Little Bits of History

Salvation Army

Posted in History by patriciahysell on July 6, 2010

William Booth

July 5, 1865: The Christian Mission is founded by William Booth. Booth was born into wealth, but due to poor investments, his father lost the money. He was born in 1829 in Sneinton, Nottingham, England and was the only surviving son of the  Booth family. In 1842, Samuel Booth was bankrupt and William was apprenticed to a pawnbroker at the age of 13, a job he disliked. Samuel died that same year. While still a teen, William was converted to the Methodist faith and studied to become a lay preacher.

When his apprenticeship was over in 1848, Booth tried to find work locally, but ended up moving to London. In spite of the move he still could only find work as a pawnbroker. He spent his free time preaching on street corners. This eventually led to his becoming a prominent Methodist evangelist. By 1851 he had joined the Methodist Reform Church and on his 23rd birthday, left pawnbroking and became a full-time preacher at Binfield Chapel in Clapham. He longed to serve in a more evangelical manner rather than the pastorate assignments he was given.

On this date, he and his wife, Catherine,  opened The Christian Revival Society to the poorest of the poor: the alcoholics, criminals and prostitutes. He tended his flock in the East End of London. Meetings were held nightly and on Sundays offering repentance, Salvation and Christian morality. The Booths opened soup kitchens for their charges.

After changing the name to The Salvation Army in 1878 and using some military modeling he met with some resistance. Booth’s unflagging zeal led to his work being brought to 58 countries in his lifetime. Eventually, he gained the respect of his peers. The national headquarters is in London and the Army currently works in 111 countries.

“People need to continue to call the Red Cross and the Salvation Army, … The support we have received from the community has been great, but we need more help.” – Ken Olson

“They know what a red kettle means to people. People know that a Salvation Army kettle is a pretty safe donation place.” – Annette Bauer

“Too many have dispensed with generosity in order to practice charity.” – Albert Camus

“Those who would administer wisely must, indeed, be wise, for one of the serious obstacles to the improvement of our race is indiscriminate charity.” – Andrew Carnegie

Also on this day, in 1937 Hormel introduces SPAM to the world.

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