League of Mercy: name changes, caring remains
Community Care Ministries
by Marilyn Moulton, Lt. Colonel –
The League of Mercy Ministry was officially started in the USA in the 1920s; the League of Mercy in this territory has a proud and cherished heritage. For years, dedicated members have rendered services to the vulnerable, the lonely, the sick and the aged with love and acts of caring.
During this time, the main thrust of League of Mercy has been hospital visitation, shut-ins and senior residences.
While the basic purposes and aims of this ministry have not changed, its methods, practices and activities need to reflect a changing society.
The League of Mercy ministry is taking on an exciting concept with the change of focus to the new “Community Care Ministries.” This can open up many opportunities for members to be more actively involved in a more practical way in the community where they live and worship.
A ministry to the whole person, Community Care Minis-tries will broaden the vision as workers minister in Christ’s name to share grace in the communities in which we serve.
In the late 1980s we started leveling out as far as our statistics were concerned. In the 1990s there was a concerted effort to have men become a part of the League of Mercy as well as youth.
Why a change of name? This is in response to:
- Decline of traditional LOM work in many corps.
- Changing needs in communities today.
- Continuing aging of our members who have been so faithful for so many years.
- Shorter stays for hospitalized patients.
The Community Care Minis-tries is designed to place more opportunities on local leadership and greater involvement by a large number of people in the practical caring outreach of a corps into the community.
The face of each program will depend on the type of community in which a corps is placed. For instance, a community with young families presents different needs and requires different responses compared to a community with a high percentage of elderly people.
What can this mean for a corps?
- A more effective community outreach ministry, that is responding to issues in the corps community.
- A revitalizing of soldiers, adherents and youth as they identify with people in the neighborhood to effectively carry out Christ’s commission to care for those in need.
- Engage the youth in visitation.
- To work as part of the corps ministry team.
- To be a program where even though there are still resources available from the corps, we are to discover the community assets and encourage the people to develop solutions.
The Community Care Ministries is an expression of love in the best traditions of The Salvation Army’s service and truly reflects our ideal of giving our hearts to God and our hands to man. Community Care Ministries is truly caring with and for others.
Effective July 2, 2003 the Community Care Ministries will become part of the Program Department.