Salvation Army leader launches Congress
The world leader of the Salvation Army launched the Boundless Bermuda Congress yesterday from City Hall as part of the organisation's 150th anniversary celebrations.
General André Cox called for the movement's members to “get your hands dirty”, especially when it comes to helping those with drug and alcohol addictions.
“It's a spiral that leads to poverty and homelessness,” said Mr Cox, who met with Michael Dunkley, the Premier, yesterday morning to discuss the matter.
“We're not called to sit in the comfort of our places of worship and be disconnected from what's going on,” added the 61-year-old, who is visiting from Britain with his wife, Commissioner Silvia Cox, the world president of women's ministries.
“Our churches must be involved in the local community and in trying to help people.”
The Congress, which runs until Sunday, will include a March of Witness today at 6pm on Front Street, followed by a worship service on the City Hall steps at 10am tomorrow, and a musical praise session at the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club at 3pm on Sunday. The latter two events will be streamed live online at www.salvationarmy.ca/bermuda.
The Salvation Army was founded in 1865 by London minister William Booth with the aim of helping the city's hopeless and destitute residents, and has since expanded to 127 countries across the globe.
The organisation bestows quasi-military ranks upon its members, who number about two million, while its remit in helping others remains broad, encompassing everything from education to disaster relief and medical services.
“We're not an army serving in a time of peace. We are struggling with some huge issues,” said Mr Cox, who pointed to the widening gap between rich and poor as a grave problem afflicting many modern societies.
However, he remained confident that the Salvation Army was ready to tackle the most daunting of humanitarian tasks, as long as its members stayed motivated and mobilised.
“The Salvation Army is something of an enigma,” said Mr Cox, who was named the organisation's 20th world leader in August 2013.
“Is it a church, is it a religious organisation, is it an NGO? The truth is, it's all three. I quite like it when the lines are completely blurred.”