Who Are We?

What is the Salvation Army?

The Salvation Army, as an International movement, is an evangelical branch of the Christian church, with a social conscience, that has been providing a Christian ministry in Hamilton for more than 125 years.

The Salvation Army is Community and Family Services. We provide a variety of social programs and services to our local community.

The Salvation Army is the Thrift Store. These outlets provide clothing and household items in the community. Many of our thrift stores are managed by the National Recycling Organization of the Salvation Army.

The Salvation Army is Correctional and Justice Services. Support is provided to those in court or correctional institutions, and counseling to those in the justice system.

The Salvation Army is a place where you can come and not be judged but embraced by those who love God and care about their Christian Family.

  • It’s message is based on the Bible.
  • Its ministry is motivated by love for God, and a practical concern for the needs of humanity
  • Its mission is to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, supply basic human needs, provide personal counseling, and undertake the spiritual and moral regeneration, and physical rehabilitation of all
  • persons in need, who come within its sphere of influence; regardless of race, creed, sex or age.

The Salvation Army is organized and operated in a military fashion. We fight, not against people, but against sin, ignorance and social evils.
Members of the Salvation Army include:

  • Officers – These are the ordained clergy, trained for full-time service at the College for Officer’s Training located in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
  • Soldiers – Members who have been trained in Salvation Army history and beliefs and who have made a signed commitment to God and the Salvation Army.
  • Adherents – People who make the Salvation Army their home Church, with its privileges.

History of the Salvation Army – An Overview

In 1865, William Booth, a Methodist Minister, saw, in the streets of London, England, many needy and hurting individuals, adults and children alike, who needed someone to love and care for them, and who desperately needed the Lord Jesus in their lives. He went out onto the street corners in the slums of East London, to tell them of Jesus who truly loves everyone. People listened, accepted the Saviour, and wished to attend a Church. Unfortunately, the “church people” could not deal with the “street people.” They were disruptive and smelly. There was no place for them. William Booth, who had never set out to start up a church, found it necessary to set up Christian Mission Centres. He also worked to help alleviate many social problems and to make work places safer for the people.

In 1878, Booth adopted the name “Salvation Army” for his organization. Missions became “Corps”, members became “soldiers” and ministers became “officers.” Booth himself became the “General.” In this day, an Army with uniforms, etc., might not be the way to go, but in that day, it was quite an attraction, and it grew rapidly.

The reason behind the military pattern is this. It adheres to the New Testament concept of enlistment in the service of God as soldiers who subject themselves to Divine authority and discipline.

The international leader is a general, and officers are ranked by seniority and merit. Women officers are considered on par with men. Officers are often called upon to transfer to a new assignment on short notice, according to the requirements of service. This calls for a complete dedication to the will of God.

In 1880, the organization had become large enough, and strong enough, that expansion to the “New World” was the next phase. Commissioner George Scott Railton and seven young women began the work in New York City. They combined social work and Gospel preaching as a means to help the poor.

In May, 1882, two young men, previously unknown to one another, met, by chance, on a street in London, Ontario. Jack Addie and Joe Ludgate found common ground, not only their land of birth, but in this new organization, The Salvation Army. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the Salvation Army could open up here in Canada! Near the end of August, 1882, the urgent call for commissioned officers was answered by International Headquarters.

Captain Charles Wass was sent to Toronto, Ontario and Captain Annie Shirley to London, Ontario as the first commissioned officers in charge of Canadian Corps. In London, adjacent to the Royal Bank building and the Market, there is a large grey stone that commemorates the meeting of these two young men, and the formation of a plan to begin the Salvation Army in Canada.

The “Army” spread rapidly – to India, Australia, South America, Pakistan and many European countries. By the early 1900’s, the Salvation Army had thousands of officers and soldiers in 36 countries.

Many special services emerged:

  • Women’s Social Work (1884)
  • The first Food Depot (1888)
  • The first Day Nursery (1890)
  • The first Army Missionary Hospital (1901)

Today, the Salvation Army operates in 104 countries around the world, continuing to work where the need is greatest, guided by its faith in God and love for all people.

Salvation Army Services

Physical Aid:
The Salvation Army provides food, clothing and shelter, in an atmosphere of dignity and respect. To avoid the feeling of receiving “charity”, recipients can sometimes be asked to pay a small fee towards the cost.

Special Assistance:
The Salvation Army works to improve family relationships, deal with the problems parents have, work with substance abusers, prisoners and their families, ex-prisoners and the homeless.

Rehabilitation Services:
These are in-residence programs that provide counseling for substance abuse and social problems.

Loving care is given to those who find themselves needing this service. Chaplains are available to help those who need someone to “be there.”

People Service

Every day, the Salvation Army offers a helping hand to people of all ages, races and cultural backgrounds. The many people who receive help in Salvation Army centers include:

Senior Citizens are served through drop-in clubs, lunch programs, senior centers, housing facilities and nursing homes. Friends’ visitation in hospitals and nursing homes and other programs are designed to make their lives richer and more dignified.

Young People:
Young people are served through an expanded of summer camps, musical programs, scouting groups, Kids Klubs, community centers, drop-in centers, all giving children a chance to learn, grow and have fun, within a caring atmosphere.

Thoroughly equipped and well staffed Day Care Centers serve thousands of children and their parents. Hungry families and helped with food when the budget is stretched to the limit. Counseling is provided in areas of budgeting, child care, stress management and on various other important issues. Often family ties are cemented and parents helped through difficult times.


Everyone is invited to worship with us at the “Army.” We love to see new people, regardless of what race or creed they might be. Everyone is very, very welcome.

To be an Active Member, one must:

  • Have accepted Jesus as their personal Savior.
  • Accept the Doctrines of the Salvation Army (comparable to those in any Christian Church).
  • Agree to actively support the Army’s principles and work.

We Stand For Service

Well, the world has changed dramatically since William Booth first decided to do “something”, “anything” to help suffering people. But basic problems never seem to go away. Poverty, war, ignorance, cruelty, indifference and spiritual emptiness are still out there. In our “war” to alleviate these problems, the dedicated women and men of the Salvation Army still stand ready to serve. We stand for humanity and for the healing power of God’s love. We are committed, not just to helping others, but to enable them to eventually stand on their own.

Together, with you, the caring members of our communities across Canada and around the world, we will continue to work towards a peaceful and productive world. Standing together, we believe we can make a difference in the days to come.

What Does It Mean?

Because we are organized and operate in a military fashion, that model extends to some of our vocabulary. So, what do we mean by some of our terminology?

  • Adherent: A person who regards the Salvation Army as their spiritual home but has not made a commitment to become a Soldier.
  • Articles of War: A signed document confirming one’s personal faith in Jesus Christ adhering to certain biblical truths and a moral code pertaining to the Christian lifestyle.
  • “Blood and Fire”: The Salvation Army’s motto which emphasizes key points of Salvation Army belief: “Blood” for the death of Jesus which saved Christians from sin and “Fire” for the power of
  • the Holy Spirit which helps Christians live holy lives.
  • Cadet: A Salvationist in training to become an Officer.
  • Candidate: A Soldier who has been accepted for officer training.
  • Commission: A document conferring authority upon an Officer, or upon an unpaid Local Officer, i.e. Secretary, Treasurer, Bandmaster, etc.
  • Corps:A Salvation Army church established for the preaching of the gospel and service in the community.
  • Corps Sergeant-Major (CSM): A Senior Soldier and member of the Mission Board who supports the Corps Officers in any way possible. The CSM is a resource to the Officers, providing advice,  guidance and practical help. In the absence of the Officers, the CSM takes primary responsibility for church matters./li>
  • Dedication Service: The public presentation of infants to the Lord. This differs from christening or infant baptism in that the main emphasis is upon specific vows made by the parents concerning the child’s upbringing.
  • Division: A number of Corps grouped together, under the direction of a Divisional Commander. The Salvation Army Mountain Citadel Corps is part of the Ontario Great Lakes Division.
  • General: The Officer elected to the supreme command of the Salvation Army throughout the world.
  • Junior Soldier: A boy or girl who, having professed belief in Jesus Christ and having signed the Junior Soldier’s Promise, becomes a Salvationist.
  • Local Officer: A Soldier appointed to an unpaid position of responsibility and authority in the Corps.
  • Mercy Seat or Penitent Form: A bench provided as a place where people can kneel to pray to seek salvation, rededicate their lives to the God or to seek God’s direction regarding a particular decision or problem in their lives. The mercy seat is usually situated between the platform and the main area of Salvation Army meeting halls.
  • Officer: A Senior Soldier who has answered God’s call to full time service and has been trained, commissioned and ordained. An officer is a recognized minister of religion. Officer ranks are in the following order: Lieutenant, Captain, Major, Lieut-colonel, Colonel, Commissioner, General.
  • Promotion to Glory: The Salvation Army’s description of the death of Salvationists.
  • Red Shield: A symbol identifying a wide range of Army social and emergency services.
  • Salvation: The work of grace which God accomplishes in a repentant person whose trust is in Christ as Saviour, forgiving sin, giving meaning and new direction to life, and strength to live as God desires. The deeper experience of this grace, known as holiness or sanctification, is the outcome of wholehearted commitment to God and enables the living of a Christlike life. Salvationist: A member of the Salvation Army.
  • Senior Soldier: A converted person at least 14 years of age who has been enrolled as a member of the Salvation Army after signing the Articles of War.
  • Territory: A country, part of a country or several countries combined, in which Salvation Army work is organised under a Territorial Commander. The Salvation Army Mountain Citadel Corps is part of the Canada and Bermuda Territory.
  • Young People’s Sergeant-Major (YPSM): A Local Officer responsible for the young people’s work in a Corps under the Commanding Officer.

Bill Of Rights For Volunteers

The Right To Be Treated As A Co-Worker…
Officers, staff and volunteers work together in a team approach to achieve common goals.

The Right To An Appropriate Volunteer Assignment…
To enable individuals to use their capabilities and interests.

The Right To Orientation…
To be informed about philosophy, history, policies, programs and the role of the volunteer.

The Right To Training For The Non-Paid Job…
To participate in training that is well planned and effectively presented.

The Right To Continued Education…
As a follow-up to initial training that includes information about new developments and training for great responsibility.

The Right To On-The-Job Supervision…
By people who are experienced and have time to give supervision.

The Right To A Place To Work…
A designated place that is conducive to work worthy of the job to be done.

The Right To Promotion And A Variety Of Experience…
By advancement, special assignments, and/or transfer.

The Right To Have Input And Be Heard…
To have a part in the planning, to feel free to make suggestions, and ask questions and to have the respect shown for an honest opinion.

The Right To Recognition…
By being treated as a co-worker, through expressions of appreciation by promotions and awards.