The Salvation Army Sweden and Latvia territory
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Frequently Asked Question

Why do Salvos wear uniforms?

In the foundation days of The Salvation Army (The Christian Mission), William and Catherine Booth, co-founders , George Scott Railton and Bramwell Booth were moved to call this new Mission an Army. The volunteers and ministers were called “Troops”. At that time military themes were common. By 1878, the whole movement had adopted military terminology and dress.
The uniform of the day was used to equialize the new members who came from all places in society, It was also used to unify them in cause and commitment. Knowing that their mission was to engage in spiritual warfare, the uniform became a symbol of a visual reminder that they had accepted the call to Christ. Underneath the uniform was a heart committed to God and a willingness to use their hands to reach humanity.
The Salvation Army uniform is one of the recognizable icons of the world. This uniform shows itself in the pulpit, on the street corner, in hospitals and nursing homes.
The uniform is the clerical garb of The Salvation Army officer (ordained minister) and is also worn by soldiers (local corps members), It is a symbol to declare our faith to everyone and to make ourselves available for service.

Is the Salvation Army a religion or a mix of denominations?

The short answer to this question is ‘no’. The Salvation Army is not a religion nor is it a mix of denominations.The Salvation army stand independently as a denomination in the Christian church alongside other churches, for example, the Anglican or Baptist.In the 1860s William Booth, the Salvos’ founder, began reaching out to the masses living in poverty in London.He preached that there was a God who could transform their lives and show them a new way. He fed them, prayed with them and thousands of people’s lives were changed. Booth, a Methodist minister, tried to introduce his converts to local Methodist churches, but the wider church at the time had lost much of its vision for what was then considered the underclasses, and would not accept them.In less than 20 years, while it had not been his initial goal, he established a new denomination of the Christian church—The Salvation Army. Today, the Army serves suffering humanity worldwide in 124 countries.
A good word to describe a denomination of the church is ‘community’. The Salvation army, like other churches, is a community of people that meets together in local neighbourhoods, regions or centres.
They worship God together; nurture faith, wholeness and integrity of life, their faith shows itself in service to people with all kinds of material, emotional, physical and spiritual needs.

Are the Salvation army a church or a charity?

It is church with wide social work. The Salvation Army thinks of itself in terms of a body with two arms, the spiritual and the social—with one hand we reach out to God and with the other we reach out to the world. And this ‘two-in-one’ focus is not new for us. From the commencement of The Salvation Army in London in the late 19th century, our founders, William and Catherine Booth, emphasised that we must exist in this fashion—as a church we must live out our Christianity.It’s crucial that our Christianity is expressed in charitable work. If it were just a charity, it would fail to respond to the whole person—the body, mind and spirit.


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