published: Sunday, November 18, 2012
The Salvation Army has long history
George E. Sebring, although a Methodist, had a deep appreciation for The Salvation Army and donated the land that the corps building sits on today at 120 N. Ridgewood Drive, the oldest existing church building in Sebring.
The building has a beautiful stained glass window that contains the image of William Booth, founder of The Salvation Army. William Booth embarked upon his ministerial career in 1852. He walked the streets of London and preached hope, salvation and the gospel of Jesus Christ to the poor, homeless, hungry and the destitute. He was a traveling evangelist and attracted followers who were dedicated to fight for the souls of men and women.
In 1874, Booth had 1,000 volunteers and 42 evangelists, serving under the name "The Christian Mission". Booth was reading a printer's proof of the 1878 annual report when he noticed the statement "The Christian Mission is a volunteer army". Crossing out the words "volunteer army," he penned in "Salvation Army" and from those words came the basis of the foundation deed of "The Salvation Army".
By the 1900s, news of The Salvation Army spread around the world, having officers and soldiers in 36 countries, including the United States. The Army organization was well structured, flexible, and was the inspiration for many needed services, including the first food bank, women's social network, child day care and missionary hospitals.
During World War II, The Salvation Army operated 3,000 service units for the armed forces. In 2009, they served 106 nations around the world, going where the need was greatest and directed by faith and their love for all people.
Many of the earliest pioneers in Sebring were Salvation Army officers and "soldiers." Prominent retired Salvation Army Major Everett Case, who commanded the Sebring unit from 1987-90, stated that many of the Army's top world leaders retired in Sebring and died here. This is where the Army's work in Florida really began, and through the years, Sebring became the top retirement city for Army officers. The international organization for retired Army officers, the SAROA (Salvation Army Retired Officers Association) was founded in Sebring.
The good works of The Salvation Army are well known throughout the world and specific services provided by the Sebring Corps include feeding the hungry, spiritual guidance, hospital and nursing home visitation, prison visitation, disaster and emergency services, individual and family counseling, probation services, providing decent school clothing, shoes and school supplies for children in need, services to the Armed Forces, providing Christmas food and gifts for the needy, rent/housing and utilities assistance.
The mission statement of this remarkable charity is "The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination."
Thanksgiving is Thursday and The Salvation Army will be serving the community once again, with free dinners to those in need. The dinner is Thanksgiving Day from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. No one will be turned way, but they do ask if you would sign up so they know how many meals to prepare.
They could also use more food donations, as well as people to help prepare and serve the meals. Call The Salvation Army today at 385-7548 and ask for complete details.
There's still a few Centennial items left at discounted prices as well as the coffee table book "100 Years of Sebring"; they make terrific holiday gifts and prices start at just $1, so let me know if your interested. And a reminder to stop by the Centennial Mural on South Ridgewood and Magnolia, artist James R. Hahn is nearing completion for the public art tribute to our 100-year celebration; he appreciates meeting people that share the excitement and welcomes conversation by all.
If you have any centennial news, or know of someone that deserves recognition for honoring our Centennial, please let me know. I'm available at 655-5554, or via email at JenBrown@email.com. Each week I am amazed at the wonderful comments that come my way from News-Sun readers; thank you for reading the articles and taking the time to let me know you enjoy them, I really will miss it come year-end.
Thanks to the News-Sun for the continued support. Reference this article every Sunday for updates throughout the remainder of this year, and a truly wonderful Thanksgiving to you all.
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