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Western Territory on the rise

Monthly statistics illustrate growth.

by Christin Davis –

The Western Territory tracks data concerning the health of various areas of Army life and releases statistic reports at the end of each month. Recently released statistics for May 2009 display areas of noteworthy growth in comparison to figures from May 2008.

“Statistics are indicators of something more significant and at the moment indications are that the USA West is alive,” said Colonel William Harfoot, Western Territory chief secretary. “The territorial monthly statistics look at six indicators: worship, fellowship, service, discipleship, outreach and material assistance. All six show an increase. Most exciting are the increases in Sunday morning worship, women’s ministries, corps cadets and adult spiritual development and seekers. The real news is there is life in the territory and individual lives are being transformed through the Holy Spirit.”

Understanding that statistics are not perfect indicators of reality, an analysis of these figures can help gauge the overall health of the territory.

Worship
Attendance at corps slightly increased over the past year, up 1 percent to 645,877 at Sunday morning meetings (an additional 5,167 people) and up 5 percent at weekday meetings (an additional 12,673 people).

The greatest growth occurred in the Sierra del Mar Division where attendance increased by 11 percent on Sunday mornings to 42,659 and by 39 percent at weekday meetings to 24,378.

“We can praise God for blessing us more than we can imagine,” said Major Linda Markiewicz, Sierra del Mar divisional commander. “The corps officers and soldiers are faithful to God’s word and calling to ministry; we offer up to God the gifts we have been given, and he will take and multiply them.”

Fellowship
Participation in the territory grew by more than 11 percent for overall youth fellowship, which includes: cradle roll/preschool (up 3 percent to 24,880); children’s group (down 2 percent to 56,493); teen group (up 11 percent to 57,760); young adult ministries (up 28 percent to 9,517); troops (up 29 percent to 96,527); and youth music (up 12 percent to 77,306).

Though children’s group activities decreased slightly overall in the territory, Hawaii’s increased by 52 percent to 9,068. In Southern California, teen group attendance increased by 74 percent to 19,470. Troop attendance skyrocketed 214 percent in the Intermountain Division (up to 12,902).

Older adult group attendance fell by 25 percent in the territory overall, but jumped 20 percent in Alaska (to 19,972) and 97 percent in the Northwest Division (to 5,492).

Service
Throughout the territory, the number of corps members engaged in community service rose 61 percent to 7,917. In Alaska, 1,049 corps members served in their communities (a 184 percent increase). An additional 1,870 corps members engaged in service in Southern California.

“Our numbers have grown because people continue to see the need to ‘give a cup of cold water’ in Jesus’ name,” said Major Katherine Reed, Southern California divisional community care ministries secretary. “Community Care is not just rest home visitation; corps are getting creative with ministry opportunities including free mammogram screenings, beach clean up days and packing boxes for overseas military.”

Outreach
The number of pastoral visits to persons in the territory went down 7 percent overall, but gained 17 percent in the Del Oro division (to 7,431).

“I attribute the increase to the commitment that each corps officer has to visit anyone in need,” said Captain Eugenia Sumter, Del Oro divisional community care ministries secretary. “Our last divisional community care ministries rally focused on ‘Sowing Seeds of Kindness,’ based on Ephesians 4:32a – ‘Be kind and compassionate to one another…’ We shared information and exchanged ideas on how to conduct care in our neighborhoods.”

Sumter said the Del Oro Division will continue holding rallies and workshops to encourage corps officers and corps members.

“Their task is not in vain,” Sumter said. “Our lives are blessed when we bless others through our visitation.”

In the Southwest Division, vacation Bible school attendance rose 237 percent to 2,499.

The total number of Adult Rehabilitation Center (ARC) graduates increased by 8 percent to 1,545.

Discipleship
Corps cadet attendance dramatically increased in a number of locations: by 147 percent in the Del Oro Division (to 1,245); by 53 percent in the Northwest Division (to 2,155); by 98 percent in the Southern California Division (to 1,258); and by 29 percent in the Southwest Division (to 3,785).

Since April 2008, 25 individuals have graduated from corps cadets, according to Territorial Christian Education Specialist Cari Arias, a process that takes an average of five years.

As a corps cadet graduate, Captain Shevaun Malone, Del Oro divisional youth and candidates secretary, said she placed high importance on the program when she arrived in the division last July. Acknowledging the territory’s scholarship offer up to $4,000 for graduate corps cadets who attend college, Malone said, “Credit for the statistical increase goes to the corps officers and youth leaders who have recognized the value of this program and are working to train and disciple young leaders in The Salvation Army.”

The number of junior soldiers (down 4 percent) and senior soldiers (no marked change) now on roll remained fairly steady.

Adult Sunday school attendance gained 2 percent (to 156,284); youth attendance dropped 1 percent (to 153,925).

Material Assistance
The number of individuals receiving material assistance throughout the territory regularly fluctuates. As of May 2009, an additional 161,928 people were served in comparison to May 2008 – an increase of 6 percent with 2,689,975 total people assisted.

In Hawaii, service shot up 148 percent to 102,616 people served; Golden State divisional numbers increased by 22 percent to 470,045 people served.


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