Sun | Oct 20, 2019

The story of The Salvation Army - Part IV Ministries and projects

Published:Friday | September 21, 2018 | 11:05 PMPaul H. Williams/Gleaner Writer

The story of The Salvation Army Part IV:

Ministries and projects

week, we briefly wrote about The Salvation Army's charitable outreach efforts, but as it relates to the social services that it offers, they go well beyond charitable acts for the poor, sick, and needy, to providing solid social services for personal and community development all over the world.

It is one of the largest social-care providers in the world, running a variety of social programmes in almost every country in which it has been established. For instance, it operates a number of addiction-rehabilitation programmes. It is about helping the afflicted to rid themselves of the addiction and to address the reasons for the addiction so that they do not relapse. These programmes are part of a greater thrust to keep people healthy for decades, The Salvation Army has been operating hospitals and clinics in some of the most needy regions of the world.

The international vision statement for its health ministry says: "The Salvation Army seeks to be a significant participant in the delivery of faith-based, integrated, quality primary healthcare as close to the family as possible, giving priority to poor and marginalised members of society. The Salvation Army offers education programmes that equip health workers with appropriate skills and experience as well as developing commitment to holistic Christian health ministry."

SPORTS MINISTRY DESK

As part of its holistic approach to human development, it operates an International Headquarters' Sports Ministry Desk, which "exists to encourage, support, and resource Salvation Army Sports Ministry leaders around the world to find connections, to build relationships, and to help people and communities to enjoy healthy lives in bodies, minds, and souls".

To this end, the International Sports Ministry's objectives are "to cast a vision to The Salvation Army world; to identify, equip, mobilise, and encourage Salvation Army Sports Ministry leaders; to connect The Salvation Army with the global Sports Ministry Community". The Sports Ministry Desk is part of the Children's and Youth team at the international headquarters.

And because it knows of the negative impact of family members being separated from one another for various reasons, its Family Tracing Service, officially established in 1885, and called Mrs Booth's Enquiry Bureau, seeks "to restore or sustain family relationships by tracing relatives with whom contact has been lost". This is in keeping with its mission to 'save souls, grow saints and serve suffering humanity'. Mrs Booth was the wife of the founder of The Salvation Army, William Booth.

For individuals, families, and communities who are victims of natural and man-made disasters, The Salvation Army provides compassion and practical support to those in real and sudden need. "The Army strives to provide first for the immediate physical needs, but beyond that, ministry for the aching heart and the soul," The Salvation Army says.

The focus is on community building. That is why The Salvation Army also says, "IPDS (International Project and Development Services) work though a culture of listening to the voices of the local community and then seeking to assist the aspirations of the community to be realised, aiming to restore economic, social, ecological and spiritual relationships". IPDS aims to equip all Salvation Army centres to be catalysts of sustainable change in their communities.

familyandreligion@gleanerjm.com