934 – Algeria (until 1970), Congo (Kinshasa), Manchukuo (until 1945)
  • 1935 – Singapore
  • 1936 – Egypt (until 1949)
  • 1937 – Congo (Brazzaville), French Indo-China (until 1942), México, Philippines
  • 1938 – Malaysia
  • 1950 – Haïti
  • 1956 – Papua New Guinea
  • 1960 – Swaziland
  • 1962 – Puerto Rico
  • 1965 – Taiwan
  • 1967 – Malaŵi
  • 1969 – Lesotho
  • 1970 – Bangladesh
  • 1971 – Portugal, Spain
  • 1972 – Venezuela
  • 1973 – Fiji
  • 1976 – Guatemala
  • 1978 – Canary Islands
  • 1980 – French Guiana (recommenced)
  • 1985 – Angola, Colombia, Ecuador, Marshall Islands
  • 1986 – Tonga
  • 1988 – Liberia
  • 1989 – El Salvador, Thailand (until 1993)
  • 1990 – Czech Republic (recommenced), Hungary (recommenced), Latvia (recommenced)
  • 1991 – Russia (recommenced)
  • 1992 – Belarus (until 1996), Somalia (until 1995)
  • 1993 – Georgia, Ukraine
  • 1994 – Guam, Federated States of Micronesia, Moldova
  • 1995 – Dominican Republic, Estonia (recommenced)
  • 1996 – Rwanda
  • 1997 – Botswana
  • 1999 – St Maarten
  • 2000 – Macau
  • 2004 – Lithuania, Romania
  • 2005 – Falkland Islands, Poland
  • 2007 – Greece,[14] Burundi, Northern Mariana Islands
  • 2008 – Namibia (recommenced), Mali, Kuwait, Mongolia[15][16]
  • 2009 – Nepal[17]
  • 2010 – Sierra Leone, Nicaragua, United Arab Emirates
  • 2011 – Solomon Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands, Togo
  • 2012 - Greenland

The Salvation Army currently works in 125 different countries and has its main headquarters in London, England.

  Current organization and expenditures

  The Salvation Army International Headquarters in London

As of 22 May 2012 the Salvation Army operates in 125 countries and provides services in 175 different languages. For administrative purposes, the organization divides itself geographically into territories, which are then sub-divided into divisions. In larger areas, regional and area commands are also introduced as sub-divisions of divisions. Each territory has an administrative hub known as territorial headquarters (THQ). Likewise, each division has a divisional headquarters (DHQ). Each of these territories is led by a territorial commander who receives orders from the Salvation Army's International Headquarters in London. A territory is normally led by an officer holding the rank of colonel (for small territories)or commissioner for larger territories. In some countries, the work of The Salvation Army may be called a command, led by a command commander. A larger command is typically led by an officer holding the rank of colonel.

Its claimed membership (as quoted from 2010 Year Book) includes 16,938 active and 9,190 retired officers, 1,122,326 soldiers, 189,176 Adherents, 39,071 Corps Cadets, 378,009 Junior Soldiers, around 104,977 other employees and more than 4.5 million volunteers. Members of The Salvation Army also include "adherents", these are people who do not make the commitment to be a soldier but who formally recognize The Salvation Army as their church. (According to the 2006 Salvation Army Year Book, in the United States there are 85,148 Senior Soldiers and 28,377 Junior Soldiers, 17,396 Adherents and around 60,000 employees.)

The Army's leader, General Linda Bond, was elected to this position on 31 January 2011, by The High Council of The Salvation Army. She assumed the rank of General and the mantle of International Leadership at 00:01hrs on 2 April 2011.

  The monument to the Salvation Army in Kensico Cemetery

The Salvation Army is one of the world's largest providers of social aid[citation needed], with expenditures including operating costs of $2.6 billion in 2004, helping more than 32 million people in the U.S. alone. In addition to community centers and disaster relief, the organization does work in refugee camps, especially among displaced people in Africa. The Salvation Army has received an A- rating from the American Institute of Philanthropy. In the United Kingdom, The Salvation Army is no longer the largest non-governmental provider of social services; however provides a significant service to people in need. The Salvation Army is the second largest charity in the United States, with private donations of almost $2 billion for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2007.[18]

In 2004, the Army in the United States received a $1.6 billion donation in the will of Joan B. Kroc, third wife of former McDonald's CEO Ray Kroc. This donation was among the largest individual philanthropic gifts ever given to a single organization. The donation came with certain restrictions that caused some controversy.[19]

The International Congress of The Salvation Army is normally held every 10 years[20] as a conference for all Salvationists from around the world to meet. The first such conference took place in London, UK, from 28 May to 4 June 1886, and subsequent Congressional meetings were held sporadically until 1904 and then 1990.[21] The seventh International Congress in Atlanta, GA, USA, from 28 Jun to 2 Jul 2000, was the first held outside of the UK.[22]


The beliefs of the Salvation Army rest upon these eleven doctrines:[23]

1. We believe that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments were given by inspiration of God, and that only they constitute the Divine rule of Christian faith and practice.
2. We believe that there is only one God, who is infinitely perfect, the Creator, Preserver, and Governor of all things, and who is the only proper object of religious worship.
3. We believe that there are three persons in the Godhead – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, undivided in essence and co-equal in power and glory.
4. We believe that in the person of Jesus Christ the divine and human natures are united, so that he is truly and properly God and truly and properly man.
5. We believe that our first parents were created in a state of innocence, but by their disobedience they lost their purity and happiness, and that in consequence of their fall all men have become sinners, totally depraved and as such are justly exposed to the wrath of God.
6. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ has by his suffering and death made an atonement for the whole world so that whosoever will may be saved.
7. We believe that repentance towards God, faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, and regeneration by the Holy Spirit, are necessary to salvation.
8. We believe that we are justified by grace through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ and that he that believeth hath the witness in himself.
9. We believe that continuance in a state of salvation depends upon continued obedient faith in Christ.
10. We believe that it is the privilege of all believers to be wholly sanctified, and that their whole spirit and soul and body may be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
11. We believe in the immortality of the soul; in the resurrection of the body; in the general judgment at the end of the world; in the eternal happiness of the righteous; and in the endless punishment of the wicked.

Soldiers affirm that they will give "as large a proportion of my income as possible" to the Salvation Army.[23]

The ordination of women is permitted in the Salvation Army. Salvation Army officers were previously allowed to marry only other officers (this rule varies in different countries); but this rule has been relaxed in recent years. Husbands and wives usually share the same rank and have the same or similar assignments—the major exception to this is the General's spouse, who is given the rank of Commissioner.

The organization will not appoint 'practising' homosexuals to posts as ministers, preferring the heterosexuals "whose values are consistent with the church's philosophy."[24]

Officers are given 'Marching Orders' to change ministries within The Salvation Army. Usually, officers are given new Marching Orders every two to five years and reassigned to different posts, sometimes moving great distances.

  Life issues

The Salvation Army opposes euthanasia and assisted suicide, but accepts abortion in extreme cases. Their official statement says: "The Salvation Army believes in the sanctity of all human life and considers each person to be of infinite value and each life a gift from God to be cherished, nurtured and redeemed. Human life is sacred because it is made in the image of God and has an eternal destiny. (Genesis 1:27) Sacredness is not conferred, nor can it be taken away by human agreement."

It is also against the death penalty: "The Salvation Army recognises that the opinions of Salvationists are divided on the moral acceptability of capital punishment and its effectiveness as a deterrent. However, to advocate in any way the continuance or restoration of capital punishment in any part of the world would be inconsistent with the Army’s purposes and contrary to the Army’s belief that all human life is sacred and that each human being, however wretched, can become a new person in Christ."

  LGBT Issues

The Salvation Army offers its services to all who are in need, regardless of sexual orientation, and opposes the abuse of people based on sexual orientation.[25] However, as documented below in the "Controversy" section, in some countries the organization has campaigned against laws that ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. It also disapproves same-sex relationships among its Salvationists and Officers: "Christians whose sexual orientation is primarily or exclusively same-sex are called upon to embrace celibacy as a way of life."[26]



  Standard of The Salvation Army (Anglophone Version)

The Salvation Army flag is a symbol of the Army's war against sin and social evils. The red on the flag symbolizes the blood shed by Jesus Christ, the yellow for the fire of the Holy Spirit and the blue for the purity of God the Father.

The star contains the Salvation Army's war cry, 'Blood and Fire'. This describes the blood of Jesus shed on the cross to save all people and the fire of the Holy Spirit which purifies believers.

The flag precedes outdoor activities such as a march of witness. It is used in ceremonies such as the dedication of children and the swearing-in of soldiers. It is sometimes placed on the coffin at the funeral of a Salvationist. The Salvation Army term used to describe the death of a Salvationist is that of the deceased being "promoted to glory".


  Crest of The Salvation Army (Anglophone version)

The oldest official emblem of The Salvation Army is the crest.

In 1878 Captain W.H. Ebdon suggested a crest, and in 1879 it was to be found on the letterhead of the Salvation Army Headquarters. The captain's suggested design was changed only slightly and a crown was added.

The meaning of the crest:

The cross: The cross of the Lord Jesus Christ
The "S": Salvation from sin through Jesus
The ray on the outside of the circle: The Fire of the Holy Spirit
The dots: The Truth of the Gospel
The swords: Spiritual Warfare
"Blood and Fire": The Blood which was shed by Jesus for our sins and the Fire of the Holy Spirit

  Red Shield

  The Salvation Army logo (Anglophone Version)

The Red Shield has its origins in Salvation Army work during wartimes. At the end of the 19th century, Staff-Captain Mary Murray was sent by William Booth to support British troops serving in the Boer War in South Africa. Then, in 1901, this same officer was given the task of establishing the Naval and Military League, the forerunner of the Red Shield Services.

Salvation Army officers serving in the Red Shield Services in wartime performed many functions. The Doughnut Girls of World War I are an early example, serving refreshments to troops in the trenches. They also provided first aid stations, ambulances, chaplaincy, social clubs, Christian worship and other frontline services.[27]

This symbol is still used in Blue Shield Services that serve the British Armed Forces but it is widely used as a simple, more readily identifiable symbol in many Salvation Army settings. It is common to see the Red Shield used on casual Salvation Army uniform.[28]

In Australia, the Red Shield has become one of the country's most identified and trusted brands, leading the Australian Salvation Army to prefer to use this symbol over the crest on its uniform, corps buildings and advertising materials. In the 5th Volume of Australian Superbrands it was recorded that "Research reveals that the popular Salvation Army slogan ‘Thank God for the Salvos’ has almost total recognition amongst the Australian public, achieving 93 per cent aided awareness".[29]

The Salvation Army consistently comes out in research as the charity to which people would most like to donate (named spontaneously).

Similarly the Red Shield logo is highly desired by companies wishing to link their brand with a solid emblem of care and compassion.

The uniform also gives the Salvos a very visible presence, often creating a sense that they are ‘everywhere’, although uniformed Salvationists are actually a very small percentage of the Australian population.[30]


Salvation Army officers and soldiers often wear uniforms. The idea that they should do so originated with Elijah Cadman who, at The Salvation Army's 'War Congress' in August 1878 said "I would like to wear a suit of clothes that would let everyone know I meant war to the teeth and salvation for the world". The uniform identifies the wearer as a Salvationist and a Christian. It also symbolises availability to those in need. The uniform takes many forms internationally but is characterized by the 'S' insignia for 'Salvation' and carries the meaning 'Saved to Serve', or 'Saved to Save'.[citation needed] Other letters are substituted to conform with local language.


  The Salvation Army Dress Tartan

Since 1983 there has been an official Salvation Army tartan. It was designed by Captain Harry Cooper, for the Perth Citadel Corps Centenary commemoration. It is based upon the colours of the Salvation Army Flag, with which it shares the same symbolism. However, it is rarely seen outside Scotland.[31]


The Salvation Army has a unique form of salute which involves raising the right hand above shoulder-height with the index finger pointing upwards. It signifies recognition of a fellow citizen of heaven, and a pledge to do everything possible to get others to heaven also.[32] In the case of saluting in response to applause, in circumstances such as a musical festival or being applauded for a speech, it also signifies that the Salvationist wishes to give Glory to God and not themselves.

In some instances, the salute is accompanied with a shout of 'hallelujah!'


  Music playing

As the popularity of the organization grew and Salvationists worked their way through the streets of London attempting to convert individuals, they were sometimes confronted with unruly crowds. A family of musicians (the Frys, from Alderbury, Wiltshire) began working with the Army as their "bodyguards" and played music to distract the crowds.[33]

The tradition of having musicians available continued and eventually grew into standard brass bands. These are still seen in public at Army campaigns, as well as at other festivals, parades and at Christmas. Across the world the brass band has been an integral part of the Army’s ministry and an immediately recognizable symbol to Salvationists and non-Salvationists alike. The Salvation Army also has choirs; these are known as Songster Brigades, normally comprising the traditional soprano, alto, tenor and bass singers. The premier Songster Brigade in the Salvation Army is the International Staff Songsters (ISS).

The standard of playing is high and the Army operates bands at the international level, such as the International Staff Band (a brass band) which is the equal of professional ensembles although it does not participate in the brass band contest scene, and territorial levels such as the New York Staff Band. Some professional brass players and contesting brass band personnel have Salvation Army backgrounds. Many Salvation Army corps have brass bands that play at Salvation Army meetings, although not all.

The Army tradition in music is to use the popular idiom of the day to reach people for Jesus. The Army's Joy Strings were a hit pop group in the 1960s and early 1970s in the UK and beyond, reaching the charts and being featured on national television. Another popular band is The Insyderz, an American ska-core group popular in the 1990s and early 2000s. Hundreds of current bands carry on this Salvation Army tradition, such as New Zealand's Moped, Chamberlain, Vatic, Agent C, and The Lads; England's Electralyte; Australia's Soteria Music Ministries and Escape; and America's transMission, The Singing Company, HAB, BurN, and CJD – Cookies, Juice, & Donuts. Saytunes is a website designed to encourage and promote these contemporary Salvation Army bands and artists.

Another significant musical feature of the Salvation Army is its use of tambourines. With coloured ribbons representing the colours of the Salvation Army flag, timbrels play an integral facet of music in the Salvation army. They are mainly played by women.

Local corps usually sing contemporary worship music songs in Sunday worship services, as well as traditional hymns and music accompanied by the brass band.


Today it is becoming common in Salvation Army corps not to have a full brass band. This is reflective for many social and cultural reasons.[citation needed] Some Salvation Army corps make use of smaller ensembles of musicians. Often this ensemble consists simply of a guitar, piano or a keyboard, drums and sometimes a bass guitar and other instruments, especially during "Youth Fellowships".[citation needed]

The music played does tend to also take on a more contemporary style as is reflected in modern music today. The early Salvation Army bands were known for their excitement and public appeal, and the modern ensemble keeps to this ideology. Traditional hymns are still used in worship services and these are blended with other musical pieces from Christian Music Publishers such as Vineyard Music, Hillsong, and Planet Shakers to name but a few.

  Disaster relief

In the USA The Salvation Army's first major forays into disaster relief resulted from the tragedies of the Galveston Hurricane of 1900 and the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. The Salvationists' nationwide appeals for financial and material donations yielded tremendous support, enabling the Army to provide assistance to thousands. General Evangeline Booth, when she offered the services of Salvationists to President Woodrow Wilson during the First World War, thrust Salvation Army social and relief work to newer heights. Today the Salvation Army is best known for its charitable efforts.

The Salvation Army is a non-governmental relief agency and is usually among the first to arrive with help after natural or man-made disasters. They have worked to alleviate suffering and help people rebuild their lives. After the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004, they arrived immediately at some of the worst disaster sites to help retrieve and bury the dead. Since then they have helped rebuild homes and construct new boats for people to recover their livelihood. Members were prominent among relief organizations after Hurricane Hugo and Hurricane Andrew and other such natural disasters in the United States. In August 2005, they supplied drinking water to poor people affected by the heat wave in the United States. Later in 2005 they responded to hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Most recently they have helped the victims of the May 2006 Indonesian Earthquake.

  The William Booth Memorial Training College, Denmark Hill, London: The College for Officer Training of The Salvation Army in the UK

Since Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast, The Salvation Army has allocated donations of more than $365 million to serve more than 1.7 million people in nearly every state. The Army’s immediate response to Hurricane Katrina included the mobilization of more than 178 canteen feeding units and 11 field kitchens which together have served more than 5.7 million hot meals, 8.3 million sandwiches, snacks and drinks. Its SATERN (Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network)[34] network of amateur ham-radio operators picked up where modern communications left off to help locate more than 25,000 survivors. And, Salvation Army pastoral care counselors were on hand to comfort the emotional and spiritual needs of 277,000 individuals. As part of the overall effort, Salvation Army officers, employees and volunteers have contributed more than 900,000 hours of service.

The Salvation Army was one of the first relief agencies on the scene of the 9/11 attacks in New York. They also provided prayer support for families of missing people.

The Salvation Army, along with the American National Red Cross, Southern Baptist Convention, and other disaster relief organizations, are national members of the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD).[35]

Also among the disaster relief capabilities is the Red Shield Defence Services, often called the SallyMan for short. The effort that they put in is similar to that of a chaplain, and reaches many more, offering cold drinks, hot drinks, and some biscuits for the soldiers of the military to have, though, if a SallyMan is on deployment, the locals are offered a share in the produce.

In Australia the Salvation Army have Emergency Services Support Units throughout the country, providing food and other welfare to members of the Emergency Services such as bushfires, floods, land search, and other both large and small scale emergency operations undertaken by Police, Fire, Ambulance and State Emergency Service members, and the general public affected by these events.

  Thrift Stores and charity

  Salvation Army Thrift Store, Santa Monica, CA

The Salvation Army is well known for its network of thrift stores or Charity Shops, colloquially referred to as "the Sally Ann" in Canada, "Sally's"[36] or "Salvo" in the US and "op shops" in Australia, which raise money for its charitable and religious activities by selling donated used items such as clothing, housewares and toys. The Salvation Army has a history of free rehabilitation from alcohol and drug abuse. Thrift stores provide the revenue to run the Adult Rehabilitation Centres known as ARCs. The ARCs, found in many global locations, are work and Bible-based and are usually long-term residential facilities. Clothing collected by Salvation Army stores that are not sold on location are often sold wholesale on the global second hand clothing market.

The Salvation Army operates a fleet of trucks that will pick up donations in kind from people's homes to benefit the Thrift Stores. Donations of clothing, furniture and other household items can be scheduled by visiting SATruck.org. For example, in October 2011, the Salvation Army and their fleet truck operation in the Chicagoland area partnered with local Christmas tree company Treetime Christmas Creations to donate gently used artificial Christmas trees to families in need all throughout the state. See: Chicago Christmas Tree Donation Program. These large scale charity events fuel the network of "Sally's" and are common throughout the year but are most prevalent during the Christmas season.

  Red Kettles

  Red kettle at supermarket entrance, Ypsilanti, Michigan

In many countries, The Salvation Army is most recognized during the Christmas season with its volunteers and employees who stand outside of businesses and play/sing Christmas carols, or ring bells to inspire passersby to place donations of cash and cheques inside red kettles. A tradition has developed in the United States in which, in some places, gold coins or rings are anonymously inserted into the kettles. This was first recorded in 1982, in Crystal Lake, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago.[citation needed]

  Red Shield Appeal

The Red Shield Appeal is an annual fundraising campaign in some territories, such as the UK and Australia. Each year, officers, soldiers, employees and volunteers take to the streets worldwide to participate in door to door or street collections. The money raised is specifically channelled towards The Salvation Army's social work in each respective territory.

  Family Tracing Service

The Family Tracing Service (sometimes known as the Missing Persons Service) was established in 1885, and the service is now available in most of the countries where The Salvation Army operates. The Tracing Service's objective is to restore (or to sustain) family relationships where contact has been lost, whether recently or in the distant past. Thousands of people are traced every year on behalf of their relatives.

  Youth groups

  Salvation Army in Lausanne

The Salvation Army includes multiple youth groups, which primarily consist of its Sunday schools and the Scout and Guide packs that are sometimes set up. The Scout and Guide packs are not Salvation Army but are sometimes set up by members of the Salvation Army and are open to anyone. Also some schools volunteer to get a group of kids to help. Some territories have Salvation Army Guards and Legions Association (SAGALA). In the United States these internal youth groups that are specifically for females are known as Girl Guards (older females) and Sunbeams (younger females). Adventure Corps serves boys who are enrolled in school for first through eighth grade.

  Alove UK

In the new millennium, The Salvation Army in the United Kingdom created a sub-brand of itself for the youth, called Alove, the Salvation Army for a new generation. Its purpose is to free the youth of the church and their communities to express themselves and their faith in their own ways. Its mission statement is "Calling a generation to dynamic faith, radical lifestyle, adventurous mission and a fight for justice.", and it emphasizes worship, discipleship, missions, and social action. Alove is a member of The National Council for Voluntary Youth Services (NCVYS).[37]


  United States


  A fake $3 bill distributed by LGBT activists as a "Queer Dollar" for use in protesting policies of the Salvation Army

The Salvation Army in the U.S. has been the topic of some controversy about alleged discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals in their hiring practices.[38][39] The New York Times reported that the Salvation Army believed it had a firm commitment from the White House to issue a regulation that would override local antidiscrimination laws. A disclosure of The Salvation Army's request "outraged some civil rights groups and lawmakers," and resulted in an immediate reversal of a previous promise to honor the request.

The Salvation Army maintains that they were "not trying to get permission to discriminate against hiring gays and lesbians for the majority of its roughly 55,000 jobs and merely wanted a federal regulation that made clear that the charity did not have to ordain sexually active gay ministers and did not have to provide medical benefits to the same-sex partners of employees."[40]

The Salvation Army's position is that because it is a church, Title VII of the U.S. Civil Rights Act of 1964 explicitly guarantees its right to discriminate on the basis of its religious beliefs in its hiring. To reinforce its position, it threatened to close all soup kitchens in New York City when the city government proposed legislation that would require all organizations doing business with it to provide equal benefits to unmarried domestic partners.[41]

In 2001 the Salvation Army sought a change in distribution regulations for the $24 billion in new federal grants and tax deductions for charitable institutions requested by President George W. Bush.[42] The alteration would have denied funds to state and municipal governments if they imposed restrictions on anti-gay hiring practices such as are practiced within the Salvation Army. Controversy arose after the publication of an internal Salvation Army memorandum suggesting that the discrimination provision would be allowed in exchange for the organization's support of the Bush faith-based public works program.[42] Matt Coles, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Lesbian and Gay Rights Task Force, said the implied deal was "really about... the Salvation Army trying to get a license to discriminate using public money."[42] Ultimately, Ari Fleischer, White House press secretary, who denied the existence of a back-room deal, released a statement saying the administration would not, in the words of ABC News, issue the "regulation sought by the church to protect the right of taxpayer-funded religious organizations to discriminate against homosexuals."[42]

Following the firestorm in the summer of 2001, the Salvation Army approved a plan in October 2001 to start offering domestic-partnership benefits to gay employees.[43] The organization, acknowledging "a clear difference in how we deal with homosexuality as an employer and as a church in ministering to our followers," affirmed its historical objection to gay marriage while a spokesperson nonetheless observed that shifts outside the church had created "a new awareness of our world."[43] Members of various evangelical Christian interest groups were quick to protest the decision. Focus on the Family founder James Dobson excoriated the Salvation Army for abandoning its "moral integrity" and urged his radio listeners to bombard the organization's offices with phone calls and letters.[43] The American Family Association also accused the Salvation Army of a "monstrous ... appeasement of sin" that resulted in a "betrayal of the church."[43] By November 2001 the Salvation Army rescinded its decision from the month before with an announcement that it would only provide benefits coverage for different-sex spouses and dependent children of its employees.[43]

In 2004, the Salvation Army threatened to stop all work and close all its offices and stores in New York City unless it was exempted from a municipal ordinance requiring that groups contracting with the city government offer benefits to gay employees’ partners. The City Council refused to make the exemption, however, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's administration chose not to enforce the ordinance. The administration right to decline to enforce was upheld by the New York State Court of Appeals in 2006, but it remains for each future Mayor to decide whether to enforce the ordinance.[44]

The organization's views and practices on LGBT individuals have triggered an ongoing boycott effort in the U.S. since 2001.[44]


During the 2010 Christmas season, The Salvation Army in Calgary, Alberta, refused to accept toys based on the Harry Potter and Twilight franchises because of a perceived conflict with the organization's religious principles. One volunteer claimed that the toys were destroyed instead of being given to other agencies. The volunteer also criticized The Salvation Army for accepting violence-themed toys such as plastic rifles while not accepting Harry Potter or Twilight toys. A Salvation Army captain said that the toys were given to other organizations, not disposed of.[45] This policy is not universal. The Wetaskiwin chapter of The Salvation Army has accepted Harry Potter toys. One captain called the series "a classic story of good winning over evil".[46]

Also during the 2010 Christmas season, The Salvation Army in Vancouver, BC, came under fire for a program that provides goodie bags to federal inmates for Christmas by playing Santa to incarcerated criminals.[47] This was however simply an extended outreach as part of The Salvation Army's prisoner visitation program established over a century ago.

  United Kingdom

In February 2000, the Salvation Army publicly (in their publication known as "War Cry" and in a letter to a Scottish Parliament committee) opposed the repeal of Section 28 of the Local Government Act (1988)[48] However, The Salvation Army in the UK and Ireland website refers to the organisation offering 'unconditional assistance and support regardless of race, religion, gender or sexual choices, respecting the identity and choices of all those referred to them....As well as having a right to be dealt with professionally, people can expect from us encouragement and a respect for their individual beliefs, ambitions and preferences.'[49]


From the 1940 to the 1970s the Salvation Army in Australia sheltered approximately 30,000 children. In 2006 the Australian Salvation Army acknowledged that sexual abuse may have occurred during this time and issued an apology. In it, the Army explicitly rejected a claim, made by a party unnamed in the apology, that there were as many as 500 potential claimants.[50]

  New Zealand

Before the passing of the Homosexual Law Reform Act in 1986, the Salvation Army was active throughout the country gathering signatures for a petition seeking to prevent the bill's passing. In 2006 the Army released a statement regretting the ill feelings that persisted following this activity. It stated in part "We do understand though that The Salvation Army’s official opposition to the Reform Bill was deeply hurtful to many, and are distressed that ill-feeling still troubles our relationship with segments of the gay community. We regret any hurt that may remain from that turbulent time and our present hope is to rebuild bridges of understanding and dialogue between our movement and the gay community."[51]


A Moscow court ruled that the Salvation Army was a paramilitary organization subject to expulsion. This ruling was later changed when clarification was accepted by the Russian government.[citation needed] In October 2006, the European Court of Human Rights ruled the original decision illegal.[52]

  See also


  1. ^ http://christianity.about.com/od/Salvation-Army/a/The-Salvation-Army.htm
  2. ^ "Salvation Army Now Working in 122 Countries", December 2010
  3. ^ "Report on the records of the Salvation Army". Nationalarchives.gov.uk. http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/nra/lists/gb-2133-sa.htm. Retrieved 11 April 2012. 
  4. ^ "Salvation Army". BBC. 30 July 2011. http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/christianity/subdivisions/salvationarmy_1.shtml. Retrieved 24 April 2011. 
  5. ^ "William Bramwell Booth 1829–1912 His Life and Ministry – A Very Short Biography". Gospeltruth.net. http://www.gospeltruth.net/booth/boothbioshort.htm. Retrieved 11 April 2012. 
  6. ^ "Salvation Army". Spartacus Educational. http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/REsalvation.htm. Retrieved 11 June 2008. 
  7. ^ History of The Salvation Army – Social Services of Greater New York, retrieved 30 January 2007. Archived 7 January 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ a b Cruz, Sarah J.. "An Enduring Mission". Victorian Homes (Orange, CA: Action Pursuit Group) 27 (6): pp. 68–72. December 2008. ISSN 0744-415X 
  9. ^ Thomas F. Best, Baptism Today: Understanding, Practice, Ecumenical Implications
  10. ^ "Articles Of War For Salvation Army Soldiers". .salvationarmy.org. http://www1.salvationarmy.org/heritage.nsf/0/fea4acf97c61102c80256a2200443120?OpenDocument&Highlight=0,doctrines. Retrieved 11 April 2012. 
  11. ^ "The Skeleton Army". .salvationarmy.org. http://www1.salvationarmy.org/heritage.nsf/36c107e27b0ba7a98025692e0032abaa/4be78290d9a20b738025697c0051c5b2!OpenDocument. Retrieved 11 April 2012. 
  12. ^ "The Charities Americans Like Most And Least". The Chronicle of Philanthropy. 13 December 1996. 
  13. ^ Charity Rating Guide and Watchdog Report, Volume Number 59, December 2011
  14. ^ "The Salvation Army in Greece". Salvationarmy.gr. http://www.salvationarmy.gr. Retrieved 11 April 2012. 
  15. ^ The Salvation Army – International
  16. ^ New openings in Namibia and Mali take Salvation Army work into 115 countries
  17. ^ The Salvation Army expands its work to 118 countries
  18. ^ "The Philanthropy 400". The Chronicle of Philanthropy: p. 10. 30 October 2008. 
  19. ^ Slow going for Kroc Centers; fast-food heiress' restrictions hamper approvals. – Goliath Business News
  21. ^ Important Events in Salvation Army History
  22. ^ "Salvation Army News: International News". Salvationist.org. http://www.salvationist.org/intnews.nsf/vw_web_articles/C2E7ED6C471A481880256C00003160AE?opendocument. Retrieved 11 April 2012. 
  23. ^ a b Soldier's Covenant, retrieved 8 December 2006.
  24. ^ Yang, Carter M.. "Page 3: White House Rejects Salvation Army Proposal – ABC News". USA: ABC. http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/story?id=121498&page=3. Retrieved 11 April 2012. 
  25. ^ "The Salvation Army: Position Statements". Salvationarmyusa.org. http://www.salvationarmyusa.org/usn/www_usn_2.nsf/vw-dynamic-index/B6F3F4DF3150F5B585257434004C177D?Opendocument. Retrieved 11 April 2012. 
  26. ^ "The Salvation Army: Position Statements". Salvationarmyusa.org. http://salvationarmyusa.org/usn/www_usn_2.nsf/vw-dynamic-index/B6F3F4DF3150F5B585257434004C177D?Opendocument. Retrieved 11 April 2012. 
  27. ^ "International Heritage Centre: Red Shield". .salvationarmy.org.uk. http://www1.salvationarmy.org.uk/uki%5Cwww_uki_ihc.nsf/stc-vw-sublinks/88C38CD01C4E9F518025747A003178D0?openDocument. Retrieved 11 April 2012. 
  28. ^ "SP&S Online Store". Sps-shop.com. http://www.sps-shop.com/ukt%5Cspnsshop.nsf/default.html. Retrieved 11 April 2012. 
  29. ^ "Superbrands Australia". Superbrands.com.au. http://www.superbrands.com.au/Default.aspx. Retrieved 11 April 2012. 
  30. ^ "Brand Details". Superbrands.com.au. http://www.superbrands.com.au/BrandDetails.aspx?id=90. Retrieved 11 April 2012. 
  31. ^ "Tartan Details – The Scottish Register of Tartans". Tartanregister.gov.uk. http://www.tartanregister.gov.uk/tartanDetails.aspx?ref=3647. Retrieved 11 April 2012. 
  32. ^ "International Heritage Centre: The salute". .salvationarmy.org.uk. http://www1.salvationarmy.org.uk/uki%5Cwww_uki_ihc.nsf/stc-vw-sublinks/8B36901CFBFAF7468025707B003CB1A4?openDocument. Retrieved 11 April 2012. 
  33. ^ "Salvation Army Collectables – Salvation Army Firsts". Sacollectables.com. http://www.sacollectables.com/firsts.html. Retrieved 11 April 2012. 
  34. ^ "SATERN". SATERN. http://www.satern.org/. Retrieved 11 April 2012. 
  35. ^ "National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster". Nvoad.org. 18 July 2011. http://www.nvoad.org/. Retrieved 11 April 2012. 
  36. ^ "VIDEO: Royal Oak Salvation Army thrift store reopens as upscale boutique". dailytribune.com. 9 May 2011. http://www.dailytribune.com/articles/2011/05/09/news/doc4dc83a4bed1e1222753766.txt. Retrieved 11 April 2012. 
  37. ^ "Full list of NCVYS members". Ncvys.org.uk. http://www.ncvys.org.uk/index.php?page=392. Retrieved 11 April 2012. 
  38. ^ "Rove Under Fire, Bush Aide's Involvement With Salvation Army Request Eyed". Cbsnews.com. 11 February 2009. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2001/07/10/politics/main300601.shtml. Retrieved 11 April 2012. 
  39. ^ No salvation from betrayal – Salvation Army hopes to reap millions by supporting George Bush policy on gays' rights]
  40. ^ "Charity Is Told It Must Abide By Anti-discrimination Laws –". New York Times. 11 July 2001. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9402E7DE1F38F932A25754C0A9679C8B63&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=all. Retrieved 11 April 2012. 
  41. ^ "Salvation Army Uses Homeless To Fight Gay Benefits". Chicagopride.com. http://www.chicagopride.com/news/article.cfm/ArticleID/1824489. Retrieved 11 April 2012. 
  42. ^ a b c d http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/story?id=121498&page=1
  43. ^ a b c d e http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3944/is_200112/ai_n9013637/[dead link]
  44. ^ a b "Salvation Army Hears Dissent Over Gay Views," Mark Oppenheimer, The New York TImes, 24 December 2011
  45. ^ Bill Kaufmann, QMI Agency (8 December 2010). "Sally Ann bans Harry Potter and Twilight toys". Toronto Sun. http://www.torontosun.com/news/canada/2010/12/08/16478011.html. Retrieved 11 April 2012. 
  46. ^ "Salvation Army welcomes Harry Potter toys – Wetaskiwin Times Advertiser – Alberta, CA". Wetaskiwintimes.com. http://www.wetaskiwintimes.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=2891380. Retrieved 11 April 2012. 
  47. ^ Sally Ann inmate present program slammed – CTV British Columbia
  48. ^ Salvation Army Letter to Scottish Parliament
  49. ^ "United Kingdom and Ireland Territory – Here to Help People". Salvationarmy.org.uk. http://www.salvationarmy.org.uk/uki/heretohelp. Retrieved 11 April 2012. 
  50. ^ "The Salvation Army’s response to child abuse allegations". The Salvation Army. 1 August 2006. http://www.salvationarmy.org.au/media/statements/2006_child_abuse.asp. Retrieved 15 March 2009. [dead link]
  51. ^ http://salvationarmy.org.nz/uploads/TSA_and_Homosexual_Law_Reform_Bill.pdf
  52. ^ "Russia's refusal to register Salvation Army is illegal, court rules". International Herald-Tribune. 5 October 2006. http://www2.stetson.edu/~psteeves/relnews/0610a.html. Retrieved 20 November 2009. 


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