June Corps News
In ‘Corps News’ we share grassroots stories of how God is working in your corps and ARCs.
Basketball program changes lives
Lynn, MA—This past March, the Lynn Corps celebrated the 6th anniversary of a unique ministry, where rival gangs have been peacefully playing basketball every Friday night.
To celebrate this milestone, Judith Kennedy, the mayor of Lynn, presented six official NBA basketballs to the players. Kennedy, who knows the value of this program, gave a short speech.
“She mentioned that she could raise local taxes and hire 100 new police officers and they would not have the effect on our city that this program is having,” said Major David Payton, corps officer.
Major David Davis, divisional commander, congratulated the guys, and actually played in a couple games.
“There were about 40–45 guys there from various gangs,” Payton said. “The evening included special food and a huge cake in their honor.”
Love begins early
Malden, MA—Rachel Joy Leslie, who is 19 months old, is getting an early start in ministry.
The toddler participated in a League of Mercy visitation to the Glen Ridge Nursing Home on Easter and even presented a flower to a 102–year–old resident.
Rachel is the daughter of Paul and Emily Leslie and the granddaughter of Major Joy and Lieutenant James Labbe, Mystic Valley Corps commanding officers.
“She was so excited to walk around and give gifts,” Joy Labbe said. “The residents responded to her with joy.”
Albany, NY—Palm Sunday was a special time at the Temple Corps, where several senior and junior soldiers and adherents were enrolled.
The senior soldiers are Candido Rodriguez, Julio Rodriguez, Nasir Villegas, and Crystal Rosario. Junior soldiers are Antonia Torres, Brooklyn Corrodore, Mathew Chisholm, Juan Cotto, Jayson Corea, and Michael Cotto. William Reyes is the new adherent.
Majors Martina and Paul A. Cornell, women’s ministry secretary and financial secretary for the Empire State Division, officiated the enrollments. The flag bearers were Jennifer Polanco and Lieutenant Isaac Santiago, corps officer.
“Three of the kids came to the Army via Vacation Bible School last summer and now they are junior soldiers,” Santiago said.
No dress? No problem!
Portsmouth, OH—If buying a prom dress is beyond your budget, The Salvation Army is here to help.
“Young girls in high school who do not have the money to purchase a dress for prom had the opportunity to receive a free prom dress,” said Lydia Smith, community resource coordinator.
“We set up a prom dress store and let girls come and pick dresses for prom.”
Smith said the giveaway was in March and involved the corps and local student Melissa Gambino.
‘Sweating it on’
Akron, OH—The corps officer is a certified Zumba instructor. Every Tuesday evening in the gym, women “sweat it on” with Captain Malinda Jones.
Marian Calvin, director of development for Summit County Area Services, said the first class on April 7 was a success.
“Our first dance fitness class featured 16 women of all ages, shapes, and sizes. They participated by dancing, moving, waving, shaking, laughing, sweating, stepping, shimmying, and laughing to Latin and world rhythms beats!” she said.
Holy Week extravaganza
Tonawanda, NY— This year, Holy Week was a time of deep meaning at the corps.
Every evening, corps members retold the miracles of Jesus and then on Good Friday, they re–enacted the crucifixion. On Resurrection Sunday morning, they presented of the musical “Jesus Folk.”
Major Celestin Nkounkou, corps officer, said that through the musical the congregants demonstrated how “He came to give us Life in all its fullness.”
Come Join our Army
Wilkes-Barre, PA—The corps enrolled three senior soldiers and two adherents, but the big story was how each person found The Salvation Army.
The soldiers are Mark and Jean Marie Jacukowicz, and William Femea. The adherents are Carl and Georgette Lamb.
Lieutenant Sharon L. Tressler, corps officer, said, “This is exciting to us because we have been working with these folks for over a year, and each has a unique story,”
The Jacukowiczes came to the Army two years ago as Christmas bell-ringers.
Femea returned to the corps following the death of his grandmother.
The Lambs came to the corps after their daughter, Jordan, went to summer camp and started attending children’s programs.
Celebrating the resurrection
Glens Falls, NY—Major David Dean described it as a “glorious” Resurrection Sunday at his corps.
“The day began with 43 children and teens singing in the musical, ‘Let Us Sing,’ and 134 worshippers attended,” Dean said. “The morning worship featured a huge floral display as 40 people donated flowers in memory of loved ones.
“The cross was draped with purple and white, replacing the black shroud of Good Friday.”
Dean said during the holiness meeting that morning, worshippers were offered a spiritual challenge.
100 years young
Cleveland, OH—Ann Koller, who attends the senior program at the West Park Corps, was honored in May when she turned 100 years old.
“She’s awesome,” says Pamela Jones, director of the senior program. “She is such a sweetheart. She will do anything for anybody.” She just stopped driving last year at age 99.
Jones said Koller has been attending the program since 2007 and enjoys crafts and playing Bingo with the other seniors.