POVERTY & What one pastoral couple did to address the problem.

by The Highbury Centre, Islington, London, 8/13/19.

In 19th century London, the gap between the very richest and the poorest of the poor seemed unbridgeable. Aristocratic families flitted between their country estates and their town houses, enjoying the very best that society had to offer, while the newly wealthy middle classes flocked to the West End’s department stores to fill their houses with the latest must-have artefacts. In stark contrast to this conspicuous consumption, poor and working-class people lived crowded together in the most abject poverty, with no sanitation, in crumbling and dangerous housing.

Poor children were fortunate to live until their fifth birthday. Cholera, typhus, dysentery, smallpox and TB were all killers. Their parents fared no better, often dying from over-work or disease.

In 1865, a married couple, William and Catherine Booth, both ardent Methodists, felt called to take the good news out on the streets. They offered practical support to those who needed it most, “soup, soap and salvation.” By 1878, they were known as the Salvation Army and became a familiar sight in the poorest districts of London.

By 1893, the year of the foundation of the Foreign Missions Club in Highbury New Park, the Salvation Army had expanded hugely, taking the news of God’s love out on the streets to thousands. Extreme poverty and its related issues, addiction, hunger, malnutrition, desperation and crime was rife in the capital, leading William Booth to deliver passionate speeches to his growing ranks about the need for help. “While women weep, as they do now, I’ll fight; while little children go hungry, as they do now, I’ll fight; while men go to prison, in and out, in and out, as they do now, I’ll fight; while there is a drunkard left, while there is a poor lost girl upon the streets, while there remains one dark soul without the light of God, I’ll fight – I’ll fight to the very end!”

The work of the Salvation Army, started over 150 years ago, still goes on worldwide. William and Catherine Booth are buried at Abney Park in Stoke Newington, just over 1.5 miles from The Highbury Centre. Their legacy of love, practical care and salvation for all lives on in our century, where sadly want and poverty are still very much a part of our society.

At The Highbury Centre, our heart has always been to offer Christian accommodation, rest and relaxation to missionaries, workers for the Lord and anyone in need of a comfortable bed for the night. A great deal of things have changed since we first opened our doors in 1893, but much remains the same. We are proud to offer good value, welcoming and accessible accommodation in the heart of North London.

If reading this has interested you, you can find out more about the work of the Salvation Army by clicking on this link: www.salvationarmy.org.uk/

Find out more about the Highbury Centre, an affordable guest house in London, at https://www.thehighburycentre.org

EVANGELISTS & How Board Members Can be Evangelists Too

The following is a posting by one of my students, Major Pamilla Brakenbury of the Salvation Army.  We were discussing how secular organizations have begun calling their chief informational officers: “evangelists.” This actually might be a positive trend, for it moves away from the inaccurate Elmer Gantry idea of huckster, to the Biblical idea of announcer of good news.

Major Brackenbury states, “The men and women who are a part of our boards might not be classified evangelist by the biblical definition, however in this context they are. This group of volunteers ‘build a strong community of supporters that can lend their power of votes and the conviction of public voices to their advocacy efforts’ (Crutchfield & Grant, 2012, p. 1474). They bring to the table a passion for the advancement of the mission of The Salvation Army. We can see so much of what these men and women have done through their influence. For example, Jerry Jones loves The Salvation Army and every Thanksgiving as a part of the half-time show, we see the season red-kettle kick off. When this tradition began it was met with resistance by the NFL and Jerry Jones believed in the Army and stood firm in this partnership. Since this began in 1997, the Dallas Cowboys have helped raise over 2 billion dollars helping over 500 million people in need (Dallas Cowboys – The Army and the Star, 2015).”

LEAD 545

MISSIONARIES & The Gulag Imprisonment of Brigadier Josef Korbel

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel:  “I often ask my students to share inspiring stories of Christian women and men who have impacted the student. Such stories inspire me too, as we sometimes feel the North American cost of ridicule and derision is too much for us.  It is stories of missionaries, the leaders of missional movements, that give me strength, perseverance and excitement for the task ahead.

The following is the story of Brigadier Josef Korbel that a student once shared with me.   Here is how the student (Glenn Cady, an officer in the Salvation Army) described the story of a Salvation Army officer who was imprisoned by Czechoslovakian Communists.”

Glen wrote: “Brigadier Josef Korbel was an officer in Czechoslovakia when the communist regime took over. Refusing to forsake his call to preach the gospel and serve people, he found himself arrested and sent to a concentration camp. Yet even there he could not keep from sharing the gospel and ministering to cell mates and members of the work crew. It became so bad that they eventually put him in solitary confinement. He was in a dark room that had a small sliver of light for a few moments a day. Even in that room he would sing songs and quote scripture just in case someone could hear. Little did he know that he was not alone in that dark room. He had a cell mate who had not talked in years and was considered insane. But through the singing and scripture of Josef, he came to know the redeeming power of Christ. He wanted to know more, so Josef would teach him from single pages of scripture his wife would smuggle to him between the slices of meat in his sandwich.

“I met Brigadier Korbel as a college freshman. He had been released from prison and had come to the US as an evangelist. We shared around the table and I was struck by the things that excited him. It was the little things. The fondue pot where he could not stop fixing treats for all of us to eat. The freedom that we all took for granted. The fact that God did not forget him in his trials was always a topic of discussion. God provided for his wife, a nurse, to be conscripted into service in the very camp and cell block where he was being held. This was never viewed as coincidence. Josef taught us to savor the little things, thank God for everything and trust God even when we could only see a sliver of light for a few minutes a day.

“Josef Korbel’s story can be found in the book “In My Enemies Camp” 1976 Christian Resource Communications)  and the sequel “When the gates were opened.” (Self published 1980).”

Here is an interesting interview with him:

ARTS & Another Innovative Salvation Army Video – The Bill Booth Theatre Company

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel:  “As I mentioned in a few other postings, artistic creativity and innovation in our churches is often missing unless it is in media or music.  Thus, to spur other arts (e.g. theatre, improvisation, sculpture, painting, dance, etc. etc.) I’ve suggested to students that Christians become more familiar with the arts by attending plays, galleries, performances, etc.

A Wesley Seminary student who is a part of the Salvation Army (quite of few of our students are Salvationists) shared this humorous video by the theatre troupe of the Salvation Army, named (with tongue-in-cheek) after their founder William Booth.

Take a look at the video, its poignant message and enjoy the creativity.

ARTS & An Example of Creativity – The Salvation Army ‘Steel Drum’ Band

by Bob Whitesel D.Min. Ph.D., 6/13/15.

At Wesley Seminary at IWU we have Salvation Army officers who are our students (and some of our best students as a matter of fact 🙂 Some of those students have shared that the Salvation Army (which has been known for brass street bands for decades – see this great video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cm1a-SgLDcU ) also has more modern outreach bands.  Here is how one student stated it:

“As an organization we support the development of ‘Gospel Arts’ which includes everything from Brass and vocal music to worship bands, steel drum bands, and drama troupes. We even have a visual arts/media department. Our goal is to model and teach at a level that inspires excellence down to the local level. We have a long way to go, but we do work hard at it.”

Here is a video of the Salvation Army Steel Drum Band.

I think we can all agree that there is still a great deal of creativity coming out of the Salvation Army.

WESLEY SEMINARY & 5 Must-Read Tips About How We Are Building An Identity (and you can too)

by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D., 2/25/15.

In an article in Forbes Magazine (Forbes Magazine, 2/2/15), David Lariviere outlines five steps to building an identity for your organization. It applies well to Christian organizations, as my friend retired Major George Hood has done for the Salvation Army. Below I have given examples of how these five steps apply to ministry, by describing how we are doing it at Wesley Seminary.

1) Build a brand you’re passionate about. All of us at Wesley Seminary are excited about the idea of making more effective ministers in the Body of Christ. Our purpose is to introduce more people to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ through more effective Christians. We all have spent many years in seminary and graduate schools which has made us passionate about what they do and about doing it better.

2). Be your brand’s biggest advocate. We enjoy wearing Wesley Seminary polo shirts, sweatshirts and logos as well as having Wesley Seminary stickers on our cars and even computers. We want everyone to know we are passionate about this new model of seminary education.

3) Find investors that are both an industry and a cultural fit. To illustrate this I will discuss our faculty. Not only do we look for faculty members who are respected throughout their disciplines, but also we look for those fit our culture. We often say, “Who would we enjoy having lunch with?” This has created a high degree of community among our faculty.

4) Know your weaknesses and be honest. Here at Wesley Seminary we realize we must constantly train and improve our adjunct teachers. These are people who are often extremely skilled and knowledgeable, but because there is a rotating pool educating them is a major part of our efforts. In addition, advertising is something for which we do not have a lot of dollars. So we encourage our students, adjuncts and faculty to spread the news about the exciting work we are doing.

5) Engage a philanthropic component. Every organization should make sure it is primarily serving others and not serving itself. We are reminded daily of this, as we seek to utilize God’s word and the history of His Holy Spirit moving in people’s lives, to equip tomorrow’s world changers.

Read the original article here …

5 Must-Read Tips For Building A Brand, by David Lariviere, Forbes Magazine, 2/2/15.

HOMELESSNESS & The Causes Of Homelessness #HomelessHub #SalvationArmy

Reproduced from: Stephen Gaetz, Jesse Donaldson, Tim Richter, & Tanya Gulliver (2013) The State of Homelessness in Canada 2013. Toronto: Canadian Homelessness Research Network Press.

People who are homeless are not a distinct and separate population. In fact the line between being homeless and not being homeless is quite fluid. In general, the pathways into and out of homelessness are neither linear nor uniform. Individuals and families who wind up homeless may not share much in common with each other, aside from the fact that they are extremely vulnerable, and lack adequate housing and income and the necessary supports to ensure they stay housed. The causes of homelessness reflect an intricate interplay between structural factors, systems failures and individual circumstances. Homelessness is usually the result of the cumulative impact of a number of factors, rather than a single cause.

Structural factors are economic and societal issues that affect opportunities and social environments for individuals. Key factors can include the lack of adequate income, access to affordable housing and health supports and/or the experience of discrimination. Shifts in the economy both nationally and locally can create challenges for people to earn an adequate income, pay for food and for housing…

Systems failures occur when other systems of care and support fail, requiring vulnerable people to turn to the homelessness sector, when other mainstream services could have prevented this need. Examples of systems failures include difficult transitions from child welfare, inadequate discharge planning for people leaving hospitals, corrections and mental health and addictions facilities and a lack of support for immigrants and refugees.

Individual and relational factors apply to the personal circumstances of a homeless person, and may include: traumatic events (e.g. house fire or job loss), personal crisis (e.g. family break-up or domestic violence), mental health and addictions challenges (including brain injury and fetal alcohol syndrome), which can be both a cause and consequence of homelessness and physical health problems or disabilities. Relational problems can include family violence and abuse, addictions, and mental health problems of other family members and extreme poverty.

Read more at … http://www.homelesshub.ca/about-homelessness/homelessness-101/causes-homelessness


Nowhere Else to Go: Inadequate Housing & Risk of Homelessness Among Families in Toronto’s Aging Rental Buildings

The Causes of Homelessness Among Older People in England

Homelessness – Causes & Effects (Volume 4): Background Report – a Profile and Policy Review of Homelessness in the Provinces of Ontario, Quebec and Alberta

The State of Homelessness in Canada 2013

Pathways to youth homelessness

Aboriginal Youth Talk about Structural Determinants as the Causes of their Homelessness

Keeping the Homeless Housed: An exploratory study of determinants of Homelessness in the Toronto community

Causes of homelessness among older people in Melbourne, Australia

From Homeless to Home: learning from people who have been homeless in Ottawa

TRANSFORMATION & A short history of the founding of the Salvation Army

As Booth said: ‘The people must be fed, that their life’s work must be done or left undone forever.’

By Richard Cavendish | Published in History Today Volume: 62 Issue: 8 2012 

“Along with the mission went practical charity work to deal with poverty and homelessness. As Booth said: ‘The people must be fed, that their life’s work must be done or left undone forever.’ The Army organised shelters to get the homeless, the sick and prostitutes off the streets and ran its own emigration bureau. When Catherine died of cancer in 1890 the Army had almost 100,000 soldiers in Britain. Today it has 1.5 million in 125 countries.’

“William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, knew that you must improve people’s lives before they would listen to the Good News and be involved in sharing it. He famously intoned: ‘The people must be fed, that their life’s work must be done or left undone forever’.”

Read a short but insightful history of the Salvation Army by Richard Cavendish at … http://www.historytoday.com/richard-cavendish/funeral-general-william-booth