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Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit


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General William Booth: a Giant of a Man

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Everyone nowadays loves the Sally Ann, the Salvation Army.  But such admiration was not always universal.  Violence and bloodshed was the order of the day when General William Booth first reached out to the down-and-out in East London.  Few people today realize that one of the main purposes of the famous Sally Ann Bonnet was to protect the heads of wearers from brickbats and other missiles.  So many people used to buy rotten eggs to throw at the Sally Ann Bonnets that these rancid eggs became renamed in the market place as ‘Salvation Army eggs!’

In 1880,heavy sticks crashed upon the Salvation Army soldiers’ heads, laying them open, and saturating them in blood.  Mrs. Bryan (wife of the Captain) was knocked down and kicked into insensibility not ten yards from the police station, and another sister so injured that she died within a week.  During 1882, it was reported that 669 soldiers and officers had been knocked down, kicked or otherwise brutally assaulted, 251 of them being women and 23 children under 15.  In Hamilton, Ontario, the Salvation Army officers were initially ‘squeezed and mangled, scratched, their clothes torn and almost choked with the dust…’  In Quebec City, 21 soldiers were seriously injured, an officer was stabbed in the head with a knife, and the drummer had his eye gouged out. In Newfoundland, the Salvation Army was attacked with hatchets, knives, scissors and darning needles.  One night a woman-Salvationist in Newfoundland was attacked by a gang of three hundred ruffians, thrown into a ditch and trampled on.  She managed to crawl out only to be thrown in again, as other women were shouting ‘Kill her! Kill her!

Ironically many police initially blamed the Salvation Army for being persecuted.  In numerous parts of England, playing in a Salvation Army Marching Band was punishable with a jail sentence!  During 1884, no fewer than 600 Salvationists had gone to prison in defense of their right to proclaim good news to the people in music and word.  In Canada alone, nearly 350 SA officers and soldiers served terms of imprisonment for spreading the gospel.  Despite the jail sentences and persecution, within three years the Army’s strength more than quadrupled!  The early Salvation Army ‘jailbirds described their handcuffs as heavenly bracelets.  It is little wonder that the Salvation Army eventually developed such a powerful prison ministry.

One of William Booth’s mottoes was  ‘go for souls and go for the worst!’  A local English newspaper The Echo commented that the Salvation Army largely recruited the ranks of the drunkards and wife-beaters and woman home-destroyers.  Many of us remember as children the song: ‘Up and down the City Road, In and Out the Eagle; That’s the way the money goes, Pop goes the weasel’!   Few of us realized that we were singing about the famous Eagle Tavern, just off City Road in London.   ‘Pop goes the weasel’ was cockney slang for the alcoholic who was so desperate for a drink that he would even pawn (pop) his watch (weasel).  Ironically, the Salvation Army bought the Eagle Tavern and turned it into a rehabilitation centre.  The Lion and Key public house in East London became known as ‘The Army Recruiting Shop’.  The landlord said, ‘My trade’s suffering, but you’re making the town a different place, so we can’t grumble.  Go on and prosper!’

William Booth shocked the world by conducting worship with tambourines and fiddles, instead of the traditional church organ.  To make up for the Salvation Army’s lack of church buildings, General Booth bought circus buildings, skating rinks, and theatres.

In response to such bold innovation, one newspaper columnist claimed in 1883 that ‘The Salvation Army is on its last legs, and in three weeks it may be calculated it will come to an end.’  In the beginnings, the Salvation Army was essentially a youth movement, with seventeen-year-olds commanding hundreds of officers and thousands of seekers.  Archbishop Tait of Canterbury was so impressed by this youth movement reaching the poor, that he set up a commission which unsuccessfully tried to adopt the Salvation Army as an Anglican society.

By persevering, the Salvation Army began to earn respect from both the churched and the unchurched, and from all segments of society.  Even Queen Victoria at Windsor Castle sent the following message: ‘Her majesty learns with much satisfaction that you have with other members of your society been successful in your efforts to win many thousands to the ways of temperance, virtue, and religion.’  By their persevering in reaching out to the poor, William Booth and the Salvation Army became known as the champions of the oppressed.    Like no other individual in nineteenth-century England, General Booth dramatized the war against want, poverty and destitution.

It was not by accident that William Booth’s message became linked with ‘soup, soap, and salvation’!  Every Salvation Army soldier was taught from the beginning to see themselves as servants of all, practicing the ‘sacrament’ of the Good Samaritan.  The famous preacher Charles Spurgeon once said, ‘If the Salvation Army were wiped out of London, five thousand extra policemen could not fill the place in the repression of crime and disorder.’ In recognition of his incalculable impact on the poor, William Booth received on June 26th 1907 the degree of Doctor of Civil Law from the University of Oxford.

William Booth throughout his life showed remarkable creativity and courage.  He was one of the world’s greatest travelers in his day, visiting nearly every country in the world.  Even at age 78, General Booth was described as‘…a bundle of energy, a keg of dynamite, an example of perpetual motion.’  A keen observer of the international scene, Booth in 1907 prophesied Japan’s technological rise, saying: ‘It is only a question of time when her industries will be tutored with the most expert direction, and packed with the finest machinery taken from all nations of the world, and I do not see what can prevent her producing the finest articles at the cheapest possible price.’

His fellow soldiers saw Booth as a man to follow to their death, if need be.  William Booth was truly a spiritual father to the fatherless.  His son Bramwell held that his Dad’s greatest power lies in his sympathy, for his heart is a bottomless well of compassion.  A Maori woman described William Booth as ‘the great grandfather of us all – the man with a thousand hearts in one!’

 

Mark Twain said,‘I know of no better way of reaching the poor than through the Salvation Army.  They are of the poor, and know how to get to the poor.’

I give thanks for General William Booth, a true giant of a man, and for the Salvation Army who have shown the true Father’s Heart to so many hurting, fatherless people.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News and the Light Magazine

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, #102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5.

For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 


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Dr Henry Wilson: AB Simpson’s Right Hand Man

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

When we think of ground-breakers in the field of children and communication, names like Dr. Piaget from France or Dr. Montessori from Italy may come to mind.  From a Canadian perspective, Dr. Henry Wilson made an enormous contribution to modeling healthy communication between adults and children.

Dr. Henry Wilson was called “Big Baby Brother” because of his uncanny ability to communicate with clarity and compassion to children of all ages.  His own daughter, Madeline, said that “the secret of his success with children in a great measure was due to his adaptability and his own youthful spirit.”  He was never too big to become as a little child to children.  He was never too holy to fail to be human at the same time; never too busy or preoccupied to fail to be gracious and empathetic.  Despite the enormous pain that he had experienced in his life, he was often seen with a smile on his face, and laughter on his lips.  Twice he had seen his wives die during childbirth, leaving him a widower with three young children.  Then tragically his only son, while boating, slipped overboard, and was crushed to death by a paddlewheel.  One of Dr. Wilson’s favorite quotations was “The mark of rank in nature is capacity for pain, and the anguish of the singer makes the sweetness of the strain.”

His own daughter Madeline commented that “he was really just a grown-up boy.  His work among the children was no mere studied professionalism.”  Henry Wilson could scarcely sit on a public platform and behave himself if there were a number of children in the audience.  Invariably he’d be seen making signals to the children, laughing aloud in happy self-forgetfulness, or holding three or four of them on his knees.  Part of Dr. Wilson’s secret was that he was always natural, and therefore enjoyed the naturalness of children, especially their love of laughter.  Studies have shown that pre-schoolers laugh 400 times a day, in contrast to the mere 15 laughs a day from adults.  Dr. Wilson was often called “the Sunny Man”.  “Pre-eminent above all his personal qualities”, said A.B. Simpson, “was his invincible cheerfulness, hopefulness, and joyousness.”

Dr. Wilson started a Children’s Alliance Fellowship which reached 5,000 children, each one of them praying for another child in an overseas country.  Each week he wrote a magazine article specifically for children entitled “B.B.B.” (Big Baby Brother).  Henry Wilson was a ground-breaker in tearing down racial barriers between children.  He had a particular love for the children’s song “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world, red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight.”

Dr. Henry Wilson was born in Peterborough, Ontario in the year 1841.  At an early age he won the Wellington scholarship and entered Trinity College, ultimately receiving a Doctorate of Divinity in 1883.  His first ministry was as curate of the Cathedral of St. George’s Kingston, Ontario.  There he consistently ministered for 17 years until one day “disaster” struck:…He met the Salvation Army.

In those days, few had ever heard of the Salvation Army, and what they had heard was treated with great suspicion.   Dr. Henry Wilson, a highly educated and cultured Anglican, committed the unpardonable social sin of being seen with the likes of the Salvation Army.  In Dr. Wilson’s own words, “I found myself one night kneeling at the penitent form of the Army, pleading for pardon and peace, and needing both, as much as the drunkard on one side of me and the lost woman on the other.  I saw myself as never before, a poor lost soul, just as much as they, so far as the need for a new heart and a right spirit was concerned.”  Initially the Dean of St. George’s Cathedral told Dr. Wilson that he approved of the Salvation Army and would stand by him if trouble came.  When 80 members of the Salvation Army publicly received communion at the Anglican Cathedral, Dean Farthing openly thanked God for their coming.  Dr. Wilson’s ministry expanded dramatically, with over 300 young people now flocking to his weekly bible study.

Then, out of the blue, the Dean pulled the plug, and ejected Dr. Wilson from the Cathedral, insisting that all connection with the Salvation Army be severed before Dr. Wilson could return.  Dr. Wilson’s own bishop offered him little support.  Instead his bishop spoke of “the grotesque in the Army’s performances” and Dr. Wilson being “betrayed into (his) eccentricity by cerebral excitement”.  In an age when organ music reigned as Queen, the drums and trumpets of the innovative Salvation Army were seen by his bishop as regrettable “extravagances.”  General William Booth, who founded the Salvation Army in England, was famous for shocking middle-class English society by his bold innovations.  He freely borrowed from the beer-hall tunes, and gave them new lyrics, saying, “Why should the devil have all the good music?”  When General Booth visited North America in 1907, Dr. Wilson was there with his hand raised and his voice uplifted in blessing over the bowed and silvered head of General Booth.  For his friendship with the Salvation Army, Dr. Wilson paid a great price.

Fortunately for Dr. Henry Wilson,  Bishop Henry Potter of New York was far kinder to this innovative Anglican, and gave him a position assisting another well-known Canadian, Dr. William Rainsford at St. George’s.  Dr. Wilson began reaching out to the down & out by renting the back of a saloon each Sunday morning for a worship service. Even though Dr. Wilson was fluent in the study of Greek, Hebrew, and Latin, he never lost touch with the basic needs of the poor and needy.

So Dr. Rainsford introduced him to another  Canadian friend, Dr. A.B. Simpson, who also destroyed his health while at University before being miraculously healed.  In Henry Wilson’s own words, he “labored with a weak body, twice seriously injured by accidents almost fatal: for years prey to dyspepsia of the worst kind; to liver disease and all its attendant miseries; with nervous depression and fainting fits after the slightest exertion. A burden to myself, a constant anxiety to my family and friends, a nuisance to doctors, and a kind of walking apothecary shop. Idragged through my work with what sickly weariness and painfulness they only know who have suffered like things.”

Through A.B. Simpson, Henry Wilson learnt about the healing power of Jesus’ resurrection life that is available to each of us.  After anointing for healing, Henry Wilson was miraculously healed.  He said years later at age 67 ” I am in every sense a younger, fresher man than I was at thirty.”

Dr Wilson was so grateful for his healing that he became a strong advocate in praying for the sick.  Wilson said “The center and the source of this divine health is the Lord Jesus Christ, now at the right hand of God, in His glorified humanity, like the sun in the center of the universe. The medium by which this glorified humanity passes into ours is the Holy Ghost – the breath of God – the air of heaven, like the atmosphere surrounding our earth and transmitting to it the light and life-giving powers of the sun in the heavens. This is the A, B, C of Divine Healing.”

Henry Wilson went on to become A.B. Simpson’s closest friend and associate, serving as the first President of the International Missionary Alliance, which sent thousands of outreach workers all over the world sharing the love of Jesus.  Among his outreach ventures was the care of over 1,000 orphan children living in India.  He also served as the President of the Seaman’s Institute, the President of the Nyack Seminary, the Senior Field Superintendent for the Christian & Missionary Alliance, and the Chaplain of the Madgdalene Home for women coming off the streets.  All this he did interdenominationally with the full blessing of his Anglican (Episcopal) Bishop who even authorized him to serve as Dr. A.B. Simpson’s associate, serving Anglican communion each Sunday in a interdenominational context.  Dr. Henry Wilson is another Canadian who tore down barriers between races, denominations, social classes, and age distinctions.

May we all learn like Henry Wilson to be “Big Baby Brothers” and “Big Baby Sisters” in bridging the generation gap between adults and children.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, #102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5.

For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca