Thursday, 30 May 2013 06:38

Salvation Army celebrating 100 years in Swift Current

Written by  Matthew Liebenberg
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Photo submitted Photo submitted Participants in an undated photo of a Salvation Army Sunday school class in Swift Current.

After 100 years of looking after people’s physical and spiritual needs in Swift Current, the Salvation Army is getting ready for its centennial celebrations from June 7-9.

Captain Michael Ramsay would like to see the community come out and celebrate the occasion with them.
“It should be a lot of fun and for those who have never experienced Salvation Army celebrations this should be a big one,” he said.
The celebrations will start at 6 p.m. on June 7 with various activities at the Salvation Army community church and centre.
There will be games for children, an old-fashion timbrels routine by the youth and a musical performance by Larry Jaster. There will also be tours of the different ministry units in the building.
“In the tours we’ll talk about the different ministries that go on as we walk throughout the building,” he said. “I think a lot of people would be pleasantly surprised at the role the Salvation Army does play in the community here.”
On June 8, the celebrations will start at 10 a.m. with a pancake breakfast and musical entertainment.
At 2 p.m. there will be an open air parade around Memorial Park with a performance by the Salvation Army Saskatoon Temple Band. There will also be activities for children and an address by guest speaker Major Stephen Court.
“The open air should be a lot of fun,” Ramsay said. “That’s a big part of the Salvation Army historic tradition and that would have been how we would have started in town too. Somebody would have played their tambourine, stood out in the field and everybody would come around.”
The presence of the Temple Band will represent an important Salvation Army tradition.
“Another big part of the Salvation Army in the old days was that the brass bands would go walking into the streets,” he said. “So it will be neat to have the open air parade there and the band marching around.”
A certain highlight will be the dinner at the Salvation Army that evening, starting at 5:30 p.m. There will be musical performances by the Saskatoon Temple Band and Larry Jaster as well as greetings from various dignitaries.
Major Court will be the main speaker at the dinner. He and his wife, Major Danielle Strickland, founded the Salvation Army’s 614 Urban Ministries on Vancouver’s downtown eastside. He was a principal of a Salvation Army training college in Australia and he is currently serving in Edmonton.
The centennial celebrations will conclude June 9 when Major Court will lead a church service at 10:30 a.m. The musical worship will be provided by the Saskatoon Temple Band and Larry Jaster.
According to Ramsay the Salvation Army’s impact in Swift Current has been significant.
“Just in preparing for the centennial, as I’ve listened to what people have been doing, it has been a real revelation as to how many families got touched through the Salvation Army,” he said.
The Salvation Army started in Swift Current June 21, 1913 when the first meeting took place in the Lyric Theatre. Thereafter meetings were held in the Eagle Theatre.
“It was very much an evangelistic and revivalist movement and from there it grew to being the church and the social services as well as the justice work and all of the other work we do today,” he said.
Over the years the organization has been located in various buildings across the city. It moved to its current location at 780 1st Ave. NW in 1998.
“One of the exciting things about our association in this community is that our ministry has been growing,” he said.
Ramsay is excited about the various partnerships between the Salvation Army and other community organizations in Swift Current.
“The strength of our community here is that the Salvation Army and the other agencies and people in the community all work so well together,” he said. “It’s really such an honour to serve in a community such as Swift Current.”
To obtain tickets to the June 8 centennial celebration dinner, phone 306-778-0515 or visit the Salvation Army Thrift Store or corps office.

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