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. Lieutenants Brian and Crystal Hicks 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 commited 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 cofounder 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.
- The Salvation Army: Unwrapped
1.The Salvation Army is the world’s largest faith-based charity. Originally established in London in 1865, the Army has been helping people with all types of social service needs for more than 130 years in the United States.
2.In the 1966 Beatles song “Strawberry Fields Forever,” John Lennon refers to a Salvation Army orphanage called Strawberry Field in Woolton, England. Lennon is said to have played with childhood friends in the trees behind the orphanage when he was a boy. The facility closed in 2005.
3.The Salvation Army has been featured or mentioned in literally hundreds of Hollywood movies over the years – from classics like The 39 Steps and On the Waterfront to contemporary hits like Seabiscuit and Titanic. Click here to see a short clip
4.In 2005, consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton named The Salvation Army, along with the Rolling Stones, Oxford University, the Olympic Games and others, as among the world’s top-ten enduring institutions.
5.National Salvation Army Week, typically observed in the second week of May, was first declared by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1954. In the proclamation, Eisenhower noted, “Among Americans, The Salvation Army has long been a symbol of wholehearted dedication to the cause of human brotherhood… Their work has been a constant reminder to us all that each of us Is neighbor and kin to all Americans, giving freely of themselves, the men and women of The Salvation Army have won the respect of us all.”
6. The Salvation Army is often credited with popularizing the doughnut in the United States. After serving doughnuts-often cooked in battle helmets- to U.S. troops in the field during World War I, many soldiers came back to the states hooked on the pastries. Doughnut consumption subsequently took off in the U.S. during the 1920s and 1930s. In 1938, The Salvation Army also created National Doughnut Day, observed the first Friday of June, to honor the female Salvation Army officers-or “doughnut lassies”-who served the troops during the War. Today, National Doughnut Day is celebrated by many bakeries and pastry shops around the country with free doughnuts for customers. Click here to see a video about Donut Day
7. The Salvation Army’s first major disaster response effort in the United States followed the devastating hurricane that impacted Galveston, TX in 1900, literally destroying the coastal city and killing more than 5,000 people. Following the storm, Salvation Army officers from across the country moved into the Galveston Area to help clean, feed, and shelter the thousands of survivors, while also providing much needed spiritual and emotional support. The Army’s emergency response capabilities were once again tested six years later following the Great Earthquake in San Francisco in 1906. Click here to see a clip of The Salvation Army’s Disaster Response and Recovery work during 9/11 and during the Joplin tornado of 2011 or Hurricane Isaac 2012 in Pearlington, MS
8. In 2009, consulting firm Cone ranked the leading 100 nonprofit brands with The Salvation Army coming in second place behind the Y.M.C.A. The report also noted The Salvation Army was the most familiar nonprofit among all Americans.
9. Last year, The Salvation Army’s 3,400 officers, 64,000 employees, and 3.4 million volunteers helped more than 30 million Americans in need. That’s about one person every second.
10. The Army has more than 7,600 centers of operation in almost every ZIP code in the country.
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