The Salvation Army is celebrating its 150th year this year. You may know that William Booth, responsible for starting the Salvation Army, was born in Sneinton, Nottingham. Born into what was a relatively wealthy family they had fallen on hard times. His Father, Samuel, was born even closer to Ilkeston in Belper. He (Samuel) started out as a nail maker but lost his work to the new factories of the Industrial revolution where machines turned out millions of them. He was not a religious man but insisted his children attend church.
Not able to keep up with school fees Booth senior got William, aged thirteen, an apprenticeship to a pawnbroker. After a conversion to Methodism William began an informal evangelical preaching career in Nottingham which he took with him when he moved to London, aged nineteen, looking for work.
His evangelical zeal and his unorthodox approach to preaching venues (preferring open air venues and tents to churches) led him to turn his back on Methodism and, literally, begin his own church.
Today the Salvation Army is present in over ninety-one countries with over 25,000 Officers.
I mention them because of their anniversary but, also, because of their modern-day work in fighting the slave trade of today. It is a year since Bishop Alastair made us aware of his interest and work against the modern slave trade particularly in the House of Lords. Advertising a Study Day (24th June) Bishop Alastair said: “The crime of modern slavery is becoming more widespread across the world – and is developing in our own City and County. The key to a successful response depends upon intelligence, effective support for victims and a coordinated response from the Police, other statutory agencies, and those of us in the voluntary sector that can provide vital extra resourcing.”
More information is available on the website:
Thank you to everyone who sent good wishes and cards and those who assured me of their prayers during my illness and subsequent time off. Thank you, also, to all the visiting Clergy, and our own Readers and Churchwardens, who have done so much over this period. I am much refreshed and glad to be back at work. The experience, though, I think has changed me a little and I have learned something new and helpful about my strengths and weaknesses. Every cloud and all that…