Some of My Best Men are Women

 

She has been called the “Army Mother” but she was no stay at home mom. To be accurate, we must credit Catherine Booth with being the co-founder of The Salvation Army. She and William had 8 children, two of whom later became Generals of The Salvation Army.

Her desire to serve the marginalized was as passionate as her husband William’s. Catherine was also keenly interested in the problems of alcoholism and was a supporter of England’s Temperance Society. This drew the ire and demonstrations from alcohol distributors but didn’t change their views. A member of the Salvation Army church agrees to abstain from the use of alcohol as do all their Officers.

 

Inspired by revivalist, Phoebe Palmer, and encouraged by her husband William, Catherine wrote a pamphlet titled  Female Ministry: Woman’s Right to Preach the Gospel (1859)

 

After the birth of their fourth child, Catherine asked if she could have “a word” in one of their church meetings. William announced she would speak that night. It was the beginning of a vibrant speaking ministry for her.

 

The Booths strong held beliefs of reaching the disenfranchised took action. They went into people’s homes to help them make a new start, particularly those struggling with alcoholism. Catherine also fought for the safeguarding of females as she lobbied Queen Victoria and helped establish the Parliamentary Bill for the protection of girls.

 

In 1879, a woman officer moved to America with her mom and converted an old factory into a meeting place. Lt. Eliza Shirley, along with her parents, held the first open-air service in Philadelphia to a substantial crowd.

 

At the news of the successful meetings, General Booth sent George Railton and seven ‘hallelujah lassies’ to begin the official work of the Army in the United States. In a letter to Catherine Booth, Railton wrote: “Those English may stick to their men as hard as they like, but I am certain it is the women who are going to burst up the world, especially the American women.”

The volunteer spirit during WWII was high.

Later, the Booth’s seventh child, Evangeline, became Commander of the Army’s work in America. This time there was a literal battle being fought and Evangeline knew The Salvation Army needed to support the military troops in WWI. She borrowed money to fund the operations overseas.

 

The Salvation Army officer in charge of the work in France asked Booth to send women. This came as a surprise but she trusted her officers and sent over a group of lassies.

 

When the women arrived they realized the troops had need for some home comfort cooking and with little supplies, they managed to fry some doughnuts. It didn’t take long for these Doughnut Girls to realize this bit of fried dough did more for the men’s psyche than their bellies.

It’s no wonder that one of William Booth’s most famous quotes is “Some of my best men are women.”

Today’s Army is no different with women serving in leadership roles and holding ordination as Officers.

“You are not here in the world for yourself. You have been sent here for others. The world is waiting for you!”                                                                                         Catherine Booth

 

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16 Comments

    • Debby Hudson said:

      Thank you, Misty. Sharing women’s place in the church, and the pulpit is part of my heart.

      May 16, 2018
      Reply
  1. This was both interesting and enjoyable to read. I appreciate you sharing about the Booth’s and The Salvation Army. Love the quotes by each of the Booth’s too!

    May 16, 2018
    Reply
    • Debby Hudson said:

      It was certainly an exciting time. I’m glad we have much of their history available to us today, Joanne.

      May 16, 2018
      Reply
  2. I really need to read more about Catherine! I understand that she had read the Bible through 8 times before she was 12!

    May 16, 2018
    Reply
    • Debby Hudson said:

      Yes, Michele. Isn’t that amazing? There are some Kindle books on her at $0.00 She was a huge influence on her husband and the beginnings of this Army.

      May 16, 2018
      Reply
    • Debby Hudson said:

      My mistake, Michele. The Kindle books are 99 cents.

      May 16, 2018
      Reply
  3. sarahgirl3 said:

    I am loving your history lessons more than I did in school. 😉 The quote at the end is so good too!

    May 16, 2018
    Reply
  4. Lesley said:

    This is really interesting, Debby! And the pamphlet about women’s right to preach the Gospel is interesting too. It’s something I’ve been thinking about a bit lately after a conversation with a friend who doesn’t think women should preach. I have always believed they should but I wanted to read some more about how to interpret some of those difficult Bible passages, so this is helpful!

    May 16, 2018
    Reply
    • Debby Hudson said:

      Lesley, I’m still amazed at how many people believe shouldn’t preach or teach the bible. I don’t recall any restrictions on the gifts of the spirit. In the different passages outlining the various gifts nowhere do the scripture say “except to women” or any other exception. I’m glad you’re open to searching it out for yourself.

      May 17, 2018
      Reply
  5. Hopeful50 said:

    I am truly enjoying the history of SA through these posts. Thank you Debby.

    May 17, 2018
    Reply
    • Debby Hudson said:

      I’m glad Susan. I think you were the one who prompted me to do this. Whether you knew it or not 😉

      May 17, 2018
      Reply
      • Hopeful50 said:

        I like to prompt!!! Even unknowingly.

        May 18, 2018
        Reply
  6. Annie Rim said:

    How amazing that the SA took so seriously its mission to empower all who are disenfranchised. Such a statement of their core values!

    May 17, 2018
    Reply
    • Debby Hudson said:

      I’m still struck by it too, Annie. Especially that it was two centuries ago. We’re still working on getting it right 🙂

      May 17, 2018
      Reply

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