From one man, GOD made every nation of men that they should inhabit the whole earth; and GOD determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.” Acts 17:26
Bridges not only bring travelers safely across rough waters; they connect people. The Salvation Army delights in connecting people across cultural bridges but has experienced some difficulty in making the connection with people of color. With the help of leaders who advocate for racial and social justice, The Salvation Army strives to be a more inclusive, equitable, and diverse organization led by the power of Jesus Christ.
During the twentieth century, Salvation Army corps (local churches) became more diverse and reflected the demographics of local communities. However, corps soldiers (church members) and other local officers (lay ministers) did not always see themselves represented in the officers (ordained ministers) who lead their diverse corps. As a result, some who felt called to officership did not see this as an attainable goal. Only after meeting officers who reflected their culture did they take the next step forward and apply to the College for Officer Training (seminary).
In this exhibit, the Salvationists featured spoke out for fair and equal leadership roles and encouraged inclusive practices for the communities they served. Through their guidance, Salvation Army corps across the country and abroad have built ministries that meet the linguistic and spiritual needs of all Salvationists.
For instance, Lt. Colonel B. Barton McIntyre brought Black leaders together for the first time in 1969. They created a 12-point plan of inclusion. Commissioners David and Dorene Edwards became the first Black commissioners in the Western Territory. Colonels Paul and Anna Kim built the first Korean ministry in the Central Territory, and Majors Bruce and Betty Keobaunhom helped build four Laotian Corps in Rockford, Illinois. They were and still are changemakers! They inspire future leaders.
We celebrate and embrace our diverse changemakers across all Salvation Army territories who continue to develop new strategies to engage the Salvation Army and the communities it serves.