Small corps makes a big difference in Alaska
CHRISTIAN WOMEN’S FELLOWSHIP met in Hydaburg, Alaska. Fishing was the theme; Captain Vicki Jackson spoke on how important it is to be a fisherwoman and bring in a healthy catch of fish.
BY KAREN GLEASON –
The Salvation Army Klawock, Alaska corps has a vision for their community… and they are making it come alive!
Last summer, newly commissioned Captain Vicki Jackson arrived in Klawock, her first appointment, eager to get to work. She held a visioning meeting with her corps council. They focused on General Booth’s vision for the Army of “heart to God and hand to man.” Ideas came quickly, and almost as quickly became reality.
Although small, Klawock serves about 4,000 people in 12 communities on Prince of Wales Island. Jackson wanted to make sure the Army reached out to all these communities, and credits the people of the island: “Even though there are 12 communities, they function as one big community working together to help each person here.”
The corps’ vision is to reach each community and each age group. Besides Bible studies and Sunday school, the corps offers health-related activities: a weight loss support group meets weekly; its membership doubled after just one month! A group for diabetics meets monthly. Jackson says she likes “to promote healthy stuff.”
Klawock takes its ministry to the streets with a traveling bake sale they get out into the communities and show people that they are there for them. They distribute the War Cry to both individuals and local vendors.
The first Saturday of every month, a Women’s Fellowship luncheon is held not at the corps, but at a different location in a different community each time. This way, women from the island come together to share the love of Christ. Jackson sees the corps ministry as “building a bridge,” and she likes “to go and meet people where they feel comfortable.”
For school-age kids, the corps started the P.E. Kids Club, which meets at a local school. Some time is spent on homework, but the emphasis is on physical fitness. The club is Bible-based and meets on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons.
One group whose needs were not yet met was the teenage and young adult group, ages 14-31. So the corps will turn into a coffeehouse on Friday and Saturday nights. Different rooms will feature different activities: a game room, a TV room, and a study room. Food and beverages will be available.
Other programs are thriving at the Klawock Corps. The thrift store ministry is booming; the War Cry is also distributed there. The corps has a Day Home League so people unable to go out at night can be part of this ministry. Finally, the corps has a praise and worship band with members aged 8 and up!
Captain Jackson emphasizes that the ministry in Klawock is Holy Spirit driven. “The people here are open to what God can do, and they are eager to help each other. They are into prayer and armor…they are teaching me so much!”
What can Klawock teach us? It doesn’t take a big corps to make a big difference in people’s lives!