Cloudy, chilly weather couldn’t stop West Point’s city leaders, community members, and Point University students from gathering at West Point Dam and supporting a new Salvation Army-inspired event: Kayaking for Kids. For $25, participants could compete for a chance to win at a 5k and 10k water race. The West Point Police Department partnered with West Point’s Wellness Program to host the eventnwhile sponsorships through the U.S. Army Corps. of Engineers, GLL Marine, Point University, and the Chattahoochee Riverkeepers made this event possible.
Many people associate the Salvation Army with a storeline similar to Goodwill, but its story runs much deeper than a business chain. The Salvation Army was truly an army, a spiritual army led by the non-stereotypical preacher, William Booth. Booth desired to take The Gospel outside of the church and into the streets where people needed food, clothes, and the hope of Christ. Many churches in his English town disagreed with his methods, saying that his converts were unworthy of forgiveness, but Booth pressed on with his forgiveness mission in mind. Counteracting the hypocrisy within church walls, Booth gained converted followers who fought for his cause, and his followers were called the “Hallelujah Army”.
Booth read a sort of 19th century press release that marked his mission by stating that “The Christian Mission is a volunteer army”, and he decided to take it one step further by scratching out “volunteer army” and changing it into “Salvation Army”. From there, The Salvation Army caught fire, spreading throughout his country and, eventually, the globe. The Salvation Army reached American soil where it took deep roots in Philadelphia and spread throughout the rest of the nation.
The Salvation Army’s mission didn’t die with Booth’s passing in 1912 – it carries on today, even with the help of communityinspired events such as Kayaking for Kids. The City of West Point created a community collaboration that gave everyone an opportunity to invest in a non-profit organization whose goal of serving those outside church walls reaches out to every corner of the community, providing people with essential, physical needs and the love of The Gospel.
Peyton Hanners Staff Writer