Jamaica Gleaner / Many people have come to associate the Salvation Army with giving to the poor and needy, as well as assisting persons who suffer losses as a result some kind of disaster.
According to Major Vincent Davidson of the Spanish Town Salvation Army, the focus of the church is on community transformation and rehabilitation, even if it involves difficult situation like helping prisoners create a new life for themselves.
“We reach way more persons in the parish with both the social gospel and the gospel itself in the area of clothing, food kind and emergency disaster response,” he told Family & Religion .
“It is clear that Jesus ministry carried with it a social gospel, which is social responsibility with the spiritual aspect or dimension to it.
“This was the practical teaching throughout his ministry. After ministering to the crowd, he would often feed them,” Major Davidson added.
Referencing St Matthew 25:34-40, he observed that the love of Jesus with sleeves rolled up can be described as practical Christianity, in keeping with the Salvation Army’s motto, ‘ear to God and hand to man’.
He contended that the words of Jesus in St Matthew 25, are profound when he said, ‘ for I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me .’
Major Davidson said the concept of helping others spoken of by Jesus does not rest with only specific groups or their belief systems.
“We reach out to Christians and non-Christians. As a result of the May flood rains in the parish, 100 hundred families received assistance from us,” he disclosed.
Recounting his own call to ministry, the Salvation Army Major revealed that he discovered his calling 19 years ago in a Salvation Army church service and was chosen and appointed by God to go out and bear fruit.
“In some sense, like Jonah, I became restless and went off into another direction. But, I sensed that God was truly calling me to ministry and it would just not go away.”
“I found that I could not escape answering the call; I needed to be sure so I returned to the Salvation Army and gave my life to full time ministry just where God was leading me,” Major Davidson shared with Family & Religion .