The Salvation Army - Castries Corps Celebration of Praise for 100 Years of Service

St. Lucia was fortunate to be selected just 37 years after the formation of the Salvation Army in 1865. The work was established in St. Lucia in 1902. A period of 100 years is a long time in the life of any organisation.

The hands of God is truly upon the work of the Salvation Army and has sustained it over the years as it became well respected throughout the countries where its soldiers are marching with steadfastness and purpose.

It is a momentous occasion for the St. Lucia Corps as its celebrates its centenary.
On Thursday 17th October, 2002, the Salvation Army commenced a period of celebration to mark the 100th anniversary of bringing cheer to the poor in St. Lucia with a dinner at the Sandals, La Toc.

The Castries Corps under the leadership of Captains Winston and Jennifer Brown hosted Officers from many countries of the region and beyond. It was a work of love as the St. Lucia division ably assisted in the Lord's work by the Advisory Board under the Chairmanship of Mr. Reginald Cherebin, SLPM.

In recognition of the role the Salvation Army has played over the years in helping the poor, Her Excellency Dame Pearlette Louisy, Governor General of St. Lucia under whose patronage the Dinner was held on Thursday, 17th October, 2002, graced the function with her presence.

The following evening, Friday 18th October, 2002 it was time for the Congress Welcome where the Honourable Dr. Kenny Anthony, Prime Minister of St. Lucia addressed the gathering and fully participated in the fellowship.

Saturday 19 October, 2002 was time to march through the streets of Castries to the beat of the drums and the sound of trumpets, ending at the Derek Walcott Square. I was not there but I am certain persons old enough could have identified with the familiar tunes, one of which must have been "Onward Christian Soldiers."

Saturday evening saw the Officers and Salvationists coming together to share their many talents in song and other cultural gifts.

Sunday, October 20, 2002 it was back to the Cultural Centre for the Centennial Congress Holiness Meeting at 10:00 a.m. with a closing session of the Centennial Congress Thanksgiving Meeting which was held at 2:00 p.m.

There were other activities such as the Officers' Council, Men's Rally and Women's Rally over the said period. Senior Representatives of the Salvation Army came from England, Canada, Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad.

Colonels John and Elizabeth Matear are the Territorial Leaders based in Jamaica. Colonel Matear delivered all the messages during the period which stressed the importance of being faithful, disciplined and the need for members to be examples to the world, living lives worthy to be soldiers of God.

The theme of the observance of the 100th Anniversary of the Salvation Army in St. Lucia was "A Celebration of Praise" and I was very impressed with the worship services which were led by the members of the Barbados Corps.

As we bring the curtains down on the first 100 years and we draw open wide the curtains for the next 100 years, it is my hope that those who have not so far participated in extending a portion of their blessing to the Castries Corps may seek to follow in the footsteps of companies such as Sandals Resorts, Avis Rent A Car and the handful of other firms who have contributed substantially to the work of the Castries Corps.

The Bible draws us to the fact that the poor will always be with us. With every passing day this group is expanding and poverty alleviation/eradication are principal among the considerations of governments around the world. There was a time when poverty was liveable but today, it is a curse. I believe there are special blessings for those who will share and care for the less fortunate in our midst.

I urge you to volunteer your service and assistance to the Salvation Army. Their Territorial Vision statement is "Together - Building Tomorrow, Today." The Mission Statement is: "The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. Its message is based on the Bible. It's ministry is motivated by love for God. As mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and meet human needs in his name without discrimination."

Are these ideals that you would want to embrace and seek to make the next hundred years even better than the 1st? I will like to invite you to be a part of the wonderful work the Salvation Army is doing in our nation. Over the past year, I served as Patron of the Castries Corps and what a momentous year it was for me. I will always remember the opportunity that God provided me. When I was first asked to become the 2001/2002 Patron I asked that the Cup be passed to someone else. After some time I was again approached and I accepted. As I now demit office, I shall be for all times, a soldier in reserve.

Keep the Faith! God is in Charge!

Edward Harris Freelance Journalist