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History of the Salvation Army

In 1865, William Booth, an ordained Methodist minister, aided by his wife Catherine, formed an evangelical group dedicated to preaching among the "un churched" people living in the midst of appalling poverty in London's East End. Booth's ministry recognized the interdependence of material, emotional and spiritual needs. In addition to preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, Booth became involved in the feeding and shelter of the hungry and homeless and in rehabilitation of alcoholics.

The Salvation Army began in 1878. The military-styled structure of the "Army" reflected William Booth's vision of fighting injustice, poverty and lack of salvation with the same zeal as found in an armed campaign. The ordained ministers are "officers"...the laity are "soldiers." Mr. Booth became General Booth. The churches are Corps. And the uniform? An imaginative way to solve a problem when early organizers realized that Army "soldiers" could often not afford the proper suits of clothing.

In 1880, the "Army" landed in the United States, in New York City, combining preaching with social service work under the leadership of Commissioner George Scott Railton.

By 1897, just seventeen years after the Army's introduction in the U. S., The Salvation Army came to Tyler, Texas. The first command was opened here in May of that year. Since that time, The Salvation Army in Tyler expanded to embrace many ministries, all designed to reach people in our community who need a helping hand.

By the early 1900s, The Salvation Army had thousands of officers and soldiers in 36 countries.

Many special services emerged, such as women's social work in 1884, the first food depot in 1888, the first day nursery in 1890 and the first army missionary hospital in 1901.

In 2003, The Salvation Army in Tyler opened a 200-bed facility, entitled The Center of Hope, which is the only shelter in East Texas with the ability to house men, women, and children in the same place.  The Center of Hope is open 24/7, 365 days a year to provide both physical and spiritual salvation for the thousands who seek assistance each year here in Tyler.

As of 2011, its outreach has been expanded to include 125 countries, and the Gospel is preached by its officers in more than 175 languages. The Salvation Army Tyler is one of 15,765 corps worldwide!


Mission Statement: The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.

Majors Ben and Doris Lawrence


Dear Friends:

The Salvation Army in Tyler has been offering hope, compassion, and care to thousands of individuals and families 365 days a year for the past 115 years. This is done through the support of the community and the continued commitment to BE A SHIELD for those in need.

What does it mean to BE A SHIELD? It is a call to action. Scripture teaches us that when Jesus had compassion, it was immediately followed by action. To BE A SHIELD is to have that same active compassion. It means physically giving of yourself, even when it’s uncomfortable. The ways in which you can be involved are endless. You can volunteer to mentor, donate, serve meals, disaster work, ring bells at Christmas, etc. This list can go on, you are the one that sets the limit.

Every year over 4,000 men, women, and children call or come to The Salvation Army in Tyler in need of assistance and support. They need financial assistance, education, clothing and food. And most importantly they need to know Jesus loves them and they need faith in God and his plan for their life. They need you and what you have to give.

General William Booth said: “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, I’ll fight; While there is a poor girl upon the streets, I’ll fight; While there remains one dark soul without the light of God, I’ll fight-I’ll fight to the very end!”

You can be a shield on the front lines, right here, right now, today. Will you join us in this fight?!


Majors Ben and Doris Lawrence


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