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Volume 25, No.19

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The Salvation Army USA Southern Territory

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December 16, 2008

Being wise at Christmas
image Wisdom is a precious thing because it is rare. Have you noticed that during the high celebration seasons of the year it becomes even more rare? It all depends on how you celebrate events like birthdays, wedding anniversaries, retirements, sporting occasions or the great annual religious festivals.

Christmas is perhaps the most famous such festival. How strange it is that so many folk mark it in a way that is totally empty of Christ, the one whose birth is being remembered. Wise, truly joyful celebration does not go hand in hand with shallowness or with rowdy inebriation.
Wise men and women prepare with carefulness for Christmas. The Advent ("The Coming") Season, covering four weeks leading up to Christmas,
provides this opportunity. Week by week, in our reading of Scripture or in our worship, we can go gradually deeper and deeper into the wonder of God’s plan to give us a Savior, so that when Christmas Day arrives we again have a firm grasp of the miraculous depth of it all. A Savior for my soul! A Savior for my sinful self! A Savior to befriend and guide me all my life long! Now that is cause for celebration!


Dallas host Kettle Kickoff

Brown Artifacts donated

Atlanta Temple

Army strives to meet challenge of America's economic crisis

Salvation Army officials are trying to make Christmas bright for all in need, despite a sharp increase in applications for assistance and the threat of decreased holiday giving.


By Major Frank Duracher
Southern Spirit staff

Facing the worst economic crisis to grip the nation in decades, Salvation Army units
across the Southern Territory are looking for ways to cut costs and raise additional revenues without sacrificing sorely needed services.

"The most common response received from throughout the territory
is that we are now
assisting individuals and families who have never had to request services from The Salvation Army or any other social services organization before," said Kevin Tomson-Hooper, territorial director for social services.

In addition to "traditional" clients seen on a regular basis, Tomson-Hooper said that an inundation for assistance is coming most often from employed individuals in vocations hardest hit by the economic downturn: younger, retail workers, workers in the hospitality industry, mortgage, homebuilding, real estate or families with children or working single parents. "Some locations are seeing as much as a 90% increase in first-time clients," Tomson-Hooper said. "Many have been impacted by the collapse of the secondary home mortgage industry situation, high fuel expenses for both home and autos and an increase in food costs.






















Being wise at Christmas
continued from above

I love to read in the Scriptures about the “Wise Men” (sometimes called the "Magi") who traveled a long and hard road to Bethlehem to find our Savior Jesus in the moments after his birth. In the second chapter of Matthew’s Gospel we have a clear account of their involvement. We see how their wisdom was used by God.

They searched for Jesus in order to worship him. That was wise. They refused to give up despite the hardness of their journey. That was wise. They sensed instinctively that this unique birth was a cause for joyfulness. That was wise. They offered the Savior Jesus their most precious things. That was wise. They refused to be deceived by the evil intentions of King Herod. That was wise. Instead they responded obediently to divine guidance. That was wise.

Can each of us this Christmas be wise in similar ways? How wonderful that we can be wise men or wise women or wise young people in offering to the Savior our most precious gifts of love and service all of our days, and that by the indwelling grace of his Holy Spirit we can in glad obedience answer his call to be his loyal disciple. A happy and blessed Christmas and New Year to you all.

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Salvation Army confronts economic crisis
continued from above

successful around the division,” said Major John
R. Jones, Alabama-Louisiana-Mississippi divisional
commander. “If that is an indicator, we are trusting that the kettles will still be fine. The mail appeal was flat last year and we anticipate that is where the market will affect us most.”

On the divisional and territorial levels, events are
being scaled back or cut entirely. Some divisions are combining programs while others are utilizing their camps rather than a retreat center or hotel.

Plans for next month’s ROOTS South were nearly
finalized when the decision was made to cancel (as reported in the November 26 issue of the SouthernSpirit). On site leadership training coordinated from the Territorial Youth Department has been scratched, according to Major Kelly Igleheart, territorial youth secretary.

"We have reduced our young adult mission trips by one third as well as totally eliminating an entire Service Corps team to Hungary this coming summer," Igleheart said.

But the daily roller-coaster ride in the stock market, and the ensuing economic panic around the world presents an opportunity to prove God’s faithfulnessand power, said Lt. Colonel Charles White, Southern territorial program secretary.

"The Salvation Army faces one of its greatest challenges since the Great Depression," White said. "However, we can take some lessons from officers and soldiers who braved and endured those frightful days

They trusted God to provide for those who flooded to the Army’s doors and shared what little resources they
could scrape together. They never lost sight of their true mission, to share the good news of the gospel, even as the circumstances around them did not give
evidence of God’s love."

Then White added, “We too must not give in to despair. We should address this situation as an opportunity to capture every opportunity to reach out
to those who are hurting and hopeless, with the love of God.”

White recalled the gospel story of the boy with five loaves and two fishes – which Jesus used to feed a multitude of thousands. "Our faith combined with God’s power can do miracles, and I pray that every officer and soldier will trust God to provide and be his agent to bring help and hope for these times," he said.

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Jonas Brothers Band, Cowboys join Army for Kettle Kickoff


The Jonas Brothers Band provided the entertainment at halftime of the Dallas Cowboys-Seattle Seahawks football game on Thanksgiving Day at Dallas’ Texas Stadium. In what has become an annual event since
1997, the halftime show included the official kickoff of The Salvation Army’s Christmas Kettle Campaign, which was broadcast nationally on the Fox Television Network. Since the partnership began, the campaign has raised more than $1 billion, including a record $118 million last year. (Above right) Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and his wife, Gene, were joined by their grandchildren and Commissioners Israel L. and Eva D. Gaither as they celebrated the Kettle Kickoff. (Below right) The Jonas Brothers Band was joined by the group’s bodyguard, Big Rob, during their performance at the Kettle Kickoff.

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Southern Historical Center given Cecil Brown artifactsimage

June Brown Ferguson and Harlan E. Brown, niece and nephew of
Major Cecil Brown (O.F.), represent the Brown family in presenting
a collection of memorabilia from the ministry of the woman who pioneered the Army’s work in the mountains of western North Carolina. Major Willis Howell and Michael Nagy accept the donation for the Southern Historical Center. The collection includes the Order of the Founder pin presented to Cecil Brown – the first such honor
bestowed in the USA Southern Territory.

Atlanta Temple Corps celebrates Christmas

imageTwo nights of dazzling worship and praise were the hallmarks of Celebrate Christmas 2008, an annual yuletide event at the Atlanta Temple Corps.

American Idol finalist Tamyra Gray (right) performed on Saturday evening, with first season’s runner-up Justin Guarini featured Sunday night.

The Atlanta Temple Band, Temple Songsters, and the “Light on the Hill” praise and worship band provided program support. The “Praise In Motion” ballet troupe, in addition to Tasha Thomas and Tami Hewett, offered graceful interpretations of Scripture.



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