Commissioner Howell Speaks at Gadsden Corps’ Annual Dinner

The Salvation Army of Gadsden, Alabama’s Annual Dinner was held on May 14, 2019. It was an opportunity for the Gadsden Corps to meet with their community of supporters and volunteers and discuss their work in the community. The speaker and guest of honor, Territorial Commander of The Salvation Army Southern Territory, Commissioner Willis Howell, spoke about that work and the significant difference The Salvation Army can make in the lives of those in need. It was part of the Commissioner’s initiative to remind the community of The Salvation Army’s “Why” — why The Salvation Army exists and what it should accomplish.

Commissioner Howell spoke about the organization he leads as a safety net that can help save people who are fallen and hurting. It is a “mission and a vision of The Salvation Army that I am 100% behind,” said Gadsden Corps officer, Captain Dennis Hayes, who introduced the Commissioner. As a former student of Commissioner Howell, Captain Hayes spoke of his dedication to the Army. And it was a dedication to that vision that the Commissioner continued to address.

Commissioner Howell’s speech was about helping people in the world who are at spiritual risk in their life, as well as those in physical need. “If The Salvation Army stopped only with catching people when they fell; if all we did was stretch out our safety net to catch those who find themselves in free fall, people in communities all around the south, people would applaud,” he said. As he continued, he made the point that the “why” of The Salvation Army, in Gadsden and all over the world, is to help people find something more. Commissioner Howell said,“We don’t help people simply to help them, and that’s that. We help people to, yes, get them back on their feet, but it also gives us the opportunity as The Salvation Army to talk to them about Jesus.”

International Leadership Visits ALM Division

The Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi Division of The Salvation Army was honored in April with a visit from the international leadership of The Salvation Army. International Chief of Staff, Commissioner Lyndon Buckingham, and the World Secretary for Women’s Ministries, Commissioner Bronwyn Buckingham took part in a tour of the ALM Division that included special events in both the Jackson, MS and Birmingham, AL command areas.

The Commissioner’s travels took them from The Salvation Army International Headquarters in London, where they have served since January of 2018. They were first commissioned as officers in 1990 and came into their current positions after service in the territories of New Zealand, Canada and Bermuda, and Singapore where they served as Chief Secretary and Territorial Secretary for Women’s Ministries.

In Jackson the Commissioners took part in a rally where they, along with Divisional and Territorial leadership, joined salvationists in the Jackson Salvation Army community in celebration. It was an event that included musical performances, testimonials from the Commissioner, and saw the enrollment of 40 new soldiers.

In Birmingham, Commissioner Lyndon Buckingham spoke to the crowd at the National Advisory Board meeting about the work of The Salvation Army in the United States and in the world. The Salvation Army serves in 131 countries across the globe, and Commissioner Buckingham spoke about the wisdom necessary to move forward in the world while serving wherever The Salvation Army is called. “We are needed more than ever to be this group of people who testify to what it means to be in a relationship with God and what it means to love our neighbor. It is a testimony that actually extends around the globe,” he said.

Night at the Shelter

night at the shelter logo

On May 7, 2019 The Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi division of The Salvation Army embarked on an inaugural event. For one day, special guests were invited to come and spend time in Salvation Army facilities in their community. Local media was there as well, to share the story of local celebrities, public servants, and media figures coming together with The Salvation Army to help bring hope to those in need and to make a positive change in their lives.

The Salvation Army is an organization devoted to doing the most good in the communities they serve. Many locations provide a shelter to those who have no other place to go; a bed, a meal, a hot shower, or a change of clothes can help those in need find comfort and safety. But the shelter they offer is more than just a place to stay. Sometimes it is a shelter from the fear of losing a home. Sometimes it is shelter from the oppression of addiction. Sometimes it is the shelter provided in place of worship for those seeking a new direction in life.

Night at the Shelter was a time to showcase the work The Salvation Army can accomplish, through faith, with the support of the community. In Dothan, AL Mayor Mark Saliba was joined by County Commission Chairman Mark Culver to pack boxes of food to give out to those in need. This event, which aired on local TV was an opportunity to showcase the work The Salvation Army does in the community, and the support they enjoy from community leaders.

On that same day in Jackson, MS the shelter there hosted a lunch that was cooked in their facility and served to the residents of their Center of Hope. Afterwards they were given the opportunity to meet with representatives from local staffing agencies to learn interview skills, job preparation, and to have the chance to interview for jobs. A local organization, Dress for Success Metro Jackson, came by as well to help train in proper dress and appearance for job interviews. This event also included local community members and business owners who had once been homeless themselves, to share their testimony with those looking to change their path in life.

In Shreveport, LA KTAL NBC 6 Evening News Anchors Dan and Jacque Jovic along with Lynn Vance of The Lynn Vance Show came out to help serve food to those in need. They were joined by representatives of the local power company, SWEPCO, to help highlight the work that The Salvation Army does in the community. In the midst of their work the two anchors found time to make a live broadcast for their evening show.

And they were not the only TV personalities that showed up. At The Salvation Army in Monroe, LA there was a surprise appearance by Silas “Uncle Si” Robertson of the A&E series “Duck Dynasty”. Along with representative from the local sheriff’s department, they helped serve food to those in need.

Night at the Shelter was a one-day event meant to demonstrate that The Salvation Army is there all year, bringing shelter in all its forms to those who need it. It’s another way the Army is doing the most good in their community.