This year marks the 150th anniversary of The Salvation Army. The movement was started by pioneers William and Catherine Booth in the East End of London in 1865.
When The Salvation Army’s founder William Booth was told by his son about all the homeless people sleeping on the banks of the Thames, his response was simple: ‘Go and do something.’ That was in the middle of the nineteenth century. But today The Salvation Army’s philosophy is exactly the same.
Ahead of their time, the Booths took an innovative approach by demonstrating their faith by offering practical support to people in need out on the streets of London and beyond. As social justice reformers, a large part of their focus was on caring for people in a practical way, and to reaching out to ‘the poor and destitute.’
The Booths abandoned the conventional concept of a church and a pulpit, instead taking their message to the people. Their fervour led to disagreement with church leaders in London, who preferred traditional methods. As a result, they withdrew from the church and travelled throughout England, conducting evangelistic meetings. Catherine and William walked the streets of London to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to the poor, the homeless, the hungry, and the destitute.