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Mission Statement:

The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.


History of The International Salvation Army

History of The Salvation Army of Athens, GA

Our Doctrines

Our Manifesto

Other Salvation Army Sites

A Brief History of The International Salvation Army

William Booth embarked upon his ministerial career in 1852, desiring to win the lost multitudes of England to Christ. He walked the streets of London to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to the poor, the homeless, the hungry, and the destitute.
Booth abandoned the conventional concept of a church and a pulpit, instead taking his message to the people. His fervor led to disagreement with church leaders in London, who preferred traditional methods. As a result, he withdrew from the church and traveled throughout England, conducting evangelistic meetings. His wife, Catherine, could accurately be called a cofounder of The Salvation Army.

In 1865, William Booth was invited to hold a series of evangelistic meetings in the East End of London. He set up a tent in a Quaker graveyard, and his services became an instant success. This proved to be the end of his wanderings as an indepedent traveling evangelist. His renown as a religious leader spread thoughout London, and he attracted followers who were dedicated to fight for the souls of men and women.
Thieves, prostitutes, gamblers, and drunkards were among Booth's first converts to Christianity. To congregations who were desperately poor, he preached hope and salvation. His aim was to lead people to Christ and link them to a church for further spiritual guidance.

Many churches, however, did not accept Booth's followers because of their past. So Booth continued giving his new converts spiritual direction, challenging them to save others like themselves. Soon, they too were preaching and singing in the streets as a living testimony to the power of God.
In 1867, Booth had only 10 full-time workers, but by 1874, the number had grown to 1,000 volunteers and 42 evangelists, all serving under the name "The Christian Mission." Booth assumed the title of general superintendent, with his followers calling him "General." Known as the "Hallelujah Army," the converts spread out of the East End of London into neighboring areas and then to other cities.

Booth was reading a printer's proof of the 1878 annual report when he noticed the statement "The Christian Mission is a volunteer army." Crossing out the words "volunteer army," he penned in "Salvation Army." From those words came the basis of the foundation deed of The Salvation Army.
From that point, converts became soldiers of Christ and were known then, as now, as Salvationists. They launched an offensive throughout the British Isles, in some cases facing real battles as organized gangs mocked and attacked them. In spite of violence and persecution, some 250,000 people were converted under the ministry of The Salvation Army between 1881 and 1885.
Meanwhile, the Army was gaining a foothold in the United States. Lieutenant Eliza Shirley had left England to join her parents, who had migrated to America earlier in search for work. In 1879, she held the first meeting of The Salvation Army in America, in Philadelphia. The Salvationists were received enthusiastically. Shirley wrote to General Booth, begging for reinforcements. None were available at first. Glowing reports of the work in Philadelphia, however, eventually convinced Booth, in 1880, to send an official group to pioneer the work in America.

On March 10, 1880, Commissioner George Scott Raiton and seven women officers knelt on the dockside at Battery Park in New York City to give thanks for their safe arrival. At their first official street meeting, these pioneers were met with unfriendly actions, as had happened in Great Britain. They were ridiculed, arrested, and attacked. Several officers and soldiers even gave their lives.Three years later, Railton and other Salvationists had expanded their operation into California, Connecticut, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. President Grover Cleveland received a delegation of Salvation Army officers in 1886 and gave the organization a warm personal endorsement. This was the first recognition from the White House and would be followed by similar receptions from succeeding presidents.

The Salvation Army movement expanded rapidly to Canada, Australia, France, Switzerland, India, South Africa, Iceland, and local neighborhood units. The Salvation Army is active in virtually every corner of the world.
General Booth's death in 1912 was a great loss to The Salvation Army. However, he had laid a firm foundation' even his death could not deter the ministry's onward march. His eldest son, Bramwell Booth, succeeded him.
Edward J. Higgins, served as the first elected general, beginning in 1929. The first female general was Booth's daughter, the dynamic Evangeline Booth, serving from 1934 to 1939. The Army's fifth general was George Carpenter, succeeded in 1946 by Albert Orsborn. General Wilfred Kitching was elected in 1954, succeeded by Frederick Coutts in 1963. Erik Wickberg followed in 1969; Clarence Wiseman in 1974; Arnold Brown in 1977; Jarl Wahlstrom in 1981; and Eva Burrows, the second female general, in 1986. General Bramwell Tillsley was elected in 1993 and was succeeded by General Paul Rader in 1994. General John Gowans was elected in 1999, followed by John Larson, Shaw Clifton, and currently by Linda Bond (our 3rd woman General) who currently commands the Army from International Headquarters in London, England.

John Wilson is credited as saying at height of Great Britians power, "The sun never sets on the British Empire."  This can be said about The Salvation Army today, serving in 124 Countries.

Learn more about The International Salvation Army here, on The Salvation Army International website, or on The Salvation Army USA South website

A Brief History of The Salvation Army of Athens, GA

 The Salvation Army opened their first assignment in Athens on March 12, 1916, and remained here until October 3, 1916 because the Athens Corps (church) was closed due to World War I

The work of The Salvaiton Army reopened on February 23, 1919 at 205 1/2 North Jackson St.  Thirteen years later in 1932 the first Empty Stocking Fund ever staged here was organized with assistance from the manager of Gallant-Belk Co., a local radio station, and Jack Martin who was well known in the Athens area as the voice of "Santa Claus."

In 1942, in the midst of World War II, The Salvation Army had as its corps officers, Captain Mary Highcheck and assistant, Lt. Louise Landers.  Captain Highcheck requested a leave of absence in order that she might do her part in the war effort by joining the WAC's.  Due to a shortage of official personnel, Divisional Headquarters was contemplating closing the work in Athens.  A devoted Sunday School teacher, Mary Peacock, was approached and asked to consider quitting her job at a hosiery mill, and taking on the the work of keeping the Athens Corps (church) alive.  She was given two weeks to learn about the administration of The Salvation Army and then she went to work. 

At that time, The Salvation Army was renting 3 different buildings for their programs.  Miss Mary (retiring at the rank of Major) set out to secure property for the work.  There was a building on College Avenue which the city had obtained because of delinquent taxes.  She approached the city official in regard to this building, asking if they would give it to the Army.  She was told it would have to be put up for public sale and she should come to the court house and place a bid.  There was only one other person there to bid against her.  Miss Mary told him he was wasting his time, as she was sure the Lord wanted that building for the work of The Salvation Army.  He left and she bought the building for $25.  That building became chapel, living quarters and activities department.  Miss Mary also was able to purchase a home for the transient lodge on Strong Street.

In 1966, The Army moved into the old armory building in southeast corner of Hancock and North Thomas Street.  On Sept. 24, 1967, the fiftieth anniversary of The Salvation Army service of Athens was marked by the dedication of the new facility on North Chase Street. Two years later the new Transient Building opened at 399 Meigs St.

After operating a make-shift thrift store in the basement of 399 Meigs Street, The Army relocated the first full Athens Thrift Store to 470 Oconee Street in June, 1979.  Soon after renovating the basement of 399 Meigs Street, The Army also opend the first Women's Shelter in November of 1980.

The current thrift store, administrative offices, and shelter on Hawthorne St was dedicated on June 11, 2002.

The work of The Salvation Army in Athens, GA is a proud tradition of serving the community in Christ Jesus name, and we look forward to breaking new ground spiritually as well as physically for the Kingdom of God.






The Building Purchased by Miss Mary Peacock for $25













Newspaper Clip from the Athens Banner Herald












Current Church Location on North Chase Street










The Former Shelter Located on 399 Meigs Street.











Grand Openning of Our first Thrift Store in 1979
















Groundbreaking of our Curent Family Store, Administrative offices, and shelter









The Salvation Army Doctrines

We believe that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments were given by inspiration of God, and that they only constitute the Divine rule of Christian faith and practice.

We believe that there is only one God, who is infinitely perfect, the Creator, Preserver, and Governor of all things, and who is the only proper object of religious worship.

We believe that there are three persons in the Godhead-the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, undivided in essence and co-equal in power and glory.

We believe that in the person of Jesus Christ the Divine and human natures are united, so that He is truly and properly God and truly and properly man.

We believe that our first parents were created in a state of innocency, but by their disobedience they lost their purity and happiness, and that in consequence of their fall all men have become sinners, totally depraved, and as such are justly exposed to the wrath of God.

We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ has by His suffering and death made an atonement for the whole world so that whosoever will may be saved.

We believe that repentance towards God, faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, and regeneration by the Holy Spirit, are necessary to salvation.

We believe that we are justified by grace through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ and that he that believeth hath the witness in himself.

We believe that continuance in a state of salvation depends upon continued obedient faith in Christ.

We believe that it is the privilege of all believers to be wholly sanctified, and that their whole spirit and soul and body may be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We believe in the immortality of the soul; in the resurrection of the body; in the general judgment at the end of the world; in the eternal happiness of the righteous; and in the endless punishment of the wicked.


I am doing the most good.

I am hope.
I am compassion.
I am strength.
I am faith.

I am doing the most good.

I serve a community.
A region.
A nation.
A world.
I serve heroes.
I serve victims.
I serve a sovereign God.

I am doing the most good.

I am an Army.
Drafted by the Creator.
Commissioned by a man who defied death.
My enemies are despair and destruction.
My ammunition is grace and mercy.
My allies are generosity and benevolence.

I am an Army.
Helping others be all they can be.

I am doing the most good.




I feed empty stomachs and hungry souls.
I rebuild ruined homes and shattered lives.
I am a willing listener for a veteran with stories to tell.
I am a bottled water and an encouraging smile
—for a weary firefighter.
I am an answered prayer.
A silver lining.
A second chance.

I am doing the most good.

I am a humble steward of other people's generosity.
I am a grateful courier of a stranger's kindness.
I am the faithful executor of others' goodwill.
I take responsibility seriously.

I am blessed.
I am a blessing.
I am The Salvation Army.

I am doing the most good.

Other Salvation Army Sites


USA National

USA South Territorial

Disaster Services

Adult Rehabilitation Center

Summer Camps

Combating Human Trafficking




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