The message of the Salvationists to love the Lord and to preach the Gospel to every creature is much too big for just one ethnic group to carry.” Major Allan Wiltshire
USA Southern Territory Captains Allan and Marjorie M. Wiltshire began their mission of preaching the Gospel in Washington, D.C. They were assigned to Washington (Central), DC Corps under Brigadier Victor Wilson’s tutelage, a Black officer from Panama who mirrored Major Allan’s background.
While at this appointment, in 1972, Captain Allan was asked to serve on a committee to help define the needs of The Salvation Army’s African American urban ministry. They discussed relevant questions that resulted in policy changes and concluded the Army could not successfully recruit cadets of color until white leaders acknowledged the existence of internal racial problems. It was Captain Allan who spoke about distrust within communities of color. He pointed out, “a foreign accent can also affect an officer’s relationship with the community,” not just skin color, referring to his Panamanian accent. The committee further declared, “The Salvation Army is a white man’s organization,” which sewed distrust in the Black community. The committee meetings and the discussions that followed led the way to future discussions and policy changes.
Captains Allan and Marjorie requested a transfer to the Eastern Territory in the early 1970s. Their first appointment was at the Brooklyn (Brownsville), NY Corps. It was an opportunity, they felt, that could enable them to live up to their full potential in their ministry by serving urban Black communities.
In 1977, Major Allan joined Major Israel Gaither on the Black Ministries Committee. The goal of the committee was to build a stronger, more unified Army. They addressed difficult issues and laid the foundation for inclusion in the Army and the future of Black officers and officers of color. This committee was the prelude to the Territorial Committee of Salvationists of African Descent.
After several years in the Eastern Territory, the Majors Wiltshire were appointed as Divisional leaders to Panama, Major Allan’s home country. Unfortunately, during this time, the United States had invaded Panama to rid the country of General Noriega. A war ensued that threatened the lives of Panamanians, but Majors Allan and Marjorie continued their ministry. They received confiscated food and supplies from American soldiers and distributed them to those in need. Major Marjorie invited those seeking prayer to find sanctuary at the refugee camps. Together, Majors Allan and Marjorie successfully helped fulfill the spiritual and earthly needs of the people of Panama.
In 1990, they returned to the Eastern Territory to serve the Massachusetts Division. Major Allan became the divisional secretary and Major Marjorie the assistant Home League secretary and the first social issues secretary in the Eastern Territory. Their impact crossed territories, countries, and cultures; they are true Changemakers!