Special events, giving help fund foreign missions
By: Commissioner Robert E. Thomson
A strong commitment to both mission and missions marks the life of the Clearwater Corps in central Florida.
Fulfilling the mission of The Salvation Army to save souls, grow saints and serve without discrimination, the corps features a plethora of programs geared to the spiritual, emotional and physical needs of both the worshiping congregation and the community at large.
But what sets Clearwater apart from many corps across the Southern Territory is its emphasis on foreign missions. During the current year it has raised more than $134,000 for the international World Services effort.
Some of this – about three-fifths – comes from direct donations by soldiers and adherents through their weekly giving, the annual Easter ingathering and the Can-Do project, where individuals and families use special cans to capture loose change throughout the year.
The rest of the money is raised at special events sponsored by individuals, corps groups and the congregation at large.
One example is the annual Night in Italy, which includes 70-plus volunteers who prepare and serve a spaghetti dinner, complete with musical entertainment, to two sittings of 165 persons each. Attendees not only enjoy a wonderful meal but are exposed to the program and purposes of the Army.
Another all-corps event is the annual sale of Cornish pasties. The event raised $13,500, and it involved 70 volunteers who washed and cut vegetables, rolled pastry, measured meat and tended ovens.
A Christmas bazaar, sponsored by the Women’s Ministries, draws several hundred of the public to the corps building to shop for crafts, baked goods, clothing, toys and bric-a-brac. November’s bazaar raised $11,600 for World Services.
Not to be outdone, the corps Men’s Club sponsors two events: a spring golf tournament and a yard sale. Again, scores of volunteers give unsparingly of their time and skills, resulting in another $14,900 toward the World Services goal.
Virtually every group in the corps, from the Sunday school and the Corps Cadets to the band and songsters, make their own contributions to the effort.
In addition to contributing to World Services, the corps for several years has undertaken a number of special grants, making donations of less than $5,000 each to several projects.
For example, the corps became aware that children living in primitive conditions in Honduras sometimes were badly burned in open cooking fires and hospitalized, often for months at a time. When the Army was asked to provide “hospital schools,” they were able to respond positively because the Clearwater Corps provided a grant.
Yet another example was the providing of funds to the Sri Lanka Territory, which allowed 300 young Salvationists, aged 15 to 35, to attend a four-day youth camp aimed at spiritual growth and development.
“The commitment of Clearwater Salvationists to world missions is both a delight and a challenge,” said Captain Michael Harris, corps officer. “It is a joy to work with Salvationists, friends and volunteers who respond so positively to Jesus’ command to take the gospel to the whole world.”