Perkins School of Theology honors Salvation Army officers

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Major Ward and Captain Michele Matthews

By Patrick Patey

The 2012 Personal Life/Public Faith lecture, hosted by Southern Methodist University’s Perkins School of Theology on Feb. 10, honored The Salvation Army’s Major Ward and Captain Michele Matthews, Dallas Ft. Worth Metroplex commanders in Texas.

Overseeing The Salvation Army in Dallas, Tarrant, Collin, Denton, and Ellis counties, the Matthews supervise a staff of 400 and a budget of $38.2 million to deliver an extensive range of compassionate services and spiritual programs to the community, including 15 community centers, four homeless shelters, two apartment buildings for senior citizens, two social service centers, and a Christmas assistance center. The command involves more than 450 corporate partners, and works closely with a 73-member advisory board comprising local business and civic leaders.

The Public Life/Personal Faith series is a fundraising and outreach event of Perkins School of Theology in service to the larger community. The lecture and symposium provide an opportunity for participants to engage scholars on topics related to why and how personal faith shapes public life. “We are called to know, love, and serve God and neighbor in our daily lives through sharing the gospel of truth, mercy, justice, and love,” explains Rev. Dr. Todd Rasberry, director of development at Perkins. “Personal faith has practical consequences for the way we think, speak, make choices, and live our public lives.”

Underwritten by James and Judy Gibbs and the Gene and Jerry Jones family, the luncheon featured Dr. Diane Winston, Knight Chair in Media and Religion at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California and a national authority on religion and the media. Her address, “Soup, Soap and Salvation: William Booth’s legacy for the 21st century,” drew in part from her book, Red-Hot and Righteous: The Urban Religion of The Salvation Army. Winston also offered a symposium address, “Saving Grace: Ritual, Re-enchantment and Redemption.”

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