The Salvation Army 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 needs in His name without discrimination.
The Salvation Army – Historical Sketch
William Booth embarked upon his ministerial career in 1852. As a traveling Methodist evangelist his crusade was to win the lost multitudes of England to Christ. Part of his methodology was to go into the streets to preach to the unchurched, particularly to those who were the working poor and homeless.
His fervor led to disagreements with various leaders of the Methodists churches as they preferred more traditional measures. As a result, he withdrew from the church and traveled throughout England conducting evangelistic meetings. His wife, Catherine, was a major force in The Salvation Army movement.
In 1865, William Booth was invited to hold a series of evangelistic meetings in the East End of London in a tent located in a Quaker graveyard. His style and messages became an instant success, ending his days as an itinerant preacher. His renown as a religious leader spread throughout London, and within five years his converts had taken his fight for souls into other areas of London and England.
Low aged blue collar workers, thieves, prostitutes, gamblers and drunkards were among Booth’s first converts to Christianity. His congregations were desperately poor and even though they were converted, many churches of that age had difficulty accepting these converts into their churches. With their lives having direction, Booth put these early converts to work in the streets saving others who were like themselves.
By 1874, the numbers had grown to 1,000 volunteers and 42 evangelists with preaching stations throughout England and Scotland. They served under the name “The Christian Mission” with Booth using the Methodist title of a General Superintendent. His followers soon called him “General,” and they took to wearing uniforms.
Booth was reading a printer’s proof of the 1878 Annual Report when a colleague, George Scott Railton, noticed and objected to “volunteer” in a banner statement, “The Christian Mission is A Volunteer Army.” Booth crossed out the words “Volunteer” and penned in “Salvation”. From that act The Salvation Army became the organization’s new name.
By the late 1870s The Salvation Army’s ministry and work started to expand outside Great Britain. In 1879 Lieutenant Eliza Shirley left England to join her parents who migrated earlier to the United States in search of work. Lt. Shirley held the first meeting of The Salvation Army in America in Philadelphia in 1879. After a positive receptions to her work Shirley wrote to General Booth begging for reinforcements. With glowing reports of the work in Philadelphia, in 1880 Booth sent an official group to further pioneer the work in America.
Arriving in March 10, 1880, Commissioner George Scott Railton and seven women officers knelt on the dockside at Battery Park in New York City to give thanks for their safe arrival. This While these pioneers received similar unfriendly actions they found in Great Britain, they faced the ridicule, arrests and attacks, but they and their converts continued their work.
Three years later, The Salvation Army’s work had expanded their operation into California, Connecticut, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
By 1886 Salvation Army’s work, preaching and helping the poor, had expanded so greatly that these early workers had won the admiration of a growning number of middle class and wealthy Americans. The admiration had grown so much that in 1886 President Grover Cleveland received a delegation of Salvation Army officers and gave the organization a warm personal endorsement.
In June 1925 The Salvation Army started in Harrisonburg/Rockingham County when Captain Ruth Woods held an outdoor meeting on Court Square. Since, out of different facilities in Harrisonburg The Salvation Army has continued to serve the poor. As it has done so over the decades, the Army’s services have evolved, its services to the poor and local community will continue to evolve. While doing so The Salvation Army will hold firmly to its faith in Jesus Christ, proclaiming in word as well as in practical deeds the gospel of message of love and hope.