Harlem Corps celebrates Valentine’s Day

by Hugo Bravo

The Salvation Army Harlem Temple Corps hosted a Valentine’s Tea Party inside its gym on Saturday. Couples and singles came, dressed in their best Valentine’s Day outfits, for an afternoon of food, music, and dancing.

“We do plenty of events that highlight the social service aspect of the Army, but not many to celebrate the people who make up our ministry,” says Captain Neekenson Fils-Aime, corps officer at the Harlem Temple Corps. “We’re changing that with events like this one.”

Captain Fils-Aime told SAconnects that the idea for hosting tea parties came from women’s ministries, but two years ago, it was proposed to convert them into a larger event for everyone.

“We want to find ways to encourage more male participation in our gatherings,” he says.

Another purpose of the Valentine’s Tea Party has been to honor someone from the corps who has had an impact on the church and the ministry. This year, Envoy Kenneth Burton and his wife, Judythe Burton, were the honorees. The longtime Salvationists, says Captain Fils-Aime, were a perfect example of a couple putting Christ at the forefront of their marriage.

“We made a video of their years together and serving at Harlem Temple and played it at the tea party. They were very surprised when they saw it; they had no idea they were going to be honored,” he says.

Lieutenant DeBrekah Simms, assistant corps officer at the Harlem Temple Corps, thanked the staff and soldiers at Harlem Temple for taking the time to turn the corps gym into a party space.

“Our corps soldiers were setting up tables and helping with the food and hors d’oeuvres. Several of them were also busy the prior evening helping to complete the gym for the tea party,” says Lieutenant Simms. “Our volunteers and soldiers of Harlem Temple investing their time in the event helped make it a success.”