Happy Birthday, General William Booth!
Post courtesy of The Salvation Army USA’s blog.
Today is Salvation Army founder General William Booth’s birthday! He was born on April 10, 1829 in Sneinton, Nottingham, England.
Booth found his passion for teaching the gospel in 1851 when he joined the Methodist Reform Church of London as Pastor. 14 years later, he would find himself preaching to crowds on the street of London’s East End; home to the city’s most poor and destitute.
He and his wife, Catherine opened The Christian Mission later named The Salvation Army in 1878, where they would share the word of God and help those in physical and spiritual need. The Salvation Army’s work was a militant battle against homelessness, hunger, physical abuse, substance dependence, and the horrors of prostitution and human trafficking.
The work wasn’t easy, though. Booth would often come home at night with torn clothes and bloody bandages from people on the street who opposed his work. He was indeed battling an army of opposition: thieves, prostitutes, gamblers, and drunkards were among his first converts to Christianity. While other churches rejected these people for their past lives, Booth sought them out to offer new-found spiritual direction and meaning to their lives.
In spite of persecution, throughout his lifetime General Booth established Salvation Army locations in 58 countries and colonies. Currently, The Salvation Army operates in almost every corner of the world.
General Booth passed away in August of 1912, but just a few months prior with only limited sight in one eye remaining, he gave his last public address to a crowd in London’s Royal Albert Hall:
“While Women weep, as they do now, I’ll fight;
While 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 poor lost girl upon the streets, while there remains one dark soul without the light of God, I’ll fight, I’ll fight to the very end!”
Today, we remember General Booth’s legacy; his faith in God’s word, his compassion for those in need, and his dedication to a lifetime of service.
Happy Birthday, General Booth!