A brief history of William Booth and how he established the Salvation Army, the work of the Army and its importance.
The pictures should be displayed in a PowerPoint presentation as the story is told. The ( ) indicates when to move to the next slide. To attract the pupils’ attention, we recommend the first slide is already on display as they enter.
The Main Text
On 10 April 1829 William Booth was borth – founder of the Salvation Army
William Booth was born in Nottingham, and at the age of 13 he was sent to work in a pawnbroker’s shop. He did not enjoy his work but it made him realise that many people lived in poverty and suffered shame and degradation because of it. He decided to become a Christian and spent much of his free time trying to persuade others to become Christians too. For a while, he worked as a Methodist preacher and later as a freelance Evangelical preacher.
One Saturday night, he stopped to listen to missionaries who were preaching outside The Blind Beggar pub in London. They invited him to preach and before long a big crowd had gathered to listen to him.
Following this event, the missionaries invited him to lead a campaign in a tent set up on a Quaker burial ground in Whitechapel, London. The campaign was a success and Booth realised what God had destined for him.
From this campaign grew The Christian Mission.
Some years later in 1878, Booth and his sons were discussing the annual report which referred to the ‘mission’ as a ‘volunteer army’. Someone complained about the word ‘volunteer’ and Booth crossed out the word ‘volunteer’ and replaced it with ‘salvation’. This is how the name ‘Salvation Army’ was developed.
This new organization grew and spread across England, and then to Wales. Their work spread throughout the world, and early in 2010 it was announced that the Salvation Army now had a presence in Sierra Leone, bringing the total of countries where it works to 119.
William Booth visited Wales many times. He visited the Welsh headquarters in Caernarfon, where he preached in the Pavilion.
His unfaltering message was about God’s power through Jesus Christ and changing the hearts and minds of people.
Today, although the Salvation Army is a global organisation in a fast changing world, the message remains the same: people can be reconciled with God through faith and forgiveness. It continues to fulfil its evangelical, social and charitable work whilst bringing the Christian message to the poor, needy and starving by meeting their physical and spiritual needs. Their work reaches out to everyone whatever their age, gender, colour or belief.
Those who work for the Salvation Army often wear a uniform. The uniform is a clear indication that the person wearing it is a member of the Salvation Army and a Christian. It is also a symbol that the wearer is available to those in need. The uniform usually has the letter S on it for ‘Salvation’ and also represents ‘Saved to Serve’.
The Salvation Army is famous for its charity shops which raise money for good causes by selling items that people have donated, such as clothing, household equipment and toys.
In many countries, Salvation Army volunteers are seen during the Christmas period singing carols outside shops and businesses and appealing to passers by for donations. The Salvation Army’s work is exciting and for it to take place it relies on the commitment of many people; full time and part time workers, volunteers and friends.
To end on an interesting note, the Beatles’ well known song ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ was named after a Salvation Army children’s home in Liverpool. It wasn’t far from where John Lennon lived. The home was called ‘Strawberry Field’.
We thank You, oh Lord, for all the people who dedicate their life to work for the good of others. We live in a world that sees many disasters. Thank you for those people who are willing to respond by helping, whatever the cost. Amen.