Home League: It’s all about belonging

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Robin McConnell finds the power of friendship has lasting results.

by Betsy Kyle – 

Robin McConnell of the Albany, Ore., corps, has been around The Salvation Army since 1974. It was the friendship of two women—and her involvement with the Home League—that eventually led her to become a soldier.

When Robin and her husband with their young family moved to Albany, they didn’t have friends in town. So, she set out to make friends by joining the community Jaycee Club. Her children were toddlers and she soon realized she needed a trustworthy babysitter. Someone referred her to a teenager from the Albany Corps, Cindy (Kelsey) Crowell. Cindy proved to be a reliable, loving sitter and companion to Robin’s children. Through that relationship, Robin was introduced to Cindy’s mom, Marie Jackson, who was also a member of the Albany Corps. Robin soon developed a close relationship to Marie and considered her a second mom.

Quite often, Marie and Cindy offered to take the children to Sunday school. This led to Robin’s interest in attending herself. Robin felt a sense of belonging at The Salvation Army and she started coming to Sunday school, holiness meetings and Home League. Her friendships grew and she became a youth leader for Sunbeams, a position she held for many years. She was offered a job as the corps secretary and then a position as the corps social service secretary after she obtained her degree.

Robin became a soldier in 1983. Her daughter, Kristin McConnell, became a Salvation Army officer and Robin’s husband became a soldier in 2004.

Robin’s commitment came about because a teenager was willing to share herself, and the teenager’s mother took Robin under her wing. The caring actions of two women caused a chain reaction that affected Robin’s family.

Robin and her husband are still very much involved in the Albany Corps and she is extending that invitation of friendship and “sense of belonging” to her daughter-in-law, who recently attended the Cascade women’s ministries retreat.

Never underestimate the power of friendship! It can affect generations to come.


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