After 17 Years of Service, Baptist Minister Steps Down as Service Unit Chair
During a ministerial alliance meeting in Taylor, Texas, a visiting Salvation Army staff member made an appeal for someone to take on the responsibilities as chairperson of the local Salvation Army service unit. “I volunteered to help,” said Tony Sorrells, pastor at Mount Calvary Baptist Church, “and that was back in 1999.” The rest, as they say, is history.
For 17 years Pastor Sorrells has faithfully delivered Salvation Army assistance to families in need, worked with volunteers, arranged for children to attend summer camp, coordinated fan drives and the Red Kettle campaign, and much more. “A lot of people think that The Salvation Army operates only in emergencies. It is much more than that,” said Sorrells. “We work year-round to enhance the community and make things better for people.”
The annual fan drive that started in 2008 has become one of the largest projects for The Salvation Army in Taylor. “We went to the Chamber of Commerce, and they invited businesses to donate fans,” said Sorrells. “Our church combined with The Salvation Army and businesses have helped lots of people over the years, mainly the elderly and those on lower incomes in our community, with fans and air conditioners.”
Another program that has great impact in the community is summer camp. Each year 25 to 35 children from Taylor have the opportunity to attend the Texas Division’s Camp Hoblitzelle. “We work with schools and counselors to select the children. They always have a great time at camp. We haven’t missed a year,” Sorrells said.
Committed volunteers are key to the success of Salvation Army ministry in small towns throughout Texas. “We have lots of churches that volunteer to ring bells and have had Middle and High School bands and choirs help out, too,” Sorrells said. “The Red Kettles are the biggest fundraiser of the year, and we couldn’t have done it without the support of our volunteers and the community.”
Pastor Sorrells recently resigned from his position as chairman of the Taylor Salvation Army due to his desire to focus on his pastoral ministry but will be staying on until a replacement can be found. “I could hardly bear sending the email resigning from this position,” said Sorrells. “I’m sentimental about leaving and I’m going to miss not being able to directly help people. This means a lot to me and has been one of the most fulfilling things in my life.”
The Salvation Army is grateful to Pastor Sorrells for his work and leadership in Taylor that has touched many lives during his 17 years of dedicated service.