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San Antonio

Above: Michelle Moore raises her hand in paise during the Center of Hope's holiness meeting. 

Army's mission fortress brings hope to San Antonio

By Major Frank Duracher

Southern Spirit staff

In an area that used to be known as San Antonio de Bexar, a facility exists that started out as a mission and has become a fortress. Battles are still being fought there, and the enemy has promised no quarter. It is remembered by many to be their personal "cradle of liberty."

No, it is not The Alamo. This is The Salvation Army's newest corps in San Antonio, the Center of Hope.

"This is not a traditional corps - it is more like a corps that is free to do a number of ministries among homeless and destitute," said Major Margaret McGourn. "There are victories being won, although many are hard-fought."

McGourn is involved with the people living and working at the Hope Center, a sprawling complex that houses the Army's area command administrative offices, emergency shelters and several social services programs. In the center of the Hope Center, literally and figuratively, is the Center of Hope Corps - providing the spiritual component that is so important to the reclamation of lives and the rebuilding of family infrastructures.

Julie Zupec and her family have been staying at the Hope Center for two months. Her husband has found employment and they plan to move into an apartment soon. Zupec's children (Joseph, Julia and Vincent Villarreal) all attended summer camp at the Texas Division's Camp Hoblitzelle. Only baby Isabelle was not able to go. Between attending the Center of Hope and their camping experience, the Villarreal children have given their hearts to Jesus.

Julie has recently decided to devote her life to being a social worker.

"My experience here has been wonderful," she said. "This fall, I'm enrolling at SAC (San Antonio College), and I want to help others that have been homeless like me. I know what they are going through."

"We are very happy now," son Vincent said. "I love the Lord, and I want to learn more about Him!"

Linda Sexton, another shelter resident, enjoys taking up the offering as her part of her Sunday worship experience. Her fiancé, Jack Johnson, also attends and helps in various ways around the corps.

"Our Sunday service congregation will fill this chapel," McGourn said, "but the congregation is transient, making this corps anything but traditional."

For that reason, the corps has no real local officers but is well-supported by soldiers of the other two corps, San Antonio Citadel and San Antonio Southside, with lay-leaders helping to fill would-be local officer positions. The Sunday service at the Center of Hope is held earlier so that the soldiers can depart in time for their regular duties at their home corps. Volunteers also help with midweek activities at the Center of Hope Corps. Adherents attending the corps are involved in life-skill classes, Bible studies and character programs held during the week.

Bobby McFarland and Nathanael Doria are two of the soldiers pulling double-duty between the Center of Hope and the corps where their soldiership is officially on roll.

"Everything comes together here at the Center of Hope," McFarland said. "The Army's social services programs in this city are connected to this corps for the spiritual aspect - the most important one of all."

Doria uses his skill on the guitar to lead praise and worship. His wife, Lucila, welcomes people as they arrive and distributes printed programs and a list of songs and choruses for that day. The couple said they believe their most important job is to make everyone feel welcome and provide a sense of home.

"My parents were officers, and when I was a young man I got an offer to play my guitar and possibly earn 10 times what my father made in a year," Doria said. "When I told him this, he wouldn't allow me, saying that God had given me this talent and that if I just wait on Him, he would give me all the desires of my heart, provide me with a worthwhile ministry, and I could still use my love for music to benefit people."

Now I know what he meant, Doria said. "Helping people here win their fight against sin and despair is the joy of my life!"


CowboysArmy, Cowboys team up to help kids develop life skills

Left: Amanda Medina, youth services manager for The Salvation Army, labels equipment that Tyrone Mosely, 14, will use during a two-week Junior Player Development football camp to be conducted by The Salvation Army and the Dallas Cowboys.

Boxes of helmets, shoulder pads and knee pads lined the wall. Filtered among them were cartons of jerseys, pants, belts and mouth guards.

A crowd of boys and, yes, girls too, stood in line on Thursday at The Salvation Army's Cedar Crest Community Center in Dallas to be fitted with gear for a free, two-week Junior Player Development football camp in July, conducted at the center by The Salvation Army and the Dallas Cowboys.

The regional manager from Riddell, the supplier of equipment for the NFL, was on hand to make sure each participant was fitted correctly.

The NFL JPD program is a developmental youth tackle football initiative designed to teach participants every position, through a step-by-step progression of skill instruction, packaged with a life-skills and character-building curriculum.

Approximately 140 students, ages 11-14, participated in the camp. Each session focused on a different life-skill message addressed through the context of football and how it can be applied to life on the field, in school, at home and in the community.

At The Salvation Army, sports are about more than scoring touchdowns or getting a ball through a hoop. Youth athletic programs teach boys and girls valuable lessons about life.

In a short game of baseball, basketball or soccer, players encounter many of the key ingredients: friendship and rivalry, bravery and fear, hard work and sloughing off, trusting and doubting, hanging tough and giving up, winning and losing.

Participants in organized athletic programs learn the meaning of integrity and fair play by being a part of a team and by competing against other teams. They learn there are rules to live by and consequences for breaking them. They learn how to win graciously, and how to lose without being defeated. They also learn that there are adults who care for them and who are willing to spend their time helping them to be better athletes and better people.

Young people can take these "lessons of the locker room" into their everyday lives and on into adulthood.

For some children in the inner-city, a coach might be the only person they know who is pointing the direction down the right road in life. Dedicated staff and volunteer coaches spend many nights and weekends in gymnasiums and on ball fields working with boys and girls from the at-risk neighborhoods near Salvation Army community centers.

The Salvation Army's subsidized athletic programs give parents living below the poverty level the opportunity for their children to participate in organized sports just like other kids.

Dorothy Langston promoted to Glory

A young Dorothy Langston received her calling at a Salvation Army open air meeting. She could not turn from the challenge issued in the words of the song being sung at the meeting: "Who'll go and help this shepherd kind, help Him the wandering ones to find?"

She surrendered her life to the Lord and became a Salvation Army officer, dedicating most of her 38 years of active service to ministry to youth and young adults.

Langston was promoted to Glory Friday, July 21, 2006. A service celebrating her remarkable life was held July 25 at the Raleigh, N.C., Corps with Major Fred Musgrave presiding. Lt. Colonel David Jeffrey, chief secretary, brought the message.

Her ministry and her effect on countless lives was remembered in spoken tributes by Major Hilda Howell and Captain Ray Cooper, as well as Mrs. Brigadier Martha Herring, Lt. Colonel Jean Michaels, Alice Delamar, Prentiss and Joan Baker, CSM Terry Williamson and William Moring Craven, Jr.

The graveside service was held at Willowdale Cemetery in Goldsboro, N.C.

In 2002, General John Gowans presented Langston the Order of the Founder, The Salvation Army's highest honor, at the Festival of Faith in Atlanta. An endowment fund in her name was set up that year to fund overseas projects in developing countries. In 1995, General Paul Rader presented her a plaque for exceptional service following her retirement.

Much of Langston's service was directed toward officer candidates, recruiting them to "help the shepherd kind," as Army officers and helping to prepare them for the training process. After her 1937 commissioning and several corps appointments, she served in the Territorial Youth Department, writing Sunday school curriculums and other spiritual development material for young people. She also conducted the Young Officers Training Course and coordinated Army youth ministries in the Atlanta area.

She also was divisional youth secretary and guard and sunbeam director in both the National Capital and Georgia divisions, youth counselor for the Southern Territory and for a member of the staff of the Evangeline Booth College as assistant dean for women. Her final active appointment was as territorial candidates secretary. She retired in 1975 but served as candidates counselor in the NSC Division for 10 years following retirement.

Langston was born in Goldsboro Sept. 25, 1915, to Colonel and Mrs. John Langston, who were Life Members of the Goldsboro Advisory Board. She graduated with honors from Goldsboro High School in 1932 and was a charter member of the National Honor Society and the Quill and Scroll Society. After completing a journalism course through the National School of Journalism, she attended Louisburg Junior College and Greensboro College for Women.

The clarity of her call to service never faded. In a 2002 interview with the Southern Spirit, she said, "As the years have gone by, never once have I doubted that God spoke to me and that I had to do His will. The reality of that first open-air experience is more vivid now than 66 years ago, and His voice stronger."

Surviving family members include nieces Ann Futrell of Goldsboro and Patricia Falconnier of Illinois; nephews W. Dortch Langston of Goldsboro, William Moring Craven of Wendell, N.C., and D. Langston Craven of Aberdeen, N.C.; and cousin George Langston, Jr., of Sanford, N.C.

Dan Childs

Left: Brigadier Dorothy Langston is escorted by Commissioner Raymond Cooper as she receives the Order of the Founder from General John Gowans at the 2002 Festival of Faith.










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