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Wednesday, 13 March 2013 I For immediate release
Members of The Salvation Army will gather at Cape Town’s Waterfront on Saturday 30 March to celebrate the 130th anniversary of the organisation in South Africa. The celebration will take the form of a public witness service at the plaque which honours the arrival of the first Salvationists in South Africa.
The Saturday Waterfront celebration will be one of several taking place over the Easter weekend to commemorate the anniversary. Others will be a three-hour service on Good Friday, and the famous Easter sunrise service at Rhodes Memorial, usually attended by several hundred people of all denominations.
The work of The Salvation Army in South Africa began with the arrival of Majors Francis and Rose Simmonds and Lieutenant Alice Teager in Cape Town harbour on Saturday 24 February 1883.
They wasted little time in getting going with their mission, with the earliest meetings held on Sunday 4 March in the Volunteers Engineers Drill Hall in Loop Street.
In Major Francis Simmonds’ pocket during that first meeting was a miniature cornet, an instrument that led to the first Salvation Army brass band in South Africa and the beginning of a great tradition that has nurtured some of the country’s best known musicians.
Within two months, the fledgling organisation had reported 300 followers and, with the arrival of additional Salvationists in June 1883, a second corps (church) was opened, extending the outreach from central Cape Town into the peninsula. This was followed by Simonstown in October 1883.
It was not long before the intrepid Salvationists moved further afield, when they started their witness in Port Elizabeth in February 1884, later extending it to the rolling hills of the then Natal (now KwaZulu/Natal) in March 1885 and the rough and tumble of the recently-proclaimed gold mining village of Johannesburg in August 1886. Today, The Salvation Army is represented by nearly 250 corps and outposts (churches) in South Africa, Lesotho, Namibia, the Island of St Helena, and Swaziland where the Christian message is preached in 10 languages.
The Salvation Army has always regarded issues of social relief and justice as synonymous with its Christian outreach. The social expression of The Salvation Army in South Africa began with the establishment of the Magdalena Home for Women in Port Elizabeth in 1884. Other homes followed at Salt River and Kimberley. Although numbering less than 50 000 “soldiers”, The Salvation Army has an outstanding reputation for its outreach to the poor and needy in South Africa.
In modern times, this is expressed in initiatives to address social ills in communities such as deprivation of food and water, lack of shelter, inadequate access to education, the sale of pornography, and the exploitation of women and children for sexual purposes, among other initiatives.
This is achieved through schools, hospitals, institutions for children, street children, the elderly, men and abused women, and daycare, goodwill, rehabilitation and social centres, as well as projects undertaken by local corps (churches).
The Southern Africa Territory of The Salvation Army encompasses four countries – South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho and Swaziland – and the island of St Helena. Its officers, soldiers and full-time employees provide their spiritual and community services through approximately 230 corps (churches), societies and outposts, as well as through schools, hospitals, institutions for children, street children, the elderly, men and abused women, and daycare, goodwill, rehabilitation and social centres.
ISSUED BY QUO VADIS COMMUNICATIONS ON BEHALF OF THE SALVATION ARMY
Media Contact: Ruth Coggin
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Client Contact: Major Carin Holmes
Public Relations Secretary
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