Youth Congress an Army first

The International Salvationist Youth Congress of 1950 was the idea of General Albert Orsborn. As many as 1,200 delegates attended from all five continents, to proclaim that “Christ is the way for youth today.”

A unique feature of this gathering was that every delegate was under 30 years of age. Many went on to officership and prominence in the worldwide Army. (Future General Bramwell Tillsley was the youngest Canadian delegate). It was a mix of people and tongues–and the tongues were encouraged to speak out. Four of the Congress workdays were devoted to discussion of the main overall theme–“The Faith of the Salvationist.”

The fruit of all the discussion brought out that a generation who had been given a freedom of expression denied their parents could pledge themselves to the title deeds of their faith. Though the old rigidness was on its way out, there was an unqualified dedication to the Lord of all good life and a quickening of desire both to know and to do his good will.


The campus of Western Illinois University was the setting for the second International Youth Congress. Every territory was represented, and one young woman came from Mainland China. The Army of the future would be invigorated by the winds of the Spirit that blew across the Macomb campus. Beginning with the arrival of the American and Congress flags borne by paratroopers, General Wahlstrom’s dream for the Congress was realized: the breaking of old walls, and the joining of hands to build a better world through the love of Jesus.

A new Gowans-Larsson musical, “Man-Mark II” was introduced. Other highlights included a Texas style barbecue, “Music from Around the World,” and Congress Olympic sports contests. As more than 5,000 young Salvationists went forth to build a new world, who could estimate the impact of this historic event?


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