IN 1865, William Booth left the Methodist ministry to preach as an independent evangelist in the slums of London's East End. Many converts were won, but they didn't feel "at home" in churches, so Booth set up Christian Mission Centers.
IN 1878, Booth adopted the name "The Salvation Army" for his organization. Missions became "corps"; members, "soldiers"; ministers, "officers"; and Booth himself, "General."
This "army" was furnished with uniforms, a flag, a brass band and martial music. It met in tents, theaters, dance halls and the outdoors.
At first, the army was persecuted by church people because it was so unconventional. Despite this persecution, the Army successfully attached social ills...hunger, homelessness and poverty.
Booth wrote a book called In Darkest England and the Way Out, which set a pattern for social welfare. He proposed to deal with social problems using totally provate resources.
IN 1879, Eliza Shirley left England and held the first meeting of The Salvation Army in Philadelphia.
In 1880, Booth sent George Scott Railton and seven other Salvationists to officially begin work in New York City, by helping the poor and combining Gospel preaching with social work.
Army work soon began to spread rapidly around the world...to India, Austrailia, South America, Pakistan and many European countries.
BY THE EARLY 1900's, The Salvation Army had thousands of officers and soldiers in 36 countries.
Many special services emerged, such as women's social work (1884). the first food depot (1888), the first day nursery (1890), and the first Army missionary hospital (1901).
DURING WORLD WAR II, The Salvation Army operated 3,000 service units for the armed forces...and led in the formation of the USO.
Since World War II, the Army had continued its own worldwide program.
TODAY, The Salvation Army continues to work where the need is greatest, motivated by its faith in God and its love for all people!