Miss Helen Keller Endorses the Work of The Salvation Army

MAY  20, 1933 War Cry

Urging workers on the Army’s New York United Appeal to greater efforts on behalf of the 30,000 needy men, women and children now receiving aid from the Army, Mr. James G. Blaine recently read an unsolicited letter of endorsement which was received with a contribution from Miss Helen Keller.

The letter said:

“I am glad to join The Salvation Army in its campaign to raise a fund for the unemployed. The cry of destitute millions is in my heart, and out of their anguish I must speak. My own life has been made sweet with friendship and comforts and work, but blindness has taught me to look into all darknesses, and there will ever be bitterness in my cup of happiness while multitudes of my fellow creatures go hungry, and are unhelped.

“I have often tried to picture to myself what it would be like to stand in a breadline, hungry, shivering and hopeless, but I simply cannot imagine such depths of misery. Every dollar sought by The Salvation Army tells a tragic story of the bitter suffering of real people. If we who have food and warmth and security could for a single Winter be made to feel in our bodies what is meant by cold and hunger, our hearts would be compassionate, and help would come quickly from us, not as philanthropists, but as fellow human beings.

“Would that I might aid them all myself—the fathers, mothers and children who are homeless and breadless through no fault of their own! But since that may not be, I must content myself by urging others to come to their assistance. I implore every one who reads theses words: Give willingly, and give in the right spirit—the spirit of justice, not charity. It is our plain duty as individual members of society to do all in our power to right this appalling disaster in the lives of countless people. Give as much as you can, and give quickly; measure your gift to The Salvation Army by the thankfulness in your hearts for your security and the blessings you enjoy, the chief of which is the well-being of your children.”

Bible Study: Working It

Stories of the Kingdom, Matthew 25:14-30

Bartaldo de Giovanni, though a mediocre sculptor, was the teacher of the great Michelangelo. At 14, Michelangelo was already gifted but sometimes lazy. One day, Giovanni found Michelangelo toying with a sculpture far beneath his abilities. With hammer in hand, Giovanni smashed it to pieces, shouting, “Michelangelo, talent is cheap; dedication is costly!”

The Parable of the Talents is an illustration of this truth. The tale opens with the master calling his servants together before going away on a long journey. There is no indication of when he will return, nor has he left anyone behind to directly supervise these select servants. The slaves are to act in their master’s interests. They are entrusted with a huge sum of money measured in talents. A talent represented a lifetime of wages in our present economy—well over $1 million.

It is from this story that the meaning of “talent” changed from a unit of weight to mean a given ability. The accountability shown the servants for money extends in the Christian realm to abilities as well. God entrusts His servants with resources like money, time and opportunities as well as abilities, not to keep but to use. Those who claim Christ as Savior are not only saved from sin but are to be employed in His service. A talent is something that God gives now and asks about later. The acorn is expected to yield an oak.

The servants are not all given equal amounts. “He gave five bags of silver to one, two bags of silver to another and one bag of silver to the last—dividing it in proportion to their abilities” (Matthew 25:15). The rabbis taught that before Solomon’s Temple was built every stone and piece of lumber was marked. Builders in Jerusalem were able to tell where each piece fit as they assembled the magnificent structure. In the same way we are marked for a purpose by the Lord, each fitting in a place uniquely designed by God. We are never responsible for what we cannot do but totally responsible to do what we can. It may be a little thing, a small opportunity, an act without an audience, but we misunderstand God completely if we think He does not take notice of little things.

In the parable, the time comes for the servants to go to work. The first two immediately begin working. Protecting what he has, the third servant decides it’s better to bury his treasure instead. However, any Christian who decides to keep his faith to himself risks losing his experience as well. In putting his talent away the servant treats it like a dead, useless thing, reflecting his inner thought. The fact is that he would be just as wasteful if he were given 10 talents.

“After a long time their master returned from his trip and called them to give an account of how they had used the money” (vs. 19). The day of reckoning comes, as it will for all people in eternity. Ours is a gospel of grace—the free gift of salvation to any who will believe and receive Christ. But it is also a gospel of judgment. How have we handled what we have been given?

The first two servants are excited to report their success. They invite the master to count the gain. The Bible says, “The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’” (vs. 21, 23). There is a place for feeling good about work well done. The player who hits a homerun has a right to smile. The musician who performs flawlessly can enjoy the crowd’s applause. And the servant of God who acts on behalf of the Lord and sees results has a right to have a song on his lips. C. S. Lewis said, “If we consider … the staggering nature of the rewards of the Gospels, it would seem our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are halfhearted creatures … like an ignorant child who wants to make mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday by the sea. We are too easily pleased.”

The reward for good work is more work, more responsibility. The Kingdom of God is a battlefront, not a resort.

The story closes with the evil servant. Returning the talent he had buried, saying “’Master, I knew you were a harsh man, harvesting crops you didn’t plant and gathering crops you didn’t cultivate. I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth. Look, here is your money back” (vs. 24-25). This servant misses badly on several counts.

His view is warped. Although he calls him “master,” his actions contradict his words. Second, he calls him “harsh.” The original word in Greek means, “unrelenting, merciless.” It speaks of someone who has unreasonable expectations. Thirdly, he accuses him of “harvesting crops you didn’t plant.” Essentially, he is calling him a thief and a thug. This servant reveals his wickedness blaming his master for his own wrongdoing. Nothing can help a person who will not take responsibility for his own actions.

The servant squanders his opportunity. In wasting the potential of the talent he also wastes the time he was given to do something. He fritters it away doing what pleases him instead of doing what he should.

The story ends with his ruin. He loses what he has because he fails to act. Dr. Albert Barnes remarks, “God will judge men, not merely for doing wrong, but for not doing right.” A “do-nothing” causes as much harm as a rebel.

The parable that Jesus tells is both an encouragement to do well as well as a warning against complacency. There are rewards and there are punishments. What are you doing with what has been placed in your hands?


By Lt. Colonel Allen Satterlee
Editor-in-Chief and National Literary Secretary
National Publications

The Phone Call

It had been a busy day of running errands. I was finishing up at the bank, eager to go home and put my feet up, when a bank employee asked me if I could step into her office. I obliged.

“I’m Sally Pachik,” she volunteered, “and you’re with The Salvation Army, right?” Although I didn’t know it at the time, Sally remembered my bank application, which revealed that prior to retirement I had served as a Salvation Army officer.

“Yes, I am,” I replied. I had no idea where this conversation was going.

Then the story began to spill from Sally’s lips—and from her heart. Her son Chris was addicted to drugs and alcohol. He was in jail but would be released to his mother’s custody if she could guarantee his placement in a Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center (ARC). Could I help?

Sally had already made contact with the Suncoast ARC in St. Petersburg, Florida. There was a three-week waiting list, but she was not about to give up. Her son’s life was at stake, and she was desperate to find him the help he needed. “Perhaps if you make a call, you can influence them to make an exception,” she pleaded.

I really wanted to go home, so I told her, “I’ll see what I can do.”

At home, I debated. It probably won’t do any good, I thought.

But an inner voice said, it’s worth a try.

The ARC people don’t even know who I am, I argued.

You won’t know the answer unless you ask the question, came the silent but insistent response.

“All right, Lord,” I said aloud. I was beginning to understand that the positive inward promptings were the voice of the Holy Spirit. So I called the center and explained that I was a retired Salvation Army officer calling on behalf of a woman who cared very much for her son. “I’m Mrs. Major Leidy,” I kept saying, hoping my rank and my experience would have a positive effect.

“Please hold,” said the voice at the other end of the line.

You’re being given the runaround, the negative voice in my mind said. I uttered a silent prayer that God would have His way.

“Hello.” The voice from the ARC was speaking again. “Because of the circumstances, we’re moving Chris to the top of the list. Have him come in tomorrow morning. We’ll accept him into the program.” I breathed a sigh of relief and uttered a brief prayer of thanksgiving.

The next morning, Sally drove Chris to the center, where he began an exciting adventure that would make a radical change in his lifestyle and in his plans for the future. Chris Pachik’s acceptance into the ARC was a miracle—the first of many.

A promising pitcher hoping to make a living as a professional athlete, Chris had gone to college on a baseball scholarship. But when he suffered a baseball-related injury, the team’s physician prescribed opiates to relieve the pain. That was the beginning of the end.

A victim of the epidemic of prescription drug abuse sweeping the country, Chris fell into a pattern of addiction similar to many who are prescribed powerful painkillers. He eventually discovered ways to get the medicine without a doctor’s prescription. To no one’s surprise, including his own, the drugs interfered with Chris’ ability to pitch.

“One day I was high on drugs in the dugout,” he recalls. “So I was kicked off the team. I dropped out of college, and things went from bad to worse.” By the time he was arrested in October 2014 for selling illicit drugs to an undercover detective, Chris had been incarcerated 10 times. “I was the lowest of the low,” he confesses. “In fact, I was given the gift of desperation. I was absolutely helpless, angry at God, miserable, unable to make the necessary changes in my life. I had reached the bottom, and I was willing to do anything to get my life back.”

Chris successfully completed the six-month ARC program and was hired as an assistant at one of the Army’s thrift stores. Meanwhile, under the tutelage of the ARC administrators and a sponsor who himself had found freedom from drugs through the center’s program, Chris gave his life to Christ. He experienced the miracle of new birth.

That’s when Chris began attending meetings at the Clearwater Corps. “I was overwhelmed by the acceptance I received from the people at the corps,” he said. “They showed me a love I had never experienced before.”

On Thanksgiving Day in 2014, Chris’ older brother Sean, also an addict, visited him at the center. Looking for a way out of his own illness and impressed by the remarkable change in his brother, Sean enrolled in the program. Today, clean and sober, he drives an ARC pickup truck.

Miracles continue to occur in Chris’ life. The Clearwater Corps has hired him as a program assistant and he was responsible for the corps’ bell-ringing effort last Christmas, supervising more than a hundred employees and volunteers.

Chris has grown exponentially in his spirituality. Now a uniformed Salvationist, he is currently a prospective candidate for Salvation Army officership with hopes to enter the Evangeline Booth College in Atlanta in the fall of 2016.

Recently, when giving the sermon in a Sunday evening meeting at the corps, he was supported by his parents and a number of his buddies from the ARC, as well as by scores of newfound friends from the corps.

“I thank God for the tremendous change He has made in Chris’ life. I’m so glad I listened to the voice of the Lord and made that phone call.”

By Major Mary Leidy (as told to Commissioner Robert E. Thomson)
Both Major Leidy and Commissioner Thomson are soldiering at the Army‘s Clearwater, FL. Corps.

Defining Equality in Ministry: A Look at Catherine Booth

When Catherine Mumford first met William Booth in 1851, a love story began that changed the religious landscape of Victorian London and extended the influence of their deep faith around the world. Male religious leaders have historically been supported in their ministry by their wives, but as their relationship unfolded, William and Catherine Booth became a powerful model of shared leadership within marriage and ministry. Initially hesitant as to her public involvement, Catherine soon stepped beyond the norm of her times to provide substantive leadership to the fledgling Christian Mission (later renamed The Salvation Army).

God’s hand was upon the young Catherine, bearing witness to the truth that God doesn’t waste anything in the lives of His children. In a first instance, Catherine Mumford’s precocious nature foreshadowed the strong theological underpinnings of the Christian Mission. According to biographer Catherine Bramwell-Booth (her granddaughter), she learned to read at the age of three, and had read through the Bible eight times by the age of twelve. A year of treatment for curvature of the spine forced her to lay on her face for her fourteenth year, and the lasting effects of her ill health remained with her throughout her life. Yet instead of giving way to self-pity, she used those endless hours of inactivity to study theology and church history.

William may have been the charismatic visionary of The Salvation Army, but Catherine’s familiarity with Scripture, as well as her study of historical and contemporary theologians gave depth to The Salvation Army’s theological stance.

Catherine’s firm belief in the evils of strong drink was also formed as a child. Her father was a member of the early temperance movement, and young Catherine often joined with John Mumford and his companions as they expounded on the dangers of alcohol. To Catherine’s sorrow, her father later left the ranks of the temperance movement to escape into alcohol himself, but her commitment to total abstinence continued and became a major tenet of The Salvation Army.

In her eighteenth year, Catherine put in writing her prerequisites for a potential husband. “He must be a sincere Christian, truly converted to God,” and a total abstainer. He also was to be a man of sense. “I knew that I could never respect a fool, or one much weaker mentally than myself.” She recognized that she could be most useful to God as a minister’s wife, and suggested that minister “should be dark, tall and for preference called William.”

Was Catherine simply expressing her dream, or were her words prophetic? Either way, it appears that William Booth met her expectations, for she noted after their first meeting, “He impressed me.” Their subsequent marriage provided the basis for what is still distinctive within The Salvation Army—the dual clergy couple. Sharing in the founding of The Salvation Army, Catherine Booth became much more than just “a minister’s wife.” In the same way, contemporary married women officers (clergy) within The Salvation Army continue to share responsibility for the daily ministry with their spouses.

By the age of 19, Catherine and her mother were faithfully attending the local Wesleyan Church. With reform in the air, a church dispute erupted, ultimately leading to the expulsion of a number of ministers. Catherine disagreed with the decisions of the Conference, and was determined to speak out for those who had been expelled. As a result, her membership ticket wasn’t renewed. In the years ahead, she would forcefully speak out against injustice both in the the broad culture of the day and within the church, going so far as to write to Queen Victoria on numerous occasions about issues of social justice.

Following her dismissal from that Wesleyan church body, Catherine joined the Reformers, supporting a more democratic approach to church governance as well as sharing their longing for revival. The desire for revival continued to burn within Catherine throughout her life, but ironically, her early concern for a more democratic church was discarded by the time she and William were the ones making the decisions and expecting obedience from their followers.

When the distance to the Reformers was too far for her to walk due to ill health, she worshipped for a time in a Congregational church. When the Congregational minister spoke in a way she sensed was derogatory to women, Catherine immediately wrote to him: “Permit me, my dear sir, to ask whether you have ever made the subject of women’s equality as a being, the matter of calm investigation and thought. If not, I would, with all deference, suggest it as a subject well worth the exercise of your brain.” Later, when corresponding with William prior to marriage, she was not pleased with his response on the subject of men and women when he wrote “to concede that she [woman] is man’s equal, or capable of becoming man’s equal in intellectual attainments or prowess – I must say that is contradicted by experience in the world and my honest conviction.” According to W.T. Stead, another early biographer, this disagreement threatened the planned marriage, but apparently over time, William “succumbed to the logic of his fair disputant,” thus paving the way for the full inclusion of women within Salvation Army ministry.

While she often wrote of the place of women and had further exchanges with preachers about the issue, it wasn’t until she was 31 that she first spoke from the pulpit herself. “I want to say a word,” she began, and as she did, promised the Lord “that I will be obedient to the Heavenly vision.” Once she started preaching, she became a formidable voice. As one listener reported to her husband, “Mrs. Booth talked with such divine power that it seemed to me as if every person in the chapel who was not right with God must at once consecrate themselves to His service.”

It is nearly impossible to imagine what The Salvation Army might have become, if it would have existed at all, without Catherine Booth’s deep theological understanding, her belief in abstinence, her lifelong desire for revival and her demand for the equality of women. Yet this little woman in delicate health and her beloved husband, who just happened to be “dark, tall and by preference called William,” gave birth to a mission that has changed the lives of millions of people around the world, fulfilling Catherine’s early vision, “Oh, to help in some small degree to revive and enforce a practical Christlike Christianity.”


By Major JoAnn Shade
Retired major in The Salvation Army USA Eastern Territory