On this day …….. 5th September 1880
The Salvation Army began on 2 July 1865 when William Booth preached the first of nine sermons in a tattered tent on an unused Quaker cemetery in London. Initially running under the name of the East London Christian Mission, Booth and his wife held meetings every evening and on Sundays, to offer repentance, Salvation and Christian ethics to the poorest and most needy, including alcoholics, criminals and prostitutes. Booth and his followers practised what they preached, performing self-sacrificing Christian and social work, such as opening “Food for the Millions” shops (soup kitchens), not caring if they were scoffed at or derided for their Christian ministry work. In 1878, the organisation became known as the Salvation Army. They adopted a uniform and adapted Christian words to popular tunes sung in the public bars. The first Salvation Army meeting in Australia was conducted from the back of a greengrocer’s truck in Adelaide Botanic Park on 5 September 1880. It was initiated by Edward Saunders and John Gore, two men with no theological training, but who both had a heart for their fellow man’s physical and spiritual condition. Saunders and Gore had been converted by the Salvation Army in London. With the words “If there’s a man here who hasn’t had a square meal today, let him come home to tea with me”, the men began a ministry that was soon to expand throughout Australia.