May Corps News
In our ‘Corps News’ section, we share grassroots stories of how God is working in your corps and ARCs.
Hitting the slopes
Montclair, NJ—The Montclair (Citadel), N.J., Corps recently held its 17th annual ski trip weekend, attended by 62 people, including 22 children.
Major Kevin Stoops, corps officer, said the group enjoyed skiing, fellowship, and devotions at Shawnee Mountain in the Poconos.
Stoops said the yearly trip originated as a Sunday school class excursion led by soldiers Edgar and Michele Kroeze.
“Since that time, it has grown into a family experience, still coordinated by the Kroezes, who also serve as the cooks,” Stoops said. “People don’t want to miss the ski trip as it is one of the most anticipated outings of the corps.”
Each day, Stoops led the group in interactive devotions, focusing on unity in Christ, being the light of the world, and understanding the cross.
Washington, PA— On Feb. 1, LaShauna Carruthers received the Commissioners Sunbeam Award from Major Joan Bode, the director of women’s ministries in the Western Pennsylvania Division.
Lieutenant Esther Wilson, corps officer, said Carruthers, a 12–year–old junior soldier, is active in all programs at the corps, including making nursing home visits.
“She loves Jesus,” Wilson said. “She’s a committed follower.”
Music in the air
Red Bank, NJ—The Salvation Army’s new Music & Arts Academy is a Strikepoint initiative that is providing hope in this financially–
“This is exciting on so many levels because it will benefit both the community and the corps,” says Jezebel Cruz, the office manager at the corps.
“The parents will have access to a safe haven for their children,” Cruz said. They’ll also learn music theory and have a choice of taking instrument lessons, singing in a choir, or joining a spiritual dance group—at no cost.
Cruz said that 12.9 percent of families in the area are living below the poverty line.
“These children are now able to participate in such extracurricular activities,” she said, “that enrich their life with culture and are also Christian faith based.
“The program will appeal to the local and neighboring communities and possibly even influence the families to become part of the corps (church) family.”
Cruz said the academy, which began in January, operates at the corps every Monday from 4 to 6 p.m.
A proud moment for Emergency disaster services
East Stroudsburg, PA— On Jan. 4, the corps’ Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) team received a “Pocono Proud Community Service Award” for assisting police after a fatal shooting at the Blooming Grove State Police Barracks in October 2014.
“Our EDS crew was on site for the entire manhunt, serving over 3,200 sandwiches, countless snacks, and cases of Gatorade, as well as offering unwavering support to law enforcement,” said Cari Friend, executive secretary.
Many Salvation Army and political leaders were on hand to see the team receive certificates of recognition.
“Our EDS team’s selfless action and sacrifice went above and beyond the call of duty,” Friend said. “They displayed genuine compassion for the victims, their families, and for the first responders. They showed extraordinary support in the face of adversity and an overwhelming display of unity and goodwill.”
Harlem, NY—Major Sandra Jackson, Harlem (Temple) N.Y., corps officer, said that it is important to teach the younger generation to celebrate February as Black History Month.
“Here at the Harlem Temple Corps, we have a strong heritage of celebrating black history,” she said. “It is what historically represented our congregation.”
Every Sunday in the month, someone portrayed an important African–American Salvationists such as Commissioner Israel L. Gaither, a former national commander; CSM Edward T. Gooding, O.F.; and Dee Collier, O.F., a soldier at the Hartford Citadel Corps. Both Gooding and Collier received the Order of the Founder, the highest honor a Salvationist can receive.
On the final Sunday, the presentation involved a compilation of the black soldiers of the corps.
On Feb. 28, the corps held a Black History Month celebration dinner with Major Victoria Edmonds of the International Social Justice Commission as guest speaker.
Warming bodies, hearts
Norristown, PA—In response to this year’s brutal winter, the corps opened its “CODE Blue Shelter.”
The shelter is for families, as well as for single men and women, and provides an “opportunity to feed, shelter, and provide Christian fellowship to the participants,” said Captain Felicia Flora, corps officer.
The shelter’s doors opened on Feb. 26. Since then, it has had from 25 to 33 residents. It goes into operation when the temperature falls below 20 degrees. Families stay upstairs, while individuals are sheltered in the basement.
“We really stretched our limits, but the need was great,” Flora said. “It was a passion for us. It’s been very successful. Some of the folks have even come to church.”
Artsy after school
York, PA—Youngsters involved in the Army’s after–school program recently completed a 10–week fine arts course, funded by a state grant.
George Lenkner, business manager for the Army in York, said Robert Pullo, of Piccola Italia Packaging, Inc., generously donated matching funds.
The young people’s creations were on display from Feb. 2–7.
Teachers for the course included local artists Jessica McPherson, who guided the older students, ages 11–17; and Kara Gonzales, who taught the 8–10 year olds.
“The course combined art appreciation, hands–on techniques, and exploring one’s creative instincts,” Lenkner said.
Parents, friends, and community volunteers saw the art at a reception on Jan. 29.