Named for The Salvation Army’s founder, William Booth and commemorating The Salvation Army’s founding in the year 1865, The Society represents the values of William Booth, who persevered against great odds to organize one of the most effective social service agencies. When you give at the WBS level, you invariably have gone beyond mere concern and have taken action allowing us to continue the care and services that The Salvation Army provides.
The Vision of William Booth
William Booth opened the first Salvation Army center in 1865 in an East London slum warehouse and changed the history of Christianity as well as the history of social work. East London in one writer’s words, was “a squalid labyrinth, with a half-million people, 290 to an acre…every fifth house was a gin shop and most had special steps to help children reach the counter.”
Booth directed his new officers (ministers) and soldiers (laymen) to “go for souls and for the worst.” Many new converts, especially young Lassies in blue dresses and bonnets, chose to live and work among the destitute people. Booth compared these women to the friars of the middle Ages, to “St. Francis of Assisi and his band of saints.” His officers worked with prisoners, the homeless, unwed mothers, alcoholics, prostitutes, and abandoned children. In 1890 Booth published In Darkest England and The Way Out, his idealistic plan to end poverty and unemployment.
A million copies were sold and it became one of the most discussed books of 19th century England. Before the century ended, officers and soldiers of The Salvation Army had already planted their flag on every continent, despite harassment and often violent opposition.
Today, The Salvation Army operates programs throughout the United States and the world to help people in need regardless of race, creed, or national origin.
The Mission Statement
The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human need in His name without discrimination.