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A good old Salvation Army meeting

The Sierra del Mar Division steps back in time.

by SUZI LACEY – 

Bonnets were dusted off, high collared “Lion-tamer tunics” and red guernseys were taken out of mothballs and carefully donned for a delightful step back in time, Salvation Army style. The El Cajon Corps Community Center brought Salvationists together from around the division for a Good Old Army Meeting! The evening followed three themes: worship, celebration of our heritage, and fellowship.

Divisional leader Lt. Colonel Doug O’Brien opened the meeting with rousing Salvation Army songs from our earliest days.

Lt. Colonel Diane O’Brien came dashing down the center aisle, acting the part of an early Salvationist, loudly declaring that she had been saved and giving her testimony. She then sang a medley of old Army songs.

The San Diego Citadel songsters sang music from The Musical Salvationist originally published in 1886, such as “Jesus Came with Peace to Me.”

Testimonies were given by those who packed the corps sanctuary, some in old fashioned uniforms and others in street clothes.

Then the El Cajon women’s trio sang, followed by a comedic routine by the men’s barbershop quartet, singing from a real barbershop!

Lt. Colonel Joe Bassett (from the U.S. Eastern Territory) walked to the podium and began telling the story of William Booth, founder of The Salvation Army. As he talked, he began putting on stage makeup, then white beard, mustache and white, disheveled hair until he had become the very likeness of William Booth! Then Booth, the man, took center stage and spoke to the rapt audience, beginning with, “While women weep, as they do now, I’ll fight…” It was a powerful presentation!

Following the meeting, the crowd walked into a beautiful star-studded night to enjoy hot coffee and traditional doughnuts served by World War I donut girls and Joe the Turk. All agreed the event is worth repeating!


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