Elsewhere in the world
Elsewhere in the world
CANADA—In dense fog early on the morning of May 29, 1914, the RMS Empress of Ireland sunk off the coast of Quebec in the St. Lawrence estuary after being struck by the Norwegian coaler SS Storstad. This accident—the greatest peacetime tragedy in Canadian history—claimed 1,012 lives; 167 of those were Salvation Army officers and soldiers.
May 29 became known as the Army’s “Black Friday.” The Salvation Army in Canada lost almost the entire headquarters’ staff, as well as 29 of the 41-member Canadian Staff Band. This devastating loss included the territorial commander, Commissioner David Rees along with Mrs. Commissioner Ruth Rees and children Captain Harding Rees, Captain Ruth Rees and Corps Cadet Annie Rees; the chief secretary, Colonel Sidney Maidment and his wife, Mrs. Colonel Harriet Maidment. The Salvationist passengers were making their way to London, England, for an International Congress led by General Bramwell Booth.
The Canadian Staff Band was not reinstated until over 50 years later.
Every year, to honor those who died in the tragedy, The Salvation Army holds a ceremony at Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Toronto, Ontario. This year’s service will occur on May 30, with Colonel Floyd Tidd, chief secretary, Canada and Bermuda Territory.
GERMANY—In Baunatal, Germany, Salvation Army world leaders General Shaw and Commissioner Helen Clifton led Easter congress meetings for the Germany and Lithuania Territory. Territorial leaders are Commissioners Horst and Helga Charlet.
Approximately 650 people attended the congress, with the meetings focused around the theme, Extraordinary. One meeting—On the Move with an Extraordinary Army—featured international news and music, including reports and music from Lithuania and Poland (both under the territory’s direction). African Swing Salvation, composed of Salvationists originally from Angola, Congo Brazzaville and the Democratic Republic of Congo but now living in Germany and Belgium, also performed.
In his message, the General stressed that “we cannot explain the resurrection but we can experience it.” The congress closed as 1,000 balloons with Easter greetings were released, symbolizing the sending of the message of the risen Lord into the world.
BRAZIL—Salvation Army emergency service teams worked around the clock for almost two weeks at the scene of the mudslide in Niteroi, near Rio de Janeiro, which killed over 225 people. More than 5,000 people received assistance at the main site along with over 2,000 community members. Teams distributed clothes, cleaning kits, school packs, mattresses, hygiene items and food. While The Salvation Army purchased many of the supplies, the community also pitched in, with one Presbyterian church in São Paulo donating more than $1,500 and providing several volunteers.
One fire brigade leader told a Salvation Army officer that in his 35 years as a fireman he had never received support as good as that provided by the Army, saying: “The way you treat us is so calm and courteous. Your smiles mean that you not only feed our bodies, but also feed our spirits and souls.”
The media, including the TV show Good Morning Brazil, provided excellent coverage of the Army’s efforts, leading to increased donations and volunteers, which allowed the Army to extend their aid into more of the affected communities.