Salvation Army History

Founded in 1865 in London's East End by a Methodist minister William Booth and his wife Catherine, Salvation Army was earlier called the East London Christian Mission. It was only in 1878 that the name Salvation Army was given to the organization. This occurred post an event that took place where William Booth mentioned that "we are a volunteer army" in the dictation of a letter to his secretary. When his son objected to being a volunteer, the word was changed from "volunteer" to "salvation", and the name stuck since then.

Salvation Army has been modeled on the basis of the military with its own flag, music, colors and all the other formalities associated with a military organization. There is also a uniform of the army. While Booth was known as the "Father of the Salvation Army", Catherine was known as the "Mother of the Salvation Army". As Catherine gained financial support, Booth spoke to the poor to encourage them towards progress. Some of the first converts into the Salvation Army were alcoholics, morphine addicts, prostitutes and others who were considered as undesirables in the society.

The Salvation Army started operation in three other countries in 1880. These were Australia, Ireland and the United States. It was interesting to note that groups of Salvationists were already waiting for the official members who went on to start operations in these countries. France was added a year later and Canada, Guernsey, India, Sweden and Switzerland offices were opened in 1882. From this stage onwards, countries were added to the ones that were covered by the Salvation Army each year. Some of the early ones were New Zealand, South Africa, Italy, Netherlands, Jamaica, Norway, Finland and Belgium.

The Red Shield that signifies the Salvation Army today has its origins in the work that the Salvation Army did during war time. This shield indicates the Red Shield Services that included providing refreshments to troops in trenches, first aid, chaplaincy, Christian worship and social clubs too.


NOTE: Information on this site is not guaranteed to be accurate. Some content is compiled from 3rd party sources. If you are aware of incorrect or outdated information, feel free to contact us.

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