More than 100 years after first “opening fire” in Redding, Calif., The Salvation Army continues to impact the community through creative ministries for adults and children.
The Salvation Army School for Performing Arts is one example. “We run a full time summer program and part-time school year program,” says Lt. Linda Jackson, who with her husband, Lt. Kevin Jackson, is corps officer. “We provide instruction in Army brass, timbrels, guitar, piano, vocal and drama. This summer we will add percussion and violin. The local school system has cut funding of the arts, and through the School for Performing Arts, we can help fill this void while also exposing children to the Gospel.”
The corps also provides a growing ministry to gang members and their families, reaching out through Sunday school, Bible studies, summer wilderness camping, and weekly recreation programs. MISSION2000 grant funding is helping the corps create a Christian night club and concert program through the purchase of new sound equipment.
In addition, a desire to attract more “baby boomers” and “busters” to services has led to more “seeker sensitivity” in planning worship meetings. The result? An emphasis in the performing arts. “We have added contemporary music–both Christian and secular–with a six member praise band, as well as drama, dance, and mime,” says Jackson.
“We have also developed a great relationship with Simpson College, and have seen a response from the students, many of whom now attend the corps and participate in weekly corps ministries. Nearly 40 Simpson students volunteered for a week of relief work during the Northern California floods.”
Ministry through the corps’ nearby Anderson Outpost includes weekly Sunday school and children’s programs, as well as a daily tutoring lab for children. The program has expanded to include adult education and support groups.
Staff changes have also been made. “Almost every position in the corps now has a ministry component, thus building a bridge between the business and ministry aspects of the corps,” Jackson reports. “In recent months, our chapel has been filled to capacity on Sunday mornings and our staff and advisory board are desperately searching for a new worship center to accommodate this growth.”