The Salvation Army is an international movement, an evangelical part of the universal Christian church. It is dedicated to the propagation of the Christian faith and to the furnishing of various forms of assistance to persons in need of spiritual solace and material aid. The Salvation Army was founded in 1865 in London by the English Methodist minister William Booth. It was originally founded as the Christian Mission, with the aim of carrying on evangelical and social-welfare work among the inhabitants of the slum areas of London. The Salvation Army was originally called the Christian Revival Association. It was renamed the East London Christian Mission in 1870 and from 1878 has been known as the Salvation Army (The Salvation Army United States of America).
William Booth was born in Sneinton, Nottingham, England, the only son of four surviving children born to Samuel Booth and Mary Moss. When William was born his father was doing well financially. By 1842 Samuel Booth became bankrupt and could no longer afford his son’s school fees. Later, 13 year-old William Booth was apprenticed to a pawnbroker. Two years into his apprenticeship Booth was converted to salvation and
Methodism. Booth was encouraged by his good friend, Will Sansom to become an evangelist. In 1848 Booth’s apprenticeship ended, and he spent a year looking for more suitable work than pawnbroking, which he disliked and considered ungodly. By 1851 Booth joined the Methodist Reform Church and on April 10, 1852 he left pawnbroking and became a full-time preacher at their headquarters at Binfield Chapel in Clapham. This is where he met his wife Catherine Mumford and by 1865 both him and his wife opened The Christian Revival Society in the East End of London, where they held meetings every evening and on Sundays, to offer repentance, salvation and Christian ethics to the poorest and most needy, including alcoholics, criminals and prostitutes. Booth and his followers practiced what they preached and performed self-sacrificing Christian and social work, such as opening “Food for the Million” shops, not caring if they were scoffed at or derided for their Christian ministry work (Microsoft Encarta, 1).
By 1878 the name of the organization was changed to The Salvation Army, which it is known as today. At this time the organization had its own flag and music which consisted of popular and folkloric tunes sung in the pubs. Later on the flag became a symbol of the Army's war against sin and social evil. The red on the flag symbolizes the blood shed by Christ, the yellow for the fire of the Holy Spirit and the blue for the purity of God the Father. The star contains the Salvation Army's motto, Blood and Fire. Booth and the other soldiers in God's Army would wear the Army's own uniform for meetings and ministry work. He became the general and his other ministers were given appropriate ranks as officers. In the early 1880s, operations were extended to other countries, such as
the United States, France, Switzerland, Sweden, and others, and to most of the countries of the British Empire, Australia, Canada, India, South Africa, New Zealand, and Jamaica. During Booth’s entire lifetime he established army work in 58 countries and colonies, traveling and holding salvation meetings. Throughout the years Booth regularly published a magazine and was the author of a number of books. His book In Darkest England and the Way Out not only became a bestseller after its 1890 release, it set the foundation for the Army's modern social welfare schemes. This book set the foundation for the army’s social welfare schemes. The book compared what was considered civilized England with Africa. Booth had suggested that that London and greater England after the Industrial Revolution was not better off in the quality of life than those in the undeveloped. The book speaks of abolishing vice and poverty by establishing homes for the homeless, farm communities where the...