Archive for month: February, 2016
May 2016 will be an eventful time for the Southern Territorial Band. The band will release its first recorded collection since 2013’s “A Beautiful Savior” before embarking for the Western Territory and the North American Brass Celebration.
The new CD, titled “War and Peace,” will reflect both the martial spirit and meditative side of life in The Salvation Army. It will be comprised of 10 compositions, with five of those written by territorial band members Nick Simmons-Smith, Steve Kellner, Jim Curnow and Andy Barrington, who has two selections. The content will be wide-ranging with classic marches, a new take on an old beloved hymn and a cornet quartet featuring Jeff Barrington, David Delaney, Lars-Otto Ljungholm and Manny Munoz. Also, Jason Hathorn, Clarence White, Tom Hanton and Matt Broome will be the featured players on a trombone swing arrangement authored by Simmons-Smith, the bandmaster.
“I like variety,” said Simmons-Smith, who is also the territory’s music secretary. So we tried to have something for everyone, old and new, classics and blues.”
The tracks for the new release were recorded in mid-February in Atlanta. Phil Bulla, a Grammy Award winner, is mixing, mastering and engineering the recording. Dr. Ron Holz will write the program notes and perform quality control work on the recording. The website will include devotional thoughts on each song.
Upon its release in May, “War and Peace” will be available through iTunes and the Supplies and Purchasing Department.
The North American Brass Celebration, meanwhile, will take place May 21 at the Terrace Theater in Long Beach, California. Along with the Southern Territorial Band, the festival will feature the Canadian Staff Band, the Chicago Staff Band and the Southern Territorial Band. The event will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Western Territory Staff Band.
Each band will perform in concert on that Saturday afternoon, and those performances will be followed by an evening concert program featuring the massed bands. On Sunday, each band will play at corps in the Los Angeles area.
Photo courtesy of Laura Dake
On February 25, 2016, people across the world will join together in a social media campaign to raise awareness about modern day slavery. The End It movement is a coalition of the world’s leading organizations in the fight for freedom for the estimated 27 million people who are still trapped in slavery.
The Salvation Army became a coalition partner two years ago through a partnership between End It and the Haven ATL program.
“We are grateful to be a part of a coalition with so many incredible organizations on the front lines,” Hillary DeJarnett, Territorial Services Coordinator Against Human & Sexual Trafficking, said. “Raising awareness is the first step in getting people engaged in the movement,” DeJarnett said. “This campaign reminds me that there are still people who do not know that slavery exists today.”
Modern slavery usually falls into one of three forms: bonded labor, where someone is working to repay an often impossible debt, forced labor and human trafficking. Slavery is known to exist in 167 countries, including the US where incidents of trafficking have been reported in all 50 states and estimated 60,000 slaves are hiding in plain sight. The industry generates $150 billion annually. That’s more than the combined revenues of Amazon, Google and ebay.
The Salvation Army has been involved in the fight against trafficking since the 1880’s. The Southern Territory operates safe houses, drop-in centers, resotration homes and other programs that offer hope to victims of trafficking. Through annual participation in the End It movement campaign, the army seeks to remind people that this problem persists and to offer small things that can be done to help those affected.
“The goal is to shine a light on modern day slavery and get people to take action against it,” she said. “End It brings together thousands of people to raise their voices on one day.”
If you’d like to show your support, tweet a photo of yourself with a red X on your hand using the hashtag #enditmovement and, if you can, donate to the coalition to end slavery.
For more information on modern day slavery or to find ways that you can help, visit the End It Movement,
The mission of the student housing center is to promote the development of the individual student residents and the community of student residents in Christ. The opportunity to live together in a community of Salvationist believers while pursuing higher education at various institutions is unique and valuable. The Salvation Army is committed to helping young people invest in their futures as they pursue higher education and professional education.
What’s new at the college apartments?
As you can imagine, our residents are in full semester swing. Now that everyone has gotten into a groove, most of what I see of them is a trail of smoke as they hurry from classes to work, from work to church and from church to home for food and much needed sleep.
I meet with all of the residents on Mondays for our small group Bible study, which is led by one of the residents, after which we have ample opportunity to address issues and enjoy some well deserved down time.
On Sundays, while I myself take time to refresh and fill my soul, I am sometimes distracted with the thought that our young adults do not seem very interested in what takes place during worship. I have become concerned as I observe that most, if not all of them are either texting or looking at sites during service. In their defense, I thought, that it could be relative to what is going on at church, or maybe they are scrolling through their online Bibles, I am not sure. However, I wondered, “Are they lost in worldly thought, or are they allowing God to minister to them?” As I continued to harp on this thought, I wondered if they had ever given a thought as to what goes into putting together a Sunday worship meeting or in our case a Holiness meeting? Probably not.
Initially I thought and prayed about just confronting our young adults about their lack of enthusiasm and what seemed to me as lack of interest. However, it seems to me that it is easier to spend time correcting when re-instructing is so much more beneficial. After much internal arguing, I came up with an idea. I proposed to our young adults that they as part of their weekly requirement, put together from start to finish a Sunday service.
I presented the idea, which was initially met with some resistance, however, the group voted and chose their pastor, a music director, someone to perform a creative arts session, a time of testimony, etc. We even gave our idea a title, “Sunday on a Monday.”
This past week we launched our new idea.
I must share, that I was not expecting what I witnessed. In my skepticism that day, I went into my office and began creating an order of service, just in case there was no bulletin. But there was a bulletin, there was well practiced choreography, there was enthusiasm, team building, honest testimonies, spectacular preaching and lots and lots of joy and clapping.
The results were more than fantastic, our group of young adults pulled through and painstakingly joined forces as a community of believers to deliver a powerful message of hope.
I was floored by the experience and can proudly express that our young adults indeed have learned a most valuable lesson. These young Salvationists were exemplary in their execution. I am a proud momma, a very proud momma indeed, because they pooled together and proved that they are capable of so much more than we sometimes give them credit for. Our young adults are our leaders, worthy of our trust and belief. They are our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. I will not again have to ponder the thought of whether they understand what it takes to execute a church service.
Well done college students, here is another feather in your cap.
By Captain Teresa Della Monica, Tampa, Florida Student Residence Manager
Call it creative. Call it innovation. Call it crazy.
What all four of these Salvation Army ministries have in common is that their style of mission looks different. Haven ATL is a resource center for anyone escaping commercial sexual exploitation in Atlanta. Berry Street Corps is a non-traditional corps that backs up to the Magness Potter Center in Nashville, Tennessee. Inman Street Coffeehouse is a ministry of the Cleveland, Tennessee, Corps that draws musicians from all over and unites old and young around a mug, and the Maryville, Tennessee, Corps was planted on dreams of seeing a corps full of unchurched people.
All four corps and ministries are thriving today, but those on the ground at the beginning are the first to say they learned lessons along the way, took missteps and – through it all – found God’s grace to be sufficient in starting something new with him.
Lesson No. 1: New things are sometimes misunderstood.
Shortly after she was appointed the assistant Kroc officer at the Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center in Atlanta in 2009, Captain Sandra Pawar felt the Lord leading her to begin a ministry to women, and specifically, women ensconced in commercial sexual exploitation. Captain Pawar said at first the vision she’d had to visit with and pray for women in strip clubs and brothels was misunderstood by a few, but once she was able to clearly communicate her passion, she found support in creating what has come to be known as Haven ATL, a ministry of the Atlanta Kroc Center.
“I worked hard at getting people at the corps interested and passion about it as well. The Atlanta Kroc congregation was very gracious to this passion of mine and
supported me well,” said Captain Pawar.
Lesson No. 2: It’s okay to have limitations.
Besides communicating vision, Captain Pawar said she also learned her limits – in her heart, she wanted to expand the ministry, but Captain Pawar knew it exceeded both her experience and the time she could devote to it, and Hillary DeJarnett was later hired. Captain Pawar applauds DeJarnett’s ability to turn prayer walks and visitation into a center that helps restore victims’ hope. Since DeJarnett is now the territorial services coordinator against human and sex trafficking, Melba Robinson is the director of the center, which serves women through prevention, education, case management and outreach.
Lesson No. 3: Don’t expect to have all the answers.
When Cadets Jared and Rachel Martin moved their two young children from Southern Illinois to plant a corps in Maryville, Tennessee in 2010, they knew they didn’t have all the answers so they prayed. Through prayer and consulting with other community agencies, they recognized the need for a church to reach the unchurched in Maryville.
“We wanted to make sure we were reaching unchurched people so we had an Easter egg outreach on Easter Sunday because we knew only hard core unchurched people would show up,” said Jared. After that first service, the 35 or so people who attended were invited back to the Martin home and that’s where Jared explained the vision behind the corps plant.
Lesson No. 4: Trust God’s timing.
Building relationships with unbelievers was what built the foundation of the Maryville Corps. While they tried reaching out to children in the area for kids’ ministry, the Martins said they soon learned that God would build his church his way, in his timing.
“The way the church grew for the first several years,” said Jared, “was a lot of people got saved. But they were either middle aged or too young to have kids yet.”
But Rachel added that “by the time we left we had 12 kids regularly attending and we had more kids coming on Sunday mornings than were attending our Mercy Arts music lessons after school.”
“In the end it was God that did everything,” said Jared.
Lesson No. 5: Just because it’s different doesn’t mean it’s wrong.
Opened in 2011, Inman Street Coffeehouse – a ministry of the Cleveland, Tennessee, Corps – was such a new type of ministry for the USA Southern Territory that “it took a very long time for people to understand that a coffeehouse doesn’t operate the same way that a family store does. A food service establishment is such a different animal, and that was our biggest obstacle,” said Joel Rogers, who runs the coffeehouse with his wife Cheryl.
According to Cheryl, that mindset shift impacted everything from the type of cash register that needed to be purchased to having costs built into a product because it’s not donated. They agree that the obstacles they faced pale in comparison to watching how God has used the coffeehouse to unite the community, largely made up of college students from Lee University.
Lesson No. 6: Take risks; test out new ideas.
Cheryl and Joel experimented at the coffeehouse grand opening when they invited a local band to play, and the idea of having a local musician’s venue on weekends was born. Even American Idol runner-up Clark Beckham played there last fall to celebrate the 4th anniversary of the coffeehouse.
“He started at Lee as a student,” said Joel, “and his first gig here in Cleveland was at our shop.” The music venue idea, Joel said, was born as an afterthought. “It was accidental and it’s become pretty integral; we’re able to give people a chance. You have these bands who are seeing The Salvation Army for the first time; they’re seeing open doors, loving arms and they are just as likely to see students (from Lee) standing alongside people from our homeless community. Music is such a unifying factor; it’s beautiful.”
When Sergeants Steve and Ernie Simms were approached to re-open a corps that had folded in a very needy neighborhood of Nashville, Steve had been employed at the Nashville ARC and Ernie was managing a community center under Nashville Area Command.
They were asked specifically to start a non-traditional corps, but admit that along the way, they made some mistakes.
Lesson No. 7: Making mistakes is part of growth.
Steve said he tried to make the church grow in his own efforts. He spent the first two to three years passing out 400-500 flyers a week throughout the neighborhood and even, at one point, delivered Hallmark penguin-themed goodies on people’s doorsteps along with the flyers. He laughed and said not one person came because of his efforts; one woman did return the penguin merchandise, though, and asked, “Was I supposed to bring this back?”
The sergeants shifted gears and began partnering with other churches, inviting guest musicians to lead worship and asking friends ahead of time to share in the middle of holiness services so the congregation got comfortable with participating. (See related story.) The corps regularly partners with others to host an outdoor service and 200-300 people come for children’s activities, music, food and friendship. Another partnership fueled the children’s ministry. Steve said children’s ministry wasn’t really at the forefront when they began the corps. Yet they found that every Sunday, kids kept walking over from their homes – without any outreach on the Sims’ part.
“At least 90 percent of the kids come without a parent and they just walk in from the neighborhood, so we have a walk-in kids’ ministry. Most of the leadership God has provided; at the very beginning, a mega church in Nashville provided childcare workers and then about five years ago a few men who got trained through Safe From Harm . . . they do a snack, Bible teaching, and over the years, these kids have really changed,” said Steve.
As they remained open to what the Lord wanted to do, Sergeants Simms say it’s been obvious that the corps belongs him. In fact, that’s the theme all four sets of ministry leaders shared; it was God who created it and God to whom the glory goes.
By Captain Whitney P.H. Morton
March 2000 was one of those months in my life that was just plain crazy – the kind of crazy that you never forget.
My new husband, Ray, and I were preparing to graduate from college and were contemplating graduate school programs. Despite having sensed God calling us to officership early on in our dating life, after marriage and conversations with friends about life in the real world after graduation, we decided that it would be more lucrative for me to pursue law school and for Ray to get his masters in organizational psychology. I sat for the law school entrance exam and completed all my applications that March and quickly heard back from schools with some amazing offers. The future looked bright!
The end of March came and it was time for NSC Youth Councils. We attended with our small group of young adults, thinking it would be a fun retreat weekend together. Despite having withdrawn preliminary applications for officership, we decided to attend the FOF dinner for one reason – food! We snuck in at the last minute and sat in the very back of the room. We successfully avoided speaking to any DHQ staff or other candidates and enjoyed the delicious meal that surpassed the dining hall by far. The final amen was said and the benediction was pronounced. I thought we were in the clear. I was wrong! As we made our way to the back exit, our divisional commander, Lt. Colonel Stanley Jaynes, came up to us with then Major Vern Jewett, training principal at that time. We were cornered. When asked why we had withdrawn our candidate applications I became hot-headed and defiant. My flippant response was, “I think we know a little better than anyone else what it is God wants us to do.” Not my finest moment.
Sunday morning came and the music was great, the sermon was awesome and I was more certain than ever that law school and the fight for justice was God’s call on my life. All of that crumbled as the call to officership was sounded. Without words, Ray and I, at the exact same moment, stepped to respond to the Holy Spirit’s move in our heart. Note that I say heart and not the plural hearts. It was in that moment that God not only affirmed his call to me and to Ray to become officers, but he unified us in that inexplicable way that only he can. It was not that God called me to be a missionary or Ray to be a pastor; he called us to be of one heart, mind and Spirit as soldiers and officers in his Army.
That day the frenzy of paperwork began as Major Cora Mae Thompson said, “We’ve got a lot to do and just a little time to do it!” Come August 2000 we pulled in to 1032 Metropolitan Parkway and moved in as cadets. Though the road has been far from easy at times, we have never regretted joining up for this great adventure together as one: One Mission, One Message, One Army.
By partnering with its Boys and Girls Club, the Durham, North Carolina, Corps easily identifies families who qualify for the Pathway of Hope initiative. The POH initiative – a national social services initiative that helps families overcome intergenerational poverty – was rolled out in the USA South in spring 2015.
Durham began its foray into the rollout in June with Sherri Bluett. She’s a single mom with two kids, who were already members of the Boys and Girls Club, and that’s how she discovered Pathway of Hope.
“We use our Boys and Girls Club to collaborate with social services,” said Captain Robert Viera, corps officer with wife Captain Glenis Viera. “Some of the families came because our staff members – through tutoring and our after-school program – have identified who may be eligible.”
Once the Bluett family was referred to the POH caseworker and initial interviews were complete, Sherry Bluett met all the requirements and began her journey. “She was struggling with her mortgage, which she was left with after her marriage dissolved and she was working part-time. Since she’s been part of the program, she’s been able to transition from part-time to full-time employment,” said Captain Viera.
A tenet of the POH initiative is its ability to garner collaborations in the local community. Most communities want to alleviate – not just manage – poverty. An example is the Durham Corps’ collaboration with Habitat for Humanity. Now, Bluett’s family is on the list to have a home built by HFH.
Captain Viera commended Bluett for being a “standout participant” who attends all meetings and even helps represent The Salvation Army at board meetings and various events. “She’s done some video clips and has been a key person to advertise the program,” he said.
Bluett isn’t the only one who has thrived. Her daughter, Neesha, who is 9, was struggling at school, depressed and having a difficult time after her mom and dad’s divorce. Now, she’s making excellent grades in school and is in a positive mentoring program; she has college aspirations and hope for her future.
Another partnership that’s helping the Durham Pathway of Hope initiative is its relationship with United Way. United Way has a program in the local schools, and in one particular school it identified four families who are good POH candidates. “So our Pathway of Hope caseworker is setting up initial interviews that have been brought through an outside organization,” said Captain Viera. “We have collaborations with everybody; with our regular social services, there are a lot of things we can’t do or we’re out of funding for, so we’ve always been in the habit of referring to other agencies and organizations. That all carries over to Pathway of Hope. Whether they are organizations or church groups, collaborations aren’t limited.”
Captain Viera said the POH initiative has been so transformative that the Durham Corps has altered its social services guidelines to reflect it. “If a family comes in to seek financial assistance, (the new guideline says) you can do that up to two years and that’s it – because in the past we’ve had families coming to us for eight or nine years. We feel that it’s more impactful to focus on a smaller group that is committed to making a change. It’s more effective for them, but also a better stewardship of the money and donations we receive. Our donors are going to be very pleased as they see the families climb the ladder of this program – those successes are a lot more valuable than one-time annual routine assistance.”
Another key to the initiative’s success, he said, is its customization. Each family is different, has a variety of needs and comes from a unique situation. So the case management identifies all the factors through the management tools, assessments and regular communication to meet each family’s set of needs.
One of the clients had a spouse pass away suddenly who had taken care of everything – from finances and bills to legal proceedings and meetings. So the client’s caseworker is attending meetings with the family’s head-of-household since it’s a new, uncharted role.
The message that this kind of attention sends is that The Salvation Army is committed to each family.
“We’re going to come alongside of you, even if it’s just to support you and be by your side as you make this transition,” said Captain Viera.
The J.E. and L.E. Mabee Center in Fort Worth, Texas, and the word “stability” go hand in hand. As the main hub for all homeless services in Tarrant County, the Mabee Center is open 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. It serves homeless individuals and families through meals, emergency shelter, family residential care, veterans services and transitional living programs. Its ultimate goal is to transition individuals and families from homelessness to a sustainable, self-supported lifestyle where they can contribute to society.
One of the center’s programs, First Choice, is the only one of its kind throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area. A voluntary, long-term residential treatment program, First Choice is designed for chemically dependent mothers and their children. They stay up to one year and receive private rooms and bath; substance abuse and family counseling; 12-step programs; group therapy; off-site daycare and a host of services designed to arm them with tools for self-sustainability, such as parenting, budgeting and life skills classes.
“Women who seek out or are placed in traditional substance abuse treatment centers must leave their children behind, usually in foster care or another temporary environment. Out of concern for their children’s short-term welfare, participants often drop out of the program early, negatively impacting their children’s long-term welfare,” said Beckie Wach, operations director at the center. “A place like First Choice where families can stay together while Mom undergoes treatment is essential.”
Wach said the center recently went through a program evaluation offered by Karen Lawson, territorial program evaluation coordinator, as part of the Territorial Social Services Department and found it very helpful. The program evaluation is a guided self-study program review through training, consultation and teamwork. Through the process, the benchmark for program performance is determined with the use of the National Social Services Standards Manual.
Wach said some of the most positive outcomes they discovered about the First Choice program – through the evaluation – were its holistic approach to case management, coordination with community partners and the follow-up component.
Several of the measurable objectives of the First Choice program actually tell the story of its success because of the follow-up component. After they’ve been out of the program for 90 days, clients are evaluated to see if they are either employed full-time, or receiving benefits if they are unable to work; if they remain substance-free; and if they were previously involved in the criminal justice systems, they should have had no new arrests related to criminal activity. At least 75 percent of clients who complete the program meet these requirements upon their 90-day review.
Wach said the program evaluation not only shined a spotlight on what the First Choice program does well – helping women and their children remain together during substance abuse treatment and build stable lives long-term – but it also shed light on ways the program can be improved.
“The evaluation team was so instrumental with their feedback and validating the need to move this program off-site to a safer location. Also, adding an on-site doctorate level counselor for psychological and mental health needs,” said Wach.
For women undergoing substance abuse treatment, the First Choice program is an answer to prayer because it ensures their children are safe, too. One little boy whose mom was in the program last year was given a piece of paper and asked to draw in four squares whatever reminded him of The Salvation Army. He drew in one square his family running for safety (60 percent of the families are escaping domestic violence); another depicted food and love; the third and fourth squares showed a picture of Salvation Army camp and an ice skating outing. Wach said that the First Choice program is a refuge for the kids.
Jodi Pfuehler, a graduate of the program, thanked a donor with a letter. “I am a single mother recovering from the disease of addiction. Thanks to your donation, I had the opportunity to start a new life free of drugs in a safe, therapeutic atmosphere. . . I cannot say enough good things about The Salvation Army. I honestly don’t know where or what my life would be today without them.”
If your social services program is interested in participating in a program review, contact Karen Lawson at 404-728-1300, ext. 10614.
When the Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club of Metropolitan Houston applied for a grant from JC Penney, the amount they proposed was $25,000, which goes a long way towards youth empowerment, educational and sports programs at the club. What they didn’t expect was to have JC Penney turn around and not only award the grant, but double it.
Jennifer Hero, education coordinator, said the grant was awarded in December 2015, and it’s already making an impact. “Programming supported by these grant funds includes college and career preparation – including Diplomas to Degrees, Career Launch and Youth of the Year, as well as tutorials and standardized test preparation and character-building initiatives such as Passport to Manhood and SMART Moves, which aim to help club members develop their own personalities and talents while maintaining personal values and making responsible decisions,” she said.
Other programs buoyed by the money include sports leagues for cheerleading, basketball, flag football and soccer, and Triple Play, which helps club members increase their daily physical activity, teaches good nutrition and how to develop healthy relationships.
Hunt said one of the most immediate effects of the grant is its scholarship potential for the Youth of the Year program. A national Boys & Girls Club program, Youth of the Year focuses on awarding scholarships and identifying mentors to help winners advance through middle and high school and continue with career and educational goals. The 2016 awards dinner was held Feb. 10, and it’s the Houston club’s 10th anniversary of the scholarship program, so they awarded 20 scholarships, thanks in part to the JC Penney grant.
Students “fill out an application, write essays, get recommendation letters and do a speech in front of a panel of judges, and from there, they are ranked and we give out the scholarships,” said Hunt. The scholarships are available to rising sixth through 12th graders and the money helps them pursue college or trade school after high school graduation.
“Overall, the generosity of JC Penney will help the Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club of Metropolitan Houston achieve its goal of aiding club members in becoming responsible, healthy and productive citizens. JC Penney is helping the Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club change lives!”
Many corps across the territory held services for Ash Wednesday last night. Lieutenant’s Charles and Teri Smith in El Dorado, Arkansas had a special opportunity happen before their service even began!
A most interesting Ash Wednesday dinner happened to us tonight. As Charles was waiting for us to meet him at the restaurant, he had the chance to speak to the waitress. She was devastated that she had forgotten that it was Ash Wednesday. Charles told her that he would feel it a privilege to impose Ashes and pray with her. She quickly agreed and asked if she could ask any of her coworkers if they would like the same. So, right there in one of the closed sections of the restaurant, Charles was able to offer the imposition of ashes and pray with 2 people. Later on as we were ready to leave, the waitress came back and told Charles that there was a family who had just moved in to town that would like to know if they could also partake of Ash Wednesday. What a double blessing for Charles to be able to perform this ministry. The pictures are of our waitress and the family. The other woman was hard at work in the back and didn’t have the opportunity to come up again. What a neat night!
-Lieutenant Teri Smith
What a great story and example of being the church outside of the four walls of our corps buildings. Be encouraged today, never be afraid to respond to the spirit when He prompts you to share His love.