WILLIAM AND CATHERINE BOOTH
The Salvation Army is a Christian organization motivated by God’s love to preach the gospel of Jesus and meet people’s needs in His name without discrimination. It was founded by William and Catherine Booth. The Booths wanted to reach the poor in East London. In the mid-1800s, William decided to take the message of Christianity to the streets. He taught the gospel message to the poor and homeless who were rejected or didn’t feel welcomed into a traditional church building. His movement rapidly grew and eventually became known as the Salvation Army.
William began walking the streets of the East End of London by himself to share the Good News of Jesus with the outcasts of society. Although Catherine did not have many rights as a woman in the 1800s, she became a preacher, theologian, and co-founder of the Salvation Army alongside her husband.
In 1865, William began to hold evangelism meetings in an old graveyard and quickly drew a lot of attention. Many people attended these gatherings and became dedicated volunteers and Jesus-followers. The gospel message spread exponentially because new believers were encouraged to share the message as their personal testimony of faith.
Within just ten years, more than a thousand volunteers and staff members were serving under the name “The Christian Mission,” which became the Salvation Army. From 1881 to 1885, the Salvation Army converted 250,000 people throughout the British Isles. The Salvation Army also spread to other countries such as the U.S., Canada, Australia, and France. Today the Salvation Army exists in over 100 different countries. The Booth's children continued the organization after their parents died.
CENTERED ON CHRIST
The Booths were extremely dedicated Christians that believed in the gospel message and thought that Jesus can save and redeem anyone who is lost.
William once stated, “While women weep, as they do now, I’ll fight. While little children go hungry, as they do now, I’ll fight. While men go to prison, in and out, in and out, as they do now, I’ll fight. While there is a drunkard left, while there is a poor lost girl upon the streets, while there remains one dark soul without the light of God, I’ll fight. I’ll fight to the very end!” His words highlight the passion behind his work in the Salvation Army. He was determined to share God’s light with everyone.
Catherine also shared, "The Gospel that represents Jesus Christ, not as a system of truth to be received, into the mind, as I should receive a system of philosophy, or astronomy, but it represents Him as a real, living, mighty Savior, able to save me now."