Salvation Army story now online

International resource captures history, emerging narrative of organization

International Headquarters launched a new online resource—“Transforming lives since 1865: The story of The Salvation Army so far.”

Each element aims to show the modern Salvation Army. It tells the story of the first brass band and shows how contemporary dance groups are motivated by that same desire to worship God and bless others. It explains the origins of the Army’s social work—”In Darkest England and the Way Out” being key—and describes how this looks today through schools, health projects and other programs.

“It is designed to be captivating to a wide audience—both those within our organization who know it well, and those who may know as little about it as just its name,” said project editor Joseph Halliday, who envisions Salvationists sharing the link to explain more about their church to friends. “Above all, we want those who visit the new resource to be left with the sense that this is an Army not just of the past, but of the present and the future too.”

Halliday said one of his favorite aspects of the project is the full-screen map under the international section. Using intervals of 10–20 years, the map slowly animates to build up a picture of the spread of the Army since 1865.

“I don’t think I’ve seen a depiction like this before now, but I found it a poignant sight the first time I previewed it,” he said. “From the vision of William and Catherine Booth a huge Army of people following God has grown in all corners of the planet and naturally prompts one to wonder ‘what next—where will he take us?’”

In an organization with a history as long as The Salvation Army, Halliday said, it is easy to look to the past.

“With more than 150 years of history, we find fascinating stories and colorful characters that inspire us, giving us ideas and providing us with a sense of optimism about what can be achieved. We can also learn from those occasions when things haven’t gone so well,” he said. “But as part of The Salvation Army, we need to constantly be moving forward and thinking ‘what next?’ Our history should inspire us, but we should never be afraid to try new things and to make sure we are always relevant.” 

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