Finding purpose, painting faces, and bridging ‘gaps’
Men ‘On Purpose’
Lynn, MA—A record 19 men attended the 5th annual men’s retreat from Sept. 5–7 under the theme, “What Is Your Purpose?”
Captain David Payton, corps officer, said the men raised money for the retreat by holding two car washes.
“It was a fantastic weekend with great weather and fruitful times of open discussion and sharing,” Payton said. “We took a 3–hour trip deep into the woods of Maine to fully get away.”
Payton said the men’s retreat resulted in the creation of a weekly men’s fellowship meeting that coincides with a women’s study.
“We even started a children’s program so that couples could come and have something for their children to do during the adult programs,” he said.
The first meetings included 12 men, 14 women, and 15 children.
“Quite a full house. And we expect many more folks to join us in the near future!” Payton said.
Dorchester, MA—The Salvation Army’s Jubilee House near Boston held a “Redeem Halloween” event on Oct. 31. Attendees received hot chocolate from a canteen as well as treats and fliers.
“The Jubilee House staff hosted approximately 2,000 adults, youth, and children during this event and shared what we have been doing at the House,” said Lieutenant Patricia Edwards, corps officer.
Edwards said several soldiers, youth, and volunteers joined her at the event.
‘Back to School’ bash
East Orange, NJ— On Sept. 6, the corps reached out to the community with a “Back to School Bash.”
Major Verna LaSalle, corps officer, said Captains Angelo and Virginia Bermeo, territorial evangelists, dazzled the audience.
LaSalle described the event as “a day of fun, Gospel music, and Gospel magic ministry to reach out to the community, share God’s Word, and inform people about The Salvation Army’s ministry and programs here in East Orange.”
The event also featured carnival games, face painting, free food, book bags, and prizes.
Gospel music school
McKeesport, PA—They’re making beautiful sounds for the Lord at the McKeesport, Pa., Corps.
Envoy Kate Esker said a weekly music school for kids started on Sept. 15 and involves Zachary DeLong, the new regional music director.
“We have music programs two nights a week that consist of dinner, music theory, Bible lessons, piano lessons, individual brass lessons, dance, and timbrels.”
Esker said DeLong has “brought much excitement” to the music school.
“This has encouraged other volunteers and kids to get more involved,” she said.
Seniors have ‘a ball’
Portsmouth, OH—Senior citizens can sometimes be lonely, but not in Portsmouth where the corps organized a Harvest Moon Ball on Oct. 2.
“This is a great opportunity for our seniors to get out and to enjoy an evening of fun and dance,” said Lydia Smith, community resource coordinator for the corps.
“We serve food and send them home with a stuffed animal party favor. We love to do this because it is a chance to honor our elders and let them know they are loved.”
Smith said people attended from the corps, Life Medical Response, South Webster High School, KC Productions, and the Southern Ohio Medical Center.
“We asked for the support of our community members and they all answered our call,” she said. “God is so good to continue blessing us with their support so that we are able to continue serving the people who are in need of Christ’s love!”
Sunbury, PA—“Strikepoint” has inspired the corps to begin a “Feeding Friends Kitchen.”
Major Sharon Cupp, corps officer, said the program, which happens on Wednesday evenings, started in July with 140 people and grew to 201 by September.
“It was a vision the Lord gave me and I started the foot work to make it possible,” said Cupp. “I was wondering how to reach out in our community. I am pleased the way this program is going.”
Cupp said members of the Home League and the advisory board are among the volunteers.
“We have reached new people for our Home League program and started a men’s club,” she said.
Bridging the ‘gap’
North Adams, MA—Seventeen people graduated from the Bridging the Gap (BTG) program at the corps on Oct. 2.
The BTG program serves court–involved and at–risk youth from 12–17 years old. The program, which provides support and skills youth need to stay on track, is highly successful in the division.
Carole Hildebrant, who has led BTG for the nine years it has been in North Adams, said there is no better feeling than seeing kids complete the program.
“You have kids coming into our program who are referred from the court system and are making poor choices in their life … be it at home with their parents, or at school where they are neglecting their academics and lack a vision for their future,” she said. “We become a small family.”
The students attend BTG every Monday and Tuesday from 3–6 p.m. for 12 weeks.
“We track their progress in school and their report cards, so we’re encouraging them to see that they do have a bright future ahead and education is the key,” Hildebrant said.
Strikepoint Kids Club
The Manhattan, (Citadel) N.Y., Corps decided to forego its traditional day camp and instead offered a free Kids Club to the residents of three different housing projects near the corps.
Captain Antonio Rosamilia, the corps officer, said children ages 6–12 played games, heard exciting Bible stories, and made arts projects every Tuesday and Thursday during the Strikepoint–inspired project.
Rosamilia said the corps also went out with its Kids Club cart, which included snacks and juice.
Monday was set aside for a prayer walk and Friday for follow–ups to invite people to Sunday school, Rosamilia said.
“Next year, instead of doing it twice a week, we want to do it every day in the summer,” Rosamilia said.