Happy birthday, Home League!
by Patricia Swyers, Commissioner Territorial President, Women’s Ministries –
Home League is celebrating 100 years—a long time!
A desire to “do something” to help make a difference in the lives of women and their families was born in the heart of Mrs. General Bramwell (Florence) Booth in 1907; that same desire continues to beat in the hearts of women around the world. Today, more than a half million women have united in 111 countries to “do something” significant through our Women’s Ministries and Home League outreach.
Growing up with Home League
Growing up in the Army, I was well aware of the many ways in which Home League ladies were involved in our corps’ activities: They studied, they served, they laughed, and they prayed—which is indicative of the Home League’s four-fold program of education, service, fellowship and worship.
My mother and grandmother would not miss a meeting unless it was impossible to be there. By example, they showed me how important Home League was in the lives of our corps and community women. For my part, I conducted Junior Legion, Singing Company and other youth programs, which I enjoyed, and only attended the Home League when asked to present one of the programs or on “family night.” Later, as a young single officer, I served in corps with large Home Leagues and with officers possessing outstanding programming and “people” skills.
My real Home League experiences began as a married officer in our first corps appointment. It was a small League, with a wonderful Home League secretary whose programming was outstanding. We felt the women of our corps who didn’t attend were missing out on the close fellowship we enjoyed. It seems simple as I look back, but our real growth started when we involved our members in the leadership. If they were responsible for one of the meetings, they often invited a friend or family member to participate. We began to see the participants coming back each week, which contributed to more than tripling our attendance and services to the corps and community.
Home League makes a difference
Yes, a love of Home League and a “desire to do something” was born in my heart in my youth and remains as a passion today.
My heart and mind are filled with women who have helped to build this passion through the years. Some of these stories will be shared in future editions of New Frontier—others are too numerous to recount. You won’t want to miss the stories of women like “Lillie,” or “Annie,” or “Joyce,” for once you share their experience, you will grasp the possibilities that are ours to make a difference in this world and in eternity.
“Joyce,” who entered The Salvation Army’s domestic violence shelter fearful and unsure of herself and her future, began to feel protected and safe. At the shelter, she received counseling and help and became established in the neighborhood. She also started attending Sunday school and Home League. Her thirst for spiritual knowledge led her to accept Christ as her personal Savior. She began using her creative talents in the corps and reached out in the community with a caring heart, anxious to help others. She spent hours in consignment shops searching for clothing to give to young mothers for their children. She had finally come to know human love and God’s love, and wanted to share it with everyone she could. She was able to do this through the Home League.
Caring for others
In our outreach to others, we have raised funds for varied projects. Children’s homes in Mexico have been supported for many years through the generosity of our Home League ladies. Some years ago, on a visit to Mexico, my heart was moved by a Home League lady and her husband who were fortunate enough to own a three-room house with a patio. She felt God’s leading to allow The Salvation Army to have two of her three rooms for its services. That same week, in fact, over 300 ladies met for a women’s rally in that small but loving home. Today the Army has built a corps in that area, but in my mind’s eye, I still see the portrait of an unselfish heart committed to the work of Christ and his kingdom.
I want to continue telling our stories but have run out of space for now. You can experience more stories throughout the year through New Frontier; perhaps you even have your own personal story to share. Let us hear from you.
An important part of who we are
Several years ago, women’s programming became known as Women’s Ministries—we now refer to Women’s Ministries as the “umbrella” over Home League and our outreach ministries. Home League, regardless of its name, is indeed 100 years old and is still an important part of who we are and what we do.
Its impact is too often understated and under appreciated—but not by the thousands of women and their families who have personally experienced the difference it made for them throughout this past century! Women were instrumental in spreading the gospel in Christ’s day and women are still instrumental in reaching others for Christ today.
WOW! Hats off to the Home League. Join with us as we celebrate a century of committed women who have a passion and a desire to “DO SOMETHING”!