Growing with the changes
Sherman Ave. Corps adapts to new
of D.C. neighborhood
Southern Spirit staff
Located nearly due north of the White House, and adjacent to the
"yuppie" section of Georgetown, is a corridor in Washington known to
locals as Petworth/Georgia Avenue. The majority of inhabitants here are of
Caribbean descent, although growing numbers of Hispanics are evident to the
corps council of the Washington Sherman Avenue Corps. The local officers of
this corps are making evangelistic outreach a priority for the continued growth
of their corps family.
Commanding the corps is Major Denny Hewitt, a single officer who
gladly relies on a strong slate of local officers to help run a diverse and
effective outreach ministry in the nation's capital.
"The soldiers here are great. They take their job seriously
and are faithful to the Army's mission here," Hewitt said. "The
people here make the difference! We refer to everyone as ‘Brother' or
‘Sister' because we are truly a part of the family of
Hewitt's ancestry is in the Caribbean, and
his accent proves it - even his guitar style has a distinct Jamaican rhythm
which gets the congregation caught up in lively rhythmic singing. Much of the
congregation also have connections to a Caribbean island, for many years a
reflection of the neighborhood. But that is slowly changing and the Sherman
Avenue soldiers are reaching out as they believe Jesus would have them
In addition to a clothing and feeding ministry promoted
throughout the Petworth/Georgia Avenue Corridor, the soldiers hold an annual
Super Weekend in the autumn to allow their neighbors to join in a three-day
worship experience, including a prayer breakfast, outdoor services and family
"We literally open our doors for everyone
to see that The Salvation Army is a church," Hewitt said. "Really, we
do that all year long, but for Super Weekend we pull out all the stops, and it
has proven very successful for the growth of our corps family."
Hewitt said the success of the corps is a result of the commitment
made by its soldiers long ago. He points to the "easy transition"
recently experienced when the old Washington Ninth Street Corps had to be
closed and its corps family merged with Sherman Avenue Corps.
"Both corps families embraced each other from the outset.
That doesn't always happen," he said. The new congregation set their
sights on fulfilling the Army's mission to continue building God's
CSM Howard Campbell is one of the soldiers coming
over from Ninth Street to Sherman Avenue. His position as the leading local
officer is indicative of the positive spirit practiced by the corps
"This is a diverse ministry," Campbell
said. "We have after school activities for the children, programs for
older adults, and we are working to attract entire families.
"My role as a Salvationist is to be a servant of
Christ," he said. "Once you are, you are compelled to reach out to
those who need Him."
Cadlena Dunwell is another Ninth
Street transplant who has become a key local officer at Sherman Avenue. Her
commitment as junior soldier sergeant has already touched the lives of scores
of children attending Sherman Avenue Corps. Another corps council member
described her as "the most faithful, reliable and dependable soldier we
have here at Sherman Avenue."
Linval Crosdale was a
soldier for many years in the Kintyre Corps in Jamaica. He immigrated to the
U.S. in 1985 and brought his soldiership with him. He quickly settled into the
Sherman Avenue Corps, identifying with the Caribbean connection - which he
considers an advantage in relating to the unchurched in the area.
"The corps has gone through many cultural changes, but we
need change in order to grow sometimes," Crosdale said. "This corps
offers hope. Mention The Salvation Army in this neighborhood, and they know who
we are: a church, a place of refuge and a ministry that meets their social
needs while drawing them into our worship experience."
J. Virginia Murray is a "home grown soldier," who came
to the corps about 10 years ago and immediately fell in love with the Salvation
Army mission. She has a passion for youth ministry and left a lucrative career
with the U.S. State Department to come to work at the corps (see related
"Our corps is in a transition stage,"
Murray said. "God is doing some wonderful things through our corps family
in this community - I get the feeling that something new and marvelous is in
Photos (above): Top, Bonita Johnson
greets Alice Haywood, a fellow member of the congregation, before the morning
worship service. Middle, Major Denny Hewitt welcomes help from local soldiers.
Bottom, Sherman Avenue Corps youth pose outside their corps building in a rock
garden that depicts the Beatitudes.
Hagerstown, Md., Corps
invites all the neighbors in for a party
Since 1949, The Salvation Army's Hagerstown, Md., Corps
Community Center has been nestled in the middle of the West End residential
community. With a rich history of being an integral part of the neighborhood,
the corps wanted to keep the tradition alive.
40 corps members, eight advisory board volunteers and Majors Robert and Karen
Lyle, corps officers, decided to get reacquainted personally with their
Two weeks prior to their block party, the corps
cadets and men's fellowship canvassed the area with flyers letting their
neighbors know about the upcoming event. The effort was an excellent way for
them to meet some of the corps congregation and become better acquainted.
The fenced playground beside the corps building was
transformed into a "Hallelujah Carnival" to give an alternative idea
to trick-or-treating to corps neighbors. Major Robert Lyle brought a new twist
to this idea and asked the corps council what they thought about incorporating
a "Meet Your Neighbor" block party. Registration/ticket tables were
set up at the gate and everyone who entered was asked to give their name,
address and phone number.
"We also asked if they had
any prayer requests," said Major Karen Lyle, "and 210 families shared
prayer concerns with us. We will use the information to send flyers and letters
of the services and fellowship opportunities that we offer and to let them know
we are continuing to pray with them about their concerns."
The ticket volunteers lost count of people entering the carnival
at 475. That total did not include the 48 volunteers and a host of people who
got past the registration area without being counted.
"Many children dressed up for the evening but the only ghost
we were able to identify was the promised presence of the Holy Ghost,"
Karen Lyle said. "Our corps family has been praying to be of practical use
to folks in the community, and I believe God just opened the door for us to
Photo, above: Hagerstown's
'Hallelujah Carnival' offered residents in the surrounding West End
community food, fun and fellowship on Halloween.
Replacing weapons with the Word
This report by Bola Noho was published in the Lae Daily News on
Nov. 13, 2006
Youths of Four Mile settlement,
Papua New Guinea, considered a notorious breeding ground for criminals,
yesterday exchanged their weapons for Bibles. Their surrendering of the
dangerous weapons was at the urging and encouragement of The Salvation
The weapons included homemade guns, live ammunition,
slingshots, bush knives and pieces of iron used by the youths for armed holdups
and road blocks.
The weapons were ceded to the Salvation
Army leaders at a small ceremony.
The weapons surrender
program, initiated by the youths themselves and The Salvation Army from Lae,
saw more than 30 youths hand their weapons to The Salvation Army's
divisional commander, Major Sere Kala, in front of the settlement leaders,
people and an Australian television crew.
As each youth from
the settlement surrendered his weapon, Major Kala issued each of them a Bible
and assured them of a better life of Christianity.
the Four Mile area was considered a crime hot spot. Road blocks and armed
holdups are common occurrences. He said he was himself a victim once when he
was held up while traveling in a bus from Nadzab airport to Lae.
Kala's relationship with the youths in that settlement grew
after meeting with the youth leaders.
The Salvation Army
came to their aid in starting up a coffee shop that proved to be a money-making
enterprise. The Salvation Army also assisted with the training of youths in
baking scones and selling them.
Kala welcomed the
youths' positive thinking and attitudes by deciding to surrender their
arms. "This is a change for the better," he said.
He also challenged the business community to give the youths a
second chance to prove themselves.
"If we can show
compassion and a little bit of care, we will be creating the leeway for these
youths to follow and change to become better persons," he said. He said
the surrendered arms would be handed over to the police for disposal.