Why the Salvation Army :


The movement, founded in London in 1865 by William Booth has spread from Britain to many parts of the world. Salvationists (as members of the Army are called) come from many cultural backgrounds and enjoy an international fellowship knowing no barriers of age, sex or race.

William Booth's original aim had been to send his converts along to the established churches of the day. Nowhere in his plans was there an intention to commence another Christian church. But he soon found that many of his converts would not go to church. The poor did not feel welcome in places like St Paul's and Westminster Abbey. They could not afford a special Sunday suit and many of the regular churchgoers were appalled when these shabbily dressed, evil-smelling people came to join them in worship. The poor soon got the message that they were not wanted and did not return.

Booth decided he would have to do something about the situation, and as a result formed the East London Christian Mission (later 'The Christian Mission'). The mission began to grow but very slowly. It lacked the impetus needed to attract and hold people's attention. But Booth's faith in God remained undaunted.

Early one morning in May 1878 Booth summoned his son, Bramwell, and his good friend, George Railton, to read the proofs of the Christian Mission's Annual Report. Its preliminary statement read:


Bramwell strongly objected to this statement, saying he was not a volunteer for he felt compelled by God to do what he had to do. There was also the suggestion that the members could be compared with the 'Volunteers' who were part-time soldiers in Queen Victoria's forces--and the source of much ridicule and mockery. In a moment of inspiration Booth crossed out the word 'Volunteer' and wrote 'Salvation'. Thus, The Salvation Army was born.

The rapid deployment of the first Salvationists was aided by the adoption of a quasi-military structure. A similar practical organisation today enables resources to be equally flexible.

© 2004 THE SALVATION ARMY CORPS TUSTIN RANCH   :   10200 PIONEER ROAD, TUSTIN, CA 92782   :   714.832.7100