Corps celebrates centennial; 800 attend event.
by Michael Paugh, Captain and Beth Paugh, Major –
Philip Yancey answers questions after addressing audience.
The Pacific Northwest is well known for its rain, and in Anacortes, Washington a record for most consecutive days of rain was about to be broken. But, on January 21, 2006 the Lord of creation put his mighty hand over Skagit County to stop the rain as The Salvation Army in Anacortes celebrated 100 years of service in this island community.
To help celebrate the corps’ centennial, Captain Michael and Major Beth Paugh solicited the participation of Christian author and speaker, Philip Yancey, who drew a crowd of close to 800 people to fill Brodniak Auditorium in Anacortes. Yancey is best known for best sellers such as, Where is God When It Hurts? The Jesus I Never Knew and What’s So Amazing About Grace?
To open his presentation, Yancey shared the story of his great-grandfather and how a visit to a Salvation Army center prompted him to surrender his life to the Lord, winning victory over alcoholism as a result of God’s grace. Yancey praised the Army’s holistic ministry, noting that many organizations provide goods and services to the needy, but only the Christian church does so from the foundation of God’s grace. “People in our society are looking for more than a hand out. They are also looking for a hand up. We must meet their physical and spiritual needs.”
Also appearing was Christian songwriter David Harsh. Harsh and his band blessed us as we listened to him witness through his music. Also performing for the centennial audience were members of the Seattle Temple Band, led by bandmaster Stefan Wennstig. Among those playing in the band was Divisional Commander Lt. Col. Harold Brodin.
All who attended this special event had a special blessing from General William Booth, portrayed by Major Edward Covert in a one-man presentation. With the help of projected photographs from Salvation Army archives, Covert told his audience about the history and mission of the church.
This was an exciting time for the Covert and Paugh families. Major Beth Paugh’s great-grandparents, Brigadiers John and Elizabeth Kelso, were the second set of corps officers stationed in Anacortes in 1910. Major Covert presented a new Salvation Army centennial flag to the Paughs, a flag donated by the Covert family and 101-year-old Brigadier Alta Kelso, daughter-in-law of Brigadiers Kelso.
At the conclusion of this community event Yancey stayed behind to answer questions and autograph books. A delicious “Taste of Anacortes” reception was catered at no cost by five local restaurants.
Planning and preparation for this event took more than one year, and through this time our prayer was that God would be glorified. The glory of God has indeed shone through the ministry of The Salvation Army that started 141 years ago.