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Salvation Army History

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In 1865, William Booth, who was then a Methodist minister, conducted meetings in the East End of London.  His heart was filled with compassion for the lost and wretched people he saw, and he was determined to devote his life to their salvation.

Starting with street meetings in front of saloons, William, along with his wife Catherine, was able to make converts in spite of the attacks, taunts and gibes flung at them.  The converts were trained by William Booth to assist him in his work.  An old warehouse was secured for indoor gatherings, which were constantly crowded.  For some years the work was carried out under the name of The Christian Mission but in 1878 the name was changed to Salvation Army.

Because of the military significance of the name, a quasi-military (using military ranks and terminology) form of government was set up.  William Booth was the "General" and a type of uniform patterned on the British military was adopted.  At the time of the Founder's death in August 1912, officers and soldiers of the Army were preaching salvation in 34 languages in 58 countries and colonies and had nearly 16,000 officers and cadets.  Today the Army serves around the world.

When William Booth was 15 years of age, he resolved: "God shall have all there is of William Booth." Because of that decision and his dedication, The Salvation Army was founded and has become a great international organization.


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