Army Invades Skagway — Again
by Jenni Ragland –
With flags unfurled and “Onward, Christian Soldiers” resonating from the combined Alaskan/Canadian brass band, The Salvation Army marched into Skagway recently to celebrate 100 years of service in Alaska.
Under the leadership of (then) Alaska Divisional Commander Lt. Colonel Harold Brodin and Major John Moore, divisional commander for the Northern British Columbia/Yukon Division, the troops marched through town, stopping near the original location where Commander Evangeline Booth first held open air meetings in 1898. Earlier, Alaskan Salvationists joined forces with the Whitehorse Corps (Yukon Territory) and Northern British Columbia/Yukon divisional leaders for a reenactment of the 1898 landing of the Klondike Eight.
The Gei-Sun Dancers, under the leadership of Charlie Jimmie, Sr., of Haines, announced the start of the open-air meeting with traditional dancing and drumming. Commander Evangeline Booth (portrayed by Major Virginia Gilman) greeted those assembled before Brodin addressed the audience. In his closing challenge, Brodin reminded them that even 100 years later, Scripture is still accurate: “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26 NIV)
Skagway, gateway to the Chilkoot Pass during the Gold Rush of 1898, has become a city steeped in rich heritage. Although the Army is not presently ministering in Skagway, the community opened its arms to welcome it. A reception hosted by the Army at the Skagway Assembly of God church provided a chance for Salvationists to meet local residents and talk of the Army’s work in Alaska.