The Salvation Army Mississippi Gulf Coast Area Command has been serving South Mississippi since 1907. We celebrate service to South Mississippi with two active Corps, an active Bible Study outreach, a shelter, a community center and social service offices actively working and geographically located in each of these counties, Jackson, George, Harrison, Stone, Hancock, and Pearl River.
MS Gulf Coast Area Commanders
The Caldwells are happy to be on the MS Gulf Coast as Salvation Army Area Commanders and Senior Kroc Officers. Major Bradley Caldwell attended school in Gulfport from 5th grade through his senior year and graduated from Gulfport High School. While born in Olean, New York, Major Anita Caldwell has spent most of her years in the south. They met in Jackson, MS and were married in Tupelo, MS. Today, they have three adult sons and five grandchildren.
The Caldwells served in three appointments in Arkansas and Oklahoma as Corps Officers before serving as Regional Leaders in Moldova and Romania. Following this appointment, they served in Moscow, Russia as Education Officers for six years. This was followed by four years in the country of Georgia as Regional Leaders and nearly a year in London serving at International Headquarters. They come to the Gulf Coast from four years of service in Waco, Texas with a total of 25 years of service with The Salvation Army.
We are excited to join you in making a difference in the lives of those who are seeking a pathway of hope and change for their future!
Kroc Center Officer for Congregational Life
Congregational Life Officer, Lt. Sonya Smith is a native of Brooklyn New York. She is a first generation Salvationist and she has two beautiful daughters Rudy and Faith. They are the sunshine of her life.
Prior to coming to Biloxi Kroc Center, she was an Associate Corps Officer at the Baton Rouge Corps. Lt. Smith is passionate about her calling to win souls for Christ and to love inclusively. Saved to serve is her heart. Kingdom building is her focus. Helping others find their God-given purpose in life is her passion. Trusting the Lord with all her heart is her foundation.
Lt. Smith is excited and humbled to begin her new journey with the people of Coastal Mississippi. May God’s overflowing love for us, help us to love others unconditionally.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35)
Pascagoula Corps Officers
Lieutenants Brian & Crystal Hicks currently serve as The Salvation Army of Jackson County (Pascagoula Corps) Corps Officers.
Serving the MS Gulf Coast Since 1907
The Salvation Army Gulfport Corps officially opened in January 1907 with Captain and Mrs. A. Belcher. The Corps has continually served the Harrison County, Jackson County, Stone County, Hancock County, and Pearl River County communities with character building programs, worship opportunities and vital social service programs since that date.
Five short years later The Biloxi Corps was established under the command of Lt. Benjamin Valdez in February 1971. The Biloxi Corps served Biloxi, Wool Market and D’Iberville from that date until it merged with the Gulfport Corps to become the The Mississippi Gulf Coast Area Command in June 2006.
The spirit and vitality of The Salvation Army expressed itself with positive growth along the coast and in March 1966 The Salvation Army Corps in Pascagoula opened under the leadership of Lt. David Bates. The Pascagoula Corps has persevered through good times and hard times offering hope and help to the needy, the hungry, the homeless, the cold and the forgotten. Captains Andy and Jenny Bailey are the current Corps Officers.
September 2011, The Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center opened its doors on Division Street in Biloxi.
Since 1907 The Salvation Army has helped Southern Mississippians weather the storms of life brought on by World War I, The Great Depression, World War II, The Korean War, The Vietnam War, Desert Storm and the Iraq War. The soldiers, friends and volunteers of The Salvation Army have held up and served while others broke down from the hardships of hurricanes like Camille, Georges, and Katrina. They have been there daily for those in crisis from domestic violence, homelessness, and poverty, loss of jobs and family illnesses and deaths.
Today we celebrate 106 years of service to South Mississippi with two active Corps, an active Bible Study outreach, a shelter, a community center and social service offices actively working and geographically located in each of these counties, Jackson, George, Harrison, Stone, Hancock, and Pearl River.
Plans for future service in South Mississippi are exciting as we start the construction of a new Transitional Housing Facility in Gulfport, upgrading our Emergency Shelter in Pascagoula and a Family Store system to serve all six counties with affordable clothing and home furnishings and as an important support mechanism to our social service programs.
- We have all heard the ringing of Salvation Army bells during the Christmas season. It serves as a reminder for the great needs that so many people face during this time of the year and the work that the Salvation Army does to comfort those who find themselves in difficult situations. We help to spread joy during what should be a very joyful time of the year.
While that is an important part of our identity, The Salvation Army is so much more than bell-ringers!
The Salvation Army’s most quoted motto, ” Soup, Soap, and Salvation”, is based on a simple philosophy. If a person is hungry, we feed them. If they are homeless, we offer shelter and a place to clean up. After their physical needs are met, we offer them the hope that is found in Jesus Christ.
The Mission Statement of the Salvation Army USA 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.
These commands are normally headed by an “Officer” of The Salvation Army – individuals or couples who have accepted positions of full-time ministry with The Salvation Army. Officers are responsible for leading a force of local volunteers, employees, and soldiers (those who choose The Salvation Army as their home “church” and commit to regular worship and service).
So, while you can expect to see us around the community in full force during the holidays, it may surprise where else you may run into a “Salvationist”. We’re committed to helping in so many aspects of community life and to “Doing the Most Good” with the resources that you entrust us with.
The Salvation Army was Founded in 1865
William Booth embarked upon his ministerial career in 1852, desiring to win the lost multitudes of England to Christ. He walked the streets of London to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to the poor, the homeless, the hungry, and the destitute.
Booth abandoned the conventional concept of a church and a pulpit, instead taking his message to the people. His fervor led to disagreement with church leaders in London, who preferred traditional methods. As a result, he withdrew from the church and traveled throughout England, conducting evangelistic meetings. His wife, Catherine, could accurately be called a co-founder of The Salvation Army.
In 1865, William Booth was invited to hold a series of evangelistic meetings in the East End of London. He set up a tent in a Quaker graveyard, and his services became an instant success. This proved to be the end of his wanderings as an independent traveling evangelist. His renown as a religious leader spread throughout London, and he attracted followers who were dedicated to fight for the souls of men and women.
Thieves, prostitutes, gamblers, and drunkards were among Booth’s first converts to Christianity. To congregations who were desperately poor, he preached hope and salvation. His aim was to lead people to Christ and link them to a church for further spiritual guidance.
Many churches, however, did not accept Booth’s followers because of their past. So Booth continued giving his new converts spiritual direction, challenging them to save others like themselves. Soon, they too were preaching and singing in the streets as a living testimony to the power of God.
In 1867, Booth had only 10 full-time workers, but by 1874, the number had grown to 1,000 volunteers and 42 evangelists, all serving under the name “The Christian Mission.” Booth assumed the title of general superintendent, with his followers calling him “General.” Known as the “Hallelujah Army,” the converts spread out of the East End of London into neighboring areas and then to other cities.
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.” From those words came the basis of the foundation deed of The Salvation Army.
From that point, converts became soldiers of Christ and were known then, as now, as Salvationists. They launched an offensive throughout the British Isles, in some cases facing real battles as organized gangs mocked and attacked them. In spite of violence and persecution, some 250,000 people were converted under the ministry of The Salvation Army between 1881 and 1885.
Meanwhile, the Army was gaining a foothold in the United States. Lieutenant Eliza Shirley had left England to join her parents, who had migrated to America earlier in search for work. In 1879, she held the first meeting of The Salvation Army in America, in Philadelphia. The Salvationists were received enthusiastically. Shirley wrote to General Booth, begging for reinforcements. None were available at first. Glowing reports of the work in Philadelphia, however, eventually convinced Booth, in 1880, to send an official group to pioneer the work in America.
On March 10, 1880, Commissioner George Scott Raiton and seven women officers knelt on the dockside at Battery Park in New York City to give thanks for their safe arrival. At their first official street meeting, these pioneers were met with unfriendly actions, as had happened in Great Britain. They were ridiculed, arrested, and attacked. Several officers and soldiers even gave their lives.Three years later, Railton and other Salvationists had expanded their operation into California, Connecticut, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. President Grover Cleveland received a delegation of Salvation Army officers in 1886 and gave the organization a warm personal endorsement. This was the first recognition from the White House and would be followed by similar receptions from succeeding presidents.
The Salvation Army movement expanded rapidly to Canada, Australia, France, Switzerland, India, South Africa, Iceland, and local neighborhood units. The Salvation Army is active in virtually every corner of the world.
General Booth’s death in 1912 was a great loss to The Salvation Army. However, he had laid a firm foundation’ even his death could not deter the ministry’s onward march. His eldest son, Bramwell Booth, succeeded him.
Edward J. Higgins served as the first elected general, beginning in 1929. The first female general was Booth’s daughter, the dynamic Evangeline Booth, serving from 1934 to 1939. The Army’s fifth general was George Carpenter, succeeded in 1946 by Albert Orsborn. General Wilfred Kitching was elected in 1954, succeeded by Frederick Coutts in 1963. Erik Wickberg followed in 1969; Clarence Wiseman in 1974; Arnold Brown in 1977; Jarl Wahlstrom in 1981; and Eva Burrows, the second female general, in 1986. General Bramwell Tillsley was elected in 1993 and was succeeded by General Paul Rader in 1994, followed by General John Gowans in 1999, General John Larsson in 2002, and General Shaw Clifton in 2006.
Did you know that you have a personal “doctrine”? Simply stated, it’s what you believe.
What is your doctrine regarding the Bible? What do you believe the Bible teaches to be true?
Just as every person has a doctrine, every church does as well. The Salvation Army is a place of service and worship and we believe the Bible teaches the following truths:
THE DOCTRINES OF THE SALVATION ARMY
We believe that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments were given by inspiration of God, and that they only constitute the Divine rule of Christian faith and practice.
We believe that there is only one God, who is infinitely perfect, the Creator, Preserver, and Governor of all things, and who is the only proper object of religious worship.
We believe that there are three persons in the Godhead – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, undivided in essence and co-equal in power and glory.
We believe that in the person of Jesus Christ the Divine and human natures are united, so that He is truly and properly God and truly and properly man.
We believe that our first parents were created in a state of innocence, but by their disobedience, they lost their purity and happiness, and that in consequence of their fall, all men have become sinners, totally depraved, and as such are justly exposed to the wrath of God.
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ has by His suffering and death made an atonement for the whole world so that whosoever will may be saved.
We believe that repentance toward God, faith in our Lord Jesus Christ and regeneration by the Holy Spirit are necessary to salvation.
We believe that we are justified by grace through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ and that he that believeth hath the witness in himself.
We believe that continuance in a state of salvation depends upon continued obedient faith in Christ.
We believe that it is the privilege of all believers to be wholly sanctified, and that their whole spirit and soul and body may be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We believe in the immortality of the soul, the resurrection of the body, in the general judgment at the end of the world, in the eternal happiness of the righteous, and in the endless punishment of the wicked.
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