By | 10 Mar 2023 at 4:15 PM
Salvation Army Day 2023: Date, History, Facts about Salvation

Salvation Army Day is celebrated annually on March 10 to honour the establishment of the Salvation Army by Methodist minister William Booth and his wife Catherine. It is one of the many days commemorating the Salvation Army. A common misconception is that the Salvation Army is some type of militant organisation. The name signifies the Christian “battle” against social injustices, and because its members ultimately view themselves as God’s soldiers, the army seeks to assist those in need. They have a hierarchical system with military titles, a uniform, and even a flag or banner of their own.

The background of Salvation Army Day

The precise reason for designating March 10 as Salvation Army Day is unknown, but we do know that this is a day well worth commemorating because it recognises a phenomenal organisation. For many, the only thing they may ever learn about the Salvation Army is that volunteers stand outside of stores and centres during the holiday season, ringing bells and holding red kettles for donations. This barely scratches the surface of what The Salvation Army is, does, and stands for, let alone its illustrious past.

William Booth, born in Nottingham, England in 1829, discovered his genuine faith at age 15. Beginning his career as a Methodist preacher, he ultimately broke away to preach independently and was invited to preach in one of London’s poorest neighbourhoods, Whitechapel. Booth and his wife Catherine founded the Christian Mission in 1865 to feed the hungry and provide shelter for those in need. Booth had always had compassion for the poor and those enduring injustice and social rejection. In 1878, the organization’s name was changed to the Salvation Army, and it was organised and administered along military lines, with Booth as its first General. In 1890, with the assistance of William Thomas Stead, General Booth published his theories on how to alleviate poverty in a written work titled “In Darkest England, and the Way Out.” Initially, these concepts were criticised, but once the results became apparent, public support grew. The organisation grew exponentially from its humble beginnings, garnering widespread public support in England, including that of the crown — King Edward VII in 1904.

Booth’s three children, including his daughter Evangeline Cory Booth, participated in Salvation Army labour. In 1904, she was appointed commander of the American division of the Salvation Army. She implemented numerous reforms and was an effective administrator in the New York-based North American division. While The Salvation Army has its origins in England, the iconic’red kettle’ was born in San Francisco in 1981, when The Salvation Army Captain Joseph McFee vowed to feed 1,000 impoverished people on Christmas Day but struggled to come up with ideas for fundraising. Inspiration struck, and he painted a large red stain on the street with the words “Keep the Pot Boiling” on the sign. Soon thereafter, he was able to fulfil his promise, and the red kettle donation culture was created. The publication “Chronicle of Philanthropy” from 1994 revealed that The Salvation Army was ranked fourth out of the top 100 non-profit organisations, so we encourage you to learn more about its work.

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It is a massive organisation, with more than 1.5 million members dispersed across the globe.

The first meeting of the organisation took place in a graveyard, which is somewhat spooky but not quite.

The pastors of the congregations are officers, with the rank of General being the highest.

Music plays a significant role in the Salvation Army and is integral to its operations.

The proceeds from purchases at Salvation Army thrift stores benefit a rehabilitation centre.

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Year Date Day
2023 March 10 Friday
2024 March 10 Sunday
2025 March 10 Monday
2026 March 10 Tuesday
2027 March 10 Wednesday