World Crisis Database

  • Type: Charity Foundation
  • Location: Alexandria, VA, United States of America VA, United States of America
  • Phone: 1-800-SA-TRUCK
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Salvation Army



Organization Summary

The Salvation Army was founded by William Both in 1865 in the United Kingdom. He sent up a tent in a Quaker graveyard to hold series of evangelistic meetings in the East End of London. His services became an instant success, and this proved to be the end of his wanderings as an independent traveling evangelist. He attracted followers who were dedicated to fight for the souls of men and women. Thieves, prostitutes, gamblers, and drunkards were among Booth's first converts to Christianity. His aim was to lead people to Christ and link them to a church for further spiritual guidance. Many churches, however, did not accept Booth's followers beacuse of their past. In 1876, Booth had only 10 full-time workers, but by 1874, the number had grown to 1,000 volunteers and 42 evangelists, all serving under the name "The Christian Mission." Booth assumed the title of general superintendent, with his followers calling him "General." Known as the Hallelujah Army," the converts spread out of the East End of London into neighboring areas and then to other cities. As he read a printer's proof of the 1878 annual report, he noticed the statement "The Christian Mission is a volunteer army." He crossed out "volunteer army" and penned in "Salvation Army." From those words came the basis of the foundation deed of The Salvation Army. From that point, converts became soldiers of Christ and were known then, as now, as Salvationists. The Army was gaining a foothold in the United States. Lieutenant Eliza Shirley had left England to join her parents, who migrated to America earlier in search for work. In 1879, she held the first meeting of The Salvation Army in America, in Philadelphia. Three years later, Railton and other Salvationists expanded their operation into many of the states. President Grover Cleveland received a delegation of Salvation Army officers in 1886 and gave the organization a warm personal endorsement. This was the first recognition from the White House and would be followed by similiar receptions from succeeding presidents. The Salvation Army movement expanded rapidly to Canada, Australia, France, Switzerland, India, South Africa, Iceland, and local neighborhood units. General Booth's death in 1912 was a great loss to The Salvation Army. He eldest son, Bramwell Booth, succeeded him. As of now, General Linda Bond, the 19th General of The Salvation Army in January 2011, currently commands the Army from International Headquarters in London, England.

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