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Frequently asked questions

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Why do members of the Salvation Army wear uniforms?

The Salvation Army started as a movement called the “Christian mission”. Its founders William and Catherine Booth and co-founders George Scott Railton and Bramwell Booth were encouraged to call this new mission an army. Volunteers and ministers were called troops. During this time, military themes were widespread. By 1878 the whole movement had adapted military terminology and clothing.
Uniforms used to unify new members that came from different places in society. They were also used to unify them in goal and commitment. Knowing that their mission was to get involved in the spiritual fight, uniform became a symbol, a visual reminder that they have accepted the calling of Christ. There was a heart underneath the uniform, which was committed to God and wished to use its hands to reach humanity.
The Salvation Army uniform is one of the most recognizable icons in the world. This uniform shows itself behind a pulpit, on the street corner, hospitals or care homes.
Uniform is like clergy clothing for a Salvation Army Officer (ordained minister) and it is also worn by soldiers (local church members). It is a symbol that proclaims your faith to all and makes you available to ministry.

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

The shortest answer to this question is NO. The Salvation Army is not a religion or a mix of denominations. The Salvation Army stands next to other churches like Anglicans, Baptists, as an independent denomination in the Christian Church.

In 1860’s, William Booth, the founder of The Salvation Army, started reaching masses of people, who lived in poverty, in London. He preached that there is God, who can change their lives and show them a new way. He fed them, prayed with them, and for thousands of people, their lives were changed. Methodist pastor, Booth, tried to add the people with new faith to the local Methodist churches, but the wider church had lost its vision about people from lower classes and did not accept them. Even though it was not the goal at the beginning, in less than 20 years William Booth founded a new denomination of the Christian church – The Salvation Army. Today the Army serves suffering people all over the world, in 130+ countries.

A good word to describe the church denomination is „community”. The Salvation Army like other churches is a community of people meeting together in a local area. They worship God together, grow in faith, in fullness and integrity in their lives, their faith is shown in their ministry to people, with different material, physical and spiritual needs.

Is the Salvation Army a church or a charity?

It is a church with wide social work. The Salvation Army considers itself as a body with two arms – spiritual and social. With one arm we reach up to God, and with the other we reach into the world.

And this „two in one” is nothing new. Since the beginnings of The Salvation Army in London at the end of 19th century William and Catherine Booth insisted that we must exist in this way – as a church we need to live out our Christianity. It is very important that our Christianity is shown in works of charity. If it was only a charity organization, we could not take care of a person fully – body, mind and spirit.

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